Forum: Mayor-council form of government

Readers voice their views on the proposed change to Federal Way's government

  • Saturday, April 26, 2008 8:02am
  • Opinion

‘Buddies’ help society thrive

I take issue with the letter submitted by Ken Shattock titled “The Good Buddy Society” (Jan. 9).

Shattock named many of my good friends in his letter and unfairly labeled them, in his words, The Good Buddy Society. I know everyone he named and met most of them while attending community events and charitable fundraisers in Federal Way. I have watched all of them open their checkbooks and generously donate to the many needy causes in our community.

Many of them are personally involved in the charitable foundations that raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for battered women and their children, the homeless, youth programs, the arts, education and improved medical care for all of us. They don’t just throw money at the cause; they give their time and labor.

The elected officials in Federal Way are also very much involved in these same community events; they are some of the hardest working people I know.

I believe Federal Way has turned the corner and is headed in the right direction. I signed the petition to give all of us the right to choose on Feb. 19. After looking at both sides of the argument, I am choosing to leave things the way they are — I am voting no to an elected mayor.

As for Mr. Shattock, I have not had the privilege of meeting him. Maybe at the next community fundraiser?

Tim DeVore, Federal Way


Love thy hobnobbers

Patrick Watson submitted a letter published Jan. 9 in which took extreme exception to my letter in response to his letter.

He claims I did not address any of his points. The only point of substance he made was the notion that a strong mayor would be elected by all the people, unlike our Federal Way City Council. I corrected him. He then declares me elitist and slams the “people…I hobnob with.”

I assume he is referring to people who have actually become involved in city government and volunteer committees (parks, arts, human services, school levy campaigns, etc.), local charities and local causes. How is it I never ran into you, Patrick, giving of your time and resources in any of those endeavors?

I must admit I rarely “hobnob” with folks who take potshots and rant and make false and biased statements (even when written “hastily”). Perhaps that is why in my 37 years in Federal Way our paths have not crossed. Think about it.

Ron Gintz, Federal Way

Editor’s note: This exchange, in which both sides have had two letters, is now closed.


Let’s discuss rhetoric

Regarding the strong elected mayor issue, I have been given the opportunity to demonstrate with facts one of the council’s entrenched majority’s favorite gimmicks, rhetoric, and how unfortunate it can be at times.

Being a former councilman/mayor, Ron Gintz qualifies as a member of that “good ol’ boy” group. In his Jan. 5 letter to The Mirror, with patronizing comments to Patrick Watson for a letter he submitted to The Mirror, he criticizes Watson for being indignant at a writer opposed to change saying some citizens may be “uneducated and unsophisticated.”

You then tell him those were his words, not the writer’s. Oh, how wrong can you be! Well now, you put quotes around uneducated and unsophisticated and, true, you’re quoting Watson, so, you certainly know how that works, don’t you, Mr. Gintz? Did you see any quotes around that statement in Mr. Watson’s letter? No. He was giving his opinion (First Amendment rights, free speech) of comments the leader of your little group, Barbara Reid, made in an article to The Mirror. In that article she said, among many slurs to we voters, that if we elected a mayor, that person could be (notice the quotes here) “a person who dropped out of school in the sixth grade, who has never supervised or managed any employees and might not even be able to balance a checkbook.”

This is their best defense in trying to protect their power? Now, in my humble opinion, that does indeed constitute an uneducated and unsophisticated diatribe. Rhetoric, as used by the entrenched majority on this city council, has been overused and abused for far too long and is a classic reason for the voters craving some factual talk, for a change.

A couple of definitions of rhetoric are “affectation or exaggeration in prose” and “unsupported or inflated discourse.”

And those examples remind me of one of the more egregious examples perpetrated on the people of Federal Way, and, lo-and-behold, Mr. Gintz pops up again. According to the minutes of the meeting at which the present location of the transit station was decided upon, Gintz was one of only five people out of 108 who wanted it there. A person acting as the council’s explainer, in her failed efforts to explain that away, said “reason dictates they (the council) do what they (the council) collectively believe is the right thing to do as opposed to only what the vocal minority wants.”

We, the citizen/voters of Federal Way, are the vocal minority. What unmitigated brass! How in the name of Peter, Paul and Mary could anyone miss the rhetoric there? Their majority is, guess who, the entrenched majority that could be only four people. And the minority? The concerned citizens of Federal Way.

Lordy, do we need change. We need facts, not rhetoric. We need financial common sense, not a community center so far past our needs that it’s too expensive for most citizens and is now in financial difficulty for lack of income. We need reasonable projects, not ones that are overblown and with questionable developers. We need change, change, change and now we have the chance to get it.

It’s long overdue for old graybeard “rhetoric” to retire and disappear. We need to become the majority again in our city. We need to get a straight talker whose agenda is our agenda. We need to get back to a constitutional form of government with checks and balances.

Vote Feb. 19 for the right to elect a strong, independent mayor. Vote yes for us all.

Clara McArthur, Federal Way


A warning to Federal Way

The banner headline caught my eye. It read: “Mayor hogs power, council claims.”

The subhead was even more startling. It read: “Legislative branch stifled and laws ignored.”

No, this was not from a future issue of the Federal Way Mirror. It was in the Oct. 6, 2007, issue of the Seattle P.I. and was talking about the Seattle mayor and Seattle City Council. The story started with five inches on the front page of the “Seattle” section, and continued for two full columns (of 22 inches each) on the second page. That’s 49 inches of column space devoted to political infighting and legislative frustration.

As I read the article, several paragraphs stood out as an urgent warning to Federal Way. The story started out as follows: “Seattle City Council members have griped for years that Mayor Greg Nickels is a political bully — marginalizing the council with his stubborn ways. Council President Nick Licata has accused Nickels of autocratically ignoring some council laws and directives. The balance of power at City Hall is out of whack — with too much power influenced by one man’s agenda, constituents and backers, Licata complained.”

The article continues with comments from Councilman Peter Steinbrueck. “He said Nickels’ aggressive style is counterproductive. It’s a commander style more than it is collaborative. We hardly see the mayor. Mostly we work through his surrogates.”

Licata complained that “in recent years, Nickels or his departments have ignored legislative direction, either by ignoring laws and policy statements, or failing to implement budget decisions. He raises the concern amongst all of us whether he’s going to be enforcing the law.”

Councilman Richard McIver said there might be retribution in the city budget, while Licata is talking about a revolution, said the P.I. story.

Do we want the “Seattle Way” of “talk, talk, bicker and do nothing” in Federal Way? Definitely not. We have a council made up of seven individuals with differing backgrounds, work experience and interests doing collaborative decision making that benefits all residents of Federal Way. And we have a city manager who is legally required to implement the laws, regulations and policies approved by the city council.

We should preserve and protect a form of city government that has served us so well since incorporation. There is no reason to make a change. What we have works just fine.

Vote no on Feb. 19.

H. David Kaplan, Federal Way

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