Inner curmudgeon pops out of my chest

By Chris Carrel, Thinking Locally

  • Saturday, April 26, 2008 8:03am
  • Opinion

By Chris Carrel, Thinking Locally

Having just finished another positive series on Federal Way regarding our city’s myths, I’m left feeling positively Pollyannaesque.

With this column, Thinking Locally, I’ve tried to emphasize positive things that are happening in the community. In part, this is because I don’t feel that the good things are always seen, both within and from the outside of our community.

But too much positive praise can be a bad thing as well. And I don’t want to leave the impression that I’m one of those cheery people who tells depressed people to “turn that frown upside down.”

So today, I will put on my curmudgeon hat and present the things that are bugging me.

• Fast lane hogs. If I were named Washington State Despot, the first issue I’d deal with would be ridding our highways of people who block traffic in the fast lane. Shoot to kill orders would go into effect. After that, I’d probably deal with school funding.

• The War on Christmas. Remember this supposed threat to America? I didn’t think so.

• Crazy sports parents. Sit down and shut yer piehole, will ya? Stop riding the ref. Stop coaching your kid (or my kid). Stop berating the coach. It’s not the final game of the World Series. It’s not the World Cup finals. It’s a youth sports event. Let the kids be kids and keep your encouragements positive and your perspective in check.

• Overly angry citizen types. You know who you are. Well, you probably don’t. The rest of us do, though. The city isn’t run exclusively for you. Nor is the school or the school district, or pick your government agency, or favorite store. You live in a community. We’re all in this together. So, inject some common sense and some civility into your behavior.

• King County Library System honchos. You’re closing the Federal Way Regional Library for a year! To add 10,000 square feet and not a single new book! Don’t take this the wrong way, but what kind of drugs are you on? Do you realize how important the regional library is to this community?

• Boys wearing baggy pants. I thought we wore some awful stuff back in the 1970s, but I’m proud to say our jeans were at our waistlines and our boxers weren’t sticking out. Boys, there is such a thing as too much information.

• Street corner panhandlers. I know it’s Christmas, but does anyone else think this has gotten out of hand? I don’t believe they’re all Vietnam vets as their signs proclaim. Particularly after I saw one in the mall buying baseball cards. Maybe it’s time to consider legislation like Tacoma has? Save your money and send it a social service organization like the Multi-Service Center instead.

• Christmas light Nazis. It’s the holiday season and our town has erupted in an orgy of multi-colored Christmas lights. I choose to abstain. And yet, now I’m getting pressure from friends (you know who you are) who are Christmas light fiends. My kids are joining in the call for lights at the Carrel Castle. How long can I hold out from the pressure?

• Tim Eyman. Why are people still voting for this guy’s initiatives? At least with our elected representatives, we can throw them out of office for incompetence. Eyman just keeps on writing flawed initiatives.

• Open City Council races. Incumbents love ‘em. I hate ‘em. I think the council does a fine job. But in a healthy democracy, there should always be a contest for who gets to represent us.

• Welcome to Scotland. I have never fallen in love with our city slogan: “It’s all within reach.” It sounds like it’s describing my ideal living room, rather than my city. But it could be worse. The Scots jettisoned their old slogan, “The Best Little Country in the World,” spent six months and $300,000 and came up with…”Welcome to Scotland.”

• The Symphony development. I support the council’s decision to jump-start downtown redevelopment with this proposal, but the name! Every time I talk about it, people think I’m talking about a new building for our fine Federal Way Symphony. Was there some sort of naming rights deal with the symphony folks? Why not the Hylebos Development? Or the Multi-Service Center Development?

Whew. I’m glad I got all that off my chest. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Chris Carrel is a lifelong Federal Way resident and executive director of the Friends of the Hylebos, a nonprofit conservation organization working to preserve and restore Hylebos Creek and the West Hylebos Wetlands. Chris can be contacted at or (253) 874-2005.

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