It’s that time of the year again when we acknowledge the contributions, both good and not so good, of our public officials by providing them with awards of absolutely no value.
The city of Bell, Calif., was in the news as the mayor, city manager and members of the city council were arrested for corruption after paying themselves huge salaries. The “most appropriate title” award goes to their second in command, whose official title is “vice mayor.” I’m glad Federal Way uses “deputy mayor.”
The “look what fell in my lap” award goes to the new U.S. Senator from Delaware, Democrat Chris Coons. He was trailing Republican Congressman Mike Castle in the polls. However, Castle was upset in the primary by Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, who proceeded to implode, handing Coons a race he expected to lose.
The “great idea” award goes to the Puyallup City Council for its proposal to ban rudeness at council meetings. Maybe we could extend that idea to elections as well.
The Democrats get an award for “biggest strategic blunder.” First, they allowed two Democrats to get into the race against Republican State Sen. Pam Roach. In the top-two format, the Democrats split votes, allowing Roach and another Republican to advance. Then in what the Tacoma News Tribune called a sure sign that “hell is freezing over,” several prominent Democrats endorsed her because the other Republican had more problems than Roach. If only one Democrat had been in the race, they likely would have won. This race was easily the winner in “wackiest race” category.
The Republicans get an award for most “questionable strategy” for campaigning against earmarks, which in this state has brought home billions of dollars for our military bases and software industry. It didn’t work, and incumbent Democrats won all their federal races.
However, according to the Associated Press the “most unusual” race occurred in Brazil, where professional clown “Grumpy” was elected to the national Congress. However, since there were discrepancies in his handwriting on his application, a judge ordered him to take a test to prove he was literate, which is a Brazilian requirement. After the test, the judge ruled that he could take his seat in Congress because the law only ruled out those who are “totally illiterate.” Let’s think about this. Clown, Congress, not totally illiterate? There’s a message there somewhere.
The “it’s about time award” goes to longtime Federal Way City Council member Linda Kochmar who finally was appointed mayor. Unfortunately, it took a decade and only lasted one year.
The “we must have missed it” award goes to the economists who announced that the recession ended in June 2009. Where’s my party hat?
The “good candidate, bad year” award goes to Democrat Carol Gregory, who lost her second bid for the state Legislature. In any other year, she probably would have won.
Proving that politics make strange bedfellows, and that God has a sense of humor, the award for “kissin’ cousins” goes to President Obama, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh, who are apparently all distant relatives of one another. Trying to figure out who will sit next to each other at the next family reunion might be a challenge.
The “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” award goes to new State Rep. Katrina Asay, whose self-deprecating small town style won a lot of admirers. Let’s hope she doesn’t change.
The “smooth move” award goes to King County Executive Dow Constantine for his deft handling of the county budget and labor contracts.
The “off to a good start” award goes to new Federal Way School District Superintendent Rob Neu, who has established good district and community relationships. Although some question his music tastes. Pink Floyd?
The “UPS, she delivers” award goes to State Sen. Tracey Eide. She produced legislation that helped education, transportation and driver safety, and she brought home state grants to support the performing arts/civic center. That’s impressive.
Speaking of the performing arts/civic center: The “hard worker” award goes to a citizen who has become a public personality, Joann Piquette. You don’t have to agree with her goals, but you do have to admire her. Through shear determination and a will to see her dream come true, she has kept the performing arts/civic center project alive in the worst of economic times.
The “why me” award goes to City Manager Brian Wilson, who was quite happy chasing bad guys as police chief when the Federal Way City Council tapped him to step into a difficult situation as city manager. Some wondered about the choice. But he won converts, including me. Good job.
Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!