Mark Greene is either incredibly persistent or just plain stubborn. After running for, and losing, several campaigns for different offices in at least three different states, he has become a perennial candidate.
Last year he ran for Washington state lieutenant governor and was eliminated in the primary. He has also run for office in Alaska, and was a candidate for the Newcastle City Council while in the process of moving to Federal Way. He ran for the Federal Way City Council two years ago and advanced to the general election after finishing second in a three-person primary. He lost to Lydia Assefa-Dawson in the final. He has joined incumbent Jim Ferrell and Councilwoman Susan Honda in running for mayor of Federal Way in this election. Greene has lived in Federal Way “for seven non-consecutive years.”
In his race for City Council two years ago he had almost no resources, only one homemade handout and no mailings or advertising.
With only a small business card to give to residents, he stationed himself near shopping areas with heavy foot traffic. He didn’t have the assets to buy voter lists. Even if he had a door-belling handout, a bike appears to be his only form of transportation, which limits his ability to reach most of the city neighborhoods.
This year he has been able to afford some small green and white signs and will likely continue to hand out cards at shopping centers. His campaign may be the truest form of old-fashioned hard work replacing modern campaign techniques.
Two years ago he made the biggest splash at the Mirror public debates when he announced he had been recruited by Ferrell’s campaign manager to run against Assefa-Dawson. Though only in attendance as an interested resident, Ferrell came out of his seat and denounced the accusation and had to be gavelled back to order by the moderator. The episode was the most talked about of the election season and has become illustrative of Greene’s lack of understanding in politics and Ferrell’s occasional lapse in discipline. Greene was not able to prove the allegation.
Greene is both well intended and well read and has many thoughts on how Federal Way should improve. But, he seems to lack a basic understanding of how the pieces of the community fit together and appears to have limited knowledge of how city government operates. He “remembers the parables of the New Testament in helping other people” but provides no detail on which other people and how he would help them. Greene refers to “big brother” regarding the new rules for apartments in a manner that suggests he doesn’t like the rules.
His platform is to create a “people’s economy,” which he doesn’t explain, and he wants Federal Way to stay pretty much as it is now. Like most voters, he opposes boondoggles, although the Performing Arts and Event Center is the only project he lists. He supports recycling and wants more police but doesn’t say how he will pay for them. He mentions helping with the blood bank and registering people to vote as his community involvement.
Voting is the purest manner in which to help your community. Ferrell, Honda and Greene are your choices for mayor. Two will make it to the general election in the fall. But if you feel committed to becoming more involved, consider becoming a volunteer for a good government group. The Municipal League of King County will be providing ratings for several south King County city races this year, including Federal Way’s. If you are objective and want to get involved, go to its website, access “Candidate Investigator” and fill out an application.
The mayor is the head of the city. As Federal Way is still struggling with growing into the community it will someday become, leadership is important. Ferrell and Honda are more knowledgeable than Greene. If Greene wants to be taken seriously as a candidate, he needs to show far more understanding of the challenges confronting Federal Way and what he proposes to do about them.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former Auburn mayor and retired public official. He can be reached at email@example.com.