‘Twas a week or so before Christmas at the mayor’s holiday party and all the council mice were stirring, especially those with something to prove at the table. In time their election may prove painful, but they all ran for office seeking to make Federal Way more able.
All were squeaking about how the cheese is to be budgeted, policies renewed and adjusted. The concern spoken of most was of the town’s never-ending need for more resources and cheese. Thus began a sharp discussion on the ways of cheese plate spending.
“’Tis the holiday season,” squeaked one council mouse, “and we need to assure that all the homeless and hungry mice are properly clothed, fed, and nightly tucked into warm beds.” Another council mouse squeaked, “I concur and think we should slice the cheese into smaller pieces so we can spend more on social necessities.”
A different council mouse squeaked, “What about our economic development needs? For us to regain prosperity we need jobs, strong schools, more code enforcement to make this town presentable, an improved retail sector would be nice, and we must keep traffic moving and crime heading toward Fife.”
One of the other squeaks on council agreed those ideas are good and squeaked out, “The initiative to protect renters from mysterious criteria not clearly spelled out in already scrutinized legal contracts complying with state law is my priority. As council mice I know that we know how to protect our town mice from heartless landlords enforcing contracts, evicting mice on fake information and adding to our homeless strays.”
“Hold on there,” squeaked a bossy council mouse. “Landlords aren’t evil mice intending to be mean to renter mice. It is just business when rents increase. It takes a lot of cheese to cover their fees. But to be fair to renter mice, I think it is the obligation of the town to focus its energy on assuring that all rentals are maintained to the highest degrees. I want us to be a town known for attracting the nicest mice tenants because we have the best properties.”
Squeak, squeak said another council mouse, squeaking up. “Protecting vulnerable mice might be nice but you are trying to make landlords responsible by holding them to the standards in our ordinances? That will require the town to actually spend some cheese on resources to assure accountability.”
“Besides my property-owning friends, who helped fund my campaign, think that actual crime should be our focus and want code violations to go hocus-pocus. Furthermore, a few evictions here and there make renters take notice.”
The mice who pushed for pot shops to be on the ballot decided it was their time to squeak. “You know, the mice have spoken and our town will continue getting its mellow on from pot purchased elsewhere. Believe us, the town would have benefited from being in a smoother groove and appreciated the use of new revenue.”
A usually quiet council mouse squeaked, “Vacant office space is a problem and homeless mice make this town look like we are nothing but a bunch of derelict scruffy mice. I know those mice need help but if we do not strengthen our local economy first, we will not have enough cheese in our coffers to meet basic needs or for new strategic opportunities.”
The staff mice in attendance listened intently throughout, with heads and tails turning feverishly on every word, sorting out fact from the absurd.
The mayor finally squeaked up and said, “We follow the lead of our fellow town mice and are here to serve and be nice. In this season of merry tidings and good will, we are listening to their ideas and know them well, for they are often as small as those discussed by us as elected mice. Yes, we reflect their wisdom and I, along with my mousey staff, will work on their ideas to keep this town spinning on our political wheel.”
“Thankfully, a true town vision is not necessary when we have such fine council mice serving to make our small ideas appear big and real. The town’s lack of knowledge makes our lack of knowledge seem large and important with zeal.”
“This party is no fun,” the mayor’s son squeaked loudly, bursting into the room with his dog in tow. “This is the season of joy and your noise is helping no one. Your job is to restore the light, help us prosper, and assure that the good values of this town burn bright.”
“Education first and foremost! Get the campus development underway, but keep it green-space friendly forever and a day. Fill vacant office space with jobs creating community wealth, help those in need as best you can, support the arts, and prepare carefully for light rail’s arrival.”
“Be kind in your debate and build value for all, for this is the season without greed. Now come down from your lofty perch and make this town family friendly first. Be the joy, be the light, and we might get rebuilding this town right!”
“Oh, and dad, one more thing, mom wants you to clean up this mess and take out the garbage. Good night!”
May the spirit of the season be with us, one and all.
Keith Livingston is a longtime Federal Way resident and community observer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.