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2009 Washington Newspaper Publishers Association awards

MIRROR

.com

F E D E R A L WAY

A Division of Sound Publishing

Rudi Alcott Publisher: ralcott@federalwaymirror.com (253) 925-5565 Andy Hobbs Editor: editor@federalwaymirror.com (253) 925-5565 Advertising (253) 925-5565 Classified Marketplace (253) 925-5565 Letters editor@federalwaymirror.com

1414 S. 324th St., Suite B-210, Federal Way, WA 98003 For delivery inquiries

Toll-free: (253) 872-6610 or e-mail

circulation@federalwaymirror.com

MIRROR EDITORIAL

Red lights and green lights Smile, drivers: You’re on camera Beginning in 2010, the registered owners of vehicles caught on camera speeding in school zones or running a red light will receive a ticket by mail. The ticket includes information that allows the owner to review a short clip of the violation online. Some Federal Way residents are quick to jump on the city for installing red-light cameras, but they fail to acknowledge the bigger picture. Revenue from the cameras saves the city from cutting more staff members and public services. Taxes are down. The city uses tax revenue to supply services and maintain a balanced budget. The money from red-light cameras is making up for what’s lost in taxes. Imagine if the city removed all red-light cameras. This would save all the non-law-abiding citizens from paying for the red lights they run. However, to make up for the decrease in revenue, the city would remove staff in the permitting, public works and police departments. That would certainly give residents something to complain about. Residents should consider which of the following is a better deal: • Have fewer officers on patrol, lower-quality roads, increased collisions at intersections and decreased customer service at City Hall. • Pay up for a ticket you deserve.

Marijuanalyn Monroe In Washington state, Senate Bill 5615 will go before Washington state legislators in 2010. The bill would decriminalize adult possession of marijuana from a crime (with a mandatory day in jail) to a civil infraction (with a $100 penalty payable by mail). State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-District 36), the bill’s co-sponsor, wrote in a recent report that the state could save $16 million and bring in $1 million in new revenue if the bill passes. Some of that money would go toward drug treatment and prevention services. The Mirror urges District 30 State Sen. Tracey Eide to back this practical and overdue bill. Washington state has already taken a vital step forward with its medical marijuana laws. In times like these, the financial potential of cannabis decriminalization is too great to ignore.

Dark side of the trees (RE: “Federal Way saves money on holiday light bill”) Your article states that all Federal Way trees will be lighted by Nov. 25. Today is Nov. 30, so I will assume that all the lights are up that will be put up. I drove down 320th Street this evening, dumbfounded by the appearance of the lighted trees. Only the bottom half of the trees are lighted. Your article stated that the city was going to reduce costs this year by lighting every other tree. That would in effect cut the cost by half. It seems that the crews that decorate the trees had a different idea of how to cut the cost in half. They have lighted only the bottom half of the trees. I started to giggle when I saw these trees. I could imagine the headline in The Mirror reading, “Federal Way cuts holiday lighting cost in half.” The picture accompanying this headline would be a tree with lights on only

Alert mind is your best weapon The day after we proposed a community event honoring first responders, a Seattle police officer demonstrated a degree of vigilance and preparation that exemplifies the qualities shown by many in law enforcement. Benjamin L. Kelly, 39, has more than four years experience with the Seattle Police Department and is a military veteran. Officer Kelly showed an alert presence of mind during a situation that started out very routinely. While on patrol, Kelly saw a car with the hood up and the engine running. He ran the license plates. The car had been reported stolen early the same day, so there was paperwork to be completed. One of the challenges in staying aware of your surroundings is that most situations present distractions. About 48 hours earlier, four Lakewood police officers were drinking coffee and using laptop computers in a Parkland coffee shop when Maurice Clemmons opened fire. Did any of the four victims look up and make eye contact with Clemmons as he entered the coffee shop, passing by them moments before he started shooting? Kelly, sitting in his patrol car doing paperwork, observed a man walking up behind him on the driver’s side and recognized that the man was Clemmons. Imagine how the officer

felt exiting from the driver’s seat. He was close to becoming another victim when he ordered Clemmons to stop and show his hands. Clemmons did not show his hands and began to run away in the other direction, going around the vehicle. Again telling Clemmons to stop, the officer drew his gun. Clemmons seemed to be reaching for a gun. Kelly fired shots. At least two rounds stopped Clemmons, who had already been shot in the torso two days before during a struggle with one of the officers slain in Parkland. At the time of his death, Clemmons was armed with a .40-caliber pistol taken from one of the Lakewood police officers at the scene of the massacre. Kelly was justified in using deadly force to stop Clemmons because he had reason to believe Clemmons had already committed the violent murders of four officers. Thus, even if Clemmons had not presented an imminent threat to Kelly, Clemmons would have posed an imminent threat to the public if he got away. Clemmons was an individual who wrestled with his own private demons. Society extended compassion toward Clemmons when he convinced an Arkansas parole board and Gov. Mike Huckabee that he was a changed man. [ more KNAPP page 5 ]

● LETTERS...YOUR OPINION COUNTS:

To submit an item or photo: email editor@federalwaymirror.com; mail attn Letters, Federal Way Mirror, 1414 S. 324th St., Suite B-210, Federal Way, WA 98003; fax (253) 925-5750. Letters may be edited for style, clarity and length. the bottom half of the tree. It would be a worthy submission to Jay Leno, but probably not the example of smart leadership that the city of Federal Way wants to project. It did get a laugh out of me, however.

Ann Hardwicke, Federal Way

Shake your money maker Wow — more red light cameras! Folks, it is all about money. Add up the over 15,000 citations to date for 2009. This equates to over $2 million at $140 a pop for Federal Way. Of this amount, there is minus approximately 20 percent to 30 percent for camera maintenance going directly to American Traffic Solutions. It is rather easy for most of us taxpayers to understand the reasons for Federal Way to

install more cameras under the premise it is all about safety. The city coffers will easily raise another cool million for next year. Think about this. Most everyone will agree that Federal Way is not collecting the same amount of sales tax, business tax and tax on the tax revenues. An obvious slowdown in people purchasing power and great numbers of people out of work create the shortfall. The way to quickly increase more revenue is to find a simple solution by adding more revenuemaking photo cameras. The safety factor rings well, but considering rear-end collisions caused by people not running the light at these intersections, it seems difficult to justify the safety factor. The California stop right-hand turn ticket is a really great money maker. Somewhere I read that the state recommended tickets

Mark Knapp

WINNER: • Best editorial page • Second place, General Excellence

www.federalwaymirror.com

Firearms Lawyer

F E D E R A L WAY

OPINION

[4] December 5, 2009

for right-hand turn violations to be set no greater than parking tickets around $24. So why do we pay $140 for this ticket? One only has to imagine what’s next. Maybe photo cops?

Neil Corbin, Federal Way

Store’s closure is a shame To say that I am disappointed that Metropolitan Market is closing in Federal Way would be an understatement. I have shopped there since it opened and have continued to be loyal to them, even though I could find my groceries at several other grocery stores in the area at a much less expensive cost. But, Metropolitan is my neighborhood supermarket. I know almost everyone there by name. After a while, a store doesn’t become just a store, but a part of the neighborhood. I am happy that no one will lose his/her job over this, but very disappointed in the [ more LETTERS page 5 ]


December 16, 2009 [7]

www.federalwaymirror.com [ LETTERS from page 6]

Twin Lakes vote Despite having to stand in line for an hour just to check in at the recent special meeting of the Twin Lakes Homeowners Association, I was actually quite relieved to learn that a quorum was not obtained, thus delaying the vote. After getting through the line and finding a seat, I read the ballot that was handed out and was really quite shocked at the language. It read: “I vote that the dues assessment for the Twin Lakes Homeowners Association be increased by twenty-five dollars ($25) contingent of the board of directors completing what it determines to be an acceptable amenities agreement with the Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club within three months (emphasis added).” At least one member of my household has been present at each of the town hall meetings and we have all read the various information packets sent to us by the HOA. We were told of the amenities we could expect in exchange for the mandatory hike in our dues. I cannot recall it ever being stated that they were still trying to come up with an “acceptable amenities agreement.” In essence, the ballot presented at the Dec. 10 meeting, had it passed with a “yes” vote, would have had us all handing over $300 more a year for a deal that hasn’t even been settled. I keep reading letters about what a great opportunity we have to play golf and swim in their little pool (whether [ more LETTERS page 9 ]

Maher will lobby in Olympia for law enforcement MIRROR staff reports

The Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriffs announced the appointment of Federal Way resident Renee Maher as executive director of the organization. COMPAS represents more than 2,000 law enforcement officers and

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner, a former mayor of Auburn, can be reached at bjroegner@comcast.net.

pursue legislation to benefit families of officers killed in the line of duty, for example, along with legislation that denies bail to third-strikers, she said. “I see getting law enforceRenee Maher ment involved in the political process to be very important,” said Maher, hoping to bring awareness to legislators about the effects of criminal laws.

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[ ROEGNER from page 6] won decisive victories. What did we learn? We learned Seattle is still liberal, the rest of the county is moderate and conservatives still can’t win county-wide. It also appears that while the voters may not always like what they see, they will usually vote for the candidate with the most experience. Of course, there’s always the exception — like the hairdresser who said, “I didn’t know any of those ladies running, so I voted for the one with highlights.”

police commanders, including Seattle police and King County Sheriff ’s deputies. Maher is a former prosecutor and licensed attorney in both Hawaii and Washington. She is the widow of Federal Way police officer Patrick Maher, who was killed in the line of duty on Aug. 2, 2003. In 2006, she ran for the Legislature against current State Sen. Tracey Eide. As executive director of COMPAS, Maher will lobby in Olympia on behalf of local and state law enforcement. The organization will

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2009 Washington Newspaper Publishers Association awards

MIRROR

.com

F E D E R A L WAY

A Division of Sound Publishing

Rudi Alcott Publisher: ralcott@federalwaymirror.com (253) 925-5565 Andy Hobbs Editor: editor@federalwaymirror.com (253) 925-5565 Advertising (253) 925-5565 Classified Marketplace (253) 925-5565 Letters editor@federalwaymirror.com

1414 S. 324th St., Suite B-210, Federal Way, WA 98003 For delivery inquiries

Toll-free: (253) 872-6610 or e-mail

circulation@federalwaymirror.com

MIRROR EDITORIAL

Golf course and property values in Twin Lakes Residents in the Twin Lakes community have an opportunity to keep a few thousand dollars. Business is down at the Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club. A proposal asks residents to essentially pay an extra $25 a month toward the private club. In return, all Twin Lakes residents gain access to its golf course and amenities. The real issue involves property values in Twin Lakes. At least one worst-case scenario predicts a double-digit decline. If the average $300,000 home lost 1 percent of its overall property value, that’s $3,000. With the country club proposal, an annual investment of $300 would ideally preserve thousands of dollars in a home’s equity. The amenities proposal is a mini-bailout — not in the sense of a government takeover, but more like a last-ditch effort to keep the current system intact, rather than face an uncertain or imagined future. If the country club can’t bum a few dollars from neighbors, developers could open their checkbooks. Houses or low-income apartments could fill the void. The club could open to the public, lower its prices, attract more average Joes and scare away wealthier clientele. Housing prices could plummet regardless of whether the club stays. All these outcomes are possible. But are they probable? Golf courses add financial value to a community. According to a study commissioned by Golf Digest and Business Week, homes in communities with golf courses tend to hold more value in the present real estate market. In January, the New York Times reported that buyers a few years ago would pay up to 25 percent more for a home in a golf course community. The Times report also touched on a group of homeowners in Bonita Springs, Fla., fighting to save their golf course — and property values — by raising enough money to keep the course open temporarily. Each side of the Twin Lakes debate has its valid reasons. For homeowners concerned about their investment’s equity, the amenities proposal is worth considering.

Faison’s leadership will be missed When Deputy Mayor Eric Faison was appointed to the city council in 2001 to fill a vacant position, few really knew the level of scholarship, sagacity and experience he would bring to the job. Actually, he has been serving city residents since 1998, when he was on the Planning Commission. He was elected to the Federal Way City Council in 2001 and again in 2005. He is currently on the council’s Finance, Economic Development and Regional Affairs Committee (FEDRAC). He represents Federal Way regionally on the county’s Growth Management Planning Council and three committees of the Association of Washington Cities (Housing Policy Advisory

Election 2009: What we learned Everyone knows the results of last month’s election. But we’re all still trying to figure out what it actually means. Dow Constantine was elected King County Executive by a surprisingly large majority over Susan Hutchison. Constantine, with a significant Seattle base, was probably the most liberal of the primary field, and Hutchison was probably the most conservative. But Hutchison worked very hard, if not persuasively, to project a moderate image. At the same time, Seattle elected Mike McGinn as its mayor. McGinn may be the more liberal of all the candidates and the least known. All the King County Council members were easily reelected or were unopposed. Lloyd Hara, a moderate, was elected King County Assessor over a large field. Hara’s prior management experience, along with name familiarity, appears to have made the difference. Many Seattle voters were upset with incumbent Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, and cast a “message” vote for his opponents in the primary. These voters probably anticipated they would vote for Nickels in the general election. Unfortunately, for the many people who think he might have been a better choice, those “message” votes cost Nickels his job.

McGinn will get a lot of help and advice, but he has no experience and will likely face a very bumpy road. We also learned that outside Seattle, the public respects experience. Constantine had more experience than Hutchison. Even though King County is beset with problems, the public wasn’t interested in someone who didn’t have a strong background in government. The mayor of Kent, Suzette Cooke, won big over a strong opponent. And in Auburn, Pete Lewis won big over a weak opponent. Some have speculated that councilman Gene Cerino’s loss to newcomer John Partridge might have been a reaction toward Lewis by those who didn’t feel comfortable voting for Lewis’s opponent, Virginia Haugen. On the Eastside, this question was asked: Could a person who was a mayor of one city move to another city and be elected again? Apparently experience counts, and the answer is yes. Former Redmond Mayor Doreen Marchione was elected to the Kirkland City Council. Most suburban council members were easily re-elected. Here in Federal Way, longtime incumbents Linda Kochmar and Jeanne Burbidge [ more ROEGNER page 7 ]

INSIDE POLITICS

WINNER: • Best editorial page • Second place, General Excellence

www.federalwaymirror.com

Bob Roegner

F E D E R A L WAY

OPINION

[6] December 16, 2009

● LETTERS...YOUR OPINION COUNTS:

To submit an item or photo: email editor@federalwaymirror.com; mail attn Letters, Federal Way Mirror, 1414 S. 324th St., Suite B-210, Federal Way, WA 98003; fax (253) 925-5750. Letters may be edited for style, clarity and length. Group, Resolutions and Legislaedge of the city that would congreat deal about the complexities tive). He has also been active nect with I-5 and relieve pressure of long-term transportation planwith the Puget Sound Regional on S. 320th Street. Ultimately, it ning from the six-year involveCouncil. would make a connection down ment with project. What these facts don’t reveal by to Auburn in the valley. He will be leaving the city themselves is Faison’s calm and Visionaries look for the best council at the end of December. thoughtful deliberation before solution to a problem, one that I wish him well in all his future he makes a decision. His incisive might not have been considered ventures. I thank him for his efquestioning during presentations before. Unfortunately, their ideas forts on behalf of our city and the to the city council precedes his are frequently scuttled by reality. people of Federal Way. carefully articulated decisions. And that’s what happened to H. David Kaplan, Federal Way He had a vision about longthe City Center Access Project. term growth and development Faison’s vision was scuttled by the in our city that often called for highly negative citizen reaction to thinking outside the box. Like a the project because of its impact turtle who gets ahead by stickon Steel Lake Park, increased Shame on you, Federal Way ing his neck out, Faison initiated neighborhood traffic on inadMirror. the City Center Access Project. equate roads and a lack of shortWas it really necessary, was it It would have given Federal Way term or long-range funding at any really newsworthy, was it in the a second cross-city road along government level. Nevertheless, best interest of our — excuse me, S. 312th Street from the western city staff and residents learned a your community interest to make

Shame on The Mirror for cop killer story

a front-page effort to associate a deranged cop killer to our community (“Cop killer Clemmons had business ties to Federal Way,” Dec. 12)? Is it not bad enough that Federal Way struggles with a low reputation in the Puget Sound community that you, our very own local paper, have to drag us down? So yes, three to four years ago, this animal lived in our community, ran a business here. That is a fact. So now when we tuck our children in at night, we can tell them about the cop killer that lived down the street from us years ago, and wish them sweet dreams. Is that what you tell your children every night? Shame on you!

Kerry Moore, Federal Way

[ more LETTERS page 7 ]


www.federalwaymirror.com [ LETTERS from page 4]

Who’s to blame?

corporation. However, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. When it comes to corporations, loyalty usually only goes one way. It’s a real shame also because I foresee an almost empty plaza after most of the businesses shut down one by one — until Dash Point Village is once again a big empty parking lot with a few businesses barely hanging on. I have a friend who was looking at houses in the Dash Point area, mainly because that’s where Metropolitan Market was. Now he is not going to buy in Federal Way. It is a great loss for our community, but not completely unforseen. After all, it is generally the ones who can weather financial storms the easiest that are the first ones to abandon ship.

I am no fan of Mike Huckabee, but I would like to say something in his defense. Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas and the former Republican candidate for president. It seems that people are blaming Huckabee for commuting the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, the alleged killer of four Lakewood police. In fact, you would think Huckabee actually helped Clemmons pull the trigger. Let’s be sensible about this. Huckabee commuted this sentence nine years ago. The legal system in the state of Washington released Clemmons from jail with a $15,000 bail only a couple of days before the fatal shooting. If anyone wants to put blame, let it be on the state of Washington, not Arkansas.

Isabel Cole, Federal Way

December 5, 2009 [5]

Leo J. Thoennes, Federal Way

Buying balsamic Proposal is good vinegar for $130 for Twin Lakes I, too, have shopped at the Metropolitan Market since it opened. I, too, am sorry to see it close. It was a store with some fantastic items that you could not find elsewhere. However, Federal Way does not have a high mean income like Bellevue or parts of Seattle. If Trader Joe’s sells the same cheese for $5 less per pound, you are probably going to buy it at Trader Joe’s. As much as I always wanted to buy the balsamic vinegar for $130 that was displayed in a locked case in the vinegar aisle, I never did. The Metropolitan Market will be greatly missed, especially the great employees that worked there. Nobody wants to live near a vacated building, so let’s hope that a decent tenant moves in before long. Say, baseball’s around the corner — how about some indoor batting cages?

Libby Ray, Federal Way

Many Twin Lakes residents are unaware that Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club is not owned by the Twin Lakes Homeowners Association, but is a privately owned and operated entity. The potential closure of the club will have a very negative financial impact on every homeowner within the community, member or not. The measure proposed and recommended by the board of the Twin Lakes Homeowners Association (amenities agreement) would help the golf club maintain financial viability during these difficult ecomonic times, thus preserving the value it offers to the Twin Lakes community. To do this, the already low homeowners dues would have to increase by $25 a month. The primary consideration for each Twin Lakes homeowner voting on the [ more LETTERS page 6 ]

[ KNAPP from page 4] Many mistakes are bound to occur in a compassionate and open society like ours. The watchmen at the walls may let down their guards. Nevertheless, in one sense, you and I are no different than the officers that walk the thin blue line. You and I need to exercise situational awareness. Whether you are sitting in your car, relaxing in a restaurant or walking in the park with your family — stay on guard. The best safety equipment we have is an alert mind. Take your gun, but don’t leave vigilance behind.

Federal Way resident Mark Knapp: knapp.m@comcast.net. Also visit http://firearmslawyer.net.

Teresa Timms-James

Teresa Timms-James

299989 288380


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