Looking In To Federal Ways Crystal Ball

Looking In To Federal Ways Crystal Ball

It was announced this week (03/13) that Top Foods will be packing up and leaving after 22 years. This makes 2 retailers(Big Lots) and Baden Sports that have or announced their departures this year. Orion will be leaving for Auburn soon

So what will happen to the Top Food building after the merchandise and shelves have been removed and the doors locked? Another grocery store? NOT, demolish the building and rebuild something new, not likely or Big Lots new store,maybe. There has been good news in Federal Way though with a partnership from Magic Johnson and The Commons.

Right now would be a good time to ask our Mayor and City council to look in to the city’s crystal ball and see if there is something here with Top Foods leaving that fits into the vision of  the long talked downtown corridor. If Federal Way would realize that we don’t need  350k square feet of Wal-Mart in this town maybe the vision of a more organized downtown corridor with the PACC being not just a visual landmark on the hill but the centerpiece of the city could result. Problem with this version of  a vision is funding,vision and of course is this what the people of Federal Way want.

At last weeks council retreat a few of our council member’s indicated that in effect that they need to get something done,perhaps some are feeling the pressure of the community to either do something or hang it up. I have said in the Mirror recently with the PACC and AMC that we should not expect any further financial commitment until after the November election.I think that our council mainly the Mayor and the 3 council members that are up for election will not progress forward except talk and shuffle paper for fear of their rejection at the ballot, I think that playing it safe is the name of the game for the time being.

Just like going to the moon took determination and courage so does the process of creating a vibrant city. Top Foods arrived in this community just after the voters approved incorporation in 1990. We are long overdue for something to happen that keeps the community moving forward. It is time for our leadership to take us there or find someone else who can. There are many that have lived in Federal Way a long time and are still waiting to see the talk turn to action.


How About We Use Some Magic(Johnson) For The PACC

Some Good News Comes To Federal Way,Finally

It has been reported in the Federal Way Mirror March 7th online version that L.A.-based Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds a financial group owned by ex Los Angeles Laker star Magic Johnson is offering a cash infusion to rejuvenate The Commons AKA the Sea-Tac Mall..

Perhaps this is a good time for our City Council and Mayor to make a call to good ole Magic and see if they could start a discussion about a partnership in the long discussed PACC(Performing Arts and Cultural Center).

This partnership might have more traction than the failed attempt to build the Crystal Palace. The object of the City of Federal Way should be to take as much of the financial burden off the residents. Along with a Canyon-Johnson partnership much of the annual operating cost could be absorbed. A one dollar per PACC related ticket user fee would help offset cost as well.

So how much creativity and drive do our 6 council members and Mayor have. Do they have the motivation to pick up the phone and call Magic and see if there might be some interest from this group. This group might actually get this project moving on the fast track thus saving residents the cost that are going higher each day we wait. Seattle Mayor McGinn said on March 5th in regard to the Chris Hansen Sonic’s Arena project that the City of Seattle is currently turning away convention business,this is business we could have here in our city,is that not motivation to move now?

Just Maybe this partnership could be the driving factor in the development of long overdue downtown corridor. We can only hope.

Randall Smith

Who Took Their Eye Off The (Baden) Ball

Who Took Their Eye Off The (Baden) Ball

Well Federal Way has lost another well recognized industrial name. As reported by Andy Hobbs in the Mirror on 3/25 Baden Sports crawled out of town without anyone noticing.

This is the second major name this past year that has left, Orion Industry’s is leaving very soon for Auburn. Yes while DaVita Dialysis will be bringing some of their staff to Federal Way some of those jobs will be temporary staffing, it is not know exactly how many permanent jobs DaVita will create in Federal Way. Baden Sports was not a large scale employer but 60K square feet of vacancy is noticeable in the city.

So who took their eye off the ball. Was it the City, the Chamber of Commerce.Who? How could a large name business just pack up and leave figuratively in the dark. Could it be that neither the City or the Chamber are engaging with businesses within the city or have our businesses lost hope in Federal Way. Maybe the city should consider a vacancy notification ordinance for businesses of this size or larger.

Engagement is a problem in developing a vision in Federal Way, go to a council or school board meeting and wait till public comment is over and you will see what I mean.

Perhaps now is a good time for the city to invest more of its energy in the building of  a solid  tax and employment base and take a slower track with the development of the PACC and AMC. Perhaps Federal Way should set up an all volunteer commission separate from City Hall and the Chamber to address attracting new professional and manufacturing business and keeping them here. How many more businesses could sneak out of the city unnoticed.

Federal Way needs businesses that create jobs that will build homes here in Federal Way and business that keep our children here as well.

What If Sequestration Was Up To You and Me.

What If  Sequestration Was Up To US.

Just imagine for several minutes if what our United States Congress just walked away from without doing anything worthy of what could be called a real effort that is unless you call obstructionism and taking the week before the deadline and a long weekend off is doing something constructive for the people.

This failure to act and resolve this issues regardless of your political views has reveled that our elected Representative in the other Washington are not working in our best interest otherwise like fiscal cliff we faced in December our politicians would not be waiting till the last minute to find a half baked solution.

So what if we could draft up a list of cuts and put them in the order they would be cut here is what I would start with.

1. Cut all Congressional pay by 99%…They are mostly millionaire lobbyist in waiting, they don’t need  anymore money.

2. Cut all Congressional medical benefits. They can buy it themselves to bridge their lack of work.

3. Reduce their Congressional travel allowance by 75%…. They have the peoples work to get done so shouldn’t be going home till the work is done.

4. Immediately reduce their staffing budget by 70%… maybe if the staffers are affected they will encourage their boss to get the job done.

5.  Cut out all of their housing allowance…. Lets just set up cots in the House and Senate    and lock the doors until like a Papel conclave they have an agreement.

6.  Cut the the pensions of retired members of Congress by 99%… They to are wealthy and maybe some extra peer pressure from the old class is necessary.

7.  Now lets start looking at programs

Somehow we need to get their attention. Maybe if they were the first affected they would take care of our business.

More Community Engagement Needed on PAC Say’s The Math

At tonight’s special City Council meeting (02/11) to discuss the progress of the PAC(Performing Arts Center) the city pointed to a survey in 2008 conducted by The National Citizen Survey that had several questions that had to do with “What is the single most important thing the City of Federal Way can do to make this a better place to live?”. One question/statement that said “USE CITY FUNDS TO BUILD A PAC IN DOWNTOWN TO SPUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH”. 62% of the participant strongly agreed with that statement so lets do the math.

62% of 562 total participants = 348

348 divided by 88000 residents = .00394% of the total city residents.

It was not mentioned whether or not all participants were actually residents of Federal Way and the survey was addressed as it was a supporting document. Again .00394%

Should 348 peoples choice on a survey be a gauge as to how we as a community spend 35 million dollars. While yes the economy is chugging its way back, is this the right project for now without better data regarding interest from the community’s residents as a whole and not a select few that is pushing for this.

If this project is important to the community’s future then let the community decide at the ballot box,not some pre economic crash survey. The City Council if they believe this is the right project they should get out of chambers and take their pitch out to the community in a forum larger than 30 people and SELL IT.

Yes Federal Way needs a centerpiece,this would draw people to the city and generate revenue. The only other concern is size.The discussion tonight was for the theater to be a 540-700 seat auditorium,why not 1000 seats. There was nothing mentioned about drawing big named entertainment like that of the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma.

Far more community engagement should be required. This has the same feeling as a certain stadium in downtown Seattle where the peoples voice as a whole does not matter.

Randall Smith

A Different Form of Democracy at City Council

Today January 19th at Federal Way City Hall council chambers a diverse group of 20 individuals
offered themselves and their time to serve our community of almost 90,000 residents.

These 20 were there to interview for the vacancys left by Roger Freeman and Linda Kochmar due to
their being elected to the State House of Rep. Roger and Linda will be missed. Not only were there the
obvious ethnic and gender diversitys but career and community service diversity.  Some of the
candidates worked in marketing, others were CEO’s, small businss owners and one was retired. Most
have been involved in serving Federal Way for quite a few years.

Even though there was diversity of all sorts present to interview it was interesting to see that all of them
had a common theme in their statements to the council, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Most stated
that we need to grasp what it is we want to see in a revitalized downtown corridor and how the PAC
(performing arts center) will fit into the economic development of the city. There was discussion that
many in Federal Way do a share of their shopping at malls like Southcenter due to lackluster variety’s of
offerings by local and major retailers. The Kent Station project was mentioned as a consideration in the
downtown area,this has been very successful for the City of Kent.A Federal Way Station would bring
customers closer to the stores.

Other issues that had a common thread was the long anticipated Sound Transit light rail project , the
need for Federal Way to find its image and develop a mechanism to brand that.local JOB CREATION
was widely mentioned.  A mention by former city coucilmember Hope Elder in regards to the the PAC
was to take baby steps and not build something that doesn’t produce revenue or has a demand
for.Council,Chamber of Commerce and FWSD cooperation was discussed.

Today’s council appointments was an interesting process to witness, to see the level of dedication of each
of the 20 who put themselves out there. What was a more interesting thought even though we did not
each cast a vote at the ballot box democracy was at work and that process was moving forward.

In closing lets congratulate Councilmemeber Kelly Maloney and Diana Noble-Gulliford. They have
their work cut out for them as they see the city affairs through a different pair of glasses.

Randall Smith  cc4fw




Your Participation Is Requested……

Your Participation Is Requested……
Originally Posted on April 27, 2012

I’ll  bet that few people in the community of Federal Way can say they have seen the city from two sides and that is sad. In the past six months I have had the opportunity to see it from the side of being a longtime  resident and as someone who is concerned with my country and city that is a co-founder of the group Occupy Federal Way. This letter is being written as a personal observation.

Since November I have attended seven Federal Way City Council meeting in person and have watched four on FWTV 21 also I have attended two FW School Board at the council chambers and six on cable.

What I find most alarming about attending these meetings is not the amount of money it takes to run this place we call our hometown or even the challenges the school district has with keeping our students engaged in the learning process. What is alarming is the lack of community involvement and attendance at theses meetings. On average there are about 13 out of 85000 residence that attend…pretty sad.

These meeting are held to give each of us an opportunity to express our concerns and present issues that matter to you to the council, this is our local form of democracy at work. Question? how many reading this know about an RFQ that was discussed recently or what SBG means. If you don’t then maybe that’s a sign you need to attend a few and find out, these  will be affecting you sooner or later.

There are about 100 seats and plenty of standing room for you in the chamber, sometimes a little entertainment to. So the next time you get delayed waiting in a road construction zone while being able to email a report to the city is nice there is nothing more empowering than to tell the leaders of the city in person.

City Council Meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Tuesday at 7pm. School Board is 2nd and 4th Tuesday, both are held in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.
Randall Smith