Behind the scenes of Federal Way’s politics

By Bob Roegner, Inside Politics

Since I started writing this column, I have received several comments and questions about the topics I write about.

I thought you might be interested in hearing what other readers have to say.

Q: What’s the purpose of your column? I don’t always understand what your opinion is?

A: The column is more of a commentary to share with the readers what is going on in the community or behind the scenes politically. I will occasionally write an opinion column, but that’s secondary.

Q: What’s your honest opinion of Federal Way’s city government?

A: I think it runs pretty well. The department directors and city manager are generally well respected and good at what they do. The council members have diverse opinions — from moderate to conservative — and usually debate and review an issue pretty well. They’re not perfect, but in general do a good job.

Q: Aren’t you kind of hard on the Federal Way School District?

A: The administration of the district is very good and well respected inside and outside Federal Way. The school board, while well intentioned, lacks a range of philosophy and opinion. At times, this leads them to premature decisions that seem based on ideology. They are all nice people trying to do a very hard job. Sometimes I think they could better.

Q: I love your column!

A: Thanks, Mom.

Q: Why do you include information from Seattle, Tacoma and the Eastside in a Federal Way newspaper?

A: Because everything in this region is interdependent. No political subdivision, like Federal Way, can progress without some cooperation with the others. Transportation, garbage, public safety and growth management are just some examples of inter-related public policy. So, knowing what is going on and who is getting elected in other areas can have a profound impact on Federal Way. Every Federal Way council member serves on at least one regional committee with elected officials from other cities or King County.

Q: I can’t figure out if you’re a Democrat or Republican.

A: Good!

Q: I live in Auburn and like that you include information about Auburn, but why in a Federal Way newspaper?

A: The Mirror has a number of Auburn subscribers, like you, so I try to write a column occasionally that will interest them. There are also subscribers in Tacoma, so I try to include issues of interest to them as well.

Q: Why do you listen to people whine about the traffic and then write something that just encourages more whining?

A: Most of the complaints I heard were valid. Others were just too humorous not to share them.

Q: Do you favor a Mayor-Council or Council-Manager form of government?

A: Either can work. It always depends on the people in the positions. For Federal Way, I haven’t seen any reason to change from the current form.

Q: In an earlier column, you said Federal Way had too many levels of government. What did you mean by that?

A: We have federal, state, county, city and school levels like everyone else. But we also have a utility district as well as a fire and rescue district. That’s a lot of government to keep track of.

Q: Why do you write about the county?

A: The county has moved from a rural service provider to a true regional government that has a huge impact on Federal Way. Some areas that the county government affects are transportation, waste management, property assessment and elections to name a few. They deal with complex, difficult issues.

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

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