EDITOR'S COLUMN: Who will step up to lead Fairwood?
By DEAN RADFORD
Renton Reporter Editor
February 5, 2009 · 12:29 PM
There is much to like about Fairwood, its boulevards, its convenient shopping. In South King County, it probably most mirrors some of the upscale communities of the Eastside.
It’s where moms, as moms do, make sure their kids aren’t in danger when they walk to school along busy roads. It’s where dads lobby for a strong business community where their sons and daughters can find jobs close to home.
Fairwood is all about family, watching out for each other. Its strong neighborhood associations are testament to a willingness to watch out for each other in a broader sense, too.
Fairwood has a sense of community; why else would a vote in 2006 come so close to forming a city? Still, it failed. The chance could come again this year.
Anyone interested in cityhood is probably looking at the newly released consultants’ report on whether Fairwood could make it financially as a city. No conclusions are drawn, but revenues would exceed expenses in three key city funds. That is an important finding to support cityhood.
Still, there are those with sharp pencils who have some questions that legitimately question the premise and the facts the consultants used in preparing their analysis. They deserve answers, too.
For some context, read Renton Mayor Denis Law’s column below. These are tough times for all governments, even mature ones like Renton that have decades of dealing with economic ups and downs.
But I am writing not about dollar signs, but about signs that there are at least seven folks who are willing to lead a new city. Somewhere out there are the first Fairwood City Council and mayor.
So, here’s a sign:
Who out there is willing to run for the first City Council of Fairwood? Raise your hand.
If there aren’t at least seven hands wagging vigorously in the air, then a City of Fairwood is in trouble, even before the final touches are put on the incorporation study.
Some argue it’s too early to ask the question, that now is the time to gather information outside the political bickering that will no doubt mark Fairwood’s first election.
But governing isn’t entered into lightly. It takes a real commitment on the part of those who lead – and it can take away from that cherished time with family. Only one member of the original city councils of Maple Valley and Covington remains on the job. That’s Maple Valley Mayor Laure Iddings, who jokes the job has given her gray hair.
Those cities incorporated in 1997.
So, I don’t think it’s too early to ask, if only to assure residents that someone is willing to step up to the council dais and lead through what undoubtedly will be a tumultuous time in the life of the young city. Look for those upraised hands at meetings where Fairwood’s future is debated – this coming Monday, for example.
For sure ask before the incorporation vote. It’s impossible (well, almost) to unring the bell of cityhood if there is buyer’s remorse.Contact Renton Reporter Editor Dean Radford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-255-3484 (ext 5050).