ZZZZzzzz ... aha! Thought you caught The Sniff napping — think again!
Oh, you wonks and partisans, so hung up on the fake news from D.C. and Olympia. Fools! You missed the big story that exploded in historic Federal Way last week: Leaders of the colonial suburban outpost (founded in 1990) exiled their latest branding experiment to the Island of Misfit Logos.
After spending $62,000 and fiddling around for more than a year, city leaders decided they didn’t like a trees-and-triangles graphic thingy that was probably more suited to a Northwest microbrew. Instead, they bagged the underlying rebranding project entirely. Seems like it would have been more efficient to stack the money at the intersection of South 320th Street and Highway 99 and set it on fire.
You know those celebs who keep getting more and more work done until their faces resemble memory foam pizza? Federal Way is like that — never quite satisfied with its image, staring gloomily into the mirror, convinced that yet another focus-grouped makeover will turn Dullsville into Fun City.
The logo debate dates to the city’s inception, when the late Joel Marks, a bespectacled city councilman, dismissed a proposed stick-letter graphic as “yuppified baloney.”
Fast-forward to 2002, when the branding and logo debate resurfaced, and the city dropped another $90,000 on consultants and public outreach. A few Fishwrap readers came up with their own slogans at the time (“Gateway to Milton” was a memorable suggestion).
The go-round in the 2000s led to — surprise! — a stylized version of Mount Rainier with impossibly horizontal snowpack slices, and a new slogan: “It’s all within reach,” which was a bit like bragging about ease of access to the snack aisle at a grocery store.
Another decade, another makeover, which brings us to the present. The new logo is dead, the old logo survives — long live the old logo! But Mayor Jim “The Jaw” Ferrell and friends forged ahead with a new slogan: “Centered on opportunity.”
The clever play on words is kinda sorta driven by the idea that Federal Way sits between places where people are going, as in Seattle and Tacoma, so “centered.” Get it? So magnetic! Doubtless drivers are already veering off at the 320th exit, eager for a glimpse of opportunity. You go, FWay!
Gig Harbor squatters? Uh-oh — looks like The Maritime City, or as The Sniff sometimes calls it, the Gateway to Poulsbo, has a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do problem.
According to The Kitsap Sun, it turns out that the city’s shiny civic center, opened in 2002 to house government offices and stuff, never obtained a required certificate of occupancy. Councilman Michael Perrow delivered the news with a searing peroration on March 13 in a public meeting, presumably electrifying a crowd of onlookers.
No final inspections for fire sprinklers or the fire alarm! ADA violations galore!
Perrow bashed the appearance of a double standard: The city is tough on private property owners, applying building codes like a junior-high grammar teacher bent on perfection, but bends the rules for itself. A byproduct of smug “corporate culture,” he said. Ooohhh, sick burn!
Mayor Jill Guernsey, seemingly unworried, reportedly waved off the corporate culture jab and said she found out about the certificate problem when she became mayor. She said she directed staff to get moving on it.
Hmm (dives into news archives). The memory hole says Guernsey was elected mayor in November 2013. That would mean she found out about the certificate thing almost four years ago. Good to see she jumped all over this issue.
How about a meeker manager? Speaking of dedicated public servants, check out Kevin Yamamoto, Puyallup’s former city attorney, now city manager.
At Yamamoto’s urging, P-town leaders are pondering whether to continue an unbroken string of legal losses in a public records lawsuit involving former City Councilman Steve Vermillion, who used a private email account to communicate with constituents.
Enter activist Arthur West, who uses the winnings from successful public records lawsuits to build stately mansions. He sued Puyallup in 2014 over the Vermillion emails. He won in Pierce County, then the Court of Appeals and finally the state Supreme Court, which rejected Puyallup’s appeal for reconsideration.
According to the Fishwrap’s John Gillie, the bills for Yamamoto’s stubborn play exceed $133,000 — but he’s doubling down, and proposing a Hail Mary appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s a matter of the First Amendment, he said.
West, known for diplomatic restraint, told the City Council this week to go ahead.
“As your opponent, I urge you to continue to make mistakes,” he said. “Without your unreasonable withholding of of records, I’m out of a job.”
West didn’t have to say that the big bill hasn’t arrived yet. That’s the part where a court can go through records and issue fines as high as $100 per day for refusing to disclose records. How many days? The suit is in its third year at this point — a pitch to the U.S. Supremes might add more pages to the calendar.
Who knows whether council members will buy Yamamoto’s pitch? They met behind closed doors to discuss it Tuesday, and they don’t have to tell anybody what was said in their little confab.
You’ve got to admire a public official who won’t give up in the face of overwhelming odds. Arguing with other people’s money is a time-honored tradition in Pierce County. Maybe Yamamoto’s angling for a job as the next prosecutor.