LETTER: City Of Burien’s ‘Propaganda Machine Is Trying To Spin’ Berk Report


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How interesting to read the rosy interpretation of the BERK report in the Burien City News (Sept. 2011) and how it differs from the full report. It is surprising the city propaganda machine is trying to spin the newest BERK report to suggest that Burien really can afford to annex White Center. In their 2007 report, BERK made it clear that Burien could not afford to annex White Center. In the most current report BERK suggests that with a possible infusion of millions of dollars through sales tax credits (that lasts only ten years) Burien could afford to manage White Center for 10 years. However Burien will not receive funding to fix the Proposed Annexation Area’s crumbling infrastructure which will cost anywhere from $46 million to $77 million to repair. The BERK report also states that at the end of the 10th year, Burien will have a -24% deficit in its budget and there is no explanation of how White Center’s infrastructure deficit will ever be paid for. In addition, without the excess sales tax monies, Burien will be in the same financial position that was pointed out in the 2007 BERK report which showed the city could not afford to annex White Center.

It really makes one wonder why the City Manager and the City Council refuse to accept the negative side of the report. Perhaps it is because the City Manager has tried to convince the City Council for two years, that everything is just great with the Burien budget. This new BERK report suggests this position is not true and has not been true for the last couple of years. Could it be the City Manager sees the promised sales tax credit as a way to get some monies to cover the shortfall in the city’s budget, without having to face the hard issues? (Like no more salary increases for staff, reducing staff, cutting monies from the less important and less urgent projects in the city or raising taxes) Before the city takes on any more debt or further annexations, now seems to be the sensible time to table annexation and instead discuss bringing the city budget in line with the revenues it is taking in. No way will annexation of the PAA fix Burien’s budget problems. Should they proceed with the annexation, the actual city deficit dollars will be significantly larger at the end of 10 years.

– Robert C Howell

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Comments

16 Responses to “LETTER: City Of Burien’s ‘Propaganda Machine Is Trying To Spin’ Berk Report”
  1. What do you think about annexation and the Berk Report? You can discuss this issue in our online forum at the following URL:

    What’s your opinion of the proposed White Center Annexation?

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    • Ginger B says:

      I would like to know why only the residents of the proposed annexation area and not the current residents of Burien get to vote on this matter if our council members decide to go forward with this plan.
      We (Burien citizens) should have a voice in whether we want this or not.
      Any one else agree?

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      • Jack says:

        Absolutely agree, Ginger!

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        • Marian H says:

          Absolutely agree – isn’t that a form of taxation without representation? We, the current taxpayer citizens, have this forced on us without being able to vote on it.

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      • Ivan Weiss says:

        Here is the answer to your question Ginger:

        RCW 35.13.070
        Election method — Conduct of election.

        An annexation election shall be held in accordance with the general election laws of the state, and only registered voters who have resided in the area proposed to be annexed for ninety days immediately preceding the election shall be allowed to vote therein.

        In other words, until the Legislature changes it, it’s the law.

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        • Ginger B says:

          So, other than petitioning our 34th district legislators, Sharon Nelson, Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbons, there’s really nothing that we can do about changing the law? At best, the legislature may entertain the idea of maybe considering looking into blah, blah blah…, meanwhile, we are powerless to do anything about getting our opinions conveyed.

          It seems the only other option that we have is to make our Burien City Council members aware of our dis-pleasure, which might make us feel better temporarily, but ultimately, It seems that the majority of the members, along with City Manager Mike Martin, already have their minds made up. Obviously, there’s something going on that we are not privy to.

          I’m feeling pretty helpless here.

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  2. Chris says:

    Yawn…And the annexation saga continues….how long has this been going on now? For over eight years.

    My prediction: This next annexation (if it actually goes to a vote) will not pass.

    Next topic please…

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  3. Whether you’re for or against annexation I urge you to show up at the next City Council meeting. Please assume that the Council does NOT read the b-townblog or your comments (Sorry Scott!) and show up and raise your concerns. I’ve had meetings with some of them and can tell you that they DO listen to citizen comments and take them all seriously.

    At the August 22nd special session on annexation I think 5 or 6 citizens spoke (including me) and if you ONLY went with the questions/comments from citizens you’d figure it’s a 50/50 split on the pro/anti camp. So if there is an overwhelming majority against (or for) annexation it is not being heard.

    Joey Martinez
    Former Candidate – Burien City Council position 4

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    • Bonnie Moormeier says:

      Yes, Joey is right – we DO need to let our council members know how we feel about annexation, whether for or against. Too bad there isn’t a better forum than attendance at City Council meetings, which make it difficult to hear from more than a handful of people. Even though the Council members may not read the Burien Blog, perhaps an on-line poll on the subject might give an indication of how the citizens of Burien feel. It may or may not be statistically valid, but at least it would be an indicator. Sadly, in the end, it looks like it is up to the City Council and the citizens of the area in question to decide for us.

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      • Ivan Weiss says:

        @Bonnie:

        “Sadly,” in the end? Pardon me if I have a tough time understanding your reaction. Council members are elected and they can be unelected. That is the key to representative democracy. If you have a position that your elected representatives do not share, then if you think that is sufficient reason to oppose their re-election, by all means you should do so.

        If you are unsuccessful, then you can by and large assume that the majority of the voters did not share your position. That is how our political system works. Are you “sad” that this is the case, or only “sad” because your agenda might be denied?

        In the case of annexation, it is clear to me that six of the present seven council members have concluded that annexation is favored by the majority, and that it is in the best long-term interests of the City of Burien. You might not get that impression from reading the comment threads of B-Town Blog, but opponents of annexation have not yet presented very much evidence that they represent a majority position.

        Now if Krakowiak is re-elected, and if Shaw and Robison are defeated, then it would be reasonable to assume that opposition to annexation was a more viable, representative position than it appears to be right now. So if you don’t want annexation to proceed, then get to work in this election campaign.

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        • Bonnie Moormeier says:

          It seems to me that Bob Edgar’s strong showing as a “non candidate” and Lucy’s win in the primary, is a strong indication of the majority of the Burien voters’ views on annexation.

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  4. ThaHammer says:

    “If you are unsuccessful, then you can by and large assume that the majority of the voters did not share your position.”

    Lol!

    Politicians are often put into office by 1) a small vocal minority 2) a small vocal minority that harasses and bullies their constituents to vote as they do 3) offices are bought and paid for 4) and very often voter fraud.

    Just because a person holds and office doesn’t mean that they should be there.

    Unqualified incumbents kept in office over the past 10 years has put our nation in the grim situations that it is in now. Party hacks like Ivan are the reason that these unqualified people stay in office. They care more about power plays than helping their neighbors or communities. I’m “sad” everytime I read this cranks posts.

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    • Ivan Weiss says:

      @ThaHammer:

      If “party hacks like Ivan are the reason that these unqualified people stay in office,” it’s because we work at politics and government, and the likes of you don’t. So if and when you outwork us, then you can reap the benefits of your labor. Until such time, you can continue to amuse us.

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  5. Robert Howell says:

    If you have something to say to the city council, an emai to is an easy and effective way to reach them. Your comments will also become a part of the records but they want to know your name and address.

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