UPDATE: Burien City Council Votes To Move Forward With Annexation

Print This Post  Email This Post

by Ralph Nichols

Burien City Council members voted 5-2 at their Oct. 3 meeting to begin the legal process for annexation of the remaining North Highline unincorporated area.

Mayor Joan McGilton, Deputy Mayor Brian Bennett, and Council members Rose Clark, Gerald Robison and Gordon Shaw voted to advance annexation.

Council members Jack Block Jr. and Lucy Krakowiak voted no.

The motion was made by Robison following a council discussion and seconded by Clark.

Bennett had voted at the council’s Sept. 26 meeting against bringing an annexation resolution before the council. Although “timely … I am not yet prepared to move forward,” he said then.

But after considering the issue for an additional week, Bennett said while a “fundamental issue is to do what is best for Burien,” another “primary concern” is what happens if North Highline residents “don’t get the political representation they deserve.”

On the other hand, “I am not confident that Seattle would act in North Highline’s best interests,” he continued.

While there are “risks involved” if Burien annexes the unincorporated area, “I am optimistic about North Highline … by the economic situation there in the future … and the commitment of the people to their community.”

Block, however, remained adamant that now is not the time to move forward, calling the move “ill timed.”

A lot of reasons have been “given why we should annex North Highline and I agree with them,” Block said. “But in order to do that we need to leverage our position [with King County and the state] as best we can … I feel we will weaken our leverage now.”

He added, “For the life of me, I can’t see why the people of North Highline would vote for “$80 car tabs,” “Taj Mahal” libraries, trolleys and higher utility rates in an annexation by Seattle.

Map of the North Highline (aka "Area Y") area that the City of Burien is now moving towards annexing.

Before proceeding with annexation, Burien should negotiate with King County – which, he repeated, has long neglected North Highline, and now with its $7 million deficit can’t afford the unincorporated area – to resolve financial concerns for a “win-win” agreement.

A formal annexation, should it eventually occur, remains well in the future, city council members were reminded before their vote on the resolution.

The first step, which the city will now take, is filing with the King County Boundary Review Board a notice of intent to proceed with annexation.

If this process plays out, the city council will set an election date, likely for late next year. Under state law, only residents of the potential annexation area will vote on whether to join Burien.

Following the election, if the measure is approved by the voters, the council will set a date to formally bring the newly annexed area into the city.

Burien Community Development Director Scott Greenberg, responding to an inquiry about what is the last point in the process at which Burien could pull back from annexation, said he thinks the council can decide not to annex even after an election approving it.

Shaw noted that when Seattle was eyeing North Highline, it tentatively planned an annexation vote in 2012 but would not formally annex the area until 2015. “There probably is a time limit” on how long annexation could be delayed after voter approval, he suggested.

“I’m not aware of that time limit,” Greenberg responded. “It’s something we should look into.”

Burien annexed the southern part of North Highline on April 1, 2010, following a public process of more than two years, which included discussions with Seattle, the Legislature, and an election in that area.

All but four of 17 community residents who addressed the council at the start of Monday’s meeting opposed North Highline annexation. Many of them had also opposed the city’s earlier annexation of “south” North Highline.

Because almost all the annexation opponents live in southwest Burien, it is difficult to gauge community opinion city wide.

This, said Kathy Parker, is why 3,000 city residents signed a petition prior to the first annexation saying “they do not want the highest crime rate in King County – yes, that’s true,” and demanding an advisory vote.

“You’ve ignored those 3,000 people,” Parker said. “You pay more attention to non-residents and special interest groups than to people who pay the taxes. If Seattle can’t afford to do this then why the heck do you think we can?”

State law does not mandate an advisory vote by city residents before annexation of an adjacent unincorporated area, requiring only a vote of residents in the potential annexation area.

Annexation is not one of the ways “to make Burien more wonderful in the future,” said Peggy Sharkey. “North Highline would be a financial drain. We would not be able to stand on our own … there is not a need to make an immediate decision.

“You have killed my spirit,” Sharkey added. “You’ve killed the spirit of many of my neighbors,” suggestion why few annexation opponents now attend council meetings and speak out. “I hope you will listen to the citizens.”

“There is no pressure to move forward. I request that council members not vote to proceed with annexation at this time,” - Bob Edgar.

Bob Edgar, a city council candidate who is challenging Shaw in the November election, argued that Berk Consulting reports “never stated that annexation would be good for the long-term health of Burien.

“When the sales tax credit [from the state] runs out [in 10 years], the only options will be to raise taxes or significantly reduce services,” Edgar said. “There is no pressure to move forward. I request that council members not vote to proceed with annexation at this time.”

“Any action that threatens or impacts the financial situation of the city of Burien is not good for the city,” said Chestine Edgar. “The annexation of White Center is not in the best interests of the city. You will not have enough money by the time the 11th year rolls around.”

The city council doesn’t care what the downtown business community has to say, she added, also noting that predictions of a double-dip recession cloud the financial viability of annexation.

“Without the [state] sales tax credit, Burien can’t afford annexation,” Robbie Howell argued. That money “is not guaranteed in the face of the economic shortfall the state faces … this will bankrupt the rest of the city.”

Barbara Dobkin countered that “this is not just about White Center. It’s about an entire unincorporated area.”

Furthermore, she said, Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin remains “very interested” in North Highline. “Annexation is still alive and will be revisited by Seattle in 2010.”

This, continued Dobkin, who is president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, “leaves North Highline vulnerable and in limbo.” And what happens there “affects Burien.”

"This is not a decision about today. It’s a decision about the future and your children,” - Liz Giba.

An increase in the density of low-income, tax-exempt housing, which she said Seattle would allow in this area, would force Burien residents to pay higher taxes. “You will have little or no say in that.”

North Highline resident Liz Giba, who is running for a North Highline Fire District Commission seat, said “this is not a decision about today. It’s a decision about the future and your children.”

Burien “covers a very small area,” Giba said. “You need land to grow and we offer that.”

Responding to negative comments about North Highline, she added, “As long as we’re in King County, it’s not going to improve. Poverty and diversity are concentrated there by design” and will only increase. “It will be unhealthy for Burien, and for North Highline too.”

“Annexation is about a lot more than just what happens to the city financially,” Shaw stressed. “There are a lot of negatives in not doing it, too.”

A major downside to not annexing is that a greater concentration of low-income housing in North Highline will negatively impact Highline schools, resulting in higher taxes paid by residents of Burien and neighboring cities – not by King County Housing Authority properties.

“You folks elected us to make the best decisions for Burien,” Shaw said. “When I vote on annexation it will be what I think is best for Burien.”

Earlier in the meeting, during the presentation of a brief Berk Consulting update, City Manager Mike Martin told council members “the discussion of annexation has to do with the concentration of poverty” in North Highline.

“About 5.4 percent of property in North Highline falls into low income” compared to “2.6 percent county wide,” Martin noted. “The concentration of affordable housing in North Highline is about twice as much as King County.”

City Manager Mike Martin, left and City Attorney Craig Knutson prepare for Monday night's council meeting.

This reflects why “I am concerned if we do not move forward,” Robison said. “The King County Housing Authority has a pretty large amount of property up there that they haven’t started moving on yet.”

Burien can control land use in North Highline – and avoid the building of more tax-exempt property, which will impact Burien – only if the city annexes that area sooner rather than later, he said.

If North Highline is annexed by Seattle or remains in King County, “we don’t control zoning,” Clark added. “If Burien annexes North Highline, we have control over zoning.”

An increased concentration of low-income housing in that area “has the potential to impact public safety” as well as schools,” she said. “Increased poverty means increased crime. It will not do any of us any good if we do not control zoning north of [SW] 112th [St.].”

Krakowiak, an outspoken opponent of the 2010 annexation, who said last week she would be a “no vote” on this resolution, did not restate objections before the council’s action.

Print This Post  Email This Post


61 Responses to “UPDATE: Burien City Council Votes To Move Forward With Annexation”
  1. Truthseeker says:

    I agree with Jack Block and Lucy K .. The vote for annexation is ill timed and not researched enough. The risks of financial calamity outweigh any potential short term benefits which are nebulous at best.

    WHY does the city of burien need to GROW? We apparently cannot even maintain the city the size it is now. What happened to the SMALL TOWN vision that Burien was supposed to support. There is an election in November where the only appointed member of the council and the prime pusher of annexation, real estate developer Gerald Robisons term expires.
    I urge every resident of Burien who cares about keeping taxes down, retaining property values, maintaining service levels and does not want to live in a city which with annexation will have the highest crime rate in the county to VOTE HIM OUT OF OFFICE.
    Gordon Shaw who stands with Robison on annexation is up for election in november also. I think Bob Edgar is a much better pick for city council.
    The GOOD NEWS is that if we can get both Shaw and Robison OFF THE COUNCIL the opponents of annexation will outnumber the proponents of white center annexation and it can be stopped.
    PLEASE get out to vote and STOP ANNEXATION by voting both Robison and Shaw OUT of office.

    • Al says:

      Would that be the same as laying on the floor and kicking and screaming,” It has to be my way, It has to be my way!”

      • elizabeth2 says:

        No, I think it is Truthseeker’s way of stating his political views and how those views will affect his voting in upcoming electrions. Both of those are rights given and protected by the laws of this country.

  2. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Vote the bums out!!!

  3. elizabeth2 says:

    Agreed! We sent a letter to the CIty COuncil expresses exactly the views stated above. We will continue to support those candidates who reflect these views against annexation.

  4. TcB says:

    Burien has not been small town minded since it tried to be Southgate, before Southcenter took the thunder. It’s better to control the zoning in the north Highline area and be able to make the changes, not watch them be forced on you. This area due to it’s proximity to the Airport and the city of Seattle will grow. The zoning around the water will stay low density so you people can have your small town. If you want to change the crime rate you have to control the zoning. The bigger the city, the more sway with the state, and the more money from the state. Yes the state says it will not help after ten years, but that can be renegotiated as well. In ten years you could have some serious zoning changes as well making Seattle, Kirkland, Redmond, etc, take more of their fair share of public housing.

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      All the pro annexation people complain about public housing. Can someone explain to me what is so bad about public housing? Is it the people? I raised a family across the street from Park lake homes. They were good neighbors. I have more problems in my Chelsea park neighborhood. Sway my vote…….

      • TcB says:

        Stop trying to make this about me. Straw Man. Look it up. It’s not about me calling people names or you using logical fallacy. This is just a simple question and look, I have lived here a long time, I actually know what it’s like to feel that White Center is just the other side of the block. It’s about time that we allowed a vote of the people who live there to decide whether they want to be part of the city of Burien, where they will have more control over what happens in their area (and our little region). I don’t need to be the champion and make you change your mind and you don’t need to pretend to be the undecided voter trying to help sway other undecideds with your take down of the big bad wolf.

    • Ginger B says:

      Are you serious?!
      Kirkland, Redmond take more of their fair share of public housing? Oh sure.

      • TcB says:

        There are things we can control, and things we can’t control. We can’t control population increases in Pugetopolis and the increasing population of the Seattle area, that means we are going to grow out of a “Small Town”, besides, the quaint “Main Street” you think of on 152nd is actually the result of an attempt to grow the city that busted due to Southcenter. In the 50’s and 60’s that was growing into a “Big City”. By our standards today it looks like a quaint small town “Main Street”.
        We can’t control demographic changes and shifting cultures, so all the people who are really just angry about all the “brown” people becoming more represented are just out of luck (no matter what, look at the future population projections)
        We CAN control zoming of the area right next to our current city, if it becomes part of the city. That means it is unlikely we can drop the zones that exist from High density to Low density, but we can stop or slow the change of current Low density to High density. We can take control from King County to make the area better for all people.
        If we choose not to control it, then we will have no control.
        Seattle will use the area how it sees fit which will hurt us.
        Look to Georgetown, that used to be a city, now it’s a Freeway onramp.
        Look to areas north of Seattle that have been ignored for infrastructure and dumped on like Aurora.
        Yes there’s some pain to be had in annexing.
        The pain is worse from inaction

        • Eaton B. Verz says:

          So what you are saying is you are against all multi-family housing in Burien?

          • TcB says:

            That’s not what I said.
            Let me make it much simpler for you.
            Vote no on annexation hope for the best, who know’s it might happen!
            Vote yes on annexation control your destiny.

  5. TcB says:

    Of course I know that we can’t vote on it btw, I just think it the council should let those who wish to join get a vote up or down, and that’s what this argument is.

  6. Eaton B. Verz says:

    So, what are you looking for with annexation? Lower density? Larger city government? What are you trying to zone in or out of Burien? I know you want to change what the county is doing but what is your goal? BTW… Georgetown is a thriving community. Spend some time there. Also what is wrong with low income housing? Please enlighten me……..

  7. JJ Greive says:

    All of you quit hiding behind anonymous logins and stand up and be counted!!
    I am really JJ Greive, and I am proud to citizen of Burien and pro annexation.

    The problem with subsidized low income housing is we have enough already, they pay no property taxes and demand more services then the rest of the population. No one is begrudging the poor, we only want equitable distribution of this housing in all areas.

    If Burien was to annex this area, we can influence the numbers of non taxable properties yet to be built. One wxample is Greenbridge, this is only 1/3 built out, and we want to hold them to the promise of single family owner occupied housing for the remainder of this development.

    Seattle already has may low income areas that are poorly served. Burien will be much better off with north highline. We have a interest in seeing this area thrive.

    No matter how this all shakes out, they will be our neighbors and we welcome them to our city.

    • Jennifer says:

      I agree! Well said. White Center has been and will always be our neighbor we whould embrace this community.

    • Al says:

      Well stated JJ. and Jennifer! Thanks

    • Coverofnight says:

      “…hiding behind anonymous logins…” Hey, I resemble that remark!

      TcB should change to PcP, ’cause that’s what it sounds like he’s on thinking that we can make Seattle, Kirkland, Redmond, etc. take on more public housing. JJ, you sound like a community organizer – and we’ve seen what’s happened putting one of THOSE in charge.

      You guys and the politicians must be in lala land thinking everything will work out if we just give White Center residents a chance while “kicking the needed increased revenue can” down the road for future residents (and future elected officials) to provide.

      If that area’s so great, why don’t they just form their own city?

      • JJ Greive says:

        The best people in charge are the ones that look at the facts in the light of day, organize their communities and make better neighborhoods for everyone (even for the less enlightened, mis-informed and plain ignorant)

        I suggest you read before you type!

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      White center is a wonderful neighbor! Lived there many years. What I don’t understand is what benefits I will receive as a tax paying citizen of Burien? Less low income housing? Better services? I’m trying real hard to be covinced that annexation is a benefit to the average citizen of burien. What will happen if we don’t annex? More low income housing? worse services? higher taxes? I just can’t see our current city government being able to run a larger city better than what they currently do. Cost overuns on every major public works projects, lousy services, high taxes,etc. Just don’t see a future in it.

      • TcB says:

        btw, your screen name isn’t funny, just distasteful.

        • Eaton B. Verz says:

          My parents had a warped sense of humor…sorry! BTW answer my questions, convince me and I will go away….. Easy

          • Coverofnight says:

            He can’t do that – it would require logic and reason. Libs like TcB run on pure emotion.

          • TcB says:

            Here’s a much more tasteful screen name for you. Chase N. Tale
            I don’t think it’s really my job to convince you. Either you understand the idea i’m espousing or you don’t, OR either you agree with the idea I’m espousing or you don’t. There are people who live here who don’t want annexation. I think the whole argument is a little bizarre because there’s so much animosity about not wanting “those people” to be a part of “us people”. “Those people with their crime over there”, “Those dirty grungy people” It’s so weird. All this is really about is about moving some legal definitions and changing some tax rates, most likely just a little little bit. The people who are there will be there the day before annexation, the day after annexation, they will be there with no annexation. It’s like when you buy a house. You don’t really “own” the land, you own a fixed rent and have some legal protections, and because of government frameworks and mutual agreement from fellow citizens you can “claim” that it is “yours”. No one here “owns” this city or the direction it is going to take. This is about people. Our neighbors. Our community. We should be trying to build it up and make it better, not behave like kindergardeners screaming “NO IT’S MINE YOU CAN’T HAVE IT”.

    • TcB says:

      Naw, can’t come out from behind anonymity cause there are scary Trolls who only come out at night around. It’s good to know that there are people who see what being in control of the land means, rather than let it be controlled, and then be surprised when it turns out like it has when King County controlled it. Also, I think our Community organizer president has done a good job with the situation he was given. C.O.N., go boo a gay trooper. .

      • Eaton B. Verz says:

        Well, TcB you helped me make up my mind! Thank you. I just wanted to know what you were looking for in annexation and instead you try to deflect from answering by calling people names and try the ol “Sky is falling” routine. You know I,m all for making Burien better. I just wish we could get it right before we take on a project like annexation. All I want is someone to tell me how my life will improve by annexation. That’s all. Share your wisdom with me…..

        • TcB says:

          Your mind was made up before you started this straw man argument. Did you really think that it was my job to “change” your mind? Nope.

          • Eaton B. Verz says:

            You are right , not your job. I was just hoping you would explain your thinking on the low income housing issue you seem so concerned about. You really seem hung up on “THOSE PEOPLE”. I just don’t get it. Like I stated, lived there, raised a family there, love a diverse community. J.J. at least gave his view on it and I respect that. It may not wash in my (simple,as you state)mind but that is the beauty of America. I’m willing to listen to all sides and then make what I hope is a rational decision. When you dodge the question and resort to name calling it speaks volumes about you. Good day, TcB

  8. Bonnie Moormeier says:

    I would like to thank those speakers who showed up for Monday’s City Council meeting and spoke either for or against annexation of the remainder of North Highline. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the comments were respectful and well prepared and gave the Council, City Manager and the audience an opportunity to better understand the issues and challenges facing this most important decision. As you might expect the majority of long-time Burien residents who spoke were opposed to further annexation while those in North Highline were in favor. While I am personally disappointed in the City Council’s decision, considering the strong opposition voiced by many Burien voters, I am still hoping that this does not necessarily mean further annexation is in the immediate future for Burien. I grew up, attended school and spent the first 21 years of my life living in White Center and I have real apprehension about the City of Burien’s ability to deal with the challenges the White Center business district presents. Living in Shorewood, the White Center businesses are closer and would be more convenient; however, I choose to go the further distance to Burien or West Seattle to shop. Granted many of the small stores and shops offer unique shopping opportunities and there are a few restaurants and bakeries trying to make a go of it, however, the overall atmosphere is not one that invites shopping, dining or meeting friends and strolling through the business district. I believe White Center, regardless of what city umbrella it falls under, will have a long and difficult time changing its image. The time and effort it will take will drain money and resources from the current Burien budget for many years and even then it may not result in permanent, positive improvements. In 60+ years I’ve seen attempts to revitalize White Center over and over again, so I’m not overly optimistic that Burien has the resources or experience to affect the needed changes. This is not an easy task and it will be expensive, time consuming and frustrating on many levels. And yes, once annexation occurs, our Burien property values will go down even further as a result.

    • Ian Gunsul says:

      “And yes, once annexation occurs, our Burien property values will go down even further as a result.”

      Could you provide a link to the report/study that proves this? I ask because every real estate/mortgage professional I know says this is not true.
      So please provide an actual source.

      • Bonnie Moormeier says:

        The statistics were presented in Monday’s City Council meeting stating the percentage decline in property values in North Highline versus Burien. I believe these numbers came from the King County Assessors office and similar statistics were recently published in the Highline Times.

        • Ian Gunsul says:

          Pay attention:
          Everyone’s property values everywhere have declined in the last couple years because of the economy, not the potential annexation.
          The reason there was more of a decline in WC is that area has no waterfront estates that barely lost value.

          • William Forest says:

            Property values will go down because the median price of a home in Burien will go down. The aggregate crime rate if Burien annex’s White Center will soar to the highest in the Puget Sound. THATS WHY PROPERTY VALUES WILL GO DOWN. A very small minority of homes in Burien are on the waterfront. That is a bogus argument.
            Anyone looking to move to Burien who looks at the crime rate will not be motivated to buy a home here. That will have a negative impact on property values. A lower price for a median home in Burien will put downward pressure on those with homes that are higher than the median price. That will bring property values DOWN. Of course those that have LOWER property values like the white center area will got UP. This of course gives incentives to property developers to push for white center annexation so they can make a quick buck. There ARE special intersests that will financially benefit from annexing white center. However the vast majority of current Burien residents will suffer a financial loss from annextion of white center.. Open your eyes and smell the stench .. Its a BAD deal for Burien!

      • John Peters says:

        Its called a NO BRAINER. No one has to tell you when it rains its going to get wet. The MEDIAN PRICE of a home in Burien will GO DOWN if we annex White Center. THAT’S A FACT. What does that do to the property values in Burien.. Ahhh do the math its really not that difficult to figure out. Add to that the aggregate crime rate in Burien will soar to become the highest in the Puget sound. If I am looking to move to this area this will DEFINITELY be a NEGATIVE. Of course that is going to have a negative impact on property values in Burien. My God Burien cannot even maintain the SIDEWALKS in the residential areas of Burien and now we are proposing giving up limited resources to another 17,000 people whose infrastructure is in a sad state of disrepair?? WE the CITY of BURIEN and its current residents and tax payers CANNOT AFFORD ANNEXATION OF WHITE CENTER!

        Special interests and the white center community may want to become part of Burien or they may not. The fact is the decision is BURIEN’S ! BURIEN decides if white center gets a vote or not and BURIEN at anytime even after the vote can decide NOT to annex white center.
        Frankly if we do, I am selling my house and moving to some other city in the Sound before Burien goes down the tubes..

  9. Justin says:

    My name is Justin Cline and I am the owner of Full Tilt Ice Cream in White Center. I started my business a little over three years ago on a strip that was then populated with mostly bars and pawnshops. A lot of my friends thought I was crazy for trying to open a family focused business there, but my wife and I took a chance.
    At the time I had a good job as a union boat builder, and I thought that this would be a good summer income. I had also hoped that it would change our neighborhood a little bit. I had seen what two women opening up Salumaria on Hudson and La Medusa had done for Columbia City, and I knew we could do the same with White Center.
    The first day that we opened, we had little hope that there would be much customer flow at all. We knew that some neighbors and friends were going to show up, but that would be about it. We opened the doors at noon. No signs and a hand drawn menu board. By 12:30 there was a line down the street. At the end of the day, we had sold what I thought was going to be a weeks worth of ice cream, and had met about 900 of our neighbors. Three years later I am about to open my fourth shop.
    A lot of that was because of the West Seattle Blog, but it was also just time for something like this to happen in White Center. It is full of new families. This neighborhood was bought up by a lot of people in their twenties a few years back and now they have families and a little more money. That is how I ended up here. White Center is packed full of young families. I ate dinner the other night in Burien and noticed that I was the youngest person out on the streets. I am 37
    Now White Center has Proletariat Pizza, Uncle Mike’s BBQ, 3.14 Bakery, Zippy’s Giant Burgers, Company, Big Al Brewery, along with the great Pho White Center, Bhan 88, and many other amazing resturants that helped us win Seattle Weekly’s SnackDown as the best neighborhood to eat in. We still have bars and porn shops. Less than Burien though. When the crime stats are brought up, we have less violent crime too.

    I look forward to having my ice cream shop in Burien.

  10. Bobby Leon says:

    I constantly take my friends to Full Tilt Ice Cream to endulge in the best homemade ice cream in the Northwest. Remember when Fremont was an area that no one wanted to go to? It was full of “those artists type of people and eveyone knows we don’t want to be around those kind of people.” The community banded together. Businesses took a chance and it paid off. Today Fremont is one of the nicest areas of Seattle. Thank you Justin for taking a chance on White Center. It’s businesses like yours that add to the “flavor” of White Center and the North Highline Area.

  11. Thom Grey says:

    Duh Dudes,
    Attached is the link to the lowered property tax values article in North Highline and White Center.
    According to Lloyd Hara the problem for this area is that people don’t do enough business with the merchants there and unemployment/lack of jobs in the area is a problem. Read the article. It is not about waterfront property or lack of it. Both public and private investors are not willing to invest in the area. But duh, Mike Martin and the Burien City Council are going to fix that problem? They can’t even get public and private investors to invest in the Burien Town Square. Martin and the Burien City Council need to get a clue. Oh yeh, and they are going to fix all of the problems White Center has had in the last 60 years because they know more about govt. than Seattle or King County and they are going to do it for lots less money. Dudes if you believe that I know of some great lake front property that is for sale in Death Valley. Want to invest in it?

    • William Forest says:

      Kudos to Thom Grey..
      You hit the nail on the head dude!
      That’s the actual REALITY not some shangri-la fantasy land that supporters of annexation apparently are overlooking either by choice or by ignorance.

    • Justin says:

      Have you seen the main business corridor of White Center lately? Has much less vacancy rate than Burien. People don’t want to invest in Burien Square, because it is a bad investment right now. The prices they are asking for rent on the retail side are way out of line with the rest of Burien. I can rent space cheaper in Ballard or Capitol Hill than I could in the new Burien Town Center. The price of the condos are laughable. You can buy a actual larger house a few blocks a way.

      It is not up to the city government to fix the vacancy rate on private development. It is up to business owners.

      And, Duh Dude, you link doesn’t work.

  12. TcB says:

    Well one thing is for sure, the people who are against annexation have the argument that the median house property will go down and the White Center crime statistics will become part of the city of Burien crime statistics. Those I would not argue.
    Here is what you could think of instead, once annexation occurs the city can start to exert control over the shape of things to come.
    Without stating it outright, the no on annexation crowd have a problem with the people who live in the North Highline area. Otherwise this wouldn’t be much of an issue really.
    I still think better pain now, and healing later than a permanent festering wound.
    No amount of name calling can make me believe otherwise.
    If it doesn’t go through I promise NOT to scream and pound my fists that I didn’t get my way and threaten to move, I promise to make the best of it and make the community a better place.

    • elizabeth2 says:

      TcB – I try never to call people names because that is not an effective way to foster debates.

      However, I want to say that I do not believe one can say that “The no on annexation crowd have a problem with the people who live in the North Highline area”.

      We are against annexation but do not have a problem with North Highline. We have family who live there, friends, and loved ones who live there. Family members have gone to school in North HIghline. We have and do support businesses in that area.

      I have worked there and supported much of the work on Greenbridge, assisting in building community. I was happy to see the amount of advocating that was encouraged to bring all diverse voices to the table for the design and implementation.

      Plain and simply, Burien has waaaayyy too much on its plate already trying to revive the downtown area which is full of empty storefronts and condos. The focus needs to be on fixing the problems we have right in front of us. Maybe when all those challenges are met successfully, we can all consider what else we can do.

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      TcB, Read your original posts. YOU are the one who states you want annexation so you can change the zoning to stop any low income housing! You never would answer my question as to why that is a bad thing! I know you will still deflect from the issue by calling me names again. I really think it is YOU who has trouble with( as you so eloquently put it) those people.

      • Eaton B. Verz says:

        You never would answer my question as to why that is a bad thing! Low income housing that is…. sorry

        • Justin says:

          There is nothing inherently wrong with low income housing. There is something wrong with trying to cram all the low income housing for a county into one neighborhood. We can look to Caprini Green to see how well that work. Concentrating to much of any one thing is generally not the best for a neighborhood.

          White Center could become a convenient dumping ground for Seattle and King County’s problems. Why isn’t Greenbridge in Wallingford? Why not Bellevue? We already see the non-profits that are popping up that make money off of the poor.

          • Eaton B. Verz says:

            The low income housing in White Center has been there longer than I have been alive. I have lived in that neighborhood,raised a family there. Had no problems.Still see no problems. People claim “White Center could become a convenient dumping ground for Seattle and King County’s problems.” Sounds like we are afraid of “those people” again.I’ve been there and didn’t see it. To me it is just some more “Sky is falling” rehtoric being used to scare people into annexation.

          • TcB says:

            Cabrini Green. And you completely understand my argument that “Eaton” completely misunderstands. And “Eaton”, I’m using “those people” in quotes not to make the statement myself, but to point out the reason that people are really opposed to this annexation. The argument that “I love the people of White Center, they’re fabulous, I have them over for dinner on wednesday nights” and then turn around and say “It’s the highest crime rate in the county” and “Our services will be bled dry, like schooling (which is silly because it’s already Highline District) and everything will go dow the tubes” just doesn’t jive. You can’t have magical crime without people committing it. BTW I just got the city of Burien crime statistics and it turns out White Center had a lower crime rate last year than Burien. And another thing, EVERY city that absorbs more people into the city will see an increase in the crime statistic. It happened to Kirkland too.

          • Shari says:

            “The nonprofits that are popping up that make money off the poor”???? Okay, NOW I’m jumping in. What ones, exactly, Justin? And exactly what money are they making off the poor– what’s that look like, exactly? Statements like that can’t just be tossed in here and let go. Please provide actual data showing how any non profit “makes money,” first of all, and how they do it “off the poor.” My God.

        • TcB says:

          Low income housing spread equally among all wage ranges is a good thing. Low income housing grouped together in one neighborhood is a bad thing. If you disagree with that then you don’t read history.

      • TcB says:

        I used quotes around “those people”. I was stating what I believe is the real reason behind those opposed. I do not hold that view

        • William Forest says:

          Care to post a link about your crime statistics source? I do not believe them.
          Here is a release from the king county sheriffs office from a couple of months ago.

          Police Calls In White Center Up By Nearly 24% Over Last Year, Says KCSO

          After the early morning shooting death of a 23-year old woman in White Center (read our report here), Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 16), the King County Sheriff’s Office released new information on crime statistics in the White Center area, revealing that overall dispatched calls for service are up by nearly 24% over last year.

          “The most frequent calls include public drunkenness, area checks, trespass, disturbances (including noise and fights), family disturbances and suspicious circumstances,” said Deputy Travis DeFries, Acting Public Information Officer. “The category that increased noticeably – is drunkenness – up to 142 in 2011 from 85 in 2010.”

          That’s a 67% increase in responses to public drunkenness.

          DeFries adds that violent crimes, including robberies and aggravated assaults, are also up slightly this year compared to last.

          “There was one homicide last year, in May 2010, and now one this year,” he said. “Ironically, it was at the same intersection. There is no connection between the two homicides and the intersection or area itself.”

          Here is the link from an article in the White Center Blog a couple of months ago.


          The Sheriff’s Office says it will continue “to work with the citizens and business owners of White Center to improve public safety.”

  13. William Forest says:

    The police response to a criminal act in Burien will most certainly increase if we annex white center. Here is a link to a B-Town blog about a problem that will become endemic if we decide to take on all the crimes in white center with a police force that is already understaffed and will have to make decisions about where to put deputies when multiple crimes are occuring in the same time period. Annexation will NOT make Burien a safer place to live.. Quite the contrary.


  14. TcB says:

    This is quite the opposite of “sky is falling”. This is “Let’s build something great!”

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      Let’s fix what we have first. Then build something great. What we have is broken.That is what you don’t get.

      • TcB says:

        Glass half full. What we have is not broken. I can’t see why you’d say that. Town Square? That’s a private developer not the city of Burien. What is so broken?

  15. elizabeth2 says:

    In reading up for the elections, I came across this quotation from Gordon Shaw from 2007…..interesting as it seems to me that the goals he mentions here do not really seem to jibe with annexation as a wise choice.

    “I support Burien’s vision of a friendly City with a small town atmosphere filled with economic vitality that generates sales tax revenue to minimize property taxes. Burien has always been a “can-do” community. We need to continue to modernize Burien while preserving this vision. I have supported progress when it was efficient and prudent, and I have voted against so-called “progress” that didn’t give Burien its money’s worth, or that we couldn’t afford.”

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!