Annexation Backed In 2nd Meeting; Board Delays Final Deliberations To 1/23

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by Jack Mayne

The second night of testimony to the Boundary Review Board was as much pro-Burien annexation as the first night was anti-annexation, giving a good-sized audience another evening of opinions while again suffering on hard middle school cafeteria seats while straining to hear because of a poor sound system.

The meeting took over three hours again, so the board decided to adjourn to Monday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. The meeting place is still unknown.

That meeting will not be for comment by those for or against the northern part of the North Highline Unincorporated Area being annexed by Burien, only for the 10 members of the board (one has recused himself because he lives in the area) to argue between themselves over whether Burien should be allowed to go forward with the second annexation in a bit over two years.

The Monday night group heard the majority of people testify they were opposed to the annexation. Many were Burien residents and most said the city had not made the financial case that the addition of the 3.2 square mile area that is home to about 17,300 people.

Tuesday night most of those testifying lived in or close to Area Y, or the northern half of the former unincorporated area. A rough count showed 20 testifying were for annexation to Burien, and four were opposed.

Time and time again area residents told the board that, in the words of Mercedes Dantona, that White Center “is much better served in Burien; it would add color and interest to Burien.”

Andre Lopez agreed and said he was prompted to come to the second night of hearings because he was told “people of color were not represented at the first meeting and that people of color need social services.”

“If we don’t get annexed by Burien, we will be annexed to Seattle,” he said, adding that he would not like that because government would be far away from area residents.

Some were upset by people Monday night referring to residents of the White Center area as somehow beneath them.

“I kept hearing people who never would set foot in my neighborhood say horrible things about our people,” said Rebecca Lopez, who lives in the proposed annex area.

Person after person talked about how they felt like Burien residents already, how they shop there and pay sales taxes there. Others referred to Seattle government as far away and remote because of distance and because the Seattle City Council met in the daytime when they could not attend meetings, while Burien met at night when they can attend.

“I am afraid if we don’t annex to Burien, we will lose something important,” said Martha Koester, another resident from the area that would be annexed.

Most of the 20 pro-Burien people who testified mentioned not wanting to be a part of Seattle, even a woman who lives north of Roxbury in West Seattle but runs a White Center restaurant. Elizabeth Gordon said Burien would be better and noted that in the past few years, “beautiful things are happening in White Center, people know each other and they are working together” to make a good business area even better.”

A couple of people were definitely in favor of Seattle annexing the area with a woman suggesting needed health care for her family would not be available in Burien.

Burien makes final pitch
City Manager Mike Martin summed up the process of annexation as being “a divisive and emotional issue,” but said the “thoughtful process by the city of Burien was exactly the same as used for the first annexation.”

“During the first annexation, you heard exactly the same arguments against it,” Martin said “and we outperformed those expectations. This was a difficult issue (but) the Council has come to the realization that we can do this.”

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7 Responses to “Annexation Backed In 2nd Meeting; Board Delays Final Deliberations To 1/23”
  1. william forest says:

    Martin claims the city outperformed expectations in area X but as usual fails to back up his self serving rhetoric with ACTUAL FACTS AND FIGURES!
    Thoughtful?? Give me a break.. using the draft copy of the incomplete and incorrect Berk report which was a third party contract as your business and budget plan is beyond the pal.. Thoughful ?? Not a chance of any impartial person coming to that conclusion.

    The reality of the results from area X from what I can gleam is not nearly so rosy as Martin would have you believe.

    As for the PRO Annexation ANTI Annexation issue.. That is NOT what the purpose of the Boundary Review Board meeting was all about!

    People have misconstrued the PURPOSE of the Boundary Review meeting to voice Pro and Anti Annexation views and whomever rants the loudest and longest is the winner.. However it NOT! It is in REALITY ALL ABOUT meeting the 3 standards in RCW 36.93.170

    Most if not all of the people brought in by the Pro Annexation crew did not understand that and were used as a smoke screen or fodder for misdirection.

    The Boundary Review Board is a Quasi Judicial board and emotional pleas to be inclusive and we want to join Burien not Seattle were not only irrelevant they were a waste of the boards time. They just wanted to vent.. These rants accomplished in reality just about nothing. I noticed none of them turned in documentation to support their diatribes in accordance with the standards in RCW 36.93.170 unlike the previous evening when nearly everyone that spoke addressed the standards which is the correct protocol and all the board is required to consider.

  2. TcB says:

    If the money comes from the State then we should go for the annexation. There would have to be an ironclad guarantee that the money could not be rescinded. If there’s no money, or if there’s no guarantee then the issue seems pretty hard. The question is, if the area is allowed to continue as is, will it get worse than if annexed? If it gets worse then Seattle will never want it, and neither will Burien. Is it just kicking the can down the road to your children? Is this a case of, “I don’t want to deal with this problem, make it go away”? Seems that a lot of people WHO READ THIS BLOG are against it. What’s the real number who’s against?

  3. Debi Wagner says:

    Nobody making statements Monday night said anything against the people of White Center as is intimated by statements in this article. At the hearing, I remember only one person putting forth this type of discussion. Jerry Robison who is a proponent of annexation said; “one of the things that really disappoints me about the residents of Burien is how many show up…and trot out arguments about crime and poverty…these people in north highline…help that they’ve been given and what really strikes me…we don’t want those people in our city, which is not the message that should be given.” I have never heard this from anyone who has stated a position against annexation. This is nonesense and people know better than to use bigotry to make their point. It has always been about figures, infrastructure, service needs and the sales tax credit. Anyone who makes these arguments about types of people are trying to sidetrack the discussion away from the realities of the fiscal impossibilities of Burien to support this area. This is not a valid argument and should be stopped immediately because people’s feelings are being manipulated and this is not the way a city should operate.

    • TcB says:

      You can’t talk about “needed services” without talking about the PEOPLE who “need” those services. You are being disingenous when you say that this isn’t about “those people” at least in part.

    • Al says:


      Could you quote a statement from anybody from Burien that said anything positive about North Highline. Listening to the people from Burien if I didn’t live here, I would be scared to death to ever walk through here. Not all 17,000 people need Social Services. I have been to many a meetings and time after time and never did I hear anything positive, and if you want to say it was just about the money go ahead if that makes you feel better. You can’t expect people not to get offended when you are talk about where they live in a negative way.

    • Coverofnight says:

      Debi, you’re correct when you state, “…Anyone who makes these arguments about types of people are trying to sidetrack the discussion away from the realities of the fiscal impossibilities of Burien to support this area.” Can’t believe TcB and Al are making this a class warfare issue…..

      Regardless, william is spot on when he notes of Martin’s comment, “…Not a chance of any impartial person coming to that conclusion.” I think we’re hosed; I believe that the Council is going to proceed with the annexation come hell or high water. This will be another example of unwanted government interference and it making further inroads into my wallet.

      Maybe Joey Moretaxes will buy the first round of celebratory drinks for Martin and the Council.

  4. Debi Wagner says:

    Al: Yes I can. Every person who spoke about service levels, needs, costs and future financial turmoil did so on behalf of those residents of White Center who will get a real bum deal from Burien in the long run if there just isn’t enough money to sustain the area. And those people who have contributed to the blog who are from the newly annexed area have noted the higher costs, regulation and utility tax rates that are making it difficult to deliver their services as they once did under the control of King County which imposes far less bureaucracy. There is nothing wrong with White Center and nothing horrible about the people of White Center. This is about Burien’s budget, the errors, ommissions and underestimations in the Berk report. What are you defending? Don’t you live in Burien? Doesn’t anybody care about Burien’s future anymore?

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