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LETTER: ‘We Don’t Need a New Tax to Change Public’s Perception on Crime’

The April 6 edition of The Highline Times carried an article on “Kids and Cops” stating that City Manager Mike Martin plans to ask Burien residents to fund a tax increase of $1.8 – $2.3 million for an additional 8-10 police officers and another $500,000 for discretionary public safety funding, in hope of “changing the public’s perception of high crime rates in Burien.”

Martin states that “Burien’s problems are no worse than neighboring jurisdictions,” and names other local areas with higher crime rates. If the money is simply to “change the public’s perception,” then we don’t need a new tax with additional police to do that. Instead perhaps a public relations campaign promoting Burien as a “safe” community with statistics to back it up. Especially since in the article Police Chief Scott Kimerer said “even with the extra officers, Burien encompasses too large an area to make patrolling residential neighborhoods a plausible idea.”

Also, since it appears annexation of White Center is certain, won’t the additional annual $5 million in funding provide for the additional police officers needed? Mr. Martin has proposed, after two years, shifting $300,000-$400,000 of the funding for police to some of Burien’s elementary schools, including those in White Center and North Highline.

I agree with Lucy Krakowiak, who stated educational reforms should be left to the Highline School District. We have a district-wide levy, which includes ALL of our schools and the citizens of Burien have been very generous in supporting our schools, even in tough economic times. Let’s give our new Superintendent some time to assess our district’s needs and determine how best to improve the performance of all students.

The list Mr. Martin mentioned – tutoring intervention, teacher training, parental involvement, a longer school day and holistic approaches such as nutrition and dental care, while important, should be addressed by the school district and PTAs, not the Burien City Council. They have enough to do with the challenges annexation will present to the city of Burien.

– Bonnie Moormeier
Burien, WA

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