BREAKING: 11th-Hour Challenge to Remove Annexation from Ballot Fails

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Marga Newcomb, left, and Don Malo protest Burien’s proposed annexation of North Highline outside City Hall Monday night (Aug. 6). Photo by Scott Schaefer. Click image to see larger version.

by Ralph Nichols

An eleventh-hour challenge to remove annexation of unincorporated North Highline from the November ballot was defeated Monday night (Aug. 6).

Council members voted 3-3 on a motion by Councilman Jack Block Jr. to withdraw annexation for years – a proposal that Councilwoman Joan McGilton called an attempt to suppress voters.

A motion is defeated when the vote is a tie.

Joining Block in the attempt to scuttle North Highline annexation were Council members Bob Edgar and Lucy Krakowiak.

The Burien City Council took a roll call for the vote to remove annexation from the Nov. ballot. Unlike base-running in baseball, the 3-3 tie defeated the attempt.

Mayor Brian Bennett, Councilman Gerald Robison and McGilton voted to reject the proposal.

Absent was Deputy Mayor Rose Clark, long a supporter of annexing all of North Highline.

August 7 is the last day that under state law the annexation issue can be removed from the general election ballot.

Earlier in the meeting almost 20 speakers, all but one from Burien, urged council members to cancel the annexation vote.

Their common theme was that Burien can’t afford annexation at this time, that the city still has unfinished projects.

Some council members, however, said this is a one-time opportunity that Burien can’t afford to let slip away.

By law, only residents of unincorporated North Highline may vote on whether to become part of Burien.

A full report on the annexation discussion and the council’s review of the projected 2013-14 budget and city revenues will be posted Tuesday and Wednesday.

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108 Responses to “BREAKING: 11th-Hour Challenge to Remove Annexation from Ballot Fails”
  1. dale says:

    burien we dont need you in white center!! STAY OUT!! BURIEN STAY OUT WE DONT NEED YOU!!

    • Mike says:

      I agree Dale. The three that voted to continue with the vote didn’t listen to anything their constituents said. They blew them off with the same old your “misinformed”. If the city was being honest with its citizens and itself, then why don’t the citizens that spoke have the correct facts on annexation? The lame a$$ info put out by the city has been shot down repeatedly. Yet Martin, mcgilton, robinson and the mayor seem to only say your misinformed. I got the impression the citizens don’t trust the council. And IMO for good reason. Jack, Lucy and Bob were in tune with the citizens. The others including Martin (who looked like he was really feeling the pressure) were just tuning out what people had to say against annexation. I don’t want those people over here telling us what we need. They showed us they wont listen and will head straight into the perfect storm no matter what their people say. This is going to cost ALL of of a ton of money.

      To all that spoke against annexation, nicely done. Especially the accountant from the IRS that shot a HUGE hole in the tax credit and Mark Ufkes. Very well done. Please get together with Debbie Wagner and the rest of the people outside the meeting to help us with getting the correct information to all citizens of Area Y. I guess “It’s on”.

      Area Y Mike.

  2. Russ Newman says:

    I am tired of hearing from the same group of people who say the same things over and over. They predicted doom on the first annexation and it did not happen.
    Let the people vote.

  3. Marlene Allbright says:

    I attended the meeting last night, and discerned a definite desperation from the pro-annexation council members. It’s clear that they had their talking points in sync. I was stunned when I heard the term “voter suppression” bandied about. It was an open meeting where everyone had the right to free speech, which is entirely different from voter suppression. I was waiting to hear the term “job creators” next.

    The other tactic used was fear. “Big bad Seattle” will annex if you don’t vote for annexation.Seattle government was described as a “regime,” which is highly inflammatory. I don’t see that Seattle is in any hurry to annex because they know they can’t afford it. The taxpayers of Burien will have to bail out the city. The other thing I heard is that there was no one speaking out against annexation who lives west of Ambaum. Not true. I live east of 1st Avenue South, and was annexed into Burien two years ago. It’s clear they couldn’t afford the latest annexation.

    It’s clear that the Burien City Council is not interested in representing its constituents, and will proceed with placing the Burien annexation of North Highline on the ballot in November. Our only recourse will be at the ballot box when the next election for Burien elected officials is at hand.

    • Hotrodgal says:

      “The other tactic used was fear. “Big bad Seattle” will annex if you don’t vote for annexation…”

      That’s the exact impression the voters in the first annexation were led to believe…
      that there were just two choices.
      I live in BP and I have only actually met one person who voted for our annexation to Burien and that person said they voted that way because they were told they would be
      part of Seattle if they didn’t.

      Lookout WC…you are next.

  4. JJ Greive says:

    What are you afraid of?? really? They majority will rule. Let them vote for god sake and let them decide themselves. I can tell you why, some think their opinion is more important than others. It isn’t!

    All those that oppose a vote are making a stand against democracy. I can live with majority rule, why can’t everyone? If your opinion carries the day, then you can feel good about the outcome, but to squelch the voice of the voters is wrong!

    • Shari says:

      Those are interesting points. That seems to be the crux of things– lots of frustration about the fact that in annexation votes, current residents don’t actually get to express their opinion for or against, so half of the equation feels their voices are squelched. The process seems weird that way.

      • TcB says:

        No annexation would ever happen if the vote were from the current residents accepting new ones.

      • Ms. Weaver says:

        How did the 20 people who spoke against annexation not get to express their opnion? They have been expressing them selves on this blog, in the local paper and at meetings for some years. Before it was area X now it is area Y.

        • Shari says:

          I was referring directly to the issues raised in th ecomment that I replied to– ie, they didn’t get to “express their opinion” via the voting booth/ballot box.

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      Then why not let the citizens of Burien vote? What are you/they afraid of?

    • John Poitras says:

      JJ … The problem with your logic is that the current RESIDENTS OF BURIEN DON’T GET TO VOTE!

      • TcB says:

        If the people of the entire U.S.A at any given time had the vote to admit or deny new States to the Union we’d still have thirteen.

  5. TcB says:

    I’m expecting the histrionics to reach massive levels between August and November. Possibly a riot in the streets.

  6. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    Thank you Jack,Lucy and Bob for standing up for the “small minded and mean spirited”. The Burien city council NEEDS to pay attention to the city of Burien.
    What about the failed/incomplete 1st Ave S PHASE 1 project? Please remind me what the total that the city has paid for this so far. Are we ever going to get the landscaping,street lights and “art” we were promised many years ago? There are still OLD street light poles with old wires wrapped around them from the under-grounding we are paying for on the corner of 156th. We have weeds growing where there should be the landscaping we were promised. Where is the traffic signal at 150th? The poles are up but nothing has been done.

  7. unconcerned citizen says:

    Just out of curiosity, if the majority vote no, will the sinking city of Burien continue to throw that back on the ballot until it passes like they did the first time around or let it alone?
    And if it passes, will the still sinking city of Burien act on it so fast that the “new” residents of the sunken city Burien are stuck with it?
    On experience from the first fiasco,,Vote NO!!!
    They have a %@$*^ crook for city manager or whatever that Mike Martini`s title is,
    people on the council that want whats best for them , not the citizens of the titanic, er,, I mean Burien.
    And before any of you fire back at me with “what do you mean sinking city, blah, blah, blah,” and all that other happy horse shit, is the new, (well, new a few years ago anyways)
    got and business in it yet?
    I liked the idea of filling it with water and turning it into an aquarium, *lol*

  8. Frances says:

    I watched it on TV. I agree with Councilman Jerry when he pointed out that only people West of Ambaum and South of Seahurst Park spoke against it.

    Isn’t this the same group of people who pushed for Town Square, no access to Lake Burien EVER, no access to Puget Sound using the street ends? Pushed for No fireworks (unlwss you live on Three Tree Point or Lake Burien). I recogized one of the speakers as a woman who pushed for the ban on cutting trees without a permit.

    I seem to remeber last year when the cost of the last annexation was presented it was cheaper than projected.

    Are these people always no sayers? Are they afraid their pot dispensaries will be closed?

    Or are they afraid that they no longer will run the City

    • Kingston2012 says:

      Frances, I’d say they simply want representative government which, based on the issues you brought up, they don’t seem to be getting from this manager and council. Their actions suggest they’re more representative to people and issues that aren’t even part of this city!

      At this point, all we can do is to remember the 4 in favor of annexation at election time for their position and to now concentrate on informing the annexation voters of what’s in store for them when this group becomes their “representative” government.

    • John Poitras says:

      Frances.. OBVIOUSLY the residents DON’T run the city or annexation would be OFF the table. Why are you avoiding the REAL SUBSTANCE of the argument? CAN WE AFFORD IT? No one who is for annexation wants to know that because they are afraid the answer will be NO WE CAN’T. They don’t care if the revenue figures are bogus because in fact they are. Apparently winging it without any fiscal responsibility is the order of the day for all of the pro-annexation propagandists.

      • frances says:

        I think its just a few people who didn’t get their way who will not accept that the people of Top Hat will get to vote

    • TcB says:

      I’m still on record as a crazy “not in the lake burien part of town” who thinks public access to the lake would be a bad bet because it has no real output except for a really slow drain by Ruth Dykeman and mostly evaporation. Pollution into the lake will never really leave.

  9. Debi Wagner says:

    Real democracy doesn’t work if the people voting are fed propoganda. When Burien staff go out to area Y and tell them how rosy and wonderful it will be to be Burien citizens and how well they will be treated and how great Burien services are and what a big voice they will have in the city, anyone who lives in Burien might tend to wonder. When Burien staff go to area Y and tell them their taxes will hardly go up at all, when they secretly have a few more taxes in the works they’re not telling area Y about is this true democracy? When information shows Burien will be in the hole by tens of millions by the end of the first few years of annexation who do you think is going to suffer the consequences when the only way to make up the shortfall is through taxing property owners and businesses? Everyone will suffer. That is not democracy, that is demogoguary.

    • JJ Greive says:

      Tens of millions?? WTF, you making [email protected]!t up again???
      Debbie, Burien will be better served if it has some influence. So will White Center if its in a smaller community then Seattle, its a win win win., let them vote!!!

      • Marie says:

        Thank you Debi for clarifying this issue for fellow residents, who will be the ones paying the price. Pay no mind to potty mouth, uninformed individuals. Some folks just have no filter, and quite frankly are the root of the reason of our overall fiscal mess. Denial can’t sit with them forever…logic will catch up!

      • Debi Wagner says:

        JJ: Please explain why you think I have some sort of ability to stop the vote? And just so you are aware, I have never made anything up. All of the figures I have put out there come from credible sources such as King County data, Seattle Financial Feasibility study, tax accountants, economists, certified animal control officers, Berk and the like. Everything I have said can be backed up with testimony and documentation. The newest stormwater estimates leave Burien millions short. Yes, Burien, not area Y. Since the whole tax credit, according to Mike Martin, is going to the police contract there is nothing left for the 10 million needed in the first year for stormwater and capital projects for area Y. That is only part of the overall 43 to 77 million capital needs of area Y. And that doesn’t include the fact that while Burien is required by law to provide the same level of service for area Y as it currently experiences, which in some cases is higher than what Burien is used to paying just for Burien, there isn’t any money for any of it. Burien will be better served? How? By higher taxes? None of this benefits Burien or citizens of Burien. It is a pet project of just five people, Mike Martin and some council members who prefer to pander to some select vocal citizens of area Y and their personal political aspirations than to the citizens of Burien who elected them.

        • JJ Greive says:

          You are wrong, you site exaggerated numbers. Get it straight, there is no question that we are better with a some influence over area Y then none at all. I think you should re-examine your comment. I am a member of Burien and I am proud to say I welcome our neighbors to the north and I do vote! (not for you of couse)
          I was born here, went to school here, worked on political campaigns in this area. The noises I here from you and yours is exclusionary, not constructive. The elite in Burien already give is a black eye (no public access to lake Lake Burien, very limited access to our beaches) I think you stating your opinions as facts as to the support for your narrow minded position is not only wrong but ignorant.

          • Marie says:

            JJ you have started an arguement you are in no position to be in. It is obvious you have no idea what you are talking about and should be ashamed. I would tell ya to keep you mindless dribble to the playground but your profanity would probably get you booted from there as well. So please go wipe your mouth and try again. Try to do a little research as well.

          • mike says:


            You continually pick a fight with Ms. Wagner every time she brings out valid points. Never once have I seen you back up your BS with anything. You are a bully. Back it up with numbers tough guy. Her numbers aren’t inflated. Mark Ufkes and many others brought out many numbers at the meeting that Burien has no way of paying for without raising taxes. The citizens that I live near in Area Y want nothing to do with more taxes, less services and half the council that has their heads in the sand. Stay over in burien greive. We don’t want the council’s or your influence in Area Y.

            BTW greive, a nice gentleman from the IRS (retired) shot a huge hole in the tax credit scam martin has been running around telling everyone would be $5Million. Watch the tape. And then stay over there.

            Area Y Mike

        • John Poitras says:

          I would suggest you just ignore JJ he is a fine representative of the NHUAC Mike Martin and the arrogant self serving council members that want to push annexation thru at all costs but in fact have no idea how they are going to pay for it.

      • John Poitras says:

        Stop with your hate posts JJ.

        If Area Y rejects Burien which they will if they have a lick of common sense then they will be back with KING COUNTY NOT SEATTLE.. Stop lying about it please!

        If you want to talk about suppression of the vote lets remember it was the pro-annexation pack that wanted to hold the election in august when voter turn out would have been lower and it was the anti-annexation pack that forced the council to hold it in November.

  10. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    Please provide numbers where you think Debbie is wrong. All you are doing is making yourself look like a loudmouth fool.
    Who gives a rip about Lake Burien, its nothing special. I was born here, went to school here,have my name on a brick at Lk. Burien park. We have access to 3TP via a park and have a wonderful access via Seahurst Park.

  11. Uh oh says:

    When a governmental body is afraid to put an issue before its residents like the burien city council And mike Martin to current burien residents, that should give you all the information you need. And the elected representatives of the people were split on the issue. So why not put it to a vote of current burien residents? What’s the hurry to get this done?

    It’s time for burien to have an elected mayor to replace the role of the city manager.

  12. Joey Martinez says:

    I’d like to say that I do not agree with using the proposed 2013-2014 budget as a reason to stop annexation.

    This budget “gap” has been known for some time. When the 2012 budget was approved (in Nov/Dec 2011) I spoke on this blog and on the record (Public Comment at CIty Council) that this very type of budget was on the way. To all of a sudden “raise hell” is disengenuous and is a disservice to the citizens of Burien.

    The Council and City Staff have known this was the future for quite some time. The only thing, I feel, you can blame them for is not shouting it from the roof tops. The budget hole of 2013-2014 has been on the wall for quite some time.

    A part of the bonus of annexation I have been speaking to is that annexation would help plug some of this gap. Not a reason to annex, just a good bonus to the current residents of Burien to welcome North Highline.

    Joey Martinez

    • Joey Martinez says:

      ***I speak as myself, a private citizen, in the following comment. These comments are in no way endorsed or supported by the city of Burien or the Burien Planning Commission.

      As part of my education on the Planning Commission I have learned a lot about how CIP (Capital Improvement Programs) work and as an aside a lot about that “$77 Million” CIP needed in North Highline.

      Firstly, that number is $43-$77 million as listed in the Seattle Report.

      Secondly, Seattle says that providing for that $77 million is beyond what they provide for their current neighborhoods.

      A CIP is a project (Street, storm, Sidewalk, Drainage, expensive repair… etc) that identifies what the problem is and what is going to be done to fix that problem as well as a projected cost. They can be anywhere from planning stages to shovel ready. The point is that you should think of a CIP project (and associated dollar amount) as a bucket.

      Taxes, grants (with and without matching funds), and endowments are the cash that pays for that CIP. It fills the bucket for each project.

      Without a CIP bucket to catch the cash that project need will never be fulfilled. We all know what happens when we try and catch water without a bucket.

      So what cities (and government in general) do is to list out as many CIP projects as possible that are realistic in the next 20 years or so.

      We could literally have Bill Gates Jr write a check for that $77 million and North Highline could EASILY have another $77 million worth of CIP projects tomorrow. So could Burien or any other city.

      “Private Citizen” Joey Martinez

      • Ghost of Maplewild says:

        He’s back!!

        • TcB says:

          He’s right

        • Kingston2012 says:

          Metropolis turns to Superman to beat down Lex Luthor……where’s the Cover of Night when we need him to beat down Joey Martinez???

          • Eaton B. Verz says:

            “***I speak as myself, a private citizen”……… So Joey, Who are you normally speaking as??

          • Joey Martinez says:

            Eaton, I don’t normally bring up what I’ve learned and done on the commission and since I was specifically mentioning the commission by name I wanted to be clear that I am speaking as myself and not the commission.

            Kind of like those warnings you hear on the television “the opionions expressed in this program are not neccessarily those of this station” sort of thing.

            Joey Martinez

      • John Poitras says:

        If I understand what you are saying Joey and extrapolate it .. All discretionary funds that were targeted for the current City of BURIEN will need to be re-allocated and funneled to the Area Y Annexation area assuming the residents are misinformed enough to pass it.

        • Joey Martinez says:

          No… just no. That is not how CIP works. Please talk to your perferred Council Member to understand how CIP works. Thanks

          Joey Martinez

    • John Poitras says:

      No Joey Annexation will not fill the gap it will just make it wider.. And we are just heard about the property tax shortfalls of 10% and 20% below estimates a couple of weeks ago so if they knew it before then they were hiding it.. Talk about lack of transparency.

      • Joey Martinez says:

        Mr Poitras, Firstly, Nice work last Thursday night! You know what I’m talking about….

        I watched the video and liked what you said. Let’s keep it civil! The data forcasting the budget shortfall (whether we annex or not) was plainly spelled out in the BERK report. You’ve had the very same report and could have read into that report and written your letters months ago.

        You can also blame your pal Mr Edgar for that very same lack of transparency if you really want to go there.

        Joey Martinez

        • John Poitras says:

          Joey… What I am talking about was NOT spelled out in the Berk report, In fact the Berk report was forecasting a modest 2.5% increase in property tax revenues.. That is the main thrust of the point that I have been trying to make to seemingly deaf ears.

          The BERK report vastly overstates the current revenue situation which is a net 10% LOSS in Burien and a net 20% LOSS in Area Y.
          That information was not shared with us until we heard about it from the City Finance Director a couple of weeks ago..
          I am not talking about 10 years from now Joey.. I am talking about today and the current 2013 biannual budget that is under review and consideration.
          . The Berk reports forecasts NEED TO BE UNDATED so we can get a true transparent picture of where the revenue shortfall is going to come from.

          As far as lack of transparency the only reason Mr Slick Jerry Robison is sitting on the council is because he disingenuously left the fact that he is gung ho for annexation off any of his campaign literature or his web site. I will give Gordon Shaw that.. it cost him the election but at least he was up front and honest about his pro position on annexation whereas Jerry was not.

          • Joey Martinez says:

            Mr Poitras, what I am talking about is that the BERK report went into detail on not annexing North Highline and showed that at the end of 10 years Burien would be in the RED 22%. My arguement is that even IF the council removed annexation from the ballot (which I am glad they didn’t) we would still be dealing with the issues brought up at Monday’s council meeting.

            I felt that those speaking to the budget problemsand your letters were twisting around a situation that would exist whether annexation occurs or not and trying to use that to lobby against annexation.

            That is a great tactic if you’re trying to confuse people into your way of thinking BUT, I feel is a disservice to the city and its residents.

            Joey Martinez

    • Debi Wagner says:

      Joey; you should know better than anyone as a planning commissioner that the money from the tax credit can in no way ever be used to offset any deficit of Burien. That money is also not up front…it comes after money has been spent as a reduction in what Burien pays the state in sales tax collection. So your argument that it can help offset is completely false and misleading to citizens. Additionally, that money cannot be used for CIP and you know that. The CIP will have to come out of Burien’s pockets. If those pockets are more than empty, how does that work? And you and your Burien staff are not being up front with Burien citizens about how much more our taxes are going up to plug those holes. And none of the staff are being plain and clear to area Y residents that they will also have to absorb the shortfall. This is very simple to understand Joey so I will say it one more time. Area Y cannot support itself which means Burien will have to spend more money to support it than what it brings in. If Burien is already short for Burien, it will be worse with area Y. If the tax credit has to be spent on police as Mike Martin has said, this leaves no extra for anything else in the shortfall for area Y or Burien. I believe you are falling into the trap of buying into the NHUAC and Burien staff propoganda. Even though you speak as just a citizen, you are still mentioning you are a planning commissioner so people are going to think that you know better and have an insiders perspective. For that reason, you should not be giving out false information.

      • Debi Wagner says:

        I also understand people gave a count of the honking your vote against annexation at the council meeting. I was standing outside and I heard far more honking than what was reported. I would say honks averaged 2 to one against annexation. This is in keeping with the 2800 signatures of people against for area X which was double the votes in favor during the election.

        • Joey Martinez says:

          So there were anti-honks? How was that measured and how does that even work?

          Joey Martinez

          • John Poitras says:

            To honk or not to honk Joey.. THAT is the question! LOL

          • Debi Wagner says:

            Since the signs said honk if you are against annexation all the honks were anti annexation honks. And there were 100 honks. People who did not honk either don’t understand what is going on or were Debra George. Everyone who took the time to read the sign honked. Everyone who understands that costs of annexation may exceed the budgeted resources honked. Most people don’t understand though what you are up to. And since the city has staff and mailers and resources they think they can spend on spreading propoganda, most of the people in area Y won’t know the real story either. But if people in Burien knew the real risks you are taking with THEIR money, they would be honking all day throughout the city. In fact, maybe that’s a good idea! I’m going to do it.

      • Joey Martinez says:

        Mrs Wagner, no has ever said that the $5 million/year can or will be used to pay for CIP in North Highline. That is illegal and I have only heard anti-annexation persons make this claim, over and over and over again.

        For the record: The Sales tax credit CANNOT and WILL not be used to pay for CIP.

        You’re either not understanding the crux of my arguement or are trying to obfuscate and misdirect the conversation.

        We could have our rich uncle Bill Gates write a check for $77 million today and within 12 months you will see another $77 million in needed CIP pop up. CIP NEVER goes away.

        You’re forgetting that North Highline does have a substantial sales tax and property tax base and that also brings in money. I feel like you’ve discounted that portion of the equation. I believe that, like North Burien, the revenue was understated and costs overstated – especially on the sales tax potential.

        Joey Martinez

        • Debi Wagner says:

          No Joey, you are misunderstanding what I said. You said annexation can “help plug some of this gap.” You were talking about the budget deficit. I asked in my comments basically how in the world can this happen when area Y is short to pay for itself, Burien is short to pay for itself and all the tax credit is absorbed by the police contract? And assessments are down meaning the predictions for area Y revenue are too high, by 19%! That is another couple of million plus the fire district couple of million plus the CIP plus the list goes on and on with problems with Berk’s predictions. BTW, the 43 million is Berk’s CIP figure not Seattle. Seattle’s is 77 to 92 million which was the reason Seattle said they can’t afford area Y. If Burien had any sense at all they would have said the 43 million is too high so they couldn’t afford to annex, but oh no, they didn’t see it and neither do you.

        • John Poitras says:

          Joey the revenue from Area X was OVERSTATED.. The City Finance Director revealed that a couple of weeks ago.. You are using data that is out of date.
          It is interesting to note we would not have known that before the vote if Mr Martin and the pro-annexation vote suppression motion to have the election in August had passed.

          • Joey Martinez says:

            Mr Poitras, I’m interested in where that was revealed. I am assuming that this is from the July 23rd meeting? I listened to the meeting and didn’t hear her mention that specifically. Can you please do me the favor and let me know where that was cited? You can e-mail it to me if you’d like.


            Joey Martinez

        • Eric says:

          When I saw the signs some said “Honk if you are against increased taxes,” or something similar. So, some of those who honked could have been pro annexation and against higher taxes.

  13. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Joey, It’s good to know who you represent on your posts! Personal opinions are one thing and you representing the city is another. Please keep it up. Eaton

  14. Erik Robbins says:

    What was up with the near fight at the Council meeting?

  15. John Poitras says:

    Joey.. You obviously don’t work with numbers or budgets much and don’t understand risk assessment. I am sure you are good at some things but math is apparently not one of them.
    Let me make it simple for you.. If the Berk report is that inaccurate in their forecast just a year out.. 10 YEARS is a wing and a prayer.. Obviously what WAS revenue neutral a year ago …now is NOT revenue neutral.

    Lets go down the path you are trying to lead is in and assume the 5 million tax credit is real, reimbursable and stays in place for 10 years.. OBVIOUSLY even if these statements are true we will be at least 5 million in the red when the tax credit runs out.

    I think that you are doing the residents of Burien a real disservice by supporting a potential fiscal disaster as something that would happen anyway if annexation was put off. That a bunch of malarkey. That is just parroting your good buddies Mike Martin and Jerry Robison’s false and misleading propaganda.
    I am not using ” tactics” like you claim, I don’t have to .. Unlike you I am not trying to hide the hard truths I am just stating the fiscal facts as they exist today..
    You refuse to acknowledge that for reasons I can only guess at, but patronizing the before mentioned parties seems to be your main concern not financial welfare of the current residents of Burien or the residents of Area Y.

    • Joey Martinez says:

      Mr Poitras, I guess what you said at the meeting on Monday (being respectful to each other) was empty talk much like your talking points against annexation. You’ve polluted many good hardworking citizens with your skewed math picking and choosing what you want to present. I’ve always looked at the big picture of annexation AS A WHOLE, and I stand by that it is in Burien’s best interests to annex.

      I will admit my strong suit isn’t math, but RESEARCH is! This is why I brought up the budget gap in Novembe/December of 2011. It’s on the record sir! Both on this blog and on video. Welcome to the party, you’re a bit late.

      Joey Martinez

      • mike says:


        The $5M martin speaks of will not come to be. Its proven on the City of Kent’s website. Twice the size, not even half the $5M.(you know, where martin was run out of). This annexation is a disaster waiting to happen. Your research is more like drinking martin and robinson’s koolaid. I said it before, I’ll say it again, Joey get on the right side of no annexation. It will make you feel better to be honest about things. Just sayin…

        • Joey Martinez says:

          Ok Mike, let’s put this to bed once and for all. Kent gets WAY more annexation sales tax credit than Burien does . Victory is yours! Success for you! Take a victory lap around the stadium! (sorry watching Olympics). Kent got $3,463,594.92 last year as an FYI.

          • Joey Martinez says:

            Oh wait… this is true for North Burien. Burien received $509,672.98 last year from the annexation of Area X (North Burien). The credit amount for North Burien is based on RCW 82.14.415 section 3, subsection a, part i, which states: .1% for each area with a population greater than 10k and less than 20k. (Section 4 subsection a exempts this portion from the next paragraph – locking in the North Burien sales tax credit.)

            The section pertaining to Area Y (North Highline) is:RCW 82.14.415 Section 3, subsection b, which states: .85% for each area with a population greater than 16k (Area Y is about 17k-19k) IF one of the cities trying to annex an area is greater than 400k (Seattle is the only city that fits that size). Section 4, subsection c limits this to $5,000,000 per year.

            Section 2 of RCW 82.14.415 says that this is a credit against the state portion of the sales tax. Multiply $9,487,114.35 by .1 and you’d get what Burien is eligible for in Area X (North Burien) before other restrictions knock it down to the $509k.

          • Joey Martinez says:

            Ok, quick run to McDonald’s and purchase ONE item off the dollar menu. How much did you pay? $1.10 right?

            A buck went to McD’s and 10 cents went to the government in the form of sales tax.

            Normally, the tax rate on that dollar goes as follows: 6.5 cents(.065) of your sales tax goes to the state. Burien gets 3.0 cents (.030). (Sound Transit gets .9 cents (.009) and the difference, well the government goes ahead and holds that for you, in the general fund.

            In 2010 – Burien’s portion (3 cents from Sales Tax) brought in $4,006,567.64

            In 2011 – Burien’s portion (3 cents from Sales Tax) brought in $4,378,668.16 which is an increase of 9.29%. This means the state brought in $9,487,114.35 on their 6.5 cents in Burien.

          • Joey Martinez says:

            Mike, multiply $9,487,114.35 by .85 and you will see that Burien is eligible for $8,064,047.20 BEFORE Section 4 subsection c limits this to $5 million.
            This is all before Area Y’s sales tax is added to the mix. We’re still capped at $5 million, but we have PLENTY of room for the credit.

          • Joey Martinez says:

            Opps Copy/Pasted some of these out of order… The paragraph starting with “Section 2 “belongs above the “Mike Mulitiply…” paragraph.

            Mike I do feel better, thanks!

            Joey Martinez

          • John Poitras says:

            Joey in case you missed it $3,463,594.92 is a lot less than $5 Million. The whole subject is just a red herring anyway.. its a distraction from what is going to be a large deficit even if we as you claim get the $5 Million to help alleviate that costs of annexation. But no worries “Joey” “more taxes” has a solution to fill that hole and he is proud of it.

      • John Poitras says:

        Joey… Pollution I think is a good description for a lot of your rhetoric.. I try and be respectful to you but your repeated avoidance of the facts and figures that I have presented is not being respectful to me or to anyone else that cares about the fiscal health of the city of Burien and its ill fated annexation proposal.
        You don’t address the specifics you try and hide the truth in generalities.. Annexation as a WHOLE contains a lot of parts all of which are supposed to add up to a revenue neutral equation .. THEY DON’T! You apparently like a few arrogant members on our council refuse to address that or to even acknowledge it.. On your part that is your prerogative but its extremely annoying. However on the part of these council members its shameful and disrespecting. These people were elected to represent the city of Burien not just their cliques of which you are a member of.

  16. Millie O'Hara says:

    Joey I can’t believe you are comparing little old Burien with a rich city like Kent. Kent has a huge tax base. Many businesses are leaving Burien because our taxes are too high already. Burien’s government is very suppressive to Business and if it doesn’t change more will be leaving. You can’t get blood out of a turnip. You are looking for all of the facts,
    but many are hidden.

    • Joey Martinez says:

      Mrs O’Hara, I didn’t make that comparison to Kent. Mr Rangel and Area Y Mike as well as others say that Burien’s tax credit would be less than Kent’s credit. They are correct in relation to the way the law is written as it pertains to Area X (North Burien).

      They are incorrect as it pertains to Area Y (North Highline). That is the crux of my arguement. It can be argued that the $5 million COULD be taken away (though HIGHLY unlikely now). But to say that we would not collect that $5 million is not accurate. My posts above lay out how the law works.

      Businesses are not leaving because of taxes. I hear Goodie Gum Drops was moving to Ballard, where B&O taxes are way higher. Why are they moving? That is a question for them.


      Joey Martinez

      • Neil says:

        Why is Goodie Gum Drops leaving, Ask them??? Joey you are in the planning commission….YOU SHOULD BE ASKING THESE QUESTIONS.

        This is what happens when we have a rogue city manager appoint his puppets to important posts in our city. We have an unqualified person leading CARES and look at the response we get from our city planning commission member on businesses leaving our town. Unbelievable….

        • Joey Martinez says:

          Perhaps IF I were a part of the BEDP (Burien Economic Development Program) you could use that arguement against me. (I am not on the BEDP).

          Joey Martinez

          • Joey Martinez says:

            *** This is my personal opinion in no way endorsed or sponsored by the city.

            Neil, the question is a good and simple one however the answer is pretty complex. The role of the planning commission is to remove the politics from land use as much as possible.

            Let’s pretend that a mega developer from San Fransico wanted to build a stadium in Burien. AGAIN this is pretend. It is the job of the planning commission, with city staff help, to evaluate where in the comprehensive plan a stadium COULD fit. The commission would evaluate things like Utilities requirements, traffic mitigation, as well as, it seems, a million other things. The commission would then give a recommendation to the Council and they could accept, reject, or modify as they see fit.

            The planning commission wouldn’t say “Hey we need a stadium….” the planning commission would say “This stadium is/isn’t feasible” to the council and we do/don’t recommend it”.

            I hope that helps clear the muddy waters.

            Joey Martinez

        • Neil says:

          The planning commission is responsible for giving the City Council advice on direction for Buriens future growth and land use. If you don’t care to understand why businesses are living Burien how would you objectively give advice on commercial/industrial land use. Are you thinking “build it and they will come” ?

      • publius II says:


        First allow me to commend you for acknowleding that the state law does in fact state the credit is “against the state tax” not against the total retail sales of Burien. This seems to be part of the problem in discussing this issue. Why some people insist that the .85 percent is against the total retail sales, I don’t know. Even Rep Joe Fitzgibbon, who was quoted by one of the speakers at the council meeting, is calculating his idea of the tax credit against the total retail sales of Burien.

        Okay now for that stubborn issue of math. Your inderstanding of the law is good but the application of the law is a bit off. You correctly stated above that the credit maximum is .85 percent. Note the decimal point. Then later you say to multiply $9,487,114 (the city’s slaes tax) by 85 percent and therefore Burien is eligible for over $ 8 million. Try that again with a decimal point .85 percent. That is a good deal different in tax credit.

        Does this not make you wonder about the why of those who claim Burien will receive $ 5million for ten years?

        • Joey Martinez says:

          Publisus II, at first I thought I messed up but….

          .85 x 9487114.00 = 8038546.9

          In Dollars and cents… $8,038,546.90

          Remember there is a maximum cap of $5 million per year so we don’t get the full $8 million.

          Try that on a Ti-84!!!

          Joey Martinez

          • publius II says:


            You did mess up.

            Again let us get to that stubborn math issue. Remedial math. There is a difference between 85 % and .85%. The two are not the same nor interchangeable. When someone writes 85 percent or % that is 85 percent of the whole (100%). Let us use $100 for this example. 85% of $100 is $85.

            However (.)85% is actually 85/100 of one percent. Using the $100 example above .85 % of $100 is actually 85 cents – not dollars. One percent is one dollar.

            85 percent of the $9+ million sales tax would be the $8 million+ you mentioned BUT that is not what the law provides. It specifically states .85 percent. maximum.

            Tried both numbers on my Ti84 and my Ti BA II. They both say that 85 percent and .85 percent are TWO distinctly different numbers. But then again if you put erroneus data into a computer or a calculator, it will always give you back erroneous answers.

            Is it possible that there are others who are in govenment and do not understand basic (decimal) mathematics ???

  17. Joey Martinez says:

    Mr Poitras, et al, if you haven’t noticed here is my personal policy on when I comment.

    I generally comment when I feel something is factually incorrect and misleading. Hence my post on proving that Burien is elgible for the $5 million. There is no question that we are elgible for that full $5 million for 10 years as the law stands now. Saying otherwise is misleading and false.

    I don’t generally comment when someone expresses an opinion.This whole “Mike Martin is the devil” talk or “annexation will be the ruin of Burien” talk…. all each posters opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion! This is America!

    I consider your claims of “ruin” to be your opinion and such I don’t comment on them. I personally feel they’re short-sighted and ignoring the BIG PICTURE, but you’re entitled to your opinion. This is America! We don’t have to agree!

    Joey Martinez

    • Debi Wagner says:

      Joey: If we truly are entitled to the full 5 million (not that I think it will help much since it’s purpose is for the expanded police force according to Mike Martin) then why does Berk, the professional consulting firm Burien hired, have the tax credit amount at under 5 million for the first year and several other years including under 3 million for one of those years out of 10? Were they using a different type of calculation method or were they just plain wrong?

      • Joey Martinez says:

        Mrs Wagner, you and I were both at the 2nd annexation informational meeting where this was explained twice by the “evil” Mike Martin. You yourself asked a question as to why we wouldn’t get the full amount the first year but would the next 9 years. You asked if it was because incorporation would not go through until after the beginning of the year, most likely in April.

        Joey Martinez

  18. Fred says:

    To Joey, the trained parrot of MM-
    If you weren’t such a constant, know it all nuisance on this blog, I would feel sorry for you because you clearly do not know how to figure out the sales tax credit issue. I suggest that you contact the Wash.State Dept. of Revenue before you do any more of your magic math on this blog. But then maybe you real goal is to confuse and muddy the issue so that people do not understand the truth. That seems to be the approach that Mike Martini uses rather than just presenting the up front real facts on annexation. Even the Boundary Review Board members stated that the math Burien used for its annexation application did not make sense. Joey, you were there at that meeting and heard them say that.

  19. Joey Martinez says:

    Fred, if you can’t beat the truth attacking me personally is all that is left I guess – said the parrot.

    Please do us the favor of calling DoR and have them break it down for you and report to us on the blog. Copy/Paste what I wrote (all of it now) and ask them to evaluate it for you. Make sure you cite the proper statutes because if you use the incorrect one you will get incorrect numbesr much like Mr Rangel has been getting.


    Joey Martinez

  20. Joey Martinez says:

    I just got this e-mail from a “spooky” confidential source. AND I just got a bounce back from the fake e-mail address. I am copy/pasting portions of it but the gist of it is that APPARENTLY some that are anti-annexation KNOW that the $5 million is real but are trying to muddy the water (again with the muddy water!) to scare people into being against annexation.

    If the source is credible this is not good. It’s one thing to minimize things AGAINST your position while highlighting the posititive FOR your position but to knowingly distort facts is unethical in my opinion. SHAME on you.

    I’m filing a public disclosure request for for this e-mail as soon as I get home tonight WITH Metadata.

    • Joey Martinez says:

      The only edits I made was to reverse the order to read top down to make it easily readable AND removed the personally identifiable information (email address, phone number, address…)

      E-MAIL: [email protected]

      PHONE: (206) xxx – xxxx

      SUBJECT: Tax Credit for Annexation


      JOE.. You are being quoted by Mike Martin city manager of Burien and Gerald Robison Councilman as claiming that the sales tax credit will represent an annual revenue stream of $5 Million from White Center Area Y for the city of BURIEN to use as they see fit.

      First Joe … Are you guaranteeing that the revenue generated from the sales tax collected will be enough to reach this $5 Million revenue target?

      The most recent figures I have seen indicate that even if the $5Million tax credit continues to be renewed that the ACTUAL TAXES COLLECTED will NOT reach this target figure of $5 Million dollars. Were you aware of this? Are you stating this is not correct?
      If so is the state going to make up the difference?

      Please advise

      John Poitras


      From: “Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon”
      To: “[email protected]
      Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:21:32 PM
      Subject: RE: Constituent: Tax Credit for Annexation

      John – attached is information from the Department of Revenue regarding the revenue that Burien would be due under RCW 82.14.415 if it annexes Area Y (based on 2011 taxable sales figures). The total amount available at the 0.85% credit level would be $5,137,646, though the RCW 82.14.415(4)(c) caps the total amount available under this subsection at $5 million. I’m not sure what figures you have seen that indicate that the amount due to Burien would fall below $5 million, as this is currently the best information we have at the state level.

      Joe Fitzgibbon


      Subject: Re: Constituent: Tax Credit for Annexation
      From: [email protected]
      To: “Fitzgibbon, Rep. Joe”

      Thanks Joe..

      I will forward this on to the folks that have come up with a different calculation and will get back to you if there are any discrepancies or unknowns that impact the calculations so we can all be on the same page with this.

      Thanks again for getting back to me ! The input is much appreciated as there is a certain amount of confusion over the calculation here.

      Best Regards,


      • Joey Martinez says:

        Additionally, and I am paraphrasing what they wrote, because it could be used to ID them,

        They said they couldn’t believe how much in this post alone the facts were blatantly twisted to try and muddy the water.

        (this is copy pasted again)

        Mike: Especially the accountant from the IRS that shot a HUGE hole in the tax credit…

        BTW greive, a nice gentleman from the IRS (retired) shot a huge hole in the tax credit scam martin has been running around telling everyone would be $5Million.

        The $5M martin speaks of will not come to be.

        Wagner: That money is also not up front…it comes after money has been spent as a reduction in what Burien pays the state in sales tax collection…

        …If we truly are entitled to the full 5 million…

        Poitras: Lets go down the path you are trying to lead is in and assume the 5 million tax credit is real, reimbursable and stays in place for 10 years.. OBVIOUSLY even if these statements are true…

        …even if we as you claim get the $5 Million…

        Publius II: Does this not make you wonder about the why of those who claim Burien will receive $ 5million for ten years?

        Fred: …you clearly do not know how to figure out the sales tax credit issue…. your real goal is to confuse and muddy the issue so that people do not understand the truth…. Even the Boundary Review Board members stated that the math Burien used for its annexation application did not make sense

        Joey (Shocked) Martinez

      • Joey Martinez says:

        This post is “moderated” and waiting approval. Probably because of the length?

        Joey Martinez

  21. Tainted says:

    We found out William Forest was really John Poitras a few weeks ago. Now we find out that John Poitras knew the truth about the $5 million and still lied about it. I now distrust everything that man has ever said. He and everyone he conspires with is now tainted. This is hurtful to our cause John Poitras. There are plenty of strong reasons to be against annexation but you have tainted us with your lies. 🙁

  22. Debi Wagner says:

    Now just hang on a minute here, hold your horses. You talk about confuse and muddy? Who is guilty of that? Joey, you said it is 8 million, Joe said it is slightly over 5 million, Berk said it is a little over 4 million the first year and under three million in 2014. One person who has a vast background in research for government agencies says the language in the law about whether it is a reduction in the state portion of the tax or comes off the top of retail sales is the crux of the argument. Something to also consider is that portion is reduced in the future. Berk never has it at 5 million for all ten years. And Joey, if your argument is correct about reduced for first year due to length of time, this in no way explains year two which is a full year and less than 3 million or an amount even lower than the first year. And to be clear about who knows what…this question has already gone through several departments at the state level for clarification and apparently nobody is absolutely sure yet on paper how it is calculated. Note Berk used a PAA gap figure that nobody is talking about yet. Want to try and explain that?

    • Joey Martinez says:

      The difference in my 8 million number and Mr Fitzgibbon’s number is that i included the entire sales tax while DoR says that a portion of the sales tax credit is ineligible because it is dedicated for schools. schools are short changed as it is and no body wants extra money diverted from schools. I think we can agree on that right?

      That makes sense to me.

      Joey Martinez

    • mike says:

      I agree with you Ms. Wagner about how confusing this whole calculation is. Apparently no one understands it. I “assumed” (my bad) the accountant guy at the meeting from the IRS was correct. I’m still not sure that he isn’t. I’m not discounting what you said Joey, I’m just more unsure than ever now.

      Regardless, the $5mil wont fix all the issues in Area Y. The whole idea of annexing at this time seems to be a step in the wrong direction because of the budget deficit in Burien. If they cant afford to pay for what they have now, why take over an area that cant support itself either? If I was in debt and couldn’t afford my payments, why would I go buy something I had to make more payments on?

  23. TcB says:

    aw man…. I was hoping to snag the 100th comment about this….. : (

  24. Debi Wagner says:

    Ive not once used an alias while commenting on annexation ever! And I’m not defending John although he might consider me a friend, I’m trying to show Joey that figuring out the tax credit is not so simple, and speaking of aliases how many have you used nowTainted?

  25. Tainted says:

    Long time reader, third time poster Debi. I use an alias because while I oppose the take over of white center I no longer want to be linked to this group. I signed the 2800 person petition. I don’t agree with Joey either and at first I thought he was full of it as usual but then I did my own math. I thought you had him but the schools part is believeable too.

    I just feel lied to and dejected and to be honest I feel let down. I always though we had the moral high ground but it turns out we are filthy pigs in the same mud as pro-take over people. I see our arguement in a different light and it doesn’t look pretty.

  26. Kingston2012 says:

    You know, this same article is posted on the White Center blog and only one person, the Cover of Night, has the wherewithal to comment there to the people that it makes a difference to and can decide if annexation happens or not..

    Joey “one-trick pony” Martinez has successfully engaged everyone here with his Obama-style math and hollow justifications to keep your voices away from the ears of the people in White Center who need to be informed of the disaster that awaits them, which is the City of Burien government!

    Time to take the fight to the new battleground…it’s only a short distance as the crow flies…!

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