LETTER: Did Oct. 4 NHUAC Annexation Forum Violate PDC Guidelines?

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Dear B-Town Blog:

The October 4, 2012 supposed informational forum sponsored by the NHUAC, struck me as a political rally put on by the King County Executive’s Office to promote the annexation on Area Y/White Center/North Highline to Burien.

The letter (download PDF here) from Dow Constantine /King County Executive read by Joe McDermott, that supposedly was sent out to every North Highline resident, was clearly a campaign effort at an informational meeting in a manner that makes the agency appear to be supporting a ballot measure. According to the Public Discloure Commission’s (PDC) Guidelines for Local Government Agencies in Election Campaigns, page 6 this activity is not allowed.

Also, I had questions about who was really sponsoring the production and payment for the mailing of this letter. Even though the letter supposedly was written and mailed to North Highline residents on October 1, 2012, none of my friends have still received this letter through the U.S. mail as of yet. So the question still remains who is paying for the production and mailing of this campaign material?

Additionally the according to PDC Guidelines, The King County Executive shall not use public resources to operate a speakers’ bureau in a manner that may be viewed as promoting a ballot measure. Karen Freeman’s presentation joined with that of Joe McDermott’s presentation – both from King County – appeared to be promoting a ballot measure.

Other things that bothered me about the Oct. 4, 2012 supposedly informational meeting were:

1. The letter and the way it was presented did not seem to be consistent with the normal practices of the agency (such as newsletters, websites, or some other format)? – This violates the PDC’s requirement.

2. Was the information provided in an objective and fair presentation of the facts? This is a requirement of the PDC. I did not feel it was. Is King County going out to all of the 6 areas that have not annexed to cities and delivering the same type of presentation and facts right now or is this presentation solely being used to promote a ballot measure to the residents of North Highline? Is the King County Executive personally sending to all of those residents of the six areas a letter telling them to annex up right now or even sending a letter telling them that their roads were going to be ground to dust? The message that most people took away from this meeting was that if North Highline did not annex now everything was going to immediately fall apart-roads ground to gravel. I saw no figures or future projection sheets or models of King County’s budget situation or no revenue in vs. expenses out sheet presented.

3. Do the materials accurately present the costs and other anticipated impacts of the ballot measure?-This is another requirement of the PDC. I did not see any budget sheets, spread sheets or cost analysis presented by the County on this ballot issue. What I did hear was a lot of scare stories about what was going to happen to Tier 5 roads.

I wrote to the County about who was paying for and sponsoring this letter that came from the King County Executive and was told this:

“Thank you for your email to the King County Executive’s Office.

State law prohibits the use of public facilities or public money for campaign purposes. However, public employees-including public officials-have the same right as any citizen to endorse, donate to, or volunteer for political campaigns. I have pasted the relevant state law at the bottom of this email. RCW 42.17A.555.

The letter from Executive Constantine that you cite was his own opinion and was produced outside of work, using his own time and materials.


James Bush, Communications Specialist for King County Executive Dow Constantine “

To me, as a citizen, this did not seem to be just a letter produced by just Executive Constantine on his own private time because for one thing he signed it Dow Constantine, King County Executive. It appeared to be a concerted effort by all of the representatives of King County at what was a supposed informational meeting to try to scare the residents of Area Y/White Center/ North Highline and the media into believing that annexation must happen right now. Eric Mathison of the Highline Times appears to have reported it that way from what he heard at the forum.

Its also interesting to note ALL the players in this dog and pony show were either former staffers or employees of Dow Constantine, like Sharon Nelson and Karen Freeman or Staffers of Staffers like Fitzgibbons and beholding to Dow Constantine politically like Joe McDermott. It looks like he put political pressure on these folks to help him convince the residents to vote for annexation so he could clear the big red ink off of the Counties balance sheet.

I am inclined to see this as a cheap media trick by the County Executive to influence this election. I also believe that what happened at that forum violates the rules of the PDC.

I also do not understand why the city of Burien did not attach some strings to this annexation so that if it did result in fiscal disaster that the county would be responsible for helping make up the shortfall. This IMO is a deal breaker and Mr Martin did ill served the current residents of Burien and the residents of Area Y by failing to negotiate this with Dow when in fact Burien is holding a very strong position from which to negotiate. Sharon Nelson’s consolation that if it doesn’t work out the city can lobby the state emphasizes this fact. Even if you support annexation its a no-brainer that the residents of Area Y should turn down the current annexation proposal and hold out for a better deal from the County.

John Poitras

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23 Responses to “LETTER: Did Oct. 4 NHUAC Annexation Forum Violate PDC Guidelines?”
  1. Ivan Weiss says:

    Another day, another frantic letter to B-Town Blog, another hollow bang in the drumbeat of desperation and disinformation, paranoia and conspiracy theories from the ever-dwindling anti-annexation cult.

    Address your concerns to the PDC, John, or whatever name you’re posting under today. They will be glad to determine for you if a violation has taken place. When they report back to that there was no violation, you can deliver another screed claiming that PDC is in cahoots with the EEEEEEEEVIL County Executive and the EEEEEEEEVIL Burien City Manager.

    I attended that forum, and Mike Martin summed it up best for me (I’m paraphrasing here; I don’t remember his exact words): “Do these people think it’s my intent to bankrupt the city of Burien?”

  2. Coverofnight says:

    John, I agree with Ivan the Terrible that you should address the concerns with the PDC. The liberal agenda consistently bends and breaks the rules for their own needs and will use the same to suppress freedom and the rule of law. All Washington democrats are experts in these tactics. Contact the PDC (or maybe even the local media) and we’ll see where they stand, too.

    As for Ivan’s last paragraph – that’s a dumba$$ statement…..it’s a defensive question posed to misdirect someone away from the real issues, his real agenda…..I don’t think he cares one way or the other if the city goes bankrupt as long as his self-interests (and other council members interests) are served.

  3. Fred says:

    To Ivan Weiss-

    You fancy yourself as a big cheese in the 34th Dems party and live on the elitist Vashon Island as does Sharon Nelson. Most of the decisons made by your Dems group favor West Seattle and your island. However, you always try to tell us in White Center and Burien how we should vote without asking our opinion on candidates or issues-or where we can get the best and most services for our population. You consider us the uneducated low, lives that live in South King County to politically manipulate. And every chance you get, you slither on our blogs and media sites to try to sway the conversation. You are a notorious drum beater and screamer. If you are so interested in our affairs, buy a house in one of the two communities, live with our problems, pay our taxes and live with our debts and dilemmas. Dare to live in communities that have great diversity, many people of color, new comers to the country with vast needs and no resources for them. Stop hiding on cushy, quaint Vashon Island.

    Also you, Sharon Nelson, Joe Mc Dermott and Brian Bennett/Burien City Mayor are deeply beholding to Dow Constantine for political position and power and do his bidding at the drop of a hat. Bennett is so hungry to advance in a State or County political position he would throw Burien and White Center under the bus in a heart beat. He wants to remain the new star boy on the Dems farm team. As to your quote by Mike Martin, Martin does not give a rat’s behind about Burien. He is a professional politicial who constantly drifts from position to position. He plans to retire in a couple of years and plans to leave whatever mess he has made behind for the residents of Burien and White Center to try to clean up. He knows Burien will be broke and frankly doesn’t care because he will have his pension and another city to live in.

    Notice that Sharon Nelson didn’t deny that Burien is going to be in very serious debt in 10 years a -23% deficit. An ethical politican would have urged Burien to try to balance out its budget problems before considering annexation. Instead, Sharon-who may not be in office in 10 years-urged Burien and the citizens at that meeting to go to Olympia and seek a bail out if Burien is broke in 10 years-which it will be. And oh yah, the State and County-who are also in money problems – will be just dying to give Burien carloads of money to bail us out. This wasn’t fiscally responsible advise but it promotes Dow’s agenda to get White Center off his hands. Ivan, Find a Vashon Island site to blog on and stay out of our business or move here and start paying taxes.

  4. Brent Nordman says:

    John If you were so concerned that the meeting was violating the PDC guidelines, why didn’t you contact the PDC first and then report their finding to the blog. This is another attempt to get your name in the blog and put out the crap that you love to spew. When the PDC says that they were not in violation of any rules, are you going to write to the blog and report that or will that letter just happen do disappear.

    • John Poitras says:

      Brent or whatever your real name is.. Attack and distract is your style. Anyone keeping their eye on the ball with a lick of objective common sense can see from the facts that the dog and pony show on Oct 4th was just that a dog and pony show.

      Are you so wrapped up in your own rhetoric that you are unable to comprehend that annexation as it is currently framed is a BAD DEAL FOR BURIEN.

      Mr Martin could and should have negotiated a parachute or a firewall however you want to frame it with the County, before committing the tax payers of my city to a empire building endeavor where the plus’s do not balance out with the minus’s. Fiscally muddy waters and lack of accountability or a current budget plan including the annexation area are the elephants in the living room. Annexation in its current reincarnation is potentially a huge fiasco. This is obvious to me.
      Btw the wheels of government grind slowly and complaining to the PDC (which is an option) will not help much at this point as far as the referendum goes, because the damage has already been done by Dow and his political cronies.
      I am just trying to ameliorate the fallout.
      You and this out of towner political hack Ivan Weiss are a perfect example of why it necessary to comment here on the reality of the situation. You are not pulling the wool over my eyes and I hope anyone that pays taxes in Burien or cares about the future of our city can see through the smoke and look past the mirrors that the pro-annexation crowd has been using to push their agenda.

  5. Brent Nordman says:

    John I find it very funny that you would call me Brent or whatever your name is after you got caught red handed using William Forest and one of your biggest supporters is Coverofnight. Every time you write you think you are some well informed scholar giving us your wonderful words of wisdom and yet it is the same dribble you spout out all the time. You try to cut down anybody that does not agree with while you accuse them of being negative.
    Get a clue, John, only a hand full of people agree with you and the rest of us feel sorry for you that you are such a negative and nasty old man. Haven’t you noticed that when you walk into a meeting all the people smile shake their heads.
    I am sure the whole state of Washington is in on this big conspiracy to annex North Highline to Burien.
    Give us your thoughts on the John F Kennedy conspiracy and at least entertain us when you write.

    • Ivan Weiss says:

      At this point, ridicule is the only response that is necessary for these people. How they, or anybody else on this planet, can state with such absolute certainty that Burien will be broke in 10 years is beyond me. It’s every bit as likely that there would be a building and investment boom that a larger Burien would benefit from, bringing all the revenue necessary to handle the ongoing costs of an annexed Area Y with ease.

      But cult members never open their minds to possibilities other than what the cult believes.

    • John Poitras says:

      Brent.. lol

      Typical comment from you … worthy of Lutz who was banned from this blog and whom I believe you to be… You manufacture a lot of smoke but nothing addressing the substance of the situation.. I am glad you feel comfortable as part of your NHUAC pack but the fact remains is you represent a miniscule part of the residents and as much as you like to claim otherwise thats a fact. Let leave it up to the real voters to decide rather than blowing smoke into the wind like you seem to enjoy so much..
      Btw I know who WIliam Forest is and you don’t; so we all get a big laugh at your expense when you jump to that incorrect conclusion because as usual you are just blowing smoke.

  6. elizabeth2 says:

    Cult members? Cult beliefs? I think that goes way out of line just because there are people who exercise their freedom to belief that annexation is not a wise idea.

    Democracy, yes, Cult, no!

    • Ivan Weiss says:

      Not everybody who opposes annexation is as closed-minded and dogmatic as this guy Poitras, and several others who comment on this blog, are. I can name quite a few opponents of annexation with whom it is possible to have a rational discussion.

      But not the lot who comment here. Only they are right, only they are unbiased, only they have the facts, the other side is incompetent, corrupt, dishonest, you name it. It’s time they got a dose of their own medicine.

      • John Poitras says:

        Ivan you don’t even live in Burien or area Y so why you think you are even relevant to the conversation tells me you have a huge ego and an exaggerated image of your own self importance..

        How about addressing some of the REAL ISSUES that have been raised with some actual facts and figures instead of expecting people to accept what you decree as the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The only cult members (as you call them) are those like you that either have their own agenda or are so close minded they just accept the party line without verifying the so called facts for themselves..

  7. jlutz says:

    Well John (aka William) Of course you know who William Forest is. LOOK IN A MIRROR. You honestly don’t think anybody is going to buy your story about William was at your home and used your computer. You simply forgot to change the name and email on the first part of your email and you signed it with your real name when you addressed it under your phony name. I guess you should be more careful when you are trying to deceive the public.
    By the way John, are you reading this posting? I guess you told another one of your factoids and I wasn’t banned from the blog. I have just been sitting back watching you make a fool of yourself.

    • John Poitras says:

      Oh so now its JLutz is it because you cannot post under Lutz..??
      You (Lutz) were banned for race baiting thats a fact JLutz.. Since then you have been hiding under other alias’s but your MO is the same.
      Oh and you are obviously totally computer illiterate otherwise you would understand that if someone was using a computer and someone else uses the same computer next that the name of the poster DEFAULTS to the previous user.
      As usual you resort to personal irrelevant attacks because the facts we have presented that show annexation at this time is a really BAD move for area Y , you are not able to counter with anything other that the vitriolic ignorant hate that you usually spew.

  8. jimmy says:

    can some contact john’s isp and have them unplug his internet for a day so we don’t have to put up his bs

    • John Poitras says:

      Al or Lutz or whatever NUHAC clown you are .. Back up your hate with some relevant facts or continue to be part of the problem because as always you add nothing real to the topic under discussion.

  9. Marlene Allbright says:

    I don’t believe that the annexation of North Highline is a democratic or republican issue. I have been anti-Burien annexation since I moved to the Top Hat area in 1995. Now I’m part of Burien. I know both Republicans and Democrats who are anti-Burien, and I know both Republicans and Democrats who are pro-Burien. I haven’t seen the figures that demonstrate unequivocally that Burien can afford to annex North Highline. Since annexation of area X, I have seen my home values go down (as have everyone’s), and my taxes go up. I still have potholes on my street, and 1st Avenue S. from Albertson’s to 116th is still unsafe for pedesrians.

    We all have our personal reasons why we choose one side or another on the annexation issue. Let’s not make it a Democratic or Republican issue. I prefer Seattle because of the Department of Neighborhoods, and I like the idea of being part of a real city. Other people have reasons such as keeping both the White Center Library and the Boulevard Park Library.

    The Top Hat area on 1st Avenue S. is a mess. Since Bernie the Butcher, and the diner moved out, that entire block has turned into a drug-dealing nightmare. King County has done nothing to improve the safety of that area.

    That said, I fully expect that the voters of North Highline will vote to annex to Burien. I think if that happens, we should all work together to make Burien a more attractive, safer place for its residents to live. What most of us want are good schools, great parks, attractive shops and safe streets. I suggest that after the election, we drop the vitriol and use that negative energy to make Burien a great place to live for everyone.

  10. Fred says:

    To Ivan Weiss-

    You obviously can’t read. Have some one read to you pages B-3 to B-5 of the Berk Report and the last letter Mike Martin sent out in the budget packet about Burien’s money problems. Burien is going broke.The King County assessor has made it clear that property values are anticipated not to come back until 2021-2022 and the property collection money Burien was depending on for this annexation will not be there. So Burien is not going to have any building/investment boom soon. By 2023, Burien will be at A MIN. -23% DEFICIT. Of course you have to read to know these things.

    If you can’t read, take, the written materials over to your elitist, Vashon Island neighbor, Sharon Nelson, to read them to you. Remember her. Remember when you were supposed to appoint a member from the 34th Dems to fill that State position. Sharon was not a member of the 34th Dems but you still cheated to get her appointed because she was Dow’s staffer and YES girl. Both you and Dow wanted someone to say YES to anything Dow wanted-just like your cult like folowers do to this annexation.
    Sharon could be depended on to march, unquestioningly to your dictates.The way the story goes around here in Burien and North Highline, you and Dow are mean spirited to even your own long time, loyal 34th Dems members when they refuse to obey you in a cult like way. Ignore the facts and no thinking allowed. Scream hard, distract and attack on the blog, if anyone gets too close to the truth. Send out phony letters that are purposefully unclear who paid for them.

    As you said, “But cult members never open their minds to possibilities other than what the cult believes.”

    To Brent Nordman-
    A non-taxpayer, non-resident to the area, non-area voter, pseudo-name like Daniel Bone, Daniel Boone,Dr. McDreamy, etc., etc, etc……

    • Joey Martinez says:

      Fred you see the ironies and hypocrisy in your post right? Please tell me you see them.

      1) Firstly, you and the anti-annexation folk deride the BERK report. Then you hold it upon high as proof.

      2) You’re only giving a part of the story on why BERK and Martin state Burien is expected to have a deficit. The structural deficit is setup by US, the people. Property taxes have been limited to 1% growth above the previous year. Since 2007 the rate of inflation (even with the GREAT Recession) has vastly outpaced the 1% limit. That’s 6 straight years of cuts that ALL cities have been having to make. Like the old saying goes, Love don’t pay the rent.

      The alternative to higher property taxes is… Utility taxes (extremely regressive) OR Sales taxes.

      3) Lastly, for now, you get the biggest hypocrisy right? You’re calling out Ivan Weiss and Brent Nordman (and others) for either using an alias or not living in the area. What’s your last name? Not that I care, but until you stop using a partial name you shouldn’t throw stones.

      Joey Martinez

      • Eaton B. Verz says:

        What’s your last name?

        DON”T DO IT FRED!!! Joey just wants to find out all about you.( He tried that with me and others) Make sure you are a registered voter among who knows what else!!! Caution! Even Gary Ridgeway seemed harmless at first!!

  11. Debi Wagner says:

    People closely connected with politicians or politicians themselves recommending using ridicule against residents who disagree with them…hmm sounds small minded and mean spirited to me. Hoping for a bailout in 10 years? Hoping for a boom to make annexation worthwhile? Is that because financially its a bad idea like we’ve said all along and you agree?

  12. John Poitras says:

    News Flash apparently the NHUAC has people going out door belling spreading the LIE that if residents do not vote for annexation then they will be annexed by Seattle without a vote.

    • 3TPDude says:

      Wrong again John/William/Fred.
      It’s called an inter-local agreement.
      Whereas one government entity(King County) cannot provide adequate services to an area(Area Y), it petitions or is petitioned by an adjacent government(Seattle) to transfer the assets and responsibilities of said area into it’s jurisdiction. In most cases it would involve a vote, but in some instances all it would take would be a vote by the respective governing councils.
      As you so often tell others, try doing your research before you bloviate.

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