LETTER: ‘Who is Funding and Running the Area Y Annexation Campaign?
To the Editor –
Who is funding and running the Area Y/North Highline/White Center annexation campaign?
Why is annexation being pressed for so hard right now by Burien politicians?
In the local blogs and media sources for Burien and White Center it is assumed that the Pro Annexation Campaign is being pushed for and funded by Area Y/White Center residents. This is not true!
The People For Burien PAC has not been transparent in who is donating to it and running it. People For Burien PAC was established in 2006 with Jerry Robison (at his attorney address) and Liz Giba (a current North Highline Fire Commissioner for North Highline) as the co-chairs and Stephen Lamphear (ex Burien City Council member) as the Treasurer. It was filed as an ongoing PAC. In June- 2012, the PAC was re-filed but listed Lamphear as the only officer. As it filed to use mini-reporting, it did not have to disclose its donors and expenditures to the public until 8 days before the election. So no one has really known who is behind People For Burien PAC until now.
Now that the 8 days period has required People For Burien’s books be open for viewing, and they show that the majority of the donors as well as the leadership for this PAC- are Burien Council members (Bennett, Clark, McGilton, Robison), ex-Burien Council members (Shaw, Lamphear) and members of the Burien Planning Commission (Clingan, Duff, Helms), Water Commissioners (Coy, Prichard). This pro annexation PAC is being driven by Burien politicians and the small membership of the NHUAC.
Pro annexation is being supported very heavily by the King County Executive and his office because he wants to get the management and expenses of Area Y/White Center off of his books. He and his office have no concern of what future impact this has on Area Y/White Center residents, Burien residents or the financial impact it will have the citizens of both areas. The average citizens of Area Y don’t know what this annexation is really about or who is pushing for it. And Burien citizens have been allowed no voice in whether they want this annexation or not.
So why is annexation being pushed so hard by the pro annexation PAC, Dow Constantine/ King County Executive and the some Burien politicians?
- The Burien politicians in this expose see this as a way to solve their short term money problems and to do a land grab. It is also a way for aspiring politicians to get into Burien politics and climb the political ladder.
- Dow Constantine/King County Executive, Joe Mc Dermott/King County Council Member and Joe Fitzgibbon/State Rep. see it as a way to get Area Y off of King County’s books.
- Burien politician and City Manager, Mike Martin could see this as a way to fluff up his resume and perhaps seek other employment. He has been unpopular with many Burien citizens and some city staff for his management style, lack of concern for citizen input, drinking problems and financial processes. Also, a larger city base could increase his salary and his retirement.
- The North Highline Fire Commission sees it as a way to solve its financial problems.
However, the residents of Area Y and Burien deserve better than the above reason for why they should pay more taxes and end up getting less service. While annexation appears to be a win-win situation for all of the politicians involved, it means lots more taxes and less services for Area Y residents.
The Independent White Center PAC (Political Action Committee) is opposed to annexation for the financial reason that Burien cannot afford to fund and manage this area and its residents in the long term. The Independent White Center PAC selected to go the long form for reporting to the PDC (Public disclosure Commission) and so its donors and operation have always been open to the public. Both Mark Ufkes and Don Malo have always made it known that they are working for this PAC. Both Don and Mark are business owners, community leaders and residents in White Center.
I think in the interest of public disclosure and transparency these facts should be revealed to all the residents of the Burien and of the proposed annexation area.
– John Poitras
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