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LETTER: Jack Block Jr. Responds to Deputy Mayor Rose Clark

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was read by Burien City Councilmember Jack Block Jr. at Monday night’s (Dec. 3) meeting:]

Response to Deputy Mayor Clark:

At the November 26th Deputy Mayor Clark read into the record a statement regarding her actions in terminating the November 19th City Council meeting. This is my response to her statement.

Recent actions by the majority of the Burien City Council and the City Manager over the issue of annexation have resulted in a divided and polarized community. At the November 19th meeting I made several motions off the floor with the intent of ending the problem, and putting the community on a positive path towards reconciliation. The third motion I was going to make, to add two new officers, was intended to demonstrate to the community that the focus of the council had returned to the needs of Burien.

Given that the November 19th meeting was the first following the vote and rejection by a near 2 to 1 margin of Burien’s annexation, I felt it was the appropriate time to address the issue and begin bringing the community back together. Bringing a motion off the floor is a regular action on the part of an elected body. In fact, a motion off the floor was taken to advance Burien’s designation of North Highline as a Potential Annexation Area. Bringing up the issue at the first meeting following the election was appropriate and timely. While consideration can and should be made for council members personal schedules, it is unrealistic to expect the business of the city to halt because of a Council Member’s absence.

The only underhanded and improper action that took place at the November 19th meeting was when Deputy Mayor Clark and Council Member Robison walked out of the meeting, ending the quorum and preventing the business before the body from being done.

In her statement, Deputy Mayor Clark has made several references questioning my actions. While the intent to withdraw, (moved per consultation with the King County elections department), PAA withdrawal, (following the form of Councilmember Robison’s motion off the floor), and change of government, (put the issue before the voters and if they affirm then move forward with citizen input rather than waste staff time on something that may or may happen), are important issues, I wish to address the last allegation, that of not bringing forward the issue of adding two new police officers during the budget debate, as it is the most damming.

Deputy Mayor Clark alleges that I did bring up the issue of adding two new officers during the budget debate. I would like to point to the matrix on page 98 of the October 15th agenda where this item is clearly included. I would also point to the video 1:53 of this meeting where when asked the question of adding two new officers, Deputy Mayor Clark clearly states, “I will be a no vote on this issue”. As I stated earlier, it was my intent to demonstrate to the citizens of Burien that the focus of the city had returned to Burien. Our city has been awarded a federal COPS grant that will pay a significant portion of providing 2 new officers to our city. During this financially challenging period, it would be shortsighted and unfortunate if we did not take advantage of this grant to help fund two new officers.

Recently, there was a home invasion in North Burien where a resident was pistol whipped and his wife was raped while their 18 month old baby lay in the next room. Burien needs more cops. Unfortunately, police protection isn’t free. My proposal to move the solid waste franchise fee back to the general fund and compensate for this by increasing the TBD fee by $10 dollars would have allowed Burien to hire two new officers to address the public safety needs of our city. Deputy Mayor Clark, you are in error, both in your accusations and in your vote on this issue.

– Jack Block Jr.

UPDATE 12/4/12 1:30 p.m.: Here’s video of Jack reading the letter, courtesy Pat Lemoine:

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