LETTER: ‘Residents Have Right to Decide What Type of Government They Want’

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Dear B-Town Blog:

How did the corruption in the Bell, California government happen? How did the North Highline Fire Station financial problems happen a few years ago? Both of these were forms of governing that did not allow sufficient citizen involvement and didn’t have a system of checks and balances.

Control is taken from citizens by constant rewriting ordinances until citizens virtually lose their voice over how things are handled. Recently, the Burien City Staff rewrote how often citizens could request a change to the Burien Comprehensive Plan. In most Washington State cities, citizens can apply for a change once a year. However, the Burien Department of Growth and Development felt they were overworked so they changed the ordinance. Now citizens are allowed to put in for a change and be put on the docket once every four years. Also if the Council feels that it would cost too much to consider a citizen request to be put on the docket, the Council can turn down a citizen request indefinitely. How much cost is too much? No one seems to know.  The Council can declare $1 to be too much by its current authority. Essentially this takes the right of citizens to have a say in land use in the city and gives total control to the Council and city staff. There is no buck stops here on issues like this like there would be if we had a mayoral style of government.

Other ways that the council/manager form of government takes away power from citizens is to; refuse to answer questions or give out accurate information, not hold regular budget reviews, allow contracts to be written without before-hand public knowledge of the contracts and who is being awarded them, have staff salary increases for individuals only in the hands of the city manager, rewrite by-laws for citizens advisory groups to curtail their oversight ability, arrange small ad-hoc committees that are closed to public oversight, etc. We have seen more and more of this happening in the City of Burien.

Our City Council and advisory committees appear to not be meeting as much as they used to.  And when they do meet they are not making the important decisions to move our city along.The city manager can’t be voted out of office. Five people (4 council members and the city manager) end up having all of the power in the city over the 48,000 residents. The City Manager is the unelected chief executive and if the council decides to not exercise their duty of oversight which the majority on this council has done repeatedly..  Then this is a big  problem with the manager/council form of government that Burien has.

The form of government can be changed in two ways; the council can vote to put the form of government up to a vote of the people, or citizens can write a petition to put the form of government of the city to a vote of the people. 10% of the voters in the last general election must sign the petition and submit it to the state. 74 % of the citizens who took part in an informal survey voted for a change in the form of Burien’s government.

I think the residents have a right to decide what type of government they want to have and being stonewalled by the current majority on the city council is just flat unacceptable.

Best Regards,
John Poitras

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83 Responses to “LETTER: ‘Residents Have Right to Decide What Type of Government They Want’”
  1. Pam says:

    I don’t want to get into your city business, but here are a few more pieces of information which I hope you all find helpful..




    I absolutely think citizens have the right to decide their form of government. Getting it to the ballot is a whole different challenge…

    When I first gathered signatures for a change of government petition, I found that 90% of the population thought we already had a ‘ Mayor.’ First, the public needs to be educated about city government and the difference between a strong (elected) mayor and a weak (council chairman) mayor. That is key.

  2. TcB says:

    Hmm, looks like our current form is serving quite large cities, like Tacoma. Research, research, research.

    • TcB says:

      This story does not prove that the “Form of Government” is broken, I do not believe it references “Form of Government”. If this person would be voted out by the citizens, it would be completely isolated from “Form of Government”. This is not a good case. You must find another.

  3. Chris says:

    How does the North Highline Fire Department financial issues have anything to do with the City of Burien? Oh yeah, it doens’t. Not sure why you felt inclinded to throw out that red-herring out. No bearing whatsover on City of Burien issues.

    Regarding a change of government, I maintain that a strong-mayor form is NOT the answer, as it adds another layer of governmental beauracracy that is not likely needed. The real issue at hand is severe lack of civic involvement on the part of the citizens. The PEOPLE need to spend more time paying closer attention to what is going on with their city. That means taking time out to attend a council meeting once in awhile and also read through the council packets. Much information is in there, and a citizen can get become very informed by that alone.

    I have no cofidence that changing out form of government and establishing a strong-mayor will do anything meaningful. The best you can hope for is that the elected mayor will provide a slightly greater level of legislative tension with the council.

    BUT, at the end of the day it is likely that the City of Burien will STILL have to hire a city administrator or manager to handle city operations. An elected mayor–whoever that is–will likely not have the skill set to handle citywide operational matters.

    Lastly, let’s look at this from an interest-based point of view. Those who seek to have an elected mayor, what do you hope to gain (specifically) and what are your interests?

  4. Fred says:

    To John Poitras-

    Thank you for writing this article. Now we know who TcB is. TcB is a city manager, wanna be city manager or a relatiove of a city manager. We know this because the first online site Tcb sends us to is the ICMA — originally called the City Managers’ Association. This is a group of city managers who promote their own profession and the hiring of their members. Of course they will tell every reader that they are the next best thing to sliced bread and that EVERY CITY AND COUNTY SHOULD HIRE ONE OF THEIR MEMBERS. This site that TcB sent us to is an advertisement for city/county managers. The form of government that city managers have the most power under is the council/manager form of govt. So their organization favors this form of govt. most.

    What I find most interesting is that TcB never directed us, as readers of this blog,to any fair and balanced site that really discusses all the forms of govt. possible. So thank you Pam, for directing blog readers to the mrsc sites for a more balanced analysis of forms of govt. And Pam you are right is saying that most Burien citizen are in the dark about what form of govt. they have. Most of them think they have a mayor who was elected by the people. Not so.

    Yep, the citizens do need to be educated and the council is unwilling to do that. They don’t want the citizens to have a say in their govt. The current council/manager model is not working. The city has made no real progress since 2008. Many reports and projects that should be done are not getting done like the;
    -business plan for the city-two years late from its promised date and still not done,
    -six month reports by CARES contract-not being done on time or in a comprehensive way and animal control still in disarray,
    -quarterly financial reports,required by law, to the council that have not been done for 6 years now,
    – no explanation of the City Light underground wiring charges that leave some of us paying more for the repaving of First Ave. than others,
    -Community Center which was supposed to be focused on since 2008 and still has had nothing done on it,
    -explanation of when the vehicle tax will end,
    -the fabulous NERA project which is just seconds from happening in every report by the city manager but never happens,
    -the city manager’s evaluation which was supposed to be done every 12 months but is still not done 14 months out,
    -update status on Town Square and planning process for the area and numerous other issues.
    That is why Burien needs a change in form of govt. The Council has no checks and balances to what it does or doesn’t do and it is not doing much of anything currently.

    • TcB says:

      Your problems with the people in our government do not prove that the form of government would be better served by Strong Mayor. That form of government could and does have the exact same problems.

      • Shari says:

        If anyone thinks that the Strong Mayor form of government is a silver bullet or a magic wand or would in any way singlehandedly make a city government better (by whatever standard) and more responsive to its citizens, I would (very respectfully) suggest considering the profoundly sad case of the city of Pacific. If I understand the history, Cy Sun was, as incomprehensible as it seems, elected by popular vote. And he then nearly brought the city to an end (literally– they could not get insurance. He fired virtually everyone on the city staff. And without a viable police force or anyone overseeing city operations, he jeopardized the safety and health of the residents.) While the city evidently has once again obtained insurance, the situation was and I think still is a mess and it’s the people and the businesses in that community that suffered the most and will probably bear the consequences for a good while because it has created such a terrible impression about Pacific throughout the region. SO. I stand by those posting comments here cautioning against making assumptions about the nature of the problems we are experiencing and/or the nature of the solution to them. Pacific may be an extreme example, but it nonetheless establishes that a Strong Mayor is not always and of itself The Answer.

        • John Poitras says:

          I agree Shari.. A mayoral style gov’t may not be the answer.. However transparency in how the city manager spends our tax dollars and accountability by the city council to the residents is part of the solution. If we had a council where the majority put the people first and were willing to do their job and exercise oversight over the city manager instead of letting him run the city with impunity then we could keep the style we have now and it would serve us well. However currently we have dysfunctional gov’t and we should explore all our options.

    • Pam F. says:

      You’re welcome.

  5. May says:

    This sounds like “they” took care of all the inconsistencies. Remember the inconsistencies were so inconsistent that nobody could find out if its inconsistent. But I guess they fixed that mess. Now its consistent because it all works better for their plan.

    They sure have a groovy thing going why whould they care what type of government the people want:

    they hire and fire whomever they want
    get vacation time
    medical leave
    change documents
    hire their contractor friends
    take alot of time off
    cancel meetings
    don’t show up for work
    up their pay
    make rules

    Who’s to blame for this?

  6. TcB says:

    Let me play Devils advocate for a minute, because I can see that this will be yet another divise issue, with passionate calls from both sides.

    To those who want to “change”. Is the thing that is broken the System? Or is it the People?

    If it is the People (Various Council members, Mike Martin, Etc,) then we can vote to replace those people in the existing form of government. The People of Burien can vote to change the people in the Council. The Council is responsible for hiring the City Manager to run day to day operations at the behest of the Council.

    Is it the “Form of Government” that is broken? Are you arguing that the Council-Manager form of Government is irretrievably broken? Are you arguing that the system of government created to combat “The Boss” and other corrupt practices has not worked ever, and can never work in the future? The form of government that has spread from the US to Canada, New Zealand, and many other countries in 100 odd years?

    This would be the argument before us. This is a very important vote. Please do your research. Don’t confuse single action of any Council with patterns.

    • May says:

      To those who want to “change”. Is the thing that is broken the System? Or is it the People?

      This is very simple…..PEOPLE TALK TO MUCH AND TAKE NO ACTION……

      • Chris says:

        Yep. It’s the people. Read my post further up. Not nearly enough citizen input, and too much apathy. As I’ve said before: The city manager is at the will of the council. And the city manager is directed BY the council–not the other way around.

        Adding a strong mayor to the mix will do little to help an overall lack of citizen input.

  7. May says:


    I think I figured out who you are. You seem to know a lot about “strong government” You also know alot about different websites. Management form of government. You only know all of this because you work in it. I looked you up……………….Tcb………sometimes when you know to much you give it away.


    Now it makes sense why you would stand up for this Burien Council. They are all in Real Estate.

    • TcB says:

      LOL! I am indeed laughing out loud at your bizarre theory.. I give you points if you made it as a joke. I too did a little research into you, and I can now reveal that it was you! who was behind the infamous May Day Bombings! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haymarket_affair

    • John Poitras says:

      Excellent Research May…

      TCB Commercial Properties.. Methinks you hit the bulls eye.

      • TcB says:

        Bahahahaha! You have uncovered my evil plot! If it wasn’t for you meddling kids I would have succeeded in my plan to keep our 20 year system of government in place! Oh the agony! Now you know that all Real Estate companies are actually evil alien invaders! Unlike invaders from California who haven’t bothered to give up their California residency to be able to vote in this town! Oh the pain!

        People: Does it really make sense that I work for the Real Estate business when I am so eloquent? I mean, I actually went to college (s) where in Real Estate I they take you if you got out of 5th grade.

        Oh, I didn’t mean you! Advertisers. Of course you’re smart.

        So ya. No bulls eye. You missed and hit the car in the parking lot.

  8. John Poitras says:

    TcB… Apparently you are a Mike Martin supporter.. Which I am sure you will deny but if you quack like a duck and waddle like a duck I think its fair to call you a duck.
    My family has lived in Burien I would think a lot longer than you have (since the early seventies) so if anyone is carpet bagging I would think that would be you TcB since you totally misunderstand the crux of the point being made.. I find it troubling that you pretend to offer constructive criticism but in effect you project your own inability to contribute anything constructive to the conversation so in affect you become a destructive influence and poison the conversation with irrelevancies.
    I will spell our the basics of it for you..
    The current manager of Burien fails to provide TRANSPARENCY in his city dealings..
    In fact he throws up barriers to transparency as noted in the letter I submitted..
    The current majority on the council fails to exercise OVERSIGHT. In fact they blatantly disregard this part of the job they were elected to do…
    Nuke the city of Buren TcB?? This is a perfect example of your inability to comprehend the solution and so instead you project your own negative conclusions as a reaction to a condition that only exists in your own head.
    The vast majority of the cities in WA have a mayoral style of government TcB and it is a very successful style of government..
    The main point of this letter which apparently went right over your head TcB is that to anyone with eyes to see its obvious for reasons already stated the city manager form of government is NOT working well in Burien and the residents should have the right to decide on whether they want to change it.
    HOWEVER .. the current majority on the city council have decided to block the residents from voting on it. This is what I find unacceptable and if you had approached this letter with a constructive intent rather than a “destructive contrary one” perhaps that would have been obvious to you also.

  9. TcB says:

    If you actually read the numbers, it’s true, a majority of citizens are under Strong Mayor, if you also figure that the largest cities are Strong Mayor and have the largest populations. I stand by what I pointed to, that a very large “minority” are under Council-Mayor or “weak mayor”. This I know not because I knew it last week, but because I have read about it. It’s not very hard to do, it’s called learning. And it doesn’t make you a relative of a council person, or a council person, or even a wanna be council person.

    Your article does not prove that our current style of Government is bad.

    It only proves that you dislike Mike Martin and some of the people in Government, who could be voted out.

    I am not a Mike Martin supporter. If the next council hires a new manager with experience running a city of our size that would be up to them.

    You are arguing that because some have failed in Government, we must blow it all up.

    I am arguing that our system works fine, and you can vote out whomever you like.

    Our system has been working fine for 20 years. It’s up to you to prove that the sytem doesn’t work. You can’t prove that the system doesn’t work by providing anecdotes about bad politicians. It doesn’t work that way.

    Oh, and you never answered why you don’t vote. Are you still registered to vote in California?

    Did you vote by absentee ballot?

    Why do you take such an outsize interest in Burien politics when in fact, you are not registered to vote?

    • John Poitras says:

      Take your blinders off TcB … ANYONE that does not have a pro martin pro annexation anti transparency agenda would not call for proof that we have a failure of governance and accountability in Burien.. There have been dozens of examples given here and in many previous blogs.. I cannot even get them to ask Martin to own up to how much city money was spent on promoting annexation. If you still refuse to acknowledge that and the myriad other examples, then I doubt stating any more is going to help change your rhetoric.

      You claim you are NOT in real estate? Methinks you doth protest just a bit too much..
      Maybe its time to reveal you you really are if you claim you are not the woman in the picture of the real estate agency?
      I don’t understand why you are saying>>> ..”we must blow it all up”.. ? What are you talking about?
      You are avoiding the salient points of the letter.. as I noted earlier.. I wrote it so I think I know what they are!
      Regardless of what you think>>> the POINT is that the council should NOT stand in the way of transparency or a vote of the residents to change to a mayoral style of government.. They are and so>> from what you “quack quack” have said here, are you.

  10. Fred says:

    80% of the cities and towns in Washington have the strong mayor form of govt. 90% of the cities and towns in the US have a strong mayor form of govt. This is a preferred model of govt. for Americans because they get to elect their leader. It fits the American model of democratic govt. Researchers on leadership(Bass and Stogdill) have found that the strong leader is the most effective model for organization leadership. The council/manager model promotes a weak mayor/leader and is less effective. But I think that TcB already knows this.

    TcB would have us believe that changing the form of govt. will nuke Burien. Not true, just scare tactics. Federal Way, Ocean Shores and several other cities have changed their form of govt. and it has not nuked their cities. I suggest that the readers of this blog go back and read the article by R.DeLorm posted in Jan. 2013-Can Burien afford to change its form of govt.– http://b-townblog.com/2013/01/07/letter-can-burien-afford-to-change-its-form-of-government/

    It appears that it costs no more to change the form of govt. and these cities are doing just fine. ALSO THESE CITIES NOW HAVE SOME KIND OF CHECK AND BALANCE SYSTEM IN THEIR GOVT. by having a strong mayor. Bell, California didn’t and got screwed by its politicians. The citizens should have the right to decide who leads their city. Cities with elected mayors as generally more respected by other agencies and service providers because they are seen as having the backing of their citizens.

    The council/ weak manager form of govt. has not spread around the world as the most effective form of govt. Where that piece of nonsense came from I’m not sure?
    I’m open to seeing the names of the researchers and the citations that document that statement. However, the form of govt. promoted and favored by Americans is the elected leader form of govt. It’s called democracy.

    • TcB says:

      I would agree with your numbers about Washington, I haven’t bothered to look at the US. Here’s the thing, most of those cities were formed before our “Form of Government” was invented, and they haven’t bothered to change. The trends for cities formed after 1940 has been higher toward our “Form of Government”. Also, if Seattle jumped off a bridge does that mean we would have to as well?

      And yes, our “Form of Government” has spread around the western world. Those numbers are not in dispute.

      20 years we have been doing it this way. For you to prove that it isn’t working you must prove that it has – never – worked – in – 20 – years. And you must do so without mentioning specific politicians, who can be voted out.

      Your argument that the “Form” is not working is failing.

  11. May says:

    TcB…….is that short for ….. Todd Christopher Bennett?

    Is this the company you work for? We all know he is in real estate. That lady on the website might just be your wife. You might just be helping her.

    By the way…do you guys know what they do with all the money when they go over budget and hire their friends?…..they build condo complexes and hotels.

    I have lots of names of people that are involved…see alot of the people move around into these condos. Mike Martin and his wife lived in such a condo…and the building filed foreclosure just like burien town square. See I believe they file foreclosures because they don’t want to pay the creditors.

    Mastro and his wife (diamond queen) they did not want to pay their creditors either. They even skipped town with a truck load of jewels. There was an article in the Seattle
    Times last week. However, the FBI found them…I can’t wait till I see them in handcuffs at the Airport for their final destination into Jail.

  12. PanderBear Jack says:

    Why is it that those clamoring for more open government are either NOT registered to vote or hiding in the shadows.

    Queue the “you must be…” This person or a Martin lover in 3…2…1…

    If we are accusing people of being other people I would say that Fred is a certain council member recently selected for a deputy position. They use the same words.

    • John Poitras says:

      And you are not hiding in the shadows panda Jack? Do you know the definition of a hypocrite? One manifestation of it is accusing others of something you yourself are guilty of!

      • May says:

        Amen to you John. You know what? What we really need is a group of “men” to get together and stand before this group of self elected council group and demand a resignation and put a stop to this insanity. I think enough is enough.

        • PanderBear Jack says:

          Yes may because only “men” can demand good government. Lets keep the women folk in the kitchen.

          Seriously may? Wow…

          • May says:

            PanderBear Jack

            I forgot to mention “real men”. To bad your not one of them. Who is leading the “corruption” here in Burien?….Men……and I see few women “only” following.

            And you TCB…looks like I hit a nerve in your body someplace. When there is noplace else to “run” ….the insults start….You poor thing you.

            I bet it must be hard when someone is on to you…believe me …it will get worse.

            BTW….why did they fire Hemstra and hire McBee….can you find out instead of arguing
            about what type of government is best…..you corrupt individuals only distract from the real issue here.

      • PanderBear Jack says:

        Hypocrite is being politically active while not being registered to vote.

        Tell you what Johnny boy, you say why you are not registered to vote and I will reveal who I am. Give a hint and so will I.

        • TcB says:

          He’s not registered because he’s still a resident of California, where he votes by absentee. He’s angry that he was defrauded out of 15 million dollars so he’s taking it out on us. He used to schmoozing with powerful people, don’t let him tell you otherwise. He’s used to being a mover and a shaker, a retired venture capitalist. Us trying to use his influence to remake this city in his own image, even though he knows he will eventually be going back to California.

          • TcB says:

            Hey look at that, Reed Slatikin is a member of the Church of Scientology, and most of the people he defrauded were members . John, are you a Scientologist?

          • PanderBear Jack says:

            So, Poitras was caught using “William Forest”s pc and forging documents he got about the $5 million from the state. Not forging but leaving out the parts he didn’t agree with.

            We now find out he was a millionaire venture capitalist who got swindled! I guess he learned his lesson because he is now using those same tactics against us in Burien
            Where does it end Johnny boy?

  13. TcB says:

    A work of fiction (?)

    John K Poitras, Multimillionaire, Venture Capitalist

    John, I understand you’re angry at losing your money. I would be too, if
    I was so anxious to get those 60 percent returns. I mean those millions were
    chump change weren’t they?

    You were so blinded by that promise of moving from the Very rich to the Super rich
    that put all your millions in the hands of a man who believes that we’re all
    billion year old aliens from the planet Xenu.

    But you want your millions back, and you’ve moved into the little old towne of
    Burien, where we’re-all-so-stupid that you think you can get us to change our
    form of government so you can install one of your cronies as “The Mayor” who will give you favorite son treatment on Real Estate dealings and you can wring us like
    a dishrag for your just rewards. Easy Peasy.

    Who do you pal around with on the Council? Who’s going to be “The Mayor”?

    People: Nip this in the bud, don’t nuke the town because you don’t like a building.
    If you don’t like a politician (or who they hire) then vote them out.

    If you’re not involved in Politics now, you aren’t going to be when we have a “Strong Mayor” so why would you care?

    I’m not rich, or powerful, or have Real Estate holdings worth Millions like John here, I have a small house, I’m a resident, I vote.

    I don’t work in Real Estate.

    I’m a nobody.

    But I live here, and this is my town. If you’ve been here awhile then you are my people, and my people need to know. Call me names, tell me i’m a rat, tell me i’m hiding in the shadows, tell me I post too much. I don’t care.

    Tell me i’m trying to pull one over on the people of Burien.

    That’s exactly what i’m trying to stop.

    • May says:

      Tcb and Bear:

      I am just amazed at the information you have about John Poitras. Who is Reed Slatkin? ..he must be a friend of yours.

      I read the court report on Pacer. Who is Glen and Babara Johnson of Santa Barbara? They were charged too. What kind of shananigans did they pull? I believe they owned Santa Barbara Managment LLC.

      Slatkin was a really slick willie to comingle his personal and investors funds. Don’t you think?

      Bryan Cave LLC participated in this pyramid scheme and he provided false and misleading document to the security and exchange commision. What a way to go.

      Can you believe after stealing hundreds of millions of dollars…Reed Slatkin had the nerve of contacting people by mail and telling them he is pulling out of the investment business?…..I bet he is not smart enough to have pulled this scheme of by himself.

      So tell me since you know so much…who is Glen and Barbara Johnson of Santa Barbara?…are they in any way related to Tish Johnson on TcB commercial website? If you don’t know maybe you can find out. I would like to know.

      BTW…there are way to many LLC companies around…you know what I mean?

      • John Poitras says:

        Thank you May… Your research is first class… I notice the silence is deafening to your revealing post. KInd of analogous to the National Inquirer meets the New York Times.

  14. John Poitras says:

    People who think Mike Martin is doing a good Job.. that wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on Annexation was a good idea and who think we have enough police and road maintenance like Pandering Jack and TCB who contribute very little except a lot of smoke and mirrors, are not people I would characterize as contributing to the future of a better Burien.. In truth instead of being part of the solution they are and they support people that are part of the problem like Mike Martin and the current majority on the council. I plan to invest my money and support candidates for council that will be part of the solution and who understand that our current city manager has done a terrible job and needs to go.

    • TcB says:

      So we have in one corner our 20 year system of Government which works. You like someone, you vote them in, you don’t like them, you vote them out. There is a council with one council member who has the honorary title of Mayor, who has no special powers above the other council members. They hire a City Manager who they direct to handle the things they direct to handle. The Manager works for them and reports to them, he does not “Run” the city. Do you tell your boss what to do?

      In the other corner we have a California resident, Multimillionaire, Land Baron, Venture Capitalist. He isn’t registered to vote in Washington, yet he is constantly making headlines and writing letters about how things need to change. It’s recently been pointed out that he lost a huge amount (multiple Millions of dollars) to a Scientologist swindler. It’s been discovered in the past by others that he used “Sock Puppets” to pretend that he was more than one person, and support his own arguments. He is pushing to move to a Form of Government where “Bossism” has run rampant in the past.

      Are you seriously torn which way you’d go?

      Don’t nuke the city because you don’t like one building.

      Vote NO on changing our Form of Government

  15. John Poitras says:

    In the other corner we have a deluded Mike Martin Cheerleader who is apparently in need of medication because of her fear of nukes and the soprano’s taking over Burien..Somebody who does not want to reveal who she is but is happy to make up stories about anyone who has the temerity to stand up to her bs.
    I think I know who I would trust and it isn’t the clueless one who is in the midst of a big hissy fit.

  16. TcB says:

    Oh John, You said you were a Progressive, tsk tsk…Tom Tancredo? Swift Boat Vets? You are hard core Republican all the way John. Rich, Entitled, and about to throw an even bigger hissy fit (cause you can afford it, why not?)

  17. TcB says:

    John, how far down the Rabbit hole do you want to go?

    • Debi Wagner says:

      You cannot say on the one hand you favor change coming by a new council and in the same breath that you oppose a change in government since they both will have the exact same consequence. The same powers given to an elected mayor are the same as those now entrusted to the city manager. If I chip away just a little I see you are a supporter of the current manager and therefore also a supporter then of the current majority of the council. Therefore you are not honest about a change in council unless it is person for person with the same ambivalence toward citizens and total lack of understanding of issues. The only other alternative is that you have not thought through your argument to its logical conclusion. It is not the people that are broken either. The people’s hands are clean in all the shenanigans that have gone on these past several years.

      • PanderBear Jack says:

        What kind of rambling nonsense is this? No wonder Jerry Robinson won! I would gather that whomever you run against this year is assured 4 more years.

        • Debi Wagner says:

          Your response to me is part of the reason he had support. Name recognition is important or in this case, someone elses name recognition. People confused him with Jerry Robinson of the Highline News. His name is Robison.

          • TcB says:

            So you realize that you just called out the citizens of Burien as uninformed ignorant dolts. That’s going to help you…in some way….I guess…..

          • PanderBear Jack says:

            Debbi don’t confuse my phones auto correct with why you lost the election.

            The audacity of your level of confidence in the electorate amazes me. Like I said whomever runs against you is guaranteed a victory.

      • Coverofnight says:

        Hang in there, Debi……this city “jumped the shark” when they failed to elect you to the council.

        slanderbear jack is just here to push your buttons……

  18. TcB says:

    The people meaning the elected representatives….if you think they’re broken, you can vote them out. Nice try to obfuscate my meanings. The system isn’t broken.

    Don’t nuke the city to knock down one building

    Vote NO on changing our form of government

    • Debi Wagner says:

      You have all the earmarkings of a concern troll. While drawing in individuals with some sense of support, you personally attack the writer then pretend to agree with their premise. It is not logically feasible to support change in the council supporting the vote for change without supporting the vote for change in government. In essense you support the part without supporting the whole which makes you either a potential candidate, supporter of a potential candidate or someone who would benefit greatly from either. Following that thought process, in the later condition you are a developer, broker or have close ties with a plan for cheap construction, loose rules, or mismanagement.
      A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold. The concern troll posts in Web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.

      • PanderBear Jack says:

        Yes TCB please heed this lesson about being a troll. This person has first hand experience!

      • TcB says:

        Following your logic it would be technically impossible to support any position without fear of being labeled a “False Flag” agent. I have come out in support of Burien making a choice (new Council Members) within a framework (Our Form of Government) that is working and has worked for 20 years.

        For that position you have labeled me a double agent who seeks to rain ruin down upon us.

        What would you say to someone who came out and said “I am a developer who seeks to build knock down tax payer quality apartments in huge numbers, ruin the local economy, and burn down city hall”.

        Would you then say “oh you are a false flag concern troll who really wants to save us all and buy us all a bag of skittles”?

        I know that I will never vote for you, or anyone who you give endorsement to (and accepts it), you are Political Poison.

  19. john Poitras says:

    Excellent diagnosis Debi.. Speaking out against giving people the right to vote on a change in gov’t and then urging them to vote no makes no logical sense.

    • TcB says:

      Again with the obfuscation of meaning. Are you hoping people won’t understand?

      Vote to change a council member – Fine.

      You don’t need to change the 20 year system to do that.

      You are the one trying to install a “Boss Hog” Mayor so you can make that phone call and get your way.

      I think your real problem is you can’t make that phone call to Mike Martin so you need to get rid of him? How? Get the people to think they need to change the Form of Government.

      I am not a concern troll because my actual real fear is you installing you puppet in town.

      I like the system.

      If you don’t like a council person vote them out.

      It already works, don’t fix what isn’t broken.

      Prove that the 20 system is broken, and-has-never-worked-in-20-years.

      That’s what you must prove.

      If you on;y prove that certain council people are doing wrong then you lose.

      • Debi Wagner says:

        Mike Martin runs the city and the majority of the council. If you think that’s not true, you prove it. And you are right, changing the council will change the way things are done as long as it is a majority who favors accountability and transparency. But, Mike Martin will get a new contract with stipulations on removal. A strong mayor will be forever subject to the vote of the people and therefore beholden to the people. Mike Martin is beholden to nobody. Sure the council can direct him and he can mislead, provide inaccurate information and stall them out indefinetly which has been going on for years. The Berk report is a fine example, another is information supplied by Burien and purposefully not supplied by Burien to BRB. Another is CARES, the audit, the facility, lack of properly trained staff. How about those secret ad-hoc library meetings and Mike’s recommendations.
        My answer about the people being broken addressed Chris’ post which seemed to blame the lack of good government on people not being involved. If the people don’t know what is going on that is not their fault. They are not informed about the deeds going on behind closed doors in Burien. Even the council doesn’t know what is going on sometimes and it takes information requests to find out what is behind it all. Nobody but Mike Martin and Debra George knew CARES was shut down by the Health Department last year so they kept it running as though nothing had happened. At the same time they knew they were out of compliance Mike was at a public meeting talking about how wonderful the operation was doing. So if you know and you think it is all rosy and wonderful then either you are deluded or one of them.

        • TcB says:

          Mike Martin Mike Martin Mike Martin Mike Martin Mike Martin Mike Martin Mike Martin Mike Martin Mike Martin……..

          • TcB says:

            So ya, that was breaking my own rule about stupid comments.

            But I’m seriously going crazy hearing about this nefarious Dr Doom Mike Martin character.

            It’s like he’s some kind of Super Villain from Comic Books.

            You want me to believe that after we vote in November, that no matter who we get in on Council will somehow be forced to “bend to his will” and that they turn out to be a bunch of idiots.

            The city manager is directed by a majority of the council right?

            You have proof that he’s doing whatever he wants and the Council just cries and wrings their hands and says “Mommy! He made me!”


          • John Poitras says:

            We understand TCB .. .You “heart” Martin… You are probably sending him a valentine and a box of chocolates.

            The fact is that Mike Martin is the problem.. He is the de-facto mayor of Burien.. Certainly no one impartial would argue that he is the unelected BOSS of Burien.. He does what he wants with no transparency and no oversight. Every time Lucy or Bob or Jack try and enforce the councils right to information they either get stonewalled by Martin and the information is never forthcoming or the puppets in the majority on the council protect him by obfuscation or flat out blocking the council members requests.

            We don’t necessarily need a mayoral style of government although that would be infinitely preferable to what we have now with BOSS MARTIN playing at being mayor.

            However it would accomplish the same purpose if Joan Brian and Rose are voted out of office and are replaced by folks that Mike Martin does not have under his thumb. If Burien is wise enough to do so then Mr Martin will no longer rule the roost and if he continues with his current behavior he will find himself out of a job and we can find a city manager that would act for the good of the residents and listen to the councils directives instead of referring to them as “HIS” Council and doing exactly as he pleases. Taking actions and spending tax money that in most cases are not in the best interests of the residents of Burien as has been well documented on this blog.

  20. TcB says:

    Prove that the system has never worked in 20 years or shut up about Strong Mayor.

    Concentrate on getting who you want in council, fine.

    Don’t nuke the city to tear down one building

    Vote NO on changing our Form of Government

  21. May says:


    The system has never worked and this is the end result. They have taken over the whole council by hireing their friends. Even if you vote one out…there are more left and they continue what they are doing.

    Why don’t you go over to the Burien council and donate your property (you want to keep supporting them anyway).

    Mike Martin your friend will love you for it….

    • TcB says:

      You have made a statement that our Form of Government has never worked. This is what I’ve been waiting for.

      So the burden of proof is now on you May.

      Come up with a compendium of arguments how in every year that our Form of Government has been in existence that it has not worked.

      Do not use specific politicians names who could be replaced in any of your examples.


  22. TcB says:

    To the future prospects considering running for office:

    On your Bio statement, please make it easy for all of us to know who you are.

    On your first line, please make a statement: The first thing i’m going to do if elected to Council is to Fire Mike Martin.

    I dare you.

    • John Poitras says:

      That is the first question I am going to ask ANY candidates for Council..


      Anyone that dares to say that they think he is doing a good job I can assure you will be voted out of office…

  23. TcB says:

    I’m not a Mike Martin supporter as much as you like to paint me as one. Hired in 2007, it’s been 6 years…that’s probably good enough to move to something else, whether or not he’s guilty of being a comic book villain. Yes I did learn a new trick.

    Vote for Council Members who will replace him.

    That will work without changing our Form of Government.

  24. John Poitras says:

    cool thank you

  25. TcB says:

    I think you people have been going about this entirely the wrong way…

    from Wikipedia:The average tenure of a manager is now 7–8 years and has risen gradually over the years. Tenures tend to be less in smaller communities and higher in larger ones, and they tend to vary as well depending on the region of the country.[10][11]

    Why not just say it’s time for some fresh blood without all the crazy stuff?

  26. Follower says:

    So now that you both have defamed each other thoroughly, who are we supposed to trust?!

  27. May says:



    Rod Dembrowski picked to be next member of the Metro City Council.

    I bet Julia Patterson knows what she is talking about when she says that Rod Dembrowski “He wants to serve for the right reasons”.

    What reasons might that be???

    Brian Bennett friend Bob Ferguson that left the seat to be Attorney General endorsed Rod Dembrowski. And Reagan Dunn was one of the members on the council that voted for him Rod to join thier team.

    Isn’t it interesting that (when you read the article) Rod was a land use lawyer for Foster Pepper Law Firm. Guess who worked there also…..your right……Keven Wallace. Yes a friend of Reagan Dunn.

    I say….welcome on board my friends.

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