New Advertiser Wants to Stop the Burien City Council from Voting on Wards
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Paid Advertisement from R. DeLorm. It is not an “article,” nor does it reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog or its staff:]
Several Burien Council members have been less than honest about diversity and why they want wards.
At the Burien City Council meeting of March 4, 2013, a citizen, Chuck Rangel, mentioned that the Burien City Council was not really interested in the diversity of its membership and was unwilling to admit what corruption spins off of the ward system.
Chuck Rangel (see video below): Diversity; “I remember a couple years ago when there was an open seat, there was not a minority appointed to that open seat…and I am wondering why? I hear something and actions are a little different than what they say…”
Clark, Bennett, McGilton and Robison have claimed that wards are needed to hear the voice of the neighborhoods, give equal representation in the city and to have ethnically diverse council members. However when the opportunity has been there to appoint diverse council members or appoint people from the northeast corner of the city, they haven’t done it. They don’t walk their talk.
Chuck Rangel mentioned that when Kathy Keene resigned from the Council (2010), the Burien Council had the opportunity to appoint a diverse person and/or a person from the northeast corner of the newly annexed area of Burien. There were 2 applicants from the northeast corner newly annexed area of the city. One applicant exactly matched their current description of what is needed, had experience in local government and had applied. They did not appoint this person. Additionally, there was another applicant resident/small businessman from the northeast corner of the newly annexed area of the city that matched their description of what is needed on the council and they failed to appoint him also. Instead the Council selected Jerry Robison (white male attorney). Historically, several of the members of this council have been uninterested in diversity of thought and ethnic make up of the Council. It is/was apparent by the appointment of Robison to the Council.
I believe that the reason that Robison was selected was because he promised to make sure Area Y/White Center was annexed to Burien. Publicly he stated that the only legacy he wants, as a council member, is to make sure Area Y is annexed to Burien. Robison has publicly stated that he: does not like to listen to citizen comments, is not interested in neighborhoods and their ideas, is opposed to making switches in how government works-quickly, does not like quick decisions that have not been studied for a long time and without consideration of costs, thinks changes should not occur relating to government elections around tax season in April and wants the all Council meetings to end at 9 pm because he has worked hard all day (See Jerry Robison speaking at the Nov. 26, 2012 Council Study Session-times 15:19 to 15:58 min. and 20:48 to 21:37 min. on the tape). So why is he now rushing to try to change the city into voting wards before the next election, during tax season and without consideration of lengthy study and costs?
Several other council members have also shown a lack of interest in what citizens have to say. Some cover their faces with their hands, study documents unrelated to the speaker or fiddle with their computers during the citizen comment period. Only 9.7% of the citizens in the newly annexed area (Area X) of the city voted to join Burien in 2009. Most citizens in this area were clearly not interested in Burien and still aren’t. Even if they were, they would be unwelcome at the Burien Council meetings if they wanted a neighborhood plan or opposed the annexation of Area Y. So why the push now to have their voices heard when voices in other areas of Burien haven’t been listened to by the Council? Thousands of Burien citizens asked that the city not pursue annexation but the Council voted for it anyway.
The creation of wards/districts will conveniently allow some council members to keep their jobs and make sure that their friends get drawn into wards where they will run unopposed. It also allows the council to set up a system to get council members they don’t like (by their collective group of 4) out of office. Wards are not about the better representation of citizens. They are about making sure some incumbents and their friends get positions in the next election and that popular council members get zoned out of their positions. Brian Bennett/mayor has mentioned at several public meetings how concerned he is that this next election may really change the council membership. His position is up for re-election. He and his other 3 council members are so concerned that they are willing to set up voting wards very quickly without a vote of the citizens. Voting wards are a highly unpopular form of small city government in the U.S.A. because of the political mischief that arises from them.
Tell the City Burien Council that you are opposed to wards/districts in Burien – call 206-248-5508, email City Council Burien at [email protected], attend the city council retreat on March 16, 2013 or the council meeting on March 18, 2013 to voice your concerns.
– R. DeLorm
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