Burien City Council Places Consideration of Districts/Wards on Hold until June


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by Ralph Nichols

The Burien City Council will take up again in June the divisive question of whether individual council members should be elected from districts/wards rather than city wide.

Council members agreed at their March 25 study session to delay further consideration until after the current legislative session.

State legislators in Olympia now have before them House Bill 1413 – the Washington Voting Rights Act – which would make it easier for voters to seek a change from at-large to district-based municipal elections.

Supporters of HB 1413 say this would give better representation for all residents of a community, which is similar to what Burien council members who favor a change to districts/wards for local elections are saying.

What the Legislature does with the Washington Voting Rights Act could influence what the Burien City Council does on this issue.

“This is a very complicated proposal,” said Councilwoman Rose Clark. “I feel that we at this point in time do not have time to do this issue justice.”

She suggested that a study committee and a facilitator be appointed to consider it with a date certain to report back to the council.

Councilman Gerald Robison agreed with Clark, saying “I sense a lot of fear over this.”

But, he continued, in the past Burien has had a “disproportionate vote” for council members and changing to districts/wards “is a way to even that.”

Robison then questioned whether state law allows for a public vote on switching to council districts/wards.”

City Attorney Craig Knutsen agreed that such a decision likely is the sole province of the council, then allowed that this “doesn’t mean we can’t have an advisory ballot” for city voters.

“Previous councils didn’t opt for advisory ballots,” observed Councilwoman Joan McGilton, not even on the issue of North Highline annexations.

Nevertheless, McGilton stressed, five city council members from west of Ambaum Blvd. and only one north of the downtown “points to great bias….

“There is not a representative from the newly annexed area or the east side of the city. These areas truly are not represented.”

Earlier in the study session, Councilman Jack Block Jr. said “the council should not make this decision. I feel strongly that this is a decision that should be made by the voters.”

Following the discussion about the limitations of state law on the proposed action, Block said “the citizens have a right to at least tell us if they favor” or oppose council districts/wards.

He also asked, “Are we doing everything we can to attract people to this job? We need to address [raising] council compensation,” which is now $600 a month for three council meetings plus committee meetings and homework.

Jim Clingan told council members that whether the question is changing to a strong mayor form of government or changing to districts/wards, “I believe that every option needs to have a public vote.”

Mayor Brian Bennett declared “this issue is worth considering. Part of the concern I’ve heard from people who favor districts is that they are not represented.”

Bennett said some of them say “they are not even able to communicate with certain council members.”

Council members then agreed to delay further discussion until after the Legislature takes its final action on HB 1413.

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Comments

34 Responses to “Burien City Council Places Consideration of Districts/Wards on Hold until June”
  1. Coverofnight says:

    Regarding people who don’t feel represented, Bennett comments, “… some of them say “they are not even able to communicate with certain council members.” To those people I say, “Don’t take it personally, they don’t listen to A SINGLE D@&*N CONCERNED CITIZEN in this city!”

    And I can’t believe Jack wants more money for this “job”! It’s called public service – you knew what it entails going in and how much it pays….it’s not meant to be a career (get a clue, Jay Inslee). If you can’t sacrifice a bit to put others interests over your own, then you need to get out of public office (get a clue, Robison).

    Rose, your comment is merely a smokescreen – I believe you and the rest of the Hole-in-the-Head gang are just buying time in the hopes that the state legislature will validate your underhanded maneuverings for power consolidation.

    And finally, I shake my head in disgust when Robison states, “…Burien has had a “disproportionate vote” for council members….”; what the hell does that even mean? And he also says, “…I sense a lot of fear over this….”, yeah, right! Geez, what a blowhole…….!

    Finally, to Ralph Nichols – keep up the good work – nice watchdog article to keep the electorate informed.

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    • Pat LeMoine says:

      One of the key arguments for wards is that most of the council live in a disproportionately small part of town creating an opinion that most of Burien does not have representation. Keep in mind that most of the council are rather well off financially and where they live reflects that as apposed to the so called underrepresented parts of town that tend to be financially less well off.

      If you are financially less well off it is my experience that you are more likely spending more time and effort trying to maintain your present standard of living. You are also more likely to have less connections and less chance to benefit from a political position short of knowing that you are trying to make your community a better place.

      The cold hard truth is you need money to survive in our society. Most people, even though qualified, cannot dedicate the substantial amount of time it takes to do the job intelligently and correctly without sacrificing their personal life and financial well being. Then factor in having your name and reputation drug threw the mud, politics is a very dirty business.

      Evolution teaches us that if you benefit something you will get more of it. It also teaches us that if you repress something you will get less of it. I think that this is why politics in general have gone the way they have. I believe Jack Block Jr’s. argument is that if you increase the pay for your city council you will get more people who want to do good and less that want to use it as a stepping stone for something else.

      As the old adage goes “You get what you pay for.”

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    • Linda says:

      Why does Brian Bennett not say anything about the concerns of residents who DON’T WANT gerrymandered districts?
      I have no doubt that a significant majority of residents (that he chose not to listen to) were AGAINST this redistricting plan.
      This smells like the annexation plan which the majority of residents were opposed to which got shot down in flames by a vote because if this came to vote I have no doubt it would get shot down too,

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  2. May says:

    Coverofnight- Thank you

    The more you listen and watch what they are doing, the more you will see how corrupt things really are.

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    • Marcus says:

      May Charging someone with corruption is a serious thing. Just because you don’t like someone or you don’t agree with their political stand does not mean they are corrupt. If you have some proof (and not just your opinion) then please let us know. Otherwise, please stop with saying the council is corrupt. Every time you write it is totally negative and it does get old.
      I don’t like several of the council members but they must be doing at least something right or our city would have been out of business years ago.
      Many people will not read this blog because of the negative vibe that keeps happening and that is a shame.

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      • May says:

        Marcus,

        Please tell me is there another word I could use for corruption?

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        • elizabeth2 says:

          Try “proof” or “evidence” or “testimony”.

          I think you are wrong when you accuse any and all who disagrees with you as being lovers and supporters of those for whom you have such distaste. I am not a fan or supporter of Brian Bennett but I do believe that in order to make the kind of statements you make you should be able to proof such heinous crimes.

          In this country, it is still innocent until proven guilty and I prefer to adopt that stance. I may not like some of them, I certainly do not agree with many of then, but I am not going to stoop to make such inflammatory statements about crimes and conspiracy.

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          • May says:

            Elisabeth2-

            Go sell your home and put the money into Brian Bennett bank account.

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        • Debi Wagner says:

          Funny thing May, last election Jerry was asked if he supported neighborhood plans and he said no. Neighborhood plans are in the comprehensive plan and would give neighborhoods a voice. He was also against an advisory vote from Burien residents on annexation. So why does he act like he wants to have more areas represented and hear from more areas when this goes against what he has said in the past? It is because they want to get their friends elected and keep some that are already on the council and block others from running. They that are in favor of wards don’t seem to grasp the fact that they are there to represent all of Burien. But if they really cared about that they wouldn’t be constantly ignoring citizen input. And Marcus is trolling to make you think he agrees some councilmembers are bad, remember he doesn’t say who and it is not Jerry, Rose, Brian and Joan he is talking about. The one person who always talks as “we” ran last time. He was also against neighborhood plans and an advisory vote.

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  3. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    Mr Bennett you are correct. When I have written letters to the council. It has only been Lucy and Jack that have ever responded. Neither Joan,Rose,Jerry or Martin have had the courtesy to even respond. Bob even called me to talk about my questions.

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  4. May says:

    State legislators in Olympia now have before them House Bill 1413 – the Washington Voting Rights Act – which would make it easier for voters to seek a change from at-large to district-based municipal elections.

    Supporters of HB 1413 say this would give better representation for all residents of a community, which is similar to what Burien council members who favor a change to districts/wards for local elections are saying.

    What the Legislature does with the Washington Voting Rights Act could influence what the Burien City Council does on this issue.

    State House (WA) – 33 Position 2, Democratic is Dave Upthegrove. (Burien)

    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/88E7EE23-5899-4D2B-A626-629FF2E22160/0/EAG_Meeting1_2013_Summary.pdf

    State dept of transportation.

    Executive Advisory Group members in attendance: Kevin Wallace (friend of Reagan Dunn) Dave Upthegrove (by Phone) Dave Upthegrove is Joey Martinez (city of Seattle) (face book friends)

    Here again I just wanted to show you the connections to Kevin Walllace and all their friends and things they are trying to change and do. There is no honest representation for the people.

    These people are so corrupt and just do whatever they want. I am sure they all will take care of Bill 1413.

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    • watching says:

      Please note that Representative Upthegrove has more than 3000 FaceBook friends. The fact that Joey Martinez is one of them doesn’t justify your paranoia. He would probably even be friends with YOU if you live in his district.

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      • May says:

        Mr. Ralph Nichols

        As a footnote, in 40-plus years as a political reporter, I have covered maybe half a dozen instances of actual corruption.

        Lets make a deal…….since you are the authority on corruption why don’t you start investigating. You can start with Norman McCue (Bellevue Managemnt) they are friends of the Walllace Family.
        What does Norman McCue do?
        I live in a Condo in Burien…..a guy purchased a condo here and got us to change our declaration. From then on in mid 2000 this association does not vote or have any more rights except pay homeowners dues.
        After they used their corrupt lawyer (Strichartz) to change these documents things have never been the same.

        Once these documents have changed ….they moved in their friends. Today they have taken everythng over and run the show. You can’t vote them out because there is no voting. So, year after year they are making unlimited funds and line their pockets and build Condo Complexes.

        The burien council fired (hestra) why? he was an honest man.
        They hired McBee. McBee was a contributer to Aaron Reardon (friend of Wallace)
        Wallace is a friend of Reagan Dunn (JenniferDunn) they are all connected and work together. Ashley Slater used to work of Jennifer Dunn and now works for McBee. They hired their own friends on this council and now want to change to the ward system so they can never be voted out or get their friends a seat unless they are removed. This way they stay in power forever, just like in my condo.

        Oh i have actuall evidence that they hired their own friends for work performed in Kent.

        I don’t expect anyone to understand what took me years to figure out but finally eveything just fell into place. It was a huge puzzle until all pieces just fit together. Nobody has to believe anything I say..but you will see in the future. Actually, what I don’t understand is that everything is right before your eyes, it would help if people open them but some people rather keep them closed so they don’t have to deal with it. This is why we have people in office that do whatever they want. I have been posting for a few months and if you guys put 2+2 together maybe you will see the connections.

        BTW..a political reporter is not a Investigator. And do you want to know why nothing will get done or investigated….because nobody wants to touch the untouchables. There might be consequeses to pay.

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      • May says:

        watching says:

        Please note that Representative Upthegrove has more than 3000 FaceBook friends. The fact that Joey Martinez is one of them doesn’t justify your paranoia. He would probably even be friends with YOU if you live in his district

        I have to dissapoint you but I don’t suffer from paranoia. You guys just find any excuse in the book to try and justify your doings. You can’t win because people are smarter then this.

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        • Pat LeMoine says:

          May, I hear you on corruption. They can be quite convoluted and often take many years before they come to light at which point it is to late to deal with. Couple this with old school values that are now often ignored. It is easy to become cynical.

          Brian Bennett has done some good things. He was the one dissenting vote of the four that moved the annexation vote from August to November. This resulted in more people like myself having the time to get involved and more people actually voting. I think annexation would have still failed but not by the nearly 2 to 1 margin that it did. With a closer vote Burien would probably be attempting another try at annexation costing another unknown amount of money to its taxpayers. Mr. Bennett also seems to be distancing himself from both Wards and Mr. Robinson as indicated 2:09:30 into the 3-25-13 Study Session: http://youtu.be/O7ZwPKMZlbU

          For a free society to function, the populace needs to be educated. Our founding fathers felt very strongly about this issue. As the decades pass I find that the general populations trust in the news media to be in rapid decline. Forums like this may not be perfect, but they are a good alternative.

          To you May, and to all the others that just want to get the facts out there, your efforts are greatly appreciated.

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  5. Ralph Nichols says:

    May,

    Politcal corruption is defined as “guilty of dishonest practices, as bribery; lacking integrity.” Allegations without actual evidence are baseless in fact and thus prove nothing. And accusations based on charges of guilt by association – a McCarthyite tactic – don’t cut it. If you have actual evidence of corrupt practices, state it; otherwise, perhaps the rhetoric of political mud slinging should be lowered. As a footnote, in 40-plus years as a political reporter, I have covered maybe half a dozen instances of actual corruption. And in each instance, I reported the facts of the case – which spoke for themselves – without ever having to use the words “corrupt” or “corruption.” So your actual evidence please?

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  6. John Poitras says:

    I suggest contacting your state representatives and let your thoughts be known about HB 1413 and find out who is supporting it and who is opposed to it. I personally think its a really bad proposal and can be too easily used to gerrymander a district. The downsides to it vastly outweigh the dubious claims about its benefits.
    The only way it would even come close to being more democratic is if it required a vote by the majority of the voters (NOT THE COUNCIL) to be put into effect.
    Council members who argue otherwise are showing their true colors which is a lack of respect for the electorate and come november they will be reminded that they serve at the pleasure of the voters NOT the other way around.

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    • Robbie Howell says:

      Wow! Thanks Linda, everyone should read this. What an eye opener to what is really going to happen to us if this is put into place
      .

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  7. jimmy says:

    so may you mean to tell us that these people that know each other and trust each other hire each other for job’s that they are train to do or might have some knolage in well gee who knew i guess in your head they should hire people they don’t know that they don’t trust and might or might not have the skills needed to do the job so you feel the need to bash them online why don’t you just not vote for these people and talk to the editors of some these news sites and blogs and if you all the info you say have then maybe they will let do a news story and you can get your info out to the public that way instead of repetedly bashing people online then bickering with anyone that doesnt agree with you
    and o yeah can someone please read this to elizbeth before she make a anoying post

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  8. May says:

    Jimmy-Yes

    Maybe you can get a job with them…they will just love you. You are a person that would just believe anything they dish you. A news story will never happen because they Newspapers do not want to come against the Walllace family. Remember, their friends are also in Olympia State Capital. They are the ones trying to pull one over on you with HB 1413. This bill takes away your voting rights.

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    • Burien Lover says:

      Hello May,

      Can you please describe for us, in detail and step by step, how HB 1413 will “take away your voting rights?”

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      • May says:

        Burien Lover:

        http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/1413.pdf

        Please read and educate yourself.

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        • Burien Lover says:

          I have read the bill, May. I repeat my question: Can you please describe for us, in detail and step by step, how HB 1413 will “take away your voting rights?” Can you please explain for us how this will apply in practice?

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          • May says:

            Burien will be divided into wards…I believe 6 or 7.
            You will be able to vote only for the people in your distict/ward. Thats it.
            These people that you vote for in your district or ward will represent you on the council if they win. Thats it. You will not be allowed to vote for anyone in all of Burien except in your ward/district.

            This is another one of their slick systems that they came up with. They can place their lovely little friends in certain districts and make them run.

            Mr Luis Moscoso should be investigate of who his connections are and how he came up with this bill.

            He represents Mounlake Terrace, Bothell, Marrysville and is co vice chair of transportation. I know some people on certain councils that are interested in Wine County. One of them actually worked for the city of Burien/ Scott Greenberg. His friend Dave Butner sold an easement to the City of Bothell. They are both in the Wine Business. I wonder if Mr. Luis Moscoso knows them sice he represents this district.

            That unless of course he drinks wine…Ha

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          • Burien Lover says:

            May:

            So what? Cities all over the world elect their council members this way. What’s the big deal? If Burien had a system like this, you could find your own lovely little friends who lived in those districts who shared your political agenda, and back them.

            It has nothing to do with Rep. Moscoso, it has nothing to do with wine, and it doesn’t take away a single one of your voting rights. It might, or it might not, be the best system for a town the size of Burien. But there’s not inherently anything wrong with doing it that way.

            You’re not obliged to prefer it. But claims that it would “take away voting rights” are total nonsense.

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          • May says:

            Burien Lover

            You are a true Burien Lover. And you are TcB…

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        • Burien Lover says:

          I’m still waiting for you to demonstrate that voting by districts would take away anybody’s voting rights.

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    • Ms. Weaver says:

      May,
      Who is the Wallace family you keep talking about? You describe them as a family that controls Washington state politics, I have never heard of them.

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      • May says:

        The Wallace Real Estate Company is in Bellevue Wa. Kevin Wallace sits on the Bellevue City council. He is the Son of Bob Wallace (founder). They are associated with most other real estate companies. A little while ago, Kevin was in the news wanting to get his friend Aaron Laing on the Bellevue Council. You can find alot of info on the Internet.

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        • Ms. Weaver says:

          Thank you for clearing that up. Now I wonder how Bellevue council controls Burien council? Does tha Wallace Real Estate control your condo assocation?

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  9. PanderBear Jack says:

    Why do people who get stumped my others (May, Debi, John p/William forest …) always accuse people of being other people?

    I’ve been accused of being many different people but you’ve been wrong! If you are going to accuse and chid people for dying something you should do it on both sides not just for people you support.

    So many of the people slamming districts for being so quick are so supportive of an elected mayor NOW! Hypocrites!

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