LETTER: ‘City is not fair and consistent in what it allows candidates to do’
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]
The City of Burien needs to make the rules in this political season open and available to all potential candidates for the City Council.
In 2011, at least one candidate for the Burien City Council had a booth at the Strawberry Festival right next to the booth for the Environmental Science Center. That candidate handed out campaign materials and talked constantly about politics. Monday of this week, I contacted the sponsor about a booth at the Strawberry Festival as a political candidate and this is what I was told:
Subject: RE: strawberry festival
We do allow political booths to register as Non-profit booths for $35 to share non campaigning information. (underlining added) But as a political booth, there is no campaigning for a party / person. Yes the booth needs to be manned the whole time and no, a candidate cannot go outside of their booth space to hand out flyers.
I hope that answers your questions. Please let me know if I can provide more help.
So it appears in the past, candidates have been able to campaign from a booth but no longer are allowed to do this at the Strawberry Festival and no flyers can be handed out at all.
In looking into campaigning at the Discover Burien Farmers Market, the rules say that no political activity is allowed unless the market manager approves it. So what does that mean? Some candidates will be able to campaign at the market and others will not be allowed? The Farmers Market is funded by the city.
At the recent event, the B-Town Beat, one candidate was allowed to put up a tent and hand out her campaign materials on city property. Why weren’t other candidates notified of this opportunity to campaign by the event organizer?
The problem here is that the city is not fair and consistent in what it allows candidates to do. The directions for what is allowed are not open and transparent to all of the candidates. Burien citizens should have the opportunity to meet the candidates running for their city council and service provider positions and the city should provide opportunities at events for this to happen. Other communities allow candidate booths at events and festivals. They allow the voters to see, meet and question the candidates they may want to serve them, in advance of the actual election.
I am asking the city to clearly explain when and where candidates can meet and talk to citizens, not just for myself but for all of the potential candidates. Earlier in the year, some members of the City Council voiced concerns that not enough candidates run for office in the city. Part of the city’s claim was that perhaps candidates needed mentorship on what to do in a campaign. The first step toward that mentorship is to make the rules for campaigning in the city perfectly clear to all candidates and provide them with an opportunity to meet the voters.
By the way-if I am elected to the City Council, one of the things I pledge to do is improve transparency on how things work in the city.
– Debi Wagner, candidate for council position #3
If you want to know more about me and what I stand for, please see my video at:
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