Burien City Council changes truck routes, discusses youth council, fireworks, pot


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by Jack Mayne

Monday night’s Burien City Council meeting was the last one of the year, the last one for Councilmember Gerald Robison and the shortest meeting in a long time – less than two hours where the norm has been over three hours.

The Council held a pre-meeting celebration for Robison, and issued a proclamation (read about that here).

Mayor Lucy Krakowiak was excused to arrive late and Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz was excused. Deputy Mayor Nancy Tosta presided.

Truck route change
Robison got his wish to revise the north Burien truck routes to make Military Road South between South 128th Street and South 112th Street a city truck route and reclassify Military Road South as a minor arterial. The Council unanimously approved it without comment.

Then well over a half hour was spent discussing whether property rezone changes should come before or after changes to the city’s comprehensive plan, with Robison, Tosta and others saying the process was convoluted and difficult to comprehend.

“This just doesn’t feel right,” said Tosta.

Council, appearing exasperated, finally approved a rezoning request for 14421 8th Ave. SW from MS Property Management and Rick and Anna Friel.

Youth council considered
Resident Charles Schaefer told the Council in a letter and an appearance Monday night that he was glad the Council was going to consider reappointing a Youth Council, a group he said he was a member of between 2004 and 2007 while attending Highline High School – “I was even vice president one year.”

The Council agenda said it “expressed a desire to develop a Youth Council with the goal of ensuring that the youth in our community have a mechanism to be heard and express their interests.”

The city staff said the Youth Council should be able to provide “programming options for youth, including age groups from elementary through high school.”

Classes and other activities would be provided by city staff and through partnerships with the Highline School District, the agenda bill said.

Resident J.J. Sullivan-Counley said Youth Council was “an awesome idea.”

“We need our kids involved in Burien,” she said. “There is nothing for our kids here, we don’t have a skate park, we don’t have a community center … and this is a great idea to get ideas from our youth. We don’t need anymore fancy restaurants, we need the kids’ idea of what brings them and keeps them in our city instead of leaving.”

Debbie Zemke, Burien recreation manager, said the age range for a Youth Council would likely be teenagers. She noted that six times the number of kids apply for school-related sports activities as there are team slots, so there is a high interest for other intermural sport programs.

Robison suggested considering programs that would include youth after they graduate from high school and before 21 years of age. Zemke said that idea would be considered in a later proposal to the Council. Tosta said the city staff should review exactly what such a youth group should do and how it would interact with the Council and report back later. Councilmember Bob Edgar also said more research was needed and how it can better relate to the city.

City Manager Kamuron Gurol said the city could gather the information asked for but did think more specificity of goals was needed.

“The more we can get a consensus from the Council helps us generate a proposal that you will then embrace,” he said, adding that the discussion should continue with the Council next year.

Fireworks and pot
Police Chief Scott Kimerer reminded the Council that with the coming of New Year’s Eve, fireworks were illegal in the city, but he did not find a great number of complaints in previous years.

Only Kent and Auburn allow fireworks in South King County, he said, and during the New Year’s and Fourth of July periods there are a lot of complaints but also other things that keep police from focusing on fireworks adding there were 270 pounds of fireworks confiscated by police last Fourth of July.

Chris Cody, owner of Herban Legends, a medical cannabis store in White Center, asked the city to decide where a retail store could be located in Burien. He said a new state law allows “good actors like myself” to apply to for a retail license since Burien has no marijuana retail store. The one Burien site selected earlier by state lottery was unable to find a “suitable” location, meaning Burien will not get a share of revenue from taxing marijuana stores.

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Comments

25 Responses to “Burien City Council changes truck routes, discusses youth council, fireworks, pot”
  1. Home Owner says:

    OPEN A NEW TAX REVENUE….The City can OWN it themselves and profits and taxes will go to Burien.

  2. Charles Schaefer says:

    I was glad to see interest from the council members on the Youth Council topic. However, some of the discussion relating to the objectives of such a Council and whether it was a “club”, an “advisory board”, a mechanism for doing volunteer work or something else was a bit disappointing. As I tried to make clear to them, during my time serving it was all of those things. I realize that Burien now is different from Burien ten years ago and don’t mind seeing them take a different direction, but it is important that the city do something to give teenagers a voice in the process. Community engagement IS one of their council priorities, after all.

  3. Question Authority says:

    Happy Holidays Everyone,
    I doubt I am the only one who noticed that with the absence of Lauren Bezerkoitz from this last meeting it ran shorter, was less contentious and actually some stuff got done!
    Coincidence? With the way things go when she is here, I would place a bet on it!

  4. Ira Hartman says:

    Regaarding the request for a “suitable location” in Burien for a pot store:
    One in White Center is one too many. We do not need or want one in Burien. Tell the guy to take a hike.

    • Pot says:

      But it IS legal.

      • More Pot says:

        Absolutely. It IS legal and Burien is missing out on on revenue. Tell me (with something more than “I don’t like it” ) tax monies into the coffers is a bad thing

        • Charles Schaefer says:

          Not only do “Pot” and “More Pot” have clever pseudonyms, they also have decent points. Not allowing pot stores in Burien will not stop pot from coming into Burien. We might as well make some money off of it, at least by taxing private dealers. I’m not convinced having the city go into the business itself is a good idea. ALSO the city needs to understand that it’s job is to protect property values especially in residential areas. It’s incentive to do this is property tax revenue and one of the tools it has is zoning. Next to schools and homes is not the place for such an establishment. Some of the vacant storefronts downtown, however, might be acceptable. Especially near the transit center, I suspect a business of that nature could get a lot of patronage.

          While we’re on the subject, use of marijuana (or alcohol) in public is not only a nuisance, it is a bad image for a city working to re-brand itself. It also is likely connected to other concerns such as aggressive panhandling, gang activity and menacing behavior by less desirable elements of our community. I encourage the council to strongly address such behavior, perhaps with the additional revenue from a licensed pot shop.

          • Peter says:

            You are correct – not allowing pot stores in Burien will not stop pot from coming into Burien. But I do not know anyone who was suggesting that, so you’re making a bit of a straw man here. However – the addition to a marijuana shop in Burien might well exacerbate the very concerns – aggressive panhandling, gang activity, public intoxication, etc. – which you rightfully point out as being bad for Burien. In fact, you admit that the use of marijuana in public would make matters worse for Burien, yet you are for a pot shop! Do you think public use of pot would increase or decrease in Burien if there was a pot shop in the city? Common sense would suggest it would increase, wouldn’t it?

            Burien has enough problems as it is without adding to it by allowing a pot shop in the city that would encourage the very behavior that we are trying to eliminate. I truly hope that the city council does not allow a shop in Burien. Let them go somewhere else for their pot.

            • Charles Schaefer says:

              I’m not in favor or opposed to a pot shop (in an appropriate non-residential area), and I apologize if my previous comment gave the wrong impression. I was merely suggesting some factors to consider. My comment that a ban would not stop pot from coming into Burien was primarily intended to support my next suggestion that we “might as well make some money off of it” instead of having Burien marijuana users giving tax revenue to Seattle or another city, however I’m sure there are a few naïve individuals who do in fact think they can keep it out of Burien entirely. (I’m not trying to suggest that Ira Hartman is one of those) While I agree with you that a pot shop would encourage unacceptable behaviors if left unchecked, my request is that the city focus on addressing such behavior, regardless of whether or not there is a pot shop. IF there were to be a pot shop licensed, I’m sure that shop and the surrounding area would receive appropriate attention from BPD and I would hope that the tax revenue the city received went to support that additional law enforcement presence. I don’t know anything about Chris Cody or his current operation, but if he is truly a “good actor” then he will be willing to work with BPD and do what he can to address our concerns as well.

              • Sandy S says:

                On the whole, I agree with you C. S. When marijuana was legalized, I wondered what would happen, just as many of you might have been doing. Rather surprisingly, it seems not to be a bad thing. I travel by bus between 5 counties most every week and with the exception of an occasional whiff of marijuana smoke in the air, I do not see marijuana indulging people acting out. It doesn’t seem much different than before the open sales of marijuana. I travel by a few pot shops. They seem rather quiet businesses.
                As to whether they foster gangs and pan handling and vandalism, I don’t see the connection. At first blush I can understand the thought that this might be what would happen, but if you stop and think about it, legalizing is an effort to break that connection. I believe legalization of pot was and still is an effort to take profits away from the underworld and reclaim our jails and prisons for the truly criminal, instead of jailing those found holding/selling pot. Are there those who will abuse marijuana and go on to heavier drugs? Of course. Are there those who occasionally like to use marijuana? Of course. So why not see the drug as it really is and allow Burien to make some tax money off of it rather than harboring more and worse crime by keeping it an ‘underworld’ thing.
                I might add that I am very concerned about the recent rise in heroin use and over doses in our country. There is a much closer tie to it’s sudden increase of use to prescription painkillers than to legalized pot. I encourage people to read recent findings/data on these topics and view the evidence for themselves.

                • Charles Schaefer says:

                  I agree Sandy. My initial comment was that PUBLIC use (of pot or alcohol) was connected to the deviant behaviors I mentioned, because both are committed by people who have no consideration, for example, for the fact that people might be out with their children. I have no problem with someone using marijuana on their own private property. I also agree with you that heroin use is a problem, after a group of us went to clean Dottie Harper park last summer and found FOUR needles in addition to a bottle of Hennessey and assorted other items. It’s unfortunate that I don’t see anything Burien can do as a city to address the use of pain killers by those with a prescription, but we can at least address public intoxication before it results in the other behaviors I mentioned.

              • Peter says:

                Charles – what you seem to be saying is, “use of marijuana in public is connected to aggressive panhandling, gang activity and menacing behavior, but let’s build the pot stores anyway, because the tax revenue we get will help us to fight aggressive panhandling, gang activity and menacing behavior.” And near the transit center? That’s all we need is more societal dregs near the transit center that a pot store would inevitably attract.

                A pot store is not good for Burien, nor would the extra revenue be worth it.

                • Home Owner says:

                  Burien Transit Center has not been good for Burien, we cannot stop the busses or the Pot Shop. They are both LEGAL.

                  • Peter says:

                    Home Owner – you are wrong: local communities can have a say in what kind of businesses can be established, and where. For example there are ordinances in some cities which prevent adult bookstores from being established within a certain distance from schools. In Denver, pot stores are not allowed within a certain proximity to schools. Just because something is legal does not mean that it must be on every street corner. Guns are legal – how many states allow guns (concealed or otherwise) to be carried legally into a school?

                    • jimmy says:

                      Peter How many places sell alcohol in burien and how many dui or other alcohol related incidents have happened do to overconsumption of alcohol in burien alone. How many marijuana incidents have there been in burien or in the entire state dui/domestic violence/murder/assaults . How many marijuana shops have gang members or panhandlers hanging around them or even using their businesses. Most gang members will still use the black market or underground sells do to price and gangs don’t want to pay up to 75% in taxes on their marijuana. Panhandlers yeah they might smoke marijuana but with the amount that marijuana cost in one these stores I really doubt they can afford it also if they can it’s more tax revenue going back into the system instead of in a crack/meth or heroin dealers pocket.

            • cletus says:

              I agree. And we should make Burien a dry city, by banning ALL alcohol. It’s 1000 times worse than any pot consequences!

  5. Peter says:

    Jimmy, if you read the posts more carefully, you’d realize I was responding to this post by Charles Schaefer:

    ” use of marijuana (or alcohol) in public is not only a nuisance, it is a bad image for a city working to re-brand itself. It also is likely connected to other concerns such as aggressive panhandling, gang activity and menacing behavior by less desirable elements of our community. I encourage the council to strongly address such behavior, perhaps with the additional revenue from a licensed pot shop.”

    Use in public is a nuisance. Certainly pot shops would increase the public consumption of pot – as anyone who has driven around town and been downwind from someone smoking in their car while driving would notice, or has noticed the smell while shopping in retail shops. The smell is everywhere now, pot having been legalized. And I highly doubt that all these people have “designated drivers.” They are a nuisance to public safety, in addition to the other ills Charles attributes to pot shops. But Charles does not take it to the logical conclusion. Instead he says, “sure the pot shops contribute to all these ills. So lets start some pot shops in Burien so we can raise money to combat all these ills caused by pot shops.” That logic makes no sense to me.

    Regarding your comments on alcohol consumption and the ills associated with that misuse such as DWI”s and domestic abuse: sure doesn’t make sense to exacerbate those ills by adding pot shops to the mix. How many of those DWI’s are not just alcohol related but also pot related ? I have no idea. But I would not be surprised if there is a co-relation.

    Let’s not let Burien become White Center south by allowing pot shops here. We haven’t had them yet and the town seems to already have enough problems.

    • Charles Schaefer says:

      Asking Jimmy to read the posts more carefully won’t get you anywhere Peter, but thanks for trying. 😉

      Let me try to explain myself one more time: We already experience the negative effects of pot use in Burien and currently have none of the benefits. It is quite possible that, by licensing a pot store (allowing someone who is in the business and already wants to start a pot shop to do so is different from starting one or encouraging one to start) the revenue we get in will make up for the additional public pot use and allow us to deal with it. Also, currently the public use is spread over the whole city. Having a pot shop would centralize some of that and would make it easier for police to monitor and deal with. Those storefronts next to the transit center are two blocks away from the precinct and often have police cars driving by them.

      • Peter says:

        Charles, to me, it makes no sense to say, “we already experience the negative effects of pot use in Burien, so… let’s make it easier and more convenient to get pot in Burien” (!!) Do you think the negative effects will increase or decrease with the addition of a pot shop in Burien? I would argue they will increase, and the revenue we get from the marijuana purchases of pot at the store, to the extent that they even trickle down to Burien, would be not worth the extra negative effects. It also boggles my mind that you would suggest the pot store in the transit area – which has become the seediest part of Burien proper – such that after dark one should probably avoid that area altogether – unless the goal is to somehow keep all the crime and societal dregs in one area. But even the close proximity of the transit center to the police precinct didn’t prevent the mugging of the woman walking back to her car from Eliot Bay Brewery. I don’t buy it, Charles.

        • Charles Schaefer says:

          I agree the negatives will increase, but I’m not convinced that increase will be substantial. I will also concede Jimmy’s point that I am no expert on I-502. I appreciate him sharing his experience which would go to show how a shop run by a “good actor” can maintain control of it’s surroundings and I agree with him that reporting problematic behavior is always a good thing to do. Regarding the mugging: a crime like that can happen quickly and the police might not be around to catch it. I’m obviously not suggesting that there is some magic radius around a police station in which crime simply does not exist. Those who use drugs in public tend to do so more than once and eventually the police will take notice, I submit that they would notice quicker if such conduct were going on near the station. For what it’s worth, there are transit police often monitoring the transit center and I think they have had a positive impact.

    • Jimmy says:

      Peter you seem to be confused and mixing in what has happened with some medical marijuana location in white center. Witch is why the king county police are shuting down some of these locations that have had a problem with people hanging around smoking in public. Then in Seattle there laws are a little more relaxed on smoking in public. Now I-502 has some go restrictions on smoking in public or consuming marijuana it’s up to public to report any activities of that to the police. also they have restrictions in I-502 on were a shop can be located just like Colorado.

      Now I have been to the nimbin pot shop a few times and have seen no public use of marijuana no pan handling no gang members hanging around. The people running that location make sure to follow the law to the t. Yes some times when you walk in yes you can smell unsmoked marijuana.

      You also have to take into consideration that 98% of marijuana consumers are law abiding citizen’s. This why the citizens of the state of Washington have voted for legalized recreational marijuana.

      See what I see is that Peter and Charles are two that choose not consume marijuana which is fine but they seem to be well in formed on the possible negative impacts. When in all actually they have no real proof of the actions they mentioned. Also seem not to know much about I-502 law and should do a little reading of the law. Before making assumptions about a business that could help bringing in revenue into the city.

      Also if you see someone using marijuana in public report it to the police because then they can catch the person and write them ticket bringing in even more revenue to the city. samething if you see someone comsuming alcohol in public (park,bus stop) report it.

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