LETTER: ‘We have an ineffectual Council getting in our way of moving forward’

Print This Post  Email This Post

[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:]

Burien’s Police Initiative for adding 18 more Officers is officially dead: State Law supplants Burien Municipal Code. Washington State RCW 35A.33.135 grants sole power of the purse to our City Council, thus preempting Burien’s Initiative Code BMC 1.10.010.

All is not lost; we can achieve two important goals in 2017:

  1. Replace ineffective Councilmembers with people who will give Voters a voice on Police staffing through a Referendum.
  2. Bring in new Councilmembers with fresh ideas to propel the City forward.

Current Council Makeup

Burien is a Municipal Corporation and like its private sector counterparts is not immune to hubris. Council voting patterns show the presence of three factions: hard left, hard right and swing voters.

Hard left’s 2 members are associated with protestors and dislike Police.

Hard right’s 3 members talk about expanding Police presence; yet they defunded the Police Gang Unit and bike / foot patrols in Downtown Burien. They also question adding 2 more Officers who are heavily subsidized by grants.

Swing voter’s 2 members are the moderates of the Council. They tend to be pragmatic.

The actions and words of extremists on both sides of the ideological spectrum show a distaste for leadership. They refuse to join the moderates to form a governing coalition that would move their agenda and Burien forward. Both sides appear more interested in childish power games than effective governance.

Left and Right extremes engage in polarization. Polarization is a behavior that teens use, not functional adults.

Both extremes use Proxies. The Left uses Protestors and the Right uses speakers, writers, etc. The latest spat between these groups erupted on November 7th: the Right was wagging its pointed finger at the left for defunding Police.

That finger pointing outward had three pointing back at the Speaker. Projection is deployed to blame others to coverup their involvement in the issue. Specifically, on August 1, 2016 the former City Manager proposed adding 2 more Police without a tax increase.

What did the Council do? Nothing. The Right wing could have joined the Moderates and added 2 Officers, and for their own reasons chose not too. The matter was then Tabled.

I think Burien would be better served by a Council comprised of moderates. The moderates tend to act like adults. They are focused on solution, whereas extremists create financial drama through inaction.

Burien is experiencing financial difficulty because many of the Councilmembers spend time fighting each other, instead of fighting for Burien. The polarizers hope City Revenues will improve, yet take no tangible action to become involved in making it happen.

In Burien, Right vs. Left infighting gives us gridlock and a declining quality of life. 3 extremists and 1 moderate are up for reelection in 2017: changing the course of Burien is done through changing the composition of the Council.

Put it in Writing

If we don’t ask for what we want from 2017 Candidates, we’re likely to get a new Council that is just like our current one: political deja vu.

I believe we can stop duplicitous campaign promises by asking pertinent questions. I want each of us to ask Candidates where they stand on issues that move the City forward. Good Candidates should have no trouble listing action steps and resources needed to achieve their goals.

For those who are concerned about getting protestors instead of sidewalks; there is an almost un-American solution: insist Candidates put promises in writing.

Verbal political promises are not enforceable contracts because they do not contain an offer, an agreement, nor any consideration.

Candidates who want to stand head and shoulders above others could have their lawyer draft a promissory note that contains the 3 provisions of a contract. This should specify: who, what, when, where, why and how they plan to fulfill their obligation. I believe a credible consideration would be a $2500 pledge to a local food bank if they willfully renege on their promise.

If a Candidate isn’t willing to put their agenda in writing with some skin on it, are they trustworthy to fulfill a verbal promise? Experiences in Burien would indicate: No.

Choice: Acceptance or Revenge

Acceptance is the place where What Is Is exists. It is not about blame nor is it about becoming apathetic and resigned. Its about choice. Accepting that the 5 extremists on the Council are and always have been extremists brings us to choice: we can replace 3 of them with more qualified people in 2017.

Staying steady and steeled in the face of a recalcitrant City Council is important. If you allow yourself to become angry, you can be manipulated by the Siren’s sweet song of revenge. Revenge voting is a contributing factor to Burien’s current Council makeup.

Political practitioners of revenge fail to tell us what they are going to do after they destroy their adversary. Revenge and solution are mutually exclusive objectives: one does not lead to the other. Many on this Council were voted in to avenge the Annexation debacle. What has this Revenge Council done since 2013 to improve Burien?

Revenge’s mirror opposite is Standing Forth. It is associated with adult behavior. Its motto is “Fix the problem; not the blame”. People who Stand Forth are leaders in their own lives first and foremost. They accomplish goals by leading, not bludgeoning others; and show an interest in dialogue. Those who Stand Forth are effective communicators and value input from others.


Maslow says safety is a basic human need. The Council ignores this intrinsic need and appears baffled as Burien slips into Social Chaos. Social Chaos is now metastasizing into financial chaos.

Being heard is another basic human need. Are they curious about you?

What would Bill Gates do?

Municipal and private Corporations have similar structures and objectives. Burien has a Mayor, Microsoft has a Chairman of the Board. Burien has a City Council, Microsoft has a Board of Directors. Burien has a City Manager, Microsoft has a CEO. Burien has Residents, Microsoft has shareholders. Burien has a valuation of $5.1 Billion, Microsoft has a valuation of $456.5 Billion. Both organizations were incorporated to create value for their Residents / Shareholders.

Property and share values are a reflection of management competency. Our (share) property is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, a Microsoft share is worth $57.

If our City Council were to assume control of the Microsoft Board, what do you think the ticker tape price would show on November 14, 2017? As a shareholder would you be satisfied? If not, would you vote in better people to turn things around?

If you’re not satisfied with the status quo…join me in January as I begin speaking to:

  • Problems and issues occurring on the City Council.
  • Consequences of Council inaction.
  • Solution within the Council’s capacity to implement.

We have a City with tremendous potential, and we have an ineffectual Council getting in our way of moving forward. Changing the Council changes the course of Burien.

I invite you to join me in making our voices heard for a safer and more prosperous Burien.

– Dick West

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our ~80,000+ monthly Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll consider publishing it.]

Print This Post  Email This Post


10 Responses to “LETTER: ‘We have an ineffectual Council getting in our way of moving forward’”
  1. Question Authority says:

    Much like the election just held for the POTUS, the candidate that wins does so by participating in a free and fair election. If you don’t like those results then I guess you don’t like how Democracy works, if you want a new council you just freely vote for the candidates that suit your agenda and accept what voting brings you. 50/50 chance.

  2. Susan Goding says:

    Burien does not need any more police. The city’s money would be better spent on afterschool enrichment programs for children. Or how about a jitney service to help residents get to grocery stores and shopping? Or how about partnering with the Highline Public Schools to put in gravel tracks and exercise stations so that students can use them on school days and residents can use them when school is out? The Burien City Council should focus on creating a livable city which will entice more people to live here and bring more businesses to serve them.

    • Question Authority says:

      Your Idyllic utopia will be uninviting if the crime rate climbs any further, in fact why move to or invest in Burien if you or your business can’t be safe. More police cracking heads is what this town needs to become a better place to live.

    • Neil says:

      Susan, we just aproved a bond measure for the highline school district that increased my property tax. I don’t want anymore services that I have to pay additional tax on that I see little benefit for my hard earned money. I am okay with paying more tax for additional police officers as it makes me feel safe in a Burien that is becoming less desirable with the characters that hang out by the library. Regarding helping residents get home with their groceries, why don’t you and your like minded friends volunteer your time, vehicle and gas money to help them out. I don’t want to give anymore. I would like to enjoy the fruits of my labor, not be forced to give it up to all kinds of extra taxation to fund things that you are suggesting. If you want to do it, hold a bake sale to raise money and get it done. Hands off what I work so hard for.

      • Question Authority says:

        Sounds like Susan would like to live in Seattle and get taxed to oblivion funding the ideas of the Socialist members of the council. Cops solve societies ills.

    • Shorewood Guy says:

      We need more police and to get rid of this waste of a product council. Lucy and her cronies must go. Kam did a great job and was hampered by this bunch of boobs. They are an embarrassment to this city which can be a great place to live BUT with them doing nothing to curb issues, each day is the same. And check out Code Non-Compliance. They don’t know their A from a hole in the ground. Just look around. Dreadful.

    • Paula says:

      No thanks Susan. We should forget about crime and dedicate our resources to the children and those that can’t figure out how to get to the grocery store?
      I don’t have children, and there are 3 grocery stores within walking distance of my home. So i’m good on giving up resources for things that have no interest to me. Crime, however, happens on my street all the time. Why don’t you worry about shuttling people to the store, and I’ll gladly pay extra taxes for a bigger police force.

  3. Tom Taaffe says:

    “Moving forward ” has a catchy ring to it kinda like “make America great again” but what exactly does it mean?
    And what if these new council people with “fresh ideas to propel the city forward” come to the conclusion that adding more police is not the way to do it. A real possibility I’d say.
    Running a city is not an easy job and never the object of a quick fix. Tom

  4. Lisa Parks says:

    I was so curious after reading this letter, I decided that I should watch the Burien City Council meeting on the city’s website. Luckily, I was there for the first 1.5 hours – I only needed watch two more hours. This is what I discovered:
    Lucy Krakowiak, Bob Edgar, Steve Armstrong, and Debi Wagner ALL support adding two additional police officers. The city of Burien has been awarded a grant for partial funding of 3 police officers. In the current budget, there is a proposal for funding two additional officers (one officer and one Sargent, I believe). They will be voting on this at the November 21st council meeting. I am really hoping they can make this happen.

  5. PJ says:

    I’d like to thank Dick West for all of his efforts! Dick has undoubtedly spent many hours doing the research only to find a roadblock in the way the initiative can go forward. I believe a good majority of citizens would support this, as reflected in the community study that was done this year, where 47% of those surveyed in March 2016 said reducing crime is a top priority. We have grant money for 2 more officers with half of the cost shared by the city, we just need them to approve it. Nov. 21st council meeting is when they are scheduled to vote, I implore all of those that want this to happen to attend and let your voice be heard.

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!