LETTER: ‘Your rigidly held personal beliefs are polarizing this Council into inactivity’

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[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:]

Dear Council Members,

Your rigidly held personal beliefs are polarizing this Council into inactivity. Blaming others for the mess you created is a sleight of hand maneuver to cover your inaction. Dialogue and negotiation would solve many problems. A Quality Assurance (QA) program will focus the City Council’s attention on attaining goals by solving underlying impediments.

I.S.O. 9001

Changing the course of the Nation starts locally through collaborative action, not partisan behavior. Council positions are non-partisan. I want Council Members to check Party credentials at the door. Your job is to make Burien safe and prosperous.

In 1995, the City of Ajax, Canada chose to become a Quality City. Two years later it was the first ISO 9001 registered Municipality in North America. This two part 27 minute video is their testimonial of the experience and results. Youtube videos: Part 1: https://youtu.be/TKN6M6UqO8c; Part 2: https://youtu.be/BkUk1GiTcE4

Like Ajax, Burien is a Municipal Corporation selling services through taxation. Burien did not arise from some sort of Quantum Flux. It was incorporated by Residents to serve Residents. Residents are the Owners and the Customers of Burien. Council Members are the Leaders and the liaison between Burien and its Residents / Shareholders.

Leaders actively develop their innate skills. Everyone is genetically wired with 3 Leadership skills:

  • Vision
  • Focus
  • Commitment

Using these skills requires choice.

Vision is sharing where you want Burien to be in 5, 10 or more years through collaborative dialogue. Painting pictures with your words stimulates the imagination and conveys your Vision.

Genetics: Storytelling predates Sanskrit. Its been used to pass down histories, medicinal lore, navigation, etc. since the dawn of time. Today, storytelling has evolved into speaking effectively, a pillar of Leadership.

By enlisting others in their Vision, Leaders create momentum.

Focus is choice. Where do spend my time and energy? Moving a Vision forward requires the dogged work of calculating steps and strategies to reach milestones. This requires adaptability.

Genetics: Problem solving is found in all species. Without it life can’t exist. Solving problems often requires looking at an issue from a different perspective. Each Council Member has a unique skill set. Using your skills collaboratively with others will solve many problems.

Collaboration is a cornerstone of Burien’s Vision Statement.

Commitment is the daily act of putting one foot in front of the other to manifest your Vision.

Genetics: Pattern recognition is a basic survival skill found in all of us. Its allowed mankind to: predict weather, navigate open water, land on Mars, etc. It’s Our adaptive quality, allowing us to make mid-course corrections to reach our Vision.

Commitment is being fully vested in Your Vision.
These 3 skills are readily accessible in a collaborative environment. Engaging them creates results: Luck favors the prepared mind.

Fix the Problem; Not the Blame

The Council is polarized. Left and Right are fighting and nothing is being accomplished. You are here to do a job, not represent a Party.

My partisan litmus test measures congruency between your Dais actions and your workplace rules. Three examples worth exploring are:

  • Protestors
  • Non-Attendance
  • C.A.R.E.S.

Protestors disrupted 8 Council meetings over the Trespass Ordinances, towing abandoned cars, etc. And, they accomplished nothing except polarizing the Community.

Workplace question to the protest organizer: If you disagree with a Court ruling, would you bring protestors to the Courtroom to express your incredulity? If not, why not?

Why is your Courtroom conduct different than your Council Chamber etiquette?

A QA system could be invaluable in solving Burien’s homelessness and economic disparities. Corrective actions are applied through the Burien Municipal Code. First, you must identify the statistically significant variables creating problems. Polarization is a National problem, blocking needed change.

Clinging to a rigid belief diminishes problem solving skills. I believe this statement is true: “To change the World I must first change my Self.” Are your beliefs about Police, protestors, property rights, etc serving your cause? I don’t think they are. Why? Because continued blaming does not lead to solution, it polarizes.

Monied interests like Citizens United use polarization to create gridlock. Gridlock is how the 1% maintains the status quo. Is the status quo resolving homelessness and wage issues? No. If you don’t like being seen as an unwitting tool for the 1%: offer solution, not polarization.

An I.S.O. 9001 system provides focus and tools to make a difference while growing Burien. It is a hands-on process requiring your undivided attention.

Non-Attendance is a problem. Why does the Mayor continue tolerating phone-ins? One possible answer: There is no Council policy governing active participation. (PDF: Guidelines)

Workplace question to the Mayor: Do you pay people who don’t show-up for work? If not, why not?

Prior to 2016, Council attendance wasn’t an issue. Today it is. What changed? I see:

  • A Council Member choosing not to show up for Council Meetings
  • A Mayor’s City Council Meeting Guideline needing updating

Amending the Meeting Guidelines is straightforward: spell out meaning the of effective participation. As future problems arise, and they will, this document is revisable. I.S.O. 9001 is a dynamic system for:

  • Preventing problems
  • Understanding and fixing existing problems

Residents want City-wide action. No-shows are the weak link. They lack commitment.

We want an I.S.O. program input from all 7 of you.

C.A.R.E.S. consumed 5 Council meetings this past year. Recently, three Council Members attempted to negate the C.A.R.E.S. contract. I have several workplace questions:

To the Council Member who contacted Burien’s insurance carrier (PDF: Insurance): Is this Council Member’s 15 second statement correct? You Tube: https://youtu.be/uo8gWzmZvfs

If yes, do you contact your employer’s insurance company when you suspect a supplier is dishonest? If not, why not?

To the three Council Members: Is this how you report problems at work? If not, why not?

An I.S.O. 9001 program could help with:

  • Extending I.S.O. 9001 requirements to contractors
  • Policies and procedures for reporting problems
  • Leadership issues

Contractors: I.S.O. registered businesses often require suppliers and contractors to be I.S.O. Compliant. I.S.O. 9001 Compliant companies document their Policies and Procedures in a Quality Manual. This Manual is subject to audit by Burien.

Insisting your suppliers and contractors be I.S.O. 9001 compliant provides peace of mind knowing services and products will consistently deliver value.

Policies and Procedures: All QA systems have a feedback loop to report irregularities. Contacting requirements are spelled out.

Leadership: I believe the original 4 to 3 Council majority has disintegrated. Today’s Leadership appears unfocused and unable to move City business forward. This impacts everything.

A QA program would have kept the Council focused on goals, rather than intramural skirmishes.

Open question to all Council Members: If your Dais conduct could get you reprimanded at work, then why is it acceptable to act out in the Council Chambers?

Mining the Data

QA systems are customer driven, requiring customer surveys to deliver value. Every 2 years, 350 Burien Residents provide a treasure trove of information on our needs and satisfaction ratings. The latest survey (PDF: Survey) shows our top concern as Public Safety again.

This Council continues to ignore the Survey data. The Public Record shows little Council activity on Our top concerns. Inaction impacts Burien’s desirability and City finances. Ignoring poor service ratings is bad business.

Would Boeing tell a customer its service issues don’t matter because just 26% of their customers are dissatisfied? 26% Burien Resident dissatisfaction is a statistically significant number requiring immediate attention.

QA programs can provide more than proactive prevention. They can also facilitate problem solving for existing issues. Resolving these issues should be the utmost priority if you want Burien to be successful.

Where you spend your time is where your results are. This Council’s 39 month tenure has little to show except for an off-leash dog park, paid largely by dog lovers.

I recognize money is tight. Tightness requires decisive action. The future isn’t something that happens tomorrow, it’s created by the actions we take today. I want the Council to install a QA system to focus your efforts on turning Burien around to make it safe and prosperous.

– Dick West

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11 Responses to “LETTER: ‘Your rigidly held personal beliefs are polarizing this Council into inactivity’”
  1. David says:

    Who the hell is this guy and why do you keep publishing his mind-numbingly long and pointless posts. He cites 28% dissatisfaction in a public survey calibrates that corporate customer service as evidence that Burien is somehow failing the citizens? Dude needs a hobby other than Gadflying.

    • Mark says:

      He actually stated a 26% dissatisfaction rate and you are free to not read what you feel is long winded. Do you have answers or solutions to the city’s problems?

    • Jack says:

      At least he is coming up with helpful summaries of observations and solutions. What are yours?

  2. DJT2020 says:

    The progressive socialists currently on the city council are trying to destroy Burien with their worthless social programs & sanctuary city policies that keep people in a cycle of poverty & addiction.

    You can’t reason with these council members you can only vote them out.

  3. What an amazing letter! Having worked in quality and problem-solving teams before, I’ve rarely seen such well stated issues and solutions. The writer of this obviously spent a considerable amount out of time, amd assumes a certain level of interest is required from any perspective reader in order for it to be effective.

    My knee-jerk reaction to the comment from David is that he is – like a certain chief executive we are all now dealing with – impaired in terms of Attention Span.

    The unfortunate truth is that life is not “like a box of chocolates”, and silly slogans and one paragraph answers don’t really solve anything. This may seem too deep and complex, but that’s only if you really don’t have the discipline to work for a complete solution.

  4. John White says:

    The world does not rise and fall on ISO9001. The ISO certification process has been criticized as being too costly and wasteful – it is not useful for all organizations. What we need is accountability. We need to elect a mayor and hold he or she accountable for some of the non sense. We need districts. We need a monster structural change.

  5. Pat Paulsen says:

    Comment: I have no idea of the actual reason for nonattendance by the councilperson but I do know of a possible reason based on my own personal history. About 20 years ago I suddenly developed a horrific chemical sensitivity asthma. I was not able to go many places without experiencing severe asthma attacks. This council member may have embarked on this road in good health and remain committed to her role in it but be unable to publicly participate. Her health would not be anybody’s business. She is participating, just not in the way you want her to. That doesn’t mean her input is not valued.

    There are still places I cannot go and people I cannot be around due to perfumes and so on. But, the worst of my symptoms suddenly abated a couple of years after starting.

    Not everything in life happens the way you want it. That is the way life goes. She IS participating in the best way she can. Leave your judgement at home.

  6. PJ says:

    Thanks Dick for another thoughtful and provoking letter.

    I for one see the three attributes of leadership missing on our seated council, vision, focus and commitment. The council member that hasn’t attended a meeting in over a year knows she can get away with it because of the wording in the council rules, it’s obvious why she’s choosing not to attend, it’s so that she can use her social media to disparage the citizens who are AT the meeting.

    This and the non-action of the entire council is shameful and the citizens are rising up to take action against it.I ask those of you who believe this to be an accurate description of what’s currently happening to join those of us who are attending meetings, writing emails to our council and calling them out for not representing their constituents.

  7. Brody Scanlan says:

    I keep seeing folks point out a council member for not attending the meetings, but at all the meetings I attended in person and online I witnessed full attendance.. there is one council member who attends remotely and they have engaged and participated and voted in all the meetings I attended in person and remotely myself. It appears the council member is getting the job done to me. The council member attends and works the meetings in the same efficiency as the rest of the council members while doing it remotely using technology our city has invested in. The live streaming service of the meetings shows me the chamber and I can clearly see and hear everyone that goes up for community comments using the same live feed that the council member working remotely uses.

  8. Jan Noorda says:

    I appreciate the comments of those who don’t hide behind the curtain of anonymity. I may agree or disagree with their point of view but at least I know them as people of good faith who are honestly trying to address the issues that face our community.
    It’s a cowardly act to call names and say mean things from behind this curtain. Shame.
    Thank you Dick West for the thought and effort you put in your comments.

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