B-TOWN BLOG VOTERS’ GUIDE: Q&As with City Council Pos. #7 Candidates


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On July 6, 2017, we emailed out a list of 11 Questions to all candidates running for Burien City Council in the Primary election, which has an Aug. 1 voting deadline.

Two candidates who receive the most votes for each of the four open positions will move on to the Nov. 7 General Election.

This is The B-Town Blog’s final Q&A series from candidates who answered our inquiry, grouped by position numbers.

Of the five candidates for Position #7, four responded (Patty Janssen did not), and here are their answers – published exactly as they sent them – and listed in alphabetical order using their photos from the King County Elections website:

STEVE ARMSTRONG

1. How long have you had full-time residence in the city of Burien? Response:
50 years

2. Why are you interested in representing the citizens and what do you expect to gain from serving in a Council position?
I have represented Burien’s citizens as a Councilmember for the last 4 years. It was my goal then to put Burien first and work with the community to improve public safety, support existing business and grow our community. Our city is uniquely positioned geographically to grow exponentially in the coming years.We must be able to strategically plan for this growth while keeping our small-town feel.

3. What city ordinances would you want changed or removed from the books and why?
More work/research needs to be done with our parking and building ordinances in an effort to support local business as well as reducing impediments for new business/growth.

4. What changes or additions to city government staff would you support and how would you pay for these changes?
We have an excellent city staff who work very hard for us. At this point, I would not make any changes or additions.

5. Would your regular private employer control or require how you vote on city matters in a specific way, regardless of your personal observations and understanding of the facts?:
No – I have no conflicts of interest

6. Do you believe homelessness is a problem that Burien can alleviate or reduce, and how should the city handle the problems of homelessness?
I believe that services and aid for the homeless should be provided by the “experts” i.e. NAVOS, Transform Burien, Hospitality House, and other charitable organizations who have shown their value in providing support to the homeless. The city does contribute financial support to these organizations (and others) and works closely with them to ensure that our dollars are being used wisely.

7. Is Burien’s police force doing a good job handling criminal activity and would you vote tax increases to add police, or what would you cut to hire more police?
With the resources they have, I believe Burien’s police force is doing a very good job in handling criminal activity – but more police officers are needed. More emphasis is needed on our streets and with gang related activity. Giving our police the tools they need is essential. The addition of two new police officers did not result in additional taxes. I was instrumental in the addition of these officers to our force this year and will continue to support the need for more resources in the future. I believe there are creative ways – without tax increases, to add more officers in the coming years

8. Do you favor or oppose the city’s sanctuary ordinance? Response:
I am not in support a “sanctuary ordinance”, but I am in support of Ordinance 651 which doesn’t change existing city and KCSO policies. Ordinance 651 directs that the Burien city staff are not required to ask a person’s immigration status or discriminate against any individuals regardless of a person’s race, religion, or nationality. It does not prevent our police force or the city from working with other government agencies in support of activities related to illegal persons.

9. Do you support the city of Burien using tax dollars to pay for legal action against the Federal Aviation Administration because it has ordered some smaller planes to turn over Burien, creating added noise and pollution?
The airport and the FAA have been a part of our community for a very long time. The legal battle against the building of a third runway was a very costly effort that ended up with a third runway. Similarly, I do not want to get to the point where we are throwing money at a losing cause. Stating that, I do believe that the FAA has responsibility for ensuring that it is not interfering with quality of life or creating health issues. I believe that we should work more closely with our neighboring communities and the FAA to find solutions that work for all. Another component of this is building a new airport or utilizing Paine and Boeing fields to their full capacities. I voted for the initial budgeting of city dollars in support of legal action against the FAA. Allocating future tax dollars will have to be examined very carefully to ensure a successful outcome for our city.

10. Do you support CARES for animal control, or would you prefer to have the Regional Animal Services of King County operate this service?
I definitely support CARES. It’s a great organization of hard working, mostly volunteers, and a less expensive solution to King County. Burien should be proud of this home-grown business model that should be an example to other communities.

11. Do you understand that Washington state law provides that a Councilmember can’t give any direct “orders to any subordinate of the city manager, either publicly or privately,” but expect the manager to follow Council mandated policy?
Yes, as an acting Council member, I do understand this law.

MARTIN CULBERT

1. How long have you had full-time residence in the city of Burien?
Julie and I have lived in Burien since the summer of 1990.

2. Why are you interested in representing the citizens and what do you expect to gain from serving in a Council position?
As a new small business owner, I now have time to give back to the community that has nurtured my family for decades. As a servant leader, the only gain I expect is helping to improve Burien.

3. What city ordinances would you want changed or removed from the books and why?
No comment

4. What changes or additions to city government staff would you support and how would you pay for these changes?
I believe we need to review the current staffing and how to be more effective with the resources we have.  Over the next few years, our structural deficit means we should not be adding more staff until we have a way of funding those new positions.

5. Would your regular private employer control or require how you vote on city matters in a specific way, regardless of your personal observations and understanding of the facts?
As a small business owner, I  do not answer to any employer other than my customers, the citizens of Burien and King County.

6. Do you believe homelessness is a problem that Burien can alleviate or reduce, and how should the city handle the problems of homelessness?
Burien can have a major impact on our homelessness problems but only if we are willing to collaborate with our neighbor municipalities, King County, and Washington State. We need to start by finding credible solutions for the drug abuse and mental health issues causing the majority of our homelessness.  We have a number of volunteer organizations and local experts that can help us define effective solutions without bankrupting the city.

7. Is Burien’s police force doing a good job handling criminal activity and would you vote tax increases to add police or what would you cut to hire more police?
The Burien Police Department is better than many of our neighboring cities’ forces.  I am impressed with their efforts and their successes.  I also honor them for risking their lives on a daily basis for our well-being. As I stated with the question about city staff, we need to get our budget under control before we add more staff. I am eager to hear from Chief Kimmerer about our force’s needs before significantly adding to our forces.

8. Do you favor or oppose the city’s sanctuary ordinance?
I am supportive of our sanctuary status but find it a waste of time. King County’s status as a sanctuary location means we are also sanctuary by definition.  If there national government were to start levying taxes for our status, there would be cause for another discussion. At this time, let’s start dealing with some truly important issues.

9. Do you support the city of Burien using tax dollars to pay for a legal action against the Federal Aviation Administration because it has ordered some smaller planes to turn over Burien, creating added noise and pollution?
I do support the efforts of our volunteer Quit Skies Coalition.  I do believe the city needs to invest in limiting the noise and emissions impact over Burien.  Once again, we need to get our structural deficit dealt with before we invest large sums of money into other problems.

10. Do you support CARES for animal control or would you prefer to have the Regional Animal Services of King County operate this service?
When CARES was established, it saved Burien approximately $100,000. That was a wonderful decision.  When the Regional Animal Services decides to change its rates or financial demands, then we can and should reconsider our options.

11. Do you understand that Washington state law provides that a Councilmember can’t give any direct “orders to any subordinate of the city manager, either publicly or privately,” but expect the manager to follow Council mandated policy?
This is simple chain of command.  I have never had issues with succeeding in an established chain of command. Please keep in mind that the city staff is hired to serve the needs of the citizens of Burien.

TREVOR GAGE

1. How long have you had full-time residence in the city of Burien?
I have lived here in North Burien for 7 years. 3 of our 4 children were born here.

2. Why are you interested in representing the citizens and what do you expect to gain from serving in a Council position?
Burien is home for me and my wife, and our 4 children. I care deeply about my family and the atmosphere and community they live in. In 50 or 60 years, my children will recall their childhood, and I want those memories to be good ones that include feeling and being safe. If I live here and only complain about the crime and lawlessness happening, but do nothing about it, what does that say about me as a resident? As a husband and father? I feel an obligation to take actions towards the changes we need, and this is why I am running for City Council. What do I expect to gain? Here is “what’s in it for me”: I get to live in and raise a family in a desirable city that has a reputation for caring about its residents enough to keep crime off the streets, has a clean and orderly downtown, and makes economically sound decisions.

3. What city ordinances would you want changed or removed from the books and why?
652 needs to be changed. Parking mitigation studies need to be done, but hitting a brand new small business with the entirety of the fee when they have the majority of their upfront expenses and no revenue isn’t a recipe for small business growth downtown. The amount of vacancy in our commercial real estate space is astounding. Of course, 652 isn’t the only reason why we have vacancies, but it is a contributor. We have made doing business in downtown prohibitive for many small businesses and until our commercial spaces are at or near capacity, our focus should be helping to make it easier for people to have businesses downtown. I propose either a reduction in the fee, and/or delaying the fee through a variety of measures so that the business isn’t effected so much from the start.

4. What changes or additions to city government staff would you support and how would you pay for these changes?
I cannot make any recommendations about city government staff changes without knowing more about their performance, expectations of job duties, and if they are delivering the results the city needs.

5. Would your regular private employer control or require how you vote on city matters in a specific way, regardless of your personal observations and understanding of the facts?
I am self-employed as a real estate broker.

6. Do you believe homelessness is a problem that Burien can alleviate or reduce, and how should the city handle the problems of homelessness?
Homelessness is a serious problem in Burien and it’s a problem on many levels for many people, including those that live on the streets. While this is something I care deeply about, it is important to know that I do not believe it is the primary function of city government to address homelessness. We don’t have to look very far to see what does not work. Seattle’s solution and throwing money at the problem has resulted in no positive changes towards decreasing homelessness. In fact, they’ve actually regressed. Any efforts being made need to be towards rehabilitation and integration into society where lives can actually be changed as opposed to just opening low barrier shelters and enabling people to live in deplorable conditions. In order to rehabilitate, it’s important that we understand how and why someone is homeless and then address issues from there. Burien can help to alleviate homelessness through fostering relationships with private organizations, and making it as easy as possible for the private sector and non-profits to be involved in helping the right people reach the appropriate services that are offered.

7. Is Burien’s police force doing a good job handling criminal activity and would you vote tax increases to add police, or what would you cut to hire more police?
Yes! I believe Burien’s police force does a great job. Their job is a difficult one, and they are following the direction they’ve been given. They are working with limited resources and have some sizable crime issues to address. Nothing matters more than public safety. There are items in the budget that could be trimmed, that would fund additional officers. In the event that’s not enough, I would support a tax increase. We must reduce the element of crime happening in our city.

8. Do you favor or oppose the city’s sanctuary ordinance?
To quote Sheriff John Urquhart, “sanctuary city doesn’t mean anything”. I do not support spending multiple council sessions on political bravado. Isn’t this part of what’s wrong with our council? We have lost sight of what it looks like to be pragmatic towards results, and efficient with our time. We CAN work together towards a common goal as council members on items that serve the city and the people who live here. What that looks like in real time, is not wasting time on issues that “don’t mean anything”. A council member’s job is to act in the best interest of the people. If the Council’s decisions lead to us losing federal grant money over something that “doesn’t mean anything”, the Council should be held responsible.

9. Do you support the city of Burien using tax dollars to pay for legal action against the Federal Aviation Administration because it has ordered some smaller planes to turn over Burien, creating added noise and pollution?
Yes. The FAA must be held in check. The FAA has proven that they cannot be trusted to follow the laws and rules in place regarding conducting environmental studies before changing flight paths.

10. Do you support CARES for animal control, or would you prefer to have the Regional Animal Services of King County operate this service?
If and when possible, we should use Burien dollars to solve Burien issues, and involve local Burien businesses and Burien people. CARES does a wonderful job of fostering community action and getting locals involved in caring for our 4 legged friends. Of course, it’s important that all of our contracts are with entities who are in compliance with contracts written. As long as this is the case, I fully support CARES!

11. Do you understand that Washington state law provides that a Councilmember can’t give any direct “orders to any subordinate of the city manager, either publicly or privately,” but expect the manager to follow Council mandated policy?
Yes.

KRYSTAL MARX

1. How long have you had full-time residence in the city of Burien?
My family and I have lived in Burien, full-time, since March of 2015.

2. Why are you interested in representing the citizens and what do you expect to gain from serving in a Council position?
I have served my community since I was a child and, as such, it is where my heart is. I want to represent ALL of Burien, and provide more ways for underrepresented residents to have their voices heard on important issues that impact them and their families. By doing so, I expect to reap the rewards of building a more welcoming, diverse community.

3. What city ordinances would you want changed or removed from the books and why?
I would take a hard line against the “Anti-Panhandling” ordinance if it is brought back around. Otherwise, I believe we have enough to focus on without digging through previous ordinances to change or remove at this time.

4. What changes or additions to city government staff would you support and how would you pay for these changes?
Before making such a proclamation, I would first sit down with City government staff and see what they would advocate for. I am a proponent of supporting those who are currently doing the work, and trusting them to know what is best for the amount of work we are asking them to complete.

5. Would your regular private employer control or require how you vote on city matters in a specific way, regardless of your personal observations and understanding of the facts?
As I am currently a stay-at-home mother of four, I do not see that being an issue.

6. Do you believe homelessness is a problem that Burien can alleviate or reduce, and how should the city handle the problems of homelessness?
I believe that homelessness is an issue that Burien can address, sustainably, through cooperation with other South King County cities, local nonprofit organizations and accessing grants on the federal, state and county level.

7. Is Burien’s police force doing a good job handling criminal activity and would you vote tax increases to add police, or what would you cut to hire more police?
I think Burien’s police force is doing a good job handling criminal activity. Burien’s budget has 52% allotted for policing; instead of increasing taxes to add police, or cutting funding from programs / services, I would advocate for increased community involvement to target low-level criminal activity, and join together with other South King County cities to request a shared, low-cost gang unit to target the uptick in gang-related crimes.

8. Do you favor or oppose the city’s sanctuary ordinance?
I am in favor of our city’s sanctuary ordinance, and what it means to our citizens.

9. Do you support the city of Burien using tax dollars to pay for legal action against the Federal Aviation Administration because it has ordered some smaller planes to turn over Burien, creating added noise and pollution?
I support the fight against the Federal Aviation Administration, and the work of Quiet Skies.

10. Do you support CARES for animal control, or would you prefer to have the Regional Animal Services of King County operate this service?
I fully support the work C.A.R.E.S. does for our city, and would continue to do so alongside fellow community members.

11. Do you understand that Washington state law provides that a Councilmember can’t give any direct “orders to any subordinate of the city manager, either publicly or privately,” but expect the manager to follow Council mandated policy?
I am familiar with the Revised Code of Washington, and understand Chapter 35A.13 as it pertains to a city council / city manager relationship.

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Comments

2 Responses to “B-TOWN BLOG VOTERS’ GUIDE: Q&As with City Council Pos. #7 Candidates”
  1. Charlie says:

    After reading each candidates information it appears that Trevor Gage is the
    Best candidate . Trevor Gage will fight to keep flights from flying over our city . He will
    Not support illegal Sanctuary cities . Trevor Gage will fight for Burien
    to remain a good family city with less crime .

  2. Too Bad says:

    Trevor got mine and the family’s vote!!!
    Vote for Darla Green as well

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