Some SeaTac officials object to Burien Mayor Matta siding with residents of Firs


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From our sister site The SeaTac Blog:

By Jack Mayne

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta created a small controversy when he wrote a letter to the King County Superior Court judge presently considering an appeal of the residents of the Firs Mobile Home Park who have been told they have to move to make way for a commercial development.

Some members of the SeaTac City Council and city residents have said it was inappropriate for the mayor of an adjoining city to interfere with SeaTac’s decisions and processes. Matta told the SeaTac and B-Town Blogs that he had the right to comment on what appears to be an unfair action involving the mostly Hispanic residents of the Firs.

On March 30, King County Superior Court Judge LeRoy McCullough postponed the decision on an appeal by the residents of the approval by a SeaTac hearing examiner of a decision that allowed the park to close and the property redeveloped possibly for hotels and other higher uses.

“I did not have time to get through the voluminous record,” the judge said in a written statement released via his court bailiff.

The Firs residents said in their appeal that “mobile home park owners and residents are subject to reasonable regulation, which include carefully balanced requirements for closing a mobile home park: At least one-year proper notice of intent to close a mobile home park, cooperative formulation and implementation of a relocation plan to successfully relocate all residents of the mobile home park before a mobile home park can be closed and converted to another land use.”

Matta asked the judge to send the matter back to the original hearing examiner for more consideration of the decision.

Several legal observers, including SeaTac City Attorney Mary Mirante Bartolo, have said state law offers no other help the city can utilize to help the residents who have been protesting the eviction for over a year.

SeaTac officials and some residents have said it was inappropriate for Mayor Matta to say in his letter that “This letter is my opinion and not the opinion of the Burien City Council” but then sign it as “Jimmy Matta Burien Mayor.” Matta said Monday he is legally permitted to use his signature as mayor in communications.

Here’s Matta’s letter:

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