Burien looks to create new committee to monitor growth of Sea-Tac Airport


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By Jack Mayne

The redesign of a Burien committee to oversee the continued and wide scale growth of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was initiated by the Burien City Council on Monday night (Jan. 7).

Given tentative approval was a resolution by the city establishing the “Burien Airport Committee to meet monthly to address issues related to Sea-Tac Airport.”

City Manager Brian Wilson said the committee realignment resolution is “originated from the world of the (Burien) Airport Committee and it addresses the issues pertaining to growth of Sea-Tac airport (in an) effort to address and put into resolution about the concerns the city has about this growth …”

Updating Burien Airport Committee
The committee has three Councilmembers, three Burien business members, and three Burien residents. The committee has been in effect for some time, but at a meeting in December, it recommended changing the composition to “up to three Councilmembers, up to six Burien community members, and ex-officio members representing the city on other airport matters.”

The Council decided to get staff to provide more information and return to the issue at a later session.

Former Mayor and current Councilmember Lucy Krakowiak said the committee was proposed to be three councilmembers and three residents of Burien and three business members.

“I think that if we continue this committee it needs to continue in the form of a subcommittee from the Council or change it to a citizens’ advisory committee and have no councilmembers on it and have citizens help us with this and make sure there is a mix of residents and business members,” Krakowiak said. She also suggested moderating language from demands to requests because the city has no authority to demand of the Port of Seattle or federal agencies that oversee the airport and its development. It should be noted also that Krakowiak works at the airport.

Tosta said the change was considered to be certain that members were citizens and not necessarily business members and three councilmembers were first thought to be on it, but three were not often in attendance. We can have up to three. I think it is important, personally, having participated … and brings credibility.”

Fair question
Mayor Jimmy Matta says it is a fair question to ask whether this is a citizens advisory group or a Council committee group.

Plastic bag ban
The Council gave final passage to an ordinance prohibiting plastic carryout bags and that “All retail establishments within the City of Burien shall provide only the following as carryout bags to customers: reusable bags, recycled content paper bags, or compostable bags.

It also gave majority approval to the maintenance of art in public places, with Councilmember Lucy Krakowiak not voting because she disagrees with part of the program.

Mini-drama over Deputy Mayor
A normally routine process of reelecting or choosing a new deputy mayor resulted in a tie vote between current Deputy Mayor Austin Bell, and Councilmember Nancy Tosta, a nominated second candidate.

Bell was renominated for the position by Councilmember Krystal Marx. After a pause, Councilmember Pedro Olguin nominated Tosta.

The vote was a tie with Councilmembers Bob Edgar, Olguin and Tosta voting for Tosta; and Bell, Matta and Marx voting for Bell.

City Attorney Lisa Marshall said a tie means the Council can vote again, adding that state law does not require the city to have a deputy mayor, but the position is in the Council guidelines.

“Ordinarily you just can continue as you have until the tie can be broken.

“Interesting, isn’t it? I love government,” Matta said.

It was also suggested by Olguin that both Bell and Tosta “step outside to have a private conversation on who wants the job the most.” Matta asked the city attorney if it was legal to flip a coin to settle the issue.

“I would encourage against games of chance,” Marshall said, adding that the deputy mayor can continue in the job until a decision can be made by the Council.

She suggested that Olguin’s suggestion that both go out of the chambers to see if they could make a decision between they and Matta called for a vote, which was unanimous for a recess for the two to talk privately.

Five minutes later the Council reconvened.

“Sounds to me like we’re at square one,” and Bell will continue as deputy mayor until whenever, or if, the Council votes for a change.

Tosta was reelected last year, and Bell is up for reelection this year.

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