Each candidate running for the Burien City Council Nov. 7, 2023 General Election was asked 10 questions by The B-Town Blog (read previous Q&As here), covering topics like their reasons for wanting to serve on the council, what they think about current issues in the city, and what kind of solutions they have.
The following responses to our questionnaire in our series is from Position No. 2 candidate Linda Akey (tomorrow we’ll feature her opponent, incumbent Cydney Moore).
Ballots will be mailed out on Oct. 18, and are due by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.
NOTE: Photos, links and the order of how candidates are presented are identical to the King County Elections website.
1. Why are you running for city council? Please explain what inspired you to run and why you are qualified.
“I’m running for Burien City Council because our community deserves better. I’m committed to making Burien a safer, more livable place for everyone, and I will bring professionalism and healthy communication to the council. Tent encampments, armed robberies, grocery store shoplifting, and auto thefts have left residents feeling unsafe and questioning the livability of their community.
“I’m different from the other candidates because I care about the unhoused and am committed to finding a path forward that does not involve enabling and neglect but rather, housed and healing. I’m committed to finding sustainable solutions to help the unhoused get back on their feet, not creating more tent encampments.
“I support the creation of substance abuse, mental health treatment centers, and transitional housing options. Also, policies to enhance public infrastructure, protect our environment, and mitigate climate change.
“As a nonprofit consultant, I have helped organizations start and operate successfully. I’m skilled in developing and implementing strategic plans, managing budgets, and building relationships. I’m also an effective communicator and collaborator. I am committed to promoting economic development and supporting small businesses.
“I am unafraid to work with people from all walks of life. I’d like your vote so that I can work with you to build a safe & livable Burien for everyone.
“We can build a better Burien together.”
2. What is the biggest issue facing Burien residents, and how can that be solved?
“Tent encampments, grocery store shoplifting, auto thefts, and even convenience store armed robberies have left residents feeling unsafe and questioning the livability of our community. I’m different from the other candidates because I care about the unhoused enough to find a path to recovery that does not involve enabling and neglectfulness.
“I’m committed to finding sustainable solutions to help the unhoused get back on their feet and not creating more tent encampments that facilitate inhumane and unsanitary conditions, drug abuse, fires, and even human trafficking. I support the creation of substance abuse and mental health treatment centers, and transitional housing options. I want to see people healed and housed.”
3. What are your thoughts on conducting sweeps of homeless encampments? How would you balance the rights and needs of people experiencing homelessness and those of other residents and businesses in Burien?
“Sweeping homeless encampments does not solve the problem of homelessness, but neither does enabling unsafe living conditions and behaviors. We must address the root causes of homelessness, such as drug addiction, mental illness, and poverty. This will require a multi-pronged approach that includes government, businesses, and nonprofits working together.
“We also need to have difficult conversations about homelessness. We need to be willing to listen to the concerns of everyone involved, to find compassionate, effective, and fair solutions that do not enable unsustainable behaviors. Accountability goes both ways.
“Together, we can make Burien a safe and livable community for all.”
4. What are your thoughts on conducting sweeps of homeless encampments? How would you balance the rights and needs of people experiencing homelessness and those of other residents and businesses in Burien?
“An increase in the unhoused is not local to Burien, King County, or Washington. It is a challenge everywhere, and different cities have implemented successful models to address homelessness and drug addiction that perhaps we can learn from, but this is not a one size fits all problem. It will not have a one size fits all solution.
“We need to find solutions that work for Burien that are compassionate, effective, and fair. I am committed to finding solutions that work for everyone and being willing to compromise. I will listen to my constituents and bring compassion, productive, effective communication, and professionalism to the hard conversations we need as a community to find sustainable solutions that move the most vulnerable from crisis to housed and healing.”
5. How would you measure and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of Burien’s homelessness policies and programs?
“I believe that if you are not measuring you are not managing. Rather than relying on anecdotal information or hearsay I will encourage a city sponsored study to evaluate the efficacy of solutions we attempt as a council. I will work to ensure new service contracts include measurable outcomes and evaluation methods for clear results and end contracts that are not providing these outcomes.”
6. What are your thoughts on the job that Burien Police/King County Sheriff’s Office are doing?
“I am running to be on the city council and represent the voices of those I represent so I pay close attention to the conversations we are having at the doors. Overwhelmingly, public safety remains a number one issue for Burien residents and I will actively work with the council to ensure the Burien Police department has the laws and resources they need to do their best jobs while having the accountability and transparency the community expects and deserves.”
7. Do you have any plans to help Burien businesses that are struggling from recent issues, like COVID or increasing crime?
“Small, family-owned businesses, and their success are the lifeblood of Burien, their success is vital to Burien’s culture and vibrancy. I am committed to working with businesses in Burien to help them recover from the challenges they have faced in recent years. I will work to create an environment where businesses can thrive. I will also work to address the root causes of crime, such as drug addiction, mental illness, and poverty, which can make it difficult for businesses to operate.
“By working together, we can make Burien a safe, livable, and more prosperous place for residents and businesses.”
8. How would you balance the needs and interests of different neighborhoods and communities in Burien?
“Prioritize and Collaborate: The best way to balance the needs and interests of different neighborhoods in our community is through cooperation and teamwork. I have a proven track record of working with people from different backgrounds and am willing to compromise.
• “Focused on long-term solutions: I am committed to solving the challenges facing Burien’s neighborhoods and communities. I have a vision for an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable city.
• “Mindful of the potential for conflict: I acknowledge that there may be times when the needs and interests of different neighborhoods and communities conflict. I am committed to addressing these conflicts fairly and transparently.
• “Prepared to make tough decisions: I acknowledge that there may be times when I have to make tough decisions that may not please everyone. I am committed to making decisions that are in the best interests of Burien as a whole.”
9. How would you engage with Burien’s youth and seniors?
• “I intend to meet with youth and seniors: I believe it is essential to meet with them regularly to hear their concerns and ideas. I will listen to their feedback and take their suggestions into account.
• “Hold town hall meetings: Town hall meetings specifically for youth and seniors will give me a chance to hear from a large group of people and get their input on various issues.
• “I support youth and senior advisory boards: These boards can be made up of people who would provide advice and recommendations to the city council.
• “I support funding youth and senior programs: This would provide opportunities for these groups to get involved in their community and connect.
• “I support promoting youth and senior events: I will encourage youth and senior events to create activities for youth and seniors.”
10. How would you enhance Burien’s environmental sustainability and resilience?
“I support the Burien Climate Action Plan, which addresses transportation emissions, renewable energy, waste reduction, ecosystem preservation, and climate change adaptation. As a city council member, I would work to enhance Burien’s environmental sustainability and resilience by supporting policies that invest in renewable energy, protecting natural resources, reducing waste, planning for climate change, and educating the public. These policies are essential to creating a more sustainable and resilient community for future generations.: