Each candidate running for the Burien City Council Nov. 7, 2023 General Election was asked ten 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. 4 candidate, Patricia Hudson, who is running against incumbent Kevin Schilling (see his Q&A here).

Ballots will be mailed out on Oct. 18, and are due by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.

NOTEPhotos, links and the order of how candidates are presented are identical to the King County Elections website.

Patricia Hudson

1. Why are you running for city council? Please explain what inspired you to run and why you are qualified.

“I have become disillusioned with the apathy I see in my community. I see my city council allowing my neighbors to suffer; those neighbors may be the unhoused, who have no place to go in my city, or they may be business leaders who are struggling due to theft and vandalism. I am a results-driven individual who believes Burien can be so much more. I am determined to make a difference in my community. I want to collaborate with my fellow council members to increase available affordable housing by income, find scalable solutions for our unhoused neighbors, drive increased economic development opportunities, develop realistic transportation solutions and ensure climate change is always part of the discussion.

“My experience has prepared me to be a productive member of a diverse council who will work together and make tough decisions for the betterment of our city. Decisions that consider the impacts to all residents of Burien. When we disagree on how to address an issue, I will bring my leadership and conflict resolution skills to the table to help bring about well thought out decisions that take into consideration all voices in our community.

“In my work I frequently collaborate and negotiate with stakeholders with varying interests to achieve mutually agreeable results for employees. As a member of the city council, it is necessary to collaborate with one another towards the common goals of meeting the varying needs for city residents. Our goal must always be to work to understand the needs for our residents and to find solutions that best serve our constituents. I realize that policies can be iterative and often require analysis and adjustment over time. I know how to build the types of policies that are strong enough to make a difference, while still being flexible enough to be altered when needed.

“I have the skills and willingness to work as a contributing member of a team, and to help build those skills for my colleagues, making us a stronger body overall. I’ve had the honor of developing workforce development programs that have been adopted at the community college level meant to provide skill sets for those looking to find careers with a livable wage and benefits to provide for their families. I plan to bring that same experience to the role of City Council.”

2. What is the biggest issue facing Burien residents, and how can that be solved?

“Burien, like neighboring cities, is currently facing a myriad of issues. There is a need for us to create a sense of safety for our residents by partnering with law enforcement officials, who need to work among the community as contributing members to better understand the negative impact of violence, particularly gun violence. Arrests don’t create a safe community, and unnecessary arrests increase a drain on city revenue. 

“Through various social service partnerships, we need to develop a neighborhood policing model where there are open social centers partnering with law enforcement agencies. These neighborhood centers would house both social workers and mental health professionals to support those in need of mental and behavioral health programs and resources. 

“Burien can leverage lessons learned from other cities by pooling resources with not-for-profits and businesses. Regular foot and bike patrols in the heart of the city create a sense of community and give law enforcement an opportunity to be a valuable partner. 

“It’s important that we focus on scalable solutions to relieve businesses from their economic losses. Burien is no longer a small city but now a thriving metropolis given its proximity to Seattle. The difference in this situation is, Burien can learn from the lessons of its city to the North.”

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?

“Sweeps of homeless encampments are ineffective and perpetuate the challenges faced by already marginalized communities. We need to care for all people and create a system in which we all can thrive. Our unhoused neighbors need to be respected and treated as individuals. 

“The homelessness crisis is complex, including some who have mental health and/or substance abuse issues. When present, both issues need to be addressed. Sweeps enhance the instability of the individuals and their lack of access to resources and continue to harm our community. 

“The unhoused need to be offered opportunities where they receive housing while they work to achieve sobriety. We need to provide rehabilitation programs in which they may earn wages along with workforce development programs. This gives these marginalized community members an opportunity to create a better life for themselves and contribute to the community’s economic growth. 

“As the unhoused and the marginalized complete their workforce development programs, internships can be created where they can work as part of the community to rebuild and increase Burien’s economy.  As the residents and business owners work in concert with one another, we will rebuild our economies and uplift Burien.”

4. What are the best practices and models that Burien can learn from or adopt to address homelessness? 

“It is important to follow proven methods, such as using a housing first model, when addressing chronic homelessness. In order to keep people housed, we must create housing options that are based on income. Additionally, we have a need to increase our housing inventory. 

“One way to do this is to repurpose abandoned buildings to create affordable housing, which was done effectively in Houston, TX. We need to create a systemwide effort in Burien to coordinate our homelessness response by providing services and housing for our community and by basing these services on income. 

“We must involve our community in the process and work together to create a system that is best for Burien. We can model our efforts after Houston however, we must customize these solutions so that they are best for our neighborhoods here. We need to work regionally to help provide both mental health counseling and other recovery services to those in need who are willing to utilize these services.”

5. How would you measure and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of Burien’s homelessness policies and programs? 

“Success of homeless response policies and programs can only be based on the outcomes of people receiving those services. Prior to evaluating policies and programs, we need to develop goals and objectives for success that can be measured.”

6. What are your thoughts on the job that Burien Police/King County Sheriff’s Office are doing? 

“Rather than prosecuting certain individuals through the traditional criminal justice system, Burien has been and was one of the first jurisdictions to employ the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. This is a program that diverts people who have committed certain types of low-level misdemeanors into community-based treatment and support services. These services can include assistance with housing, health care, job training, treatment, and mental health services and support. 

“The goal of Burien’s LEAD’s program is to improve public safety and public order, and to reduce the criminal behavior of people who participate in the program by addressing the root issues of why they are involved in the illegal activities. 

“Currently, all referrals to LEAD are screened and approved by a team that includes law enforcement officers. The program has had a lot of success in Burien and in other jurisdictions, however, as with any program, we must continually evaluate and adjust it to keep it relevant and ensure greater success. It is necessary to understand why some referred to the program were, and some weren’t successful by interviewing past participants so we can continue to reduce recidivism and prevent relapse. We must continue to partner with Human Services through programs such as LEAD to free up police time and resources to allow them to focus on more serious crimes.

“In light of the nationwide police shortages, it is necessary for us to continue to find creative ways to respond to situations that do not require an armed response, this is where a neighborhood model may help as we partner with mental health and social work professionals.”

7. Do you have any plans to help Burien businesses that are struggling from recent issues, like COVID or increasing crime?

“Yes, COVID-19 and the economic crisis it induced, have devastated our communities. Millions of Americans have accumulated months of back rent and could face eviction at any time. Many of our neighbors have lost their homes and businesses, and homelessness is spiking across the country. 

“It’s critical that the City of Burien take the opportunity to advance solutions while building on lessons learned. Funds are available and the City of Burien must partner with philanthropic organizations such as the Ford Foundation, Purpose Built Communities, Open Society, and other organizations working to support small municipal governments across the country. A few crucial ideas and priorities are:

1. “Aligning stakeholders on specific and measurable five-to ten-year goals and objectives in key areas for economic growth.

2. “Prioritize and fund programs and approaches that support businesses in reaching their economic goals.

3. “Form partnerships between unions, non-profit agencies, and varying business sectors while collaborating to design and implement and create business opportunities.

4.” Increase the minimum wage in Burien so residents can reinvent and recreate economic growth.

5. “Establish sustainable funding mechanisms and performance infrastructure to ensure economic goals.”

8. How would you balance the needs and interests of different neighborhoods and communities in Burien?

“In Burien we can work to create multiple neighborhood centers throughout the city, each where there are grocery stores, retail operations, health centers, hospitals and to create small sustainable gathering centers throughout the city to distribute economic growth and greater opportunity to all areas. Each center should reflect the people living in the neighborhood. We should be paying equal attention to the health and wellbeing of all of Burien’s neighborhoods and celebrating our diverse communities.”

9. How would you engage with Burien’s youth and seniors?

“I would work to establish local neighborhood forums to hear from youth and seniors in order to understand what their needs and concerns are. We can attract both youth and seniors by meeting them in environments where they feel comfortable and safe to share their stories. Meeting people where they are, on their own terms, will help us to create successful systems and programs. We must continue to collaborate with seniors and youth, allowing them to “consult” as subject matter experts for the programs we create for them. They must be involved at every level of development to ensure we are meeting their needs.

10. How would you enhance Burien’s environmental sustainability and resilience? 

“We need to develop more green spaces throughout the city by:

• “Requiring rooftop gardens in newer high-rise buildings and development projects

• “Adding community “well-kept” gardens to encourage more sustainable farming practices and programs. This can also create jobs and workforce development

• “Create small neighborhood parks (1/2 – 1 acre or less) similar to Dottie Harper Park, Eagle Landing Park, Seahurst Park, Chelsea Park, Lake Burien School Memorial Park

• “Add swings

• “Big toys

• “Recreational activities in these parks 

• “Create bike lanes

• :Create walkable paths

• “Increase the number of EV charging stations

• “Retrofit older buildings, add necessary insulation, solar panels and A/C to older buildings

• “Require newer buildings to be equipped and built with renewal and sustainable materials such as, wind, geothermal, biomass and solar.”

Read our previous Burien City Council Candidate Question & Answer stories here.

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