Jack Block Jr. Announces Campaign To Return To Council 1Jack Block, Jr., former Deputy Mayor and Councilmember, on Friday (May 15th) announced his candidacy for Burien City Council, Position 7, currently held by Sally Nelson.

Last we saw Mr. Block was at the April 27th City Council meeting when he voiced his support for City Manager Mike Martin, who was recently charged with a DUI, resulting in Martin’s amended contract.

“I was proud of the investments we made in our community in Burien while I served on the City Council,” said Block in a statement. “But I have unfinished business, and want to ensure that Burien is looking after our working families and their futures.”

The incumbent, Sally Nelson, has held Position 7 since the city was incorporated in 1993.

While on the City Council, Block says he helped lead the effort to create Burien’s Town Square.

Here’s the full press release from Block:

Former Burien Councilmember Jack Block Jr. to enter campaign for Burien City Council
Block seeking Position 7, currently held by Sally Nelson

Burien, WA. – Jack Block, Jr., Former Deputy Mayor and Councilmember today announces his candidacy for Burien City Council, Position 7.

“I was proud of the investments we made in our community in Burien while I served on the City Council,” said Block.  “But I have unfinished business, and want to ensure that Burien is looking after our working families and their futures.”

“We need to get Burien back on track. Great projects such as the reconstruction of First Avenue have been started but three years on sit unfinished. The current city policy of multi-family unit down-zoning has created an economic disincentive towards reconstruction,” Block said.  “We won’t always be in an economic recession or depression. We have to ensure that we don’t create disincentives that will condemn our poorest citizens to live in slum-like conditions.”

While on the City Council, Block helped lead the effort to create Burien’s Town Square.

“When I came on the council, a lot of great ideas such as Town Square were floating around but nothing was happening”, said Block. “Some of our Council members forget that Burien is a diverse town with a large number of people struggling to survive in a challenging economic environment. If we are to grow and thrive as a community-to reinvigorate our downtown business core- we need action. I believe in leadership, not idle talk.”

Burien is facing challenges due to the economic downturn, including the closure of large, tax-generating car dealerships.

“Businesses, whether large or small, provide Burien with tax dollars and jobs,” said Block.  “I will work, as I did in the past, on aggressively bringing in new businesses, tax dollars and jobs, and create policies that protect existing businesses at the same time. A healthy city requires a thriving business community.”

The incumbent, Sally Nelson, has held Position 7 since the city was incorporated.

“Ms. Nelson twice voted against family wage job creating apprenticeship utilization legislation; her priorities are skewed for our community,” said Block.  “Resolutions were passed by the Council in support of comprehensive immigration reform and, following the Enron scandal, supporting equitable electric rates. Ms. Nelson later said passage of these resolutions was a mistake. Ms. Nelson opposed greater public access to the City Council, of making meetings and records more accessible. She also voted in favor of allowing big box retailers such as Wal-Mart to locate in Burien (see our coverage of that issue here), threatening the hard work our city has done to rebuild our downtown business core.”

“I want to address the future,” said Block.  “I want to use my contacts at the Port to ensure Burien is protected from airport noise and expansion; I want to ensure we manage the annexation of North Highline so that services are well delivered and we have enough police and fire coverage; I want to create a non-profit service center to aid the charitable organizations working in our community, and to move the Highline food bank to a safe location with transit access. I want to protect our environment and bring the salmon back to Salmon Creek.”

UPDATE 4pm 5/15/09: Mr. Block emailed us with this correction:

“Just wanted to point out a mistake that was made in your reporting on the council decision regarding big box retail. You have me down as voting for big box retail in the article. As you can see from the attached minutes (PDF file), the vote was 5-1-1, with Nelson, Shaw, McGilton, Clark, and Blazak voting yes, Krakowiac voting no, and I abstained because I was oposed to big box retail in the NERA, (and anywhere else in Burien), but did not oppose the rest of the comp plan amendments.”

Block was elected to the Burien City Council in 2003 and served as Deputy Mayor in 2006. He unsuccessfully ran for Commissioner to the Port of Seattle in 2007. He is a crane operator at the Port of Seattle, a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and a former Teamster. A lifetime resident of the Burien area, Block attended Mt. Rainier High School and Seattle University. Jack is a former teamster (Consolidated Freightways) shop steward. In 1998, Jack was a founding member of, and past chair of, the Burien Parks and Recreation Board.