by Jack Mayne The usual Burien City Council sport of hearing mostly Seattle-based homeless advocates damning the city for having approved two trespass ordinances they consider to be unconstitutional was cut short Monday night by Mayor Lucy Krakowiak. There were only two commenters at the outset of Monday night’s (April 20) council meeting. One was a Burien resident who was for keeping the ordinances. The other was a regular from Seattle, who wanted the ordinances dispatched, but it was himself who was dispatched by the mayor when she said he violated Council rules. Her ruling was then objected to by Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz, who has regularly moved to repeal the ordinances and some say has been instrumental in bringing the objectors to Burien to protest. Quit bickering First speaker was longtime local resident Roger Delorm who said he saw a “real dirty election” two years ago. “In the last two or three months, I have seen more dishevels, distrust and arguing than ever, mostly brought on by two people,” he said. “The Council needs to quit bickering and get to work.” The other problem he said he saw was the Bel-R Greenhouses in northeast Burien. “Some people think we ought to buy these, but my question is where is Burien going to get the money? Burien does not have $1.5 million to buy something. “The other (thing) is we need to keep the two trespass ordinances.” Then repeat anti-trespass ordinance protestor Bryce Phillips of Seattle said people should know that “56 percent of Burien’s budget goes to the King County Sheriff’s office and only 1.25 percent of it goes to human services – 1.25 percent going to people who need them and 56 percent going to coercion, force.” Beaten and Brutalized He said people come up to him and tell him of stories of being held in holding cells and beaten and brutalized by officers of the King County Sheriff’s Office,” adding that “doubling down on these draconian and unconstitutional policies isn’t working to solve the problem – have you noticed that the problem still exists outside this room and in this city.” When he said “this kind of brutality,” Krakowiak interrupted him. “Bryce, I’m going to stop you right there,” she said. “I don’t know of any brutality that has happened and in our instructions here, person who make verbal attacks or offer comments that are threatening or abusive will be asked to stop or to leave. I am going to ask you to reconsider the language that you are using and proceed.” Phillips said he wanted the people to understand that “the mayor of Burien has made it clear that it is not okay to discuss city employees and police …” when the microphone was cut off at the mayor’s order. She said he was asking him to shut down, but he kept talking but silently since the microphone was off. He kept shouting and talking as he left the podium. After a few seconds, the she again asked him to stop talking, still without a microphone. Point of Order But then Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz said she had a point of order. “I would like to ask if the rules that you read tonight were ever approved by the Council as a whole because they seem different from the previous rules that we have seen and I am not sure that it is constitutional to discriminate on the basis of content of speech.” She said the city could be open to legal attacks by telling people “what they can or cannot say during their three minutes.” The mayor called on the city attorney to comment. “I think the mayor has the discretion to maintain the order of the meeting and it doesn’t have to do with the content of the speech, it has to do with the way it is presented. If she thinks it is going toward abusive in nature, she asks the speaker, as she did ask the speaker, to rephrase or consider portraying the message differently, I think that is fine,” said Interim City Attorney Robert F. Noe. Berkowitz said no one in the room was reacting so it seemed to her to be the content the mayor was objecting to. “The way I view it was the mayor was using her discretion to direct that the language didn’t become abusive,” Noe responded. Thus ended the regular Council discussion of Ordinances 606 and 621. The Council then went into a parliamentary procedures training by Ann Macfarlane of Jurassic Parliament, a Seattle company founded to teach mainly those in non-profit groups the basics of parliamentary procedure.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are preparing another story on other newsworthy events from Monday night’s meeting, so check back on Tuesday…
]]>