The following is a Paid Advertisement from the Clean Up the Burien City Council PAC; it does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff::
Criminals love Burien’s Police presence: it’s the lowest in our region. Adding more Police will end this one-sided love affair. Hiring 18 Officers would cost $3 per week for a $250K household: less than the cost of feeding a small dog.
Where’s a Cop when you need one?
There are 20K Police dispatches for Burien’s 48K residents every year. Dispatches are rising 5% annually, and Police costs are rising faster than new City revenue. Burien budgets 56% for Police: there is no fat to trade for more Officers. We are experiencing the perfect criminal storm:
- Lack of money for more Police
- Declining Police presence
- Rising criminal activity
Social chaos is descending upon Burien:
- Gangs are spreading throughout the City
- Burglars kick-in doors with impunity
- Speeders careen along our streets.
18 extra Officers puts 4 more Police on Burien streets every hour 24/7/365. They will use Emphasis Patrols to tackle Gangs, Burglars, and Speeders effectively.
Voters; not the City Council determine Public Safety staffing. Yet, the Burien City Council refuses to allow us a Referendum to determine our destiny. We can reclaim our City by voting for a responsive City Council in 2017.
Our City Council ignores Gangs peddling death in Downtown Burien and in our neighborhoods. How can I make such a statement? They donâ€™t take action for extra Police. It would appear that crime is not worthy of their Business Agenda. Any Council Member can propose a Referendum, it requires a second, and one more Memberâ€™s support to start action at the Dais.
City Manager Gurol was fired by a vote of 4 to 3. 3 votes of the Council is all it takes to address crime issues in Burien. Public Safety has 2 or less Council Memberâ€™s support; less support than the popular former City Manager.
The Council knows heroin and meth junkies steal to support their habit; yet they choose to fight each other instead of Gangs. Its time for the City Council to fix the problem; instead of finding other matters to occupy their time.
Turning this situation around requires adequate Police staffing. Gangs hate seeing Police. Resuming the Police Gang Unit gives them what they hate, ending their freewheeling days. Combining the Gang Unit’s know how with Emphasis Patrols allows Burien Police to dislodge Gangs.
We have a choice: live in fear of crime; or elect new Council Members committed to a safer Burien.
Burglary is a piece of cake with the skimpy Police presence mandated by our City Council.
A Burien Police Level 1 response takes 7 minutes; ransacking your home takes 4 minutes to find electronics, jewelry, cash and your medicine cabinet.
Four more Officers on patrol shortens response time, changing the criminal dynamic:
- Burien Residents win
- Burglars lose
Pushing Burglars out liberates the City, creating demand for Burien homes. New purchasing power will pour into our City as vacant homes are sold and land is developed. Business activity will expand, reinvigorating our City.
The Council could have added 2 Officers without a tax increase on August 1, 2016, and did nothing. Clearly, adding 18 more Officers would be an ordeal for this Council.
The solution? Put in Council Members who work for us, not the other way around.
The Councilâ€™s choice to hamstring Police presence is making our streets unsafe too.
Slowing down Speeders can be accomplished with emphasis patrols that are squeezing Gangs and Burglars. Those extra red and blue light bars cruising our neighborhoods will cause people to ease up on the accelerator.
Taming Speeders makes our neighborhood streets safe. Safe quiet streets are desirable, cost very little, and can be accomplished quickly with a new Council that is focused.
2020 and Beyond
The Burien City Council squandered its 2013 Voter mandate to turn the City around.
Instead of nurturing business development and growing revenues; the Council choseÂ to giveaway money to Legacy Partnersâ€™ Merrill Gardens in the form of property taxÂ breaks, crimping City finances for years to come.
Now, Burien is facing a $700K revenue loss in 2020 and beyond due to cessation of Sales Tax Credit for North Highline Annexation. $700K = 3.6 Officers. This loss cuts hard into Burien’s threadbare budget: Police are not immune to budget cutbacks.
The 2017 Council Members will have to take immediate action to avoid a Public Safety crisis created by our current Council.
Personal Net Worth
There is a 4 to 3 majority on the Council. That majority flatly refuses to discuss aÂ Voter Referendum on Police staffing. Why does the Council Leadership continue toÂ ignore Public Safety when crime statistics indicate Burien is under criminal siege?
Vacant homes and land could easily be sold at todayâ€™s rock-bottom prices, yet peopleÂ pass Burien by. Why? Crime. Burienâ€™s Police presence is the lowest in a 20 mileÂ radius: inadequate Police staffing mandated by the City Council retards development
when safer locales exist.
Crime depresses home values and Retail economic activity in Burien.
Lower home values deprive us of the opportunity to better our Selves.
Property values will rise as Burien becomes safer, thus creating higher net worth. Positive net worth has many uses.
A few are:
- College Tuition
Retail activity depletes City Coffers and makes it difficult for Burien to meet basicÂ City responsibilities.
A new responsive City Council will devote time and effort to the needs of Residents;Â not petty personal agendas like the CARES contract or the termination of CityÂ Manager Gurol.
If we want crime issues dealt with in Burien we have to send different people to CityÂ Hall.
It is imperative for us Burienites to decide our personal destiny; not have some political orthodoxy imposed upon us. Ending this is straightforward: put in a new Council to create a greater Burien; not the decaying Burien our current Council leadership worships.
Retail and Hotels
The Burien City Council defunded bike and foot patrols in Downtown Burien, increasing crime, creating chaos and financial problems for the City.
The City Council financial calculus appears to miss one important point: Residents make choices where they shop; not the Council. If the Council wants more revenue from Sales Tax, they have to put time and effort into making shopping in Burien safe and enjoyable.
Resuming bike and foot patrols would help deter criminal activities in Downtown Burien. This would encourage shoppers to return, leading to business expansion.
Burien is well positioned for retail expansion:
- Storefronts are available for occupancy.
- Property is available for development.
A vibrant Downtown Corridor is a prerequisite for Hotel expansion in Burien. Expanding our Police Department tells business and Hotel developers: Burien is a good, safe place to do business.
The City of SeaTac is running out of land for more hotels. Burien is uniquely positionedÂ Residents spend a significant portion of their paycheck within 10 miles of where theyÂ live. 10 miles includes many areas outside Burien that donâ€™t have the criminal activitiesÂ happening in downtown Burien.Â for HotelÂ development. We have:
- A convenient location next to Sea-Tac Airport.
- A secluded City; yet Burien has easy access to the entire Greater Seattle region.
- Commanding views of Mt. Rainier and Puget Sound from the downtown area.
- A real downtown for shopping convenience; instead of pricey hotel boutiques.
- Good restaurant selection from fast food to fine dining.
Hotels create a wide array of jobs and revenue streams. Hotel Guests will be spending money in our City, allowing businesses to flourish.
To make prosperity happen, Council Candidates should listen to what Residents want and act on it. A recent poll conducted by the City showed crime prevention and adding more Police to be priority 1 and 3 respectively.
The City Council has allowed Burien’s downtown corridors to be hollowed out by crime and neglect: businesses are struggling, financially impacting City Hall. Property Tax is limited by State Law, Sales Tax revenue is not.
Turning this situation around is done by creating a vibrant downtown Burien. Funding more Police does more than provide extra Officers, it creates the foundation for prosperity for all. Businesses will expand into Burien as the City becomes safe.
Business expansion brings many good things:
- Sales Tax Revenue
- Business synergy
Business synergy is important. Without it, businesses experience the 153rd Street syndrome. 153rd is in decline, as each business dies there, fewer people visit the street. Declining visitors negatively impact neighboring business activity and profitability. It’s a vicious cycle.
Businesses and their customers want safety and this is an important step in revitalizing downtown Burien. As new businesses open, foot and car traffic will return to 153rd Street and other areas in the Downtown Corridors that are struggling.
Sales Tax Revenue will increase as empty storefronts find new tenants. One dollar goes to Burien’s coffers for every $100 spent on retail purchases. Sales Tax revenue is an important part of Burienâ€™s budget. Every million dollars in retail sales = $10K in Sales Tax revenue to improve Burien.
Jobs will be created as new businesses move into Burien and existing ones expand. More employment helps fuel business growth by creating customers for goods and services. As excess labor is absorbed and unemployment declines, wages will naturally rise improving our quality of life.
Hotels are the icing on the cake. Burien has room for hotels. Hotel developers want Public Safety too. They prefer to site their Hotels in vibrant locales and they want their Guests to be safe.
Burien has character, not drabness found in most Airport Cities. A vibrant downtown shopping experience, just steps away from the Hotel lobby, will entice Visitors to stay in Burien.
Hotels collect a wide variety of tax revenues going directly to Burien’s budget.
Increasing financial activity in the downtown area will power Burien forward. Money will once again be available for projects that improve our City and quality of life.
To transform Burien, we must elect new Council Members who want to transform Burien too.
The 7 Habits of Very Ineffective Council Members
- Be Reactive: The Burien City Council chooses not to lead and they wonâ€™t followÂ behind people they hire. Some Residents might say they are just in the way.This approach creates chaos and drama: Justification, excuses, blaming others and non- responsible behaviors are associated with a reactive approach to Governance.
- Begin anywhere: This proud tradition of Burien Councils has been passed down through the decades. Lack of Personal Vision is often at the root of the problem.As of today, Burien has upwards of $1 million dollars worth of Business Development plans sitting on the shelf gathering dust.Â Time was spent and time was squandered developing and abandoning these plans. Nothing to show for it except paid receipts.
- Prioritization doesnâ€™t matter: The lack of priorities in this Council is clear to many; except the City Council. They fail to realize that some things are more important than others.Many on the Council attention.Â They scrimp on Public Safety and wonder why People donâ€™t flock to Burien. And, when People donâ€™t flock to Burien there is no money for their projects, or anything else.Putting the cart in front of the horse is a good way to explain many Council priorities.
- Win â€“ Lose: This Council favorite pits the majority against the minority. Its hallmarks are dominance and violence. Violence isnâ€™t always about hitting. FrequentlyÂ it involves hidden agenda and other manipulative behaviors associated with Middle School adolescence. Its Motto is, â€œMy way or the highway.â€Win â€“ Lose often turns into Lose â€“ Lose as resentful Council Members rise up to get even. The striving to have the last word or any say is common here. If it were just the 7 members of the Council that were impacted I wouldnâ€™t worry about it. Unfortunately, the City and Community have to deal with the messes these Council Members create.
- Dismiss and donâ€™t care: This behavior is often found in the Council Leadership. They refuse to explain why City Manager Gurol was terminated. Self Righteousness with a slightly upturned chin is how this behavior frequently manifests itself.Transparency applies to others; not them. â€œDo as I say; not as I doâ€ is an apt descriptor of their worldview of how Burien should be run. And then, they often wonder why many Residents view them as boorish.
- Not invented here: For those Council Members who eschew results, this all time classic is guaranteed to torpedo any endeavor.Superiority, know it all, omnipotence and omniscience are often found underlying this self destructive belief: â€œno one else knows better than meâ€. They often confuse dominance with leadership.
- Burnout: Residents donâ€™t like being dissed by their employees. Yes, Council Members are our employees. This leads to an ever shrinking pool of people who will talk with the Council. Council Members find themselves isolated and alone.
Some Council Members will use anger to energize themselves in the face of inevitable depression. Others will become resigned as their lives become dull and meaningless like the flat line on an EKG screen. In the end, they realize that the years they spent on the Council playing with the Drama Triangle achieved nothing.
By contrast, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People would better serve:
- Business Owners
- City of Burien
- Burien City Council
We are at the crossroads: time for change in management style has come.
Changing the Paradigm
Good news, the majority of Burien Council Members are up for reelection. New faces with fresh ideas and a willingness to work together will attract a top-flight City Manager.
The City of Burien has two responsibilities. They are:
- Public Safety
Safety and prosperity go hand in hand.
Proactive Candidates will rise to the opportunity of turning Burien around and creating prosperity. Council Candidates should be fluent in their Vision of a better Burien. They should tell us:
- The unique skill set they bring to the Council to further Burien and their Vision.
- How they will support the new City Manager in implementing their Vision.
- How increased Public Safety promotes their Vision.
Some 2017 Candidates are likely to prefer the status quo, making them easy to spot:
- Often they are running against a person instead promoting an idea or Vision.
- They prefer political buzzwords or phrases.
If you hear words like accountability or transparency I would invite you to be curious. Asking Candidates what words and phrases means to them is a good place to start. Asking Candidates how they live their words can be quite revealing. Asking Candidates to give concrete examples of how they dealt with difficult people and situations using these practices to the betterment of all will shine a light on their leadership skills.
Political phrases are enlightening too. Generally, they are deployed to manipulate public anger into votes. Curiosity can be useful with phrases like: â€œNew Game Planâ€ or â€œA Different Directionâ€.
A new game plan or different direction should have a well thought out agenda with action steps. A candidate should be pleased that you are showing interest. If they become reactive with your curiosity, I would surmise that they are part of the status quo contingent and are engaged in a hidden agenda or running against an opponent.
Running against other people is a decades long tradition in Burien Politics and is one the reasons we have gridlock and inaction on our Council. Running against an opponent is not the same as telling Voters what I stand for. Fiery campaign rhetoric often turns into political backstabbing after the election, not into concrete action and accomplishment.
Without a personal Vision to guide them, Candidates are often rudderless. This is one of the reasons Burien City Council Members often become the ineffective Council they replaced.
I believe we should elect Candidates who want a safe and prosperous Burien.
Listening, curiosity and dialogue are good ways of vetting Council Candidates. It is our responsibility to ask specific questions of those to whom we entrust our safety and possessions.
We can elect new Burien City Council Members this fall who will give us a Referendum to make Burien safe and prosperous. We don’t have to be rich to live in a safe City. $3 per week for a $250K household adds 18 more Officers.
Bringing our Police presence to par with the surrounding Cities allows for proactive policing. Adding Police presence is a powerful deterrent to nefarious activities. Proactive policing teaches Criminals that Burien is a place to be avoided.
18 more Officers would allow for:
- Resumption of the Gang Unit.
- Return of bike and foot patrols to the downtown area.
- Increased emphasis patrols to tackle Burglars, Gangs and Speeders.
Burien can be a safe City. Safe Cities are vibrant, desirable and alive. They are where people want to live and shop. I am asking you to join me in voting for effective Council Members to transform Burien into a safe and prosperous City we can proudly call home.
â€“ Dick West