ELECTION: Berkowitz not running, other positions draw largely anti-crime candidates 3

By Jack Mayne

As of Friday’s filing deadline, 17 people are looking to become or remain members of the Burien City Council, but current councilmember Lauren Berkowitz will not be one of them.

The other three incumbents are seeking reelection against a large cast of citizens aspiring to lead the city under a newly selected city manager.

Councilmembers Stephen Armstrong, Debi Wagner and Nancy Tosta all are into the primary fray, with several activists aspiring to take over and do whatever it takes of change the direction of the city.

Five people already say they want Berkowitz’s Council seat. Armstrong has four opponents; Tosta has three and Wagner has two others seeking her Council job.

Berkowitz ‘confident’
Never a person to doubt her own plans and ability, Berkowitz said in a Facebook comment that she was “confident that should I run, we could continue the good work we have begun together.

“However, as I said when I ran four years ago, a certain amount of turnover is good for a city, allowing more chances for people to bring fresh ideas and populations to the council. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished in the first 3.5 years of my term, and I look forward to representing our city in the next seven months.

“Moreover, I am proud that we renewed energy, interest, and attention in Burien as we move our City Council toward reflecting the progressive ideals of our community.”

Berkowitz said she planned to make “public soon” her endorsements for candidates in the primary race.

Candidates for her seat include young libertarian Charles Schaefer who addresses the Council regularly on a variety of topics. Robert L. Richmond III has unsuccessfully run before, losing in 2013 to Debi Wagner.

Others seeking the Berkowitz seat are Gary W. Wood, Pedro E. Olguin and Joel Manning.

Olguin in a campaign website says “I want the very best for our city: safe streets, livable neighborhoods, and opportunities for all of our residents.” He adds he “will strive to make Burien more livable” and will “listen to you and your concerns.”

Candidate Joel Manning had a letter published on the B-Town Blog critical of Berkowitz.

“For too long you have allowed your fellow councilmember Lauren Berkowitz to disrespect the residents of Burien and to abuse her position by allowing her continued physical absence from council chambers during council meetings.”

Wagner faces 2
Lined up against first term Councilmember Debi Wagner are Jimmy Matta and Austin Tucker.

Matta has a bilingual Facebook website and notes there that he “is working to make Burien an inclusive city with safe streets, family wage jobs and affordable homes.”

Austin Tucker says on a Facebook page: “I’m a mid-twenties transplant from Florida to Burien Washington. I love the outdoors and I work full time in the recreational cannabis market.”

Tosta faces women
First term Councilmember Nancy Tosta has three women opponents, including Darla Green who ran and lost two years ago. Green has testified at Council meetings about crime and other disruption problems.

The other two are Jill Esau, who has testified at Council meetings about the increase of crime that has affected her personally.

Mary Russell posts often about crime and other safety problems on Take Back Burien and other websites.

Armstrong faces 4
Another first term Councilmember is Steve Armstrong, and he faces two women and two male candidates.

One opponent is Patty Janssen, who has posted on Facebook that “FYI, the citizens of Burien will not stand back and let the criminals take over our town.”

Krystal Marx has listed several campaign meetings and posted on Facebook.

“I think walking ones neighborhood is the best way to get to know your neighbors, take note of things that may attract crime, and see what looks out of place – after all, no one knows your neighborhood better than you!

“You don’t need rifles and body armor to keep your neighborhood safe; conversations, situational awareness and a smartphone for calling the police / taking pictures / video will get the job done.”

The other two candidates against Armstrong are Martin F. Culbert and Trevor Gage

Position 1 (Berkowitz not running):

  • Charles Schaefer
  • Robert L. Richmond III
  • Gary W. Wood
  • Pedro E. Olguin
  • Joel Manning

Position 3:

  • Debi Wagner*
  • Jimmy Matta
  • Austin Tucker
  • Lee Rich – Withdrew 5/18/17

Position 5:

  • Nancy Tosta*
  • Jill Esau
  • Darla Green
  • Mary Russell

Position 7:

  • Steve Armstrong*
  • Patty Janssen
  • Krystal Marx
  • Martin F. Culbert
  • Trevor Gage

*denotes incumbent