Berkowitz filibuster forces Council to delay sending sanctuary ordinance to voters 3

By Jack Mayne

In what many felt was a weird Burien City Council special session Monday night, the Council finally adjourned at 10:38 p.m. despite a legal requirement that the Council either rescind Burien’s sanctuary ordinance or send it to the November ballot.

Outgoing Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz launched into a 20-minute filibuster at 10:15, and after Councilmember Stephen Armstrong asked how long she could keep up her monologue, she claimed she could keep up all night.

That caused Armstrong to join Berkowitz, Austin Bell and Nancy Tosta to adjourn.

Wait ‘til Aug. 7
Berkowitz went on for several minutes claiming the Council members could discuss the matter at the next meeting on Aug. 7, saying that many of the 39 people testifying for putting the issue on the ballot said they felt misled or forced to sign the petition. The Council, she said, needed more time to consider these objections.

Burien City Attorney Lisa Marshall said the cost to put the measure on the November ballot would be $25,000 but it would be much more expensive if it were delayed to a February or March special ballot, maybe “even six figures.” She said that was only a guess since there was no way to determine that at this early date.

Berkowitz said that refusing to wait and hear from those opposed to either revoking the ordinance or putting it up for a November vote would deny the rights of the public to be heard on their concerns.

As we previously reported, this meeting was called after a recent petition obtained enough signatures to request that an ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 651 be submitted to a vote of the registered voters of the City of Burien.

Most of the people who testified at the meeting were for keeping Sanctuary status. A rough count showed 39 wanted the measure kept, while 7 did not. Several non-member candidates for the Burien Council were among the speakers. 

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