By Jack Mayne
Burien City Councilmembers spent a majority of their time at the regular meeting Monday night (May 5) listening to 40 speakers during public comment period, taking up an hour and a half.
Most of the speakers once again addressed homelessness problems in a city park as well as generally in the city. Councilmember Austin Bell said the homeless issue was being faced by â€œany urban cityâ€ in the nation.
Councilmember Nancy Tosta said the Council did know homelessness was a challenge with â€œno easy solutions, we would have figured this out if we knew what to do about itâ€ and there â€œare very different populations hereâ€ and the city does not have the added financial resources to fully address the problem that plagues the entire area.
â€œWe are doing our bestâ€ with the financial resources available, Tosta said.
Peace Officer Memorial Day
The Council voted May 15 as Peace Officer Memorial Day, and the week of May 12 to 18 as National Police Week noting â€œthe Burien Police Department officers and staff work rigorously every day to fulfill their responsibilities of preserving life and property in the City of Burien.â€
Former Mayor Lucy Krakowiak thanked the city police for â€œbeing part of the solutionâ€ of the difficulties facing the city. Mayor Jimmy Matta thanked the department for the difficult job they do, â€œwe support you 100 percent.â€
Burien Pride Month
Council also proclaimed June 2019 as Burien Pride Month. Councilmember Krystal Marx presented the proclamation that states:
â€œThe City of Burien is committed to working toward equality, celebrating the diversity and focusing on our shared humanity; and â€¦ Burien Pride participants will come together as a community to celebrate their third annual Burien Pride festival.
â€œLGBTQ+ people are targeted for hate crimes at a rate of two times that of Muslims or Black people, four times that of Jewish people, and 14 times that of Latinos.â€
The proclamation was presented to CARES director Debra George, along with the Burien Pride Committee.
City Manager Brian Wilson introduced new city employees:
- Civil Engineer David Traub;
- Finance Department accounting assistant Penelope Penaflor;
- and four new police officers: Francisco Zapeda, Carlos Marquez, Cesar Molina and Omar Jackson.
The Council appointed Jeff Harbaugh to the Burien Airport Committee. It stalled a bit on appointments to the city planning commission, deciding â€œthe logical thing to do,â€ in Councilmember Nancy Tostaâ€™s words, was to make the decision at the next meeting.