[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]
Dear Editor of B-Town Blog,
At 9:30 p.m. on Monday, October 7, I placed temporary political signage on the corner of SW 152nd and 10th Ave SW in Olde Burien, in the big corner planter box at the intersection of two crosswalks. In that planter box is a “Welcome to Burien” gateway sign with other temporary political signage next to it. Since the “Welcome to Burien” sign is maintained by the City of Burien and has been there for over ten years, I figured it was also OK to place political signage there. As a long-term resident I am also aware that it was our city that came and repaired the sign the time it was vandalized.
But the next day the two signs that I had placed were gone. They were found in the trash bin next to the big red building on that corner. The sticks had been removed. Wondering if perhaps I had made a mistake in thinking this planter box was in the public right-of-way, I went to Burien City Hall and explained my reason for inquiring as to whether the planter box was on public or private property.
Burien city planners confirmed that the planter box lies in the public right-of-way after looking at different satellite views. I was provided with a copy of the Updated Regulations for Temporary Signage. The new regulations explain what types of temporary signs are allowed, where the temporary signs are allowed, how the city enforces the sign code, and why the council changed the temporary sign code. There is also a section on temporary signs in public rights-of-way.
Additionally, Washington State has its own regulations governing political advertising, removing or defacing that are spelled out in 29A.84.040. “A person who removes or defaces lawfully placed political advertising including yard signs or billboards without authorization is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable to the same extent as a misdemeanor that is punishable under RCW 9A.20.021. The defacement or removal of each item constitutes a separate violation.”
Stealing signs began shortly after incorporation and has sadly become a tradition in Burien. Over the years both “sides” have been guilty of this behavior. It escalated during Burien’s 2017 vicious political season. What is going on? The politics of “divide and conquer” have reached our struggling little city. Ludicrous “white supremacist cabal” claims are attempting to pit neighbor against neighbor, neighborhoods against neighborhoods, pitting people who have supported each other’s children and mourned together at funerals. Politicians boast about “targeting” cities well in advance. The current fashionable rhetoric that Burien is a city of “haters” is in itself a damaging projection of hate that I feel is tearing Burien apart. I reject that insulting terminology and portrayal of our city.
Politics bring out the best and worst in people. I believe in Burien and think we can do a much better job at being inclusive.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have something you’d like to share with our engaged Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to scottscha(at)gmail.com and, pending review, we’ll publish it. Letter writers must use their full names, cite their sources – as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes).