[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

Dear Editor,

A Quick Lesson In Negotiation: In the world of negotiation, making an extreme — actually, insulting — opening offer is a tactic used to discover the opposite party’s bottom line. This is called “Signal” (first offer) and “Anchor” (the other person’s idea of a “fair” outcome in light of an unfair first offer). It’s a very effective strategy.

By taking an extreme position – like a Jan. 31, 2020 eviction – the City of Burien was “signaling” to the Annex tenants that they expected an outcome skewed in their favor. Some Annex tenants logically responded with their “anchor,” 6 more months.

By comparison, the City’s less-extreme offer of a 6 month lease extension seems reasonable. Although I am pleased that the City Council has directed City Staff to extend leases, I find the short sighted rationale and consolatory tone of their offer unfortunate.

I applaud Para Los Niños’ open letter to the City Council requesting collaboration. Their requests are reasonable and in line with Task 12 of the City of Burien’s 2018 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan which states “PaRCS and other public, nonprofit, and private agencies should collaborate to ensure effective implementation of the PROS Plan.”

I sincerely hope that the City of Burien takes reasonable steps to honor the requests of Para Los Niños, which respectfully includes all other current tenants of the Annex.

I would like also to address the Hi-Liners Musical Theatre’s recent letter to The B-Town Blog. While I am obviously very sympathetic to their situation, I was baffled by their need to tend toward the dramatic. Pun intended.

I managed to draw the ire of the Hi-Liners after testing the theater for asbestos and lead back in December; mostly because I knew kids frequented those areas. The Hi-Liners were publicly upset with me (scolded me really) for doing this testing, for fear that results could have red tagged the Annex and force cancellation of their production of Legally Blonde Jr.

Despite Legally Blonde being their highest selling show at the Annex EVER, they were compelled to tinge their thank you letter with theatrics (leaks, locks, overdose, and ice/fire watch). Pun intended.

The Hi-Liners may not see the hypocrisy in their statements, but essentially dog whistling for the red tagging of the Annex now that it no longer suites their needs, undermines the interests of those non profits still fighting to improve the very conditions they cite as their motivation to forgo the 6 month lease. After their highest selling show at the Annex EVER!

Hi-Liners, I am confident we can save the Annex and bring it to back to safe and operational order after years of neglect. And with far less money then what has been speculated by MENG Analysis. Even if only until the the City of Burien can secure a minimum of $30M to build the recreational center and theater we all desire, which will likely be years from now.

I look forward to seeing what our new PaRCS Director intends for our city. My understanding is she is very well educated and experienced in these matters.

My position is that the next 6 months be prudently used truly exploring all viable options for The Annex and ensuring we do not lose a precious vault of our city’s history in these historic nonprofits. There is no harm in this, especially now that we all know there are no immediate health safety risks at the Annex and that potential risks can be easily mitigated.

That said, I encourage everyone to support the Hi-Liners production of Frozen Jr. (April 11-12, 2020) and The Burien Actors Theater’s production of The Rocky Horror Show (February 21-March 22, 2020).

– John L. White, EMBA

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have something you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to [email protected] and, pending review and verification that you’re a real human being, we may publish it. Letter writers must use their full names and cite sources – as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes).