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John White, a citizen of Burien, is running for Burien City Council, Position No. 7. He says he has inventive solutions to affordable housing, supportive housing, airport runway noise and harmful pollution falling from the sky over the runway approaches. He says:
“Burien can solve its issues through innovation.”
White knows a bit about innovation. He designed and build revolutionary pile driving machines that are far less harmful to fish and wildlife. White received more than 40 patents on his inventions, and his machines are used around the world as the safest way to install large piles for bridges and structures – below is a video from his invention being used at the 520 bridge:
White says new ideas often face harsh opposition. Inventors know this, and he says that his first pile driving machine – which he invented in 1990 – was greeted with claims it would not work. Today, nearly every pile driving machine uses technology he introduced.
One of John’s greatest accomplishments was manufacturing pile drivers that operated on non-toxic vegetable oil.
“Everyone said hydraulic machines cannot run on vegetable oil,” White said. Back then you could not even get vegetable hydraulic oil in the United States. “I had to go to Canada to get it,” he added. “We proved we could and became the largest user of vegetable oil in the world. We ended up on the Discovery Channel for this accomplishment. Our machines not only protected fish and wildlife due to reduced noise and shock waves, if a hydraulic hose leaked, we did not kill fish or turn the jobsite into a environmental wasteland. We invented our way out of big environmental issues; We can do this in Burien as well.”
Solving Three Big Issues At Once
One of the key questions being asked candidates is: what are we going to do about the airport noise and pollution issues? Burien citizens living under the runway approaches are dealing with ear-damaging noise and pollution particulates, in the form of jet fuel, dumping on their heads. Another big issue is homelessness and affordable housing as well as supportive housing (SOURCE: “Hidden threat Elevated pollution levels near regional airports“). Add to this the growing mental health needs.
Noise and Air Pollution
As far as I see it, we need to move all those citizens out of the runway approaches. The noise is not suitable for humans. The toxic fuel is making people sick. The healthcare costs are enormous. No one should be thinking about planting a garden in those areas. However, the reality is, our citizens are living in these terrible conditions. If the jet fuel made people glow fluorescent green, we would see it and everyone would evacuate. Well everyone should evacuate right now cause even though you cannot see it, it’s causing serious health issues.
Some have suggested that we move out the private homes and replace them with industrial buildings, but this just means the people that work there will be subject to the same pollution issues. This does not solve the problem – White says that “we need inventive, bold approaches.”
Here is the solution
Our city should come up with a program called “The Noise, Air Pollution, Affordable Housing, Luxury Housing and Medical Services Program.” This new program would give building designers and property developers tax breaks and incentives to come up with buildings and housing to suit the environment in that location. Let me further explain.
I have traveled all over the world building bridges and structures. I have seen extremely creative ideas used to deal with both natural and man-made environmental hazards.
In the Middle East, for example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the outdoor climate is hot. To resolve this, entire housing communities are indoors. The UAE even has an indoor ski resort. Now travel to China and take a look at some of the massive indoor structures they have created. Just look here in the USA at the Mall of America. Travel to Las Vagas and go to Caesar’s Palace and walk through the Forum Shops, a massive indoor mall with ceilings made to look like you are walking outdoors. We are not talking about reinventing the wheel here, White says.
If you travel north to Alaska you are faced with super freezing temperatures, especially at the north slope. You cannot go outside because it’s too cold. However, massive housing was created up there to build the Alaska pipeline. This was for the workers but the facilities advanced to a point where it is very livable.
I promise you, developers will flock to a program like this, just as they have to Burien’s Affordable Housing Demonstration Program, which was designed to find out what the barriers are to developers building affordable housing. They flock because of the tax breaks and waivers on certain permit requirements. Incentives drive creativity.
Some naysayers might read through this and say we are pushing the poor to hazardous areas. Well – newsflash – our citizens are already there, suffering everyday and facing serious health risks. Developers could design for both luxury and affordable housing as well as medical facilities, complete with indoor gardens, playgrounds, and safety. Security problems automatically drop due to the very nature of enclosed structures.
Think about it: If we put people on the Moon or Mars we will need to invent new ways to deal with the lack of oxygen and extreme cold and heat. It’s already being done. We could design and build housing that would rival the homes on the shores of Elliott Bay. Tax breaks and other incentives will fund it. Let’s save our current citizens from the extremely poor conditions they are living in now and change it to one of the safest places to live on Earth.
Yes, Burien is just a few inventions away from leading the world in dealing with airplane noise, pollution, and housing, both affordable and luxury, as well as medical issues. The day may come when your trip to the airport is via a tram from Burien City.
Yes, we can invent our way out of our issues!
– John L. White
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