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

Dear B-Town Blog,

As newly elected City Councilmembers, we appreciate guidance and leadership from the sitting members of the council. However, we were taken aback to learn that the next two years are already mapped out by three members of this seven person, elected team.

We acknowledge that the four broad points mentioned are things we also care about. Yes, we want to live in a community that is a safe place, a place to raise a family, own a home, start a business – what’s not to like, right?

But there were a few equally important topics that did not get addressed that, based on our conversations while canvassing, are of high importance and need to be called out explicitly.

The first is, let’s be a great city to rent as well as to own. Burien is nearing an end to the eviction moratorium, and we may see people who are already struggling as renters, who reach the end of their resources. 47% -nearly half – of Burien’s population rent. They will need our explicit support in the coming months and years.

Second is Covid-19 recovery. Burien and all of South King County was hard hit by the pandemic. Our rates for developing Covid, how sick we got, and how we were economically impacted were all disproportionate to other parts of the county. Perhaps recovery is implied in starting new businesses, but given how hard it hurt us, we would like to see it at least mentioned.

Third, we must be extremely thoughtful as we hire a new city manager since this is without a doubt the most critical city staff position and will impact all of the work we do to steward Burien forward as a council of seven. We also have to do our part to support the entire city staff through this transition; from the clerks, public works and parks staff to planners, code enforcement and department leads. It’s the city staff that ultimately do all the labor to run and make our city the great place to live, work, and play.

Fourth, we heard many times while campaigning, that Burien’s tree canopy, shoreline, parks, air and water should be protected, celebrated and prioritized. Investing in our 25 neighborhood parks while protecting our environment absolutely must be a listed priority or we risk not making it happen. With the development we will need in order to become a great place to own – (and rent) – a home, we need to be clear that a good place to live is one where the community has access to clean, enjoyable, breathable outdoor living.

Perhaps when we, and CM-elect Stephanie Mora, are sworn into office, our opinions will be sought and added to the list and we can share a complete list of council priorities with the public. Rest assured, we will each advocate for the issues our community asked us to stand for. Each of the new CM’s – as well as CM Cydney Moore – brings a unique set of experiences and priorities, and Burien will be stronger when all of our input is heard and valued. This is what the voters intended when electing us.

Hugo Garcia, Burien CM Elect Position 1
Sarah Moore, Burien CM Elect Position 5

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have an opinion 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, we may publish it. Our letter policy is here. 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).