by Jack Mayne
The first mayor of Burien is reawakening the angst over the “safety, security and well-being of ordinary citizens” that go to the City Hall and the King County Library.
Arun Jhaveri said in an email to City Hall and the City Council that something must be done to ensure “uncalled for behavior” in the public areas of the building must be controlled.
“The safety, security, and well being of ordinary Burien citizens, residents (and) guests have been in jeopardy for quite some time, when they use the Burien Library and the City Hall building, particularly those who accompany their children with them, due to the apparent scary and uncalled for behavior by such human elements as possible gang members, homeless people, and/or unhealthy, unclean,” Jhaveri wrote. “Unsanitary use of the restroom facilities by disrespectful people from within and outside the City of Burien. This situation must be immediately corrected to give full confidence to our city residents who need to use the public library, etc. along with their family members including children of all ages,” he wrote, adding, “It is simply not the homeless situation but much more serious and uncalled for in a city of ours, where we value everyone’s well being all the time.”
The city is keeping a close watch and the library pays for a special security guard, said the city’s communications manager, Katie Trefry. Some changes to the restrooms on the street level floor have been made to make it harder for persons to use drugs and disposal bins for drug needles have been put in place.
Sewers needed
Jhaveri said many residents who live in Three Tree Point and Maplewild area homes “are still using septic tanks for their sewer (and) sanitary needs. It does not make any sense in our 21st century to have these systems continue to function when majority of our citizens enjoy the modern sewer system connections.”
He noted that the Southwest Suburban Sewer District is the organization that controls sewer services in the area but that the “City of Burien should play an important and urgent role to convert all septic sewer systems to current public works standards.”
The city says anytime the subject of the cost of replacing septic tanks with sewer service comes, residents drop the matter.
Jhaveri said another way to handle the matter would be to form a local improvement district, which “could be an environmentally sustainable solution from a life cycle cost/benefit perspective as well as consistent with the Burien’s vision that our citizens/residents helped develop for implementation.”
Eagle Landing Park
Jhaveri also suggested the local Boy Scouts and other “environmental, parks and recreation groups and city staff can work together … to permanently provide a safe and danger-free path to and from the beachfront for everyone.”
The city has repaired the area several times, said Trefry, and it always has washed out and several people have told The B-Town Blog the area needs to be fenced off and all admission should be stopped due to the dangers on the stairs and on the beach property below. One person suggested the city should sell the land to a private party because of the dangers of potential lawsuits.]]>

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18 replies on “City Hall needs to be made safe for citizens, says city’s 1st mayor Arun Jhaveri”

  1. “…..several people have told The B-Town Blog the area needs to be fenced off and all admission should be stopped due to the dangers on the stairs and on the beach property below. One person suggested the city should sell the land to a private party because of the dangers of potential lawsuits.”
    Hundreds of people think that the Eagle Landing Park and stairs are the best thing Burien has going for it. And we wonder what kind of incompetent government can’t anchor some stairs to a beach.

  2. Yes two very disappointing items for our city Eagle Landing park and that beautiful fire station that is sitting their empty to no avail – any update on that?

    1. Except that the City of Burien has absolutely nothing to do with the fire station, since it’s NOT a city department. Your question is better suited for the commissioners of King County Fire District #2.

  3. ” Three Tree Point and Maplewild area homes “are still using septic tanks for their sewer (and) sanitary needs”. Venture around town many neighborhoods in North Burien are on septic. Oh but wait…North Burien. Nevermind.

  4. First off, the Fire Station and the Fire Department do not belong to the City of Burien. The Fire District is a separate taxing district from the City of Burien. The Mayor of Burien is not in charge of that taxing district. So if you want to know what is going on with the fire station, contact the Fire Chief. The lawsuit regarding the safety of the building is probably still in litigation.
    Secondly, the Eagle Landing Stairs have been destroyed 3 times in 6 years by Mother Nature. This says that these stairs probably should not be in this location. The Department of Ecology(DOE) or the State of Washington probably put in big chunk of money to have them re-built the last time and it required a special permit because of the area of the shoreline they were built in. DOE will probably not re-issue a permit to rebuild in this area or give any more funding to do it. It is unstable land. Right now the area is extremely dangerous and this is not an area for the Boy Scouts or just a casual group of citizens to work in. Get real. Mother Nature has spoken, the stairs don’t belong there and millions of dollars have been thrown away by putting them there. As a scientist, Arun Jhaveri should know that.

  5. Ray,
    Back up your assertions with facts. Millions of dollars spent on those stairs? You are probably the guy that lives near them and doesn’t want anybody sharing the beach.
    And the fact is that the Fire Station is in Burien and it is another example of government incompetence and waste. If you don’t believe me, drive by it.

    1. How is it an example of government waste, when your fire department wants the contractor to fix what is wrong with the building. Just like you would expect the contractor working on your house to resolve and fix any issues or problems that come come up.
      Waste and incompetence you say? More like your fire department looking out for the best interests of the citizens and ensuring your money is spent wisely and the project that you’re paying for is done properly.

  6. If the city actually had gone through the proper channels to obtain the proper permits from the various agencies, it would have taken years- no exaggeration. The agencies basically prohibit permanent structures (stairs) from being built because predatory fish lurk under the stairs and can eat salmon. (Their words – seriously). So, my guess is they really didn’t have the blessings of all the agencies involved, which is no surprise, that’s how they roll.
    As for the fire station, if it’s a safety issue, why are they using it for meetings and storing their toys in there? It is a cosmetic issue relating to the rebar in the fascia stone being too close to the surface, which is rusting. To this point, the department has refused to “occupy” the building, but with the limited use, I would think that constitutes some level of acceptance on their part. Who do you think is paying the legal tab for all of this nonsense?

  7. The first Mayor of Burien. Congratulations. I was briefly employed in 09-10 by another “previous” Mayor of Burien. Interesting story, I’ll have to share later. What a great contribution you have made to a city, that according to your editorial piece, has a run-a-way council who have gone rogue and fail to keep even city hall “free of dangerous elements like gang-bangers, addicts and the homeless?”
    Based on the comments of our community members, thus far, it looks as if the library/city hall issue is a little dated. I had no idea TTP was on septic still? Hard core. The stairs issue, rebuilt how many times in how many years? Pigheaded perhaps. Dangerously irresponsible. Could have something some thing to do with the Fire Station and litigation? Interesting perspectives.
    What I’ve seen are not “dangerous elements” I’ve seen folks struggling with poverty and the effects of which are, you named it, addiction, dysfunction, hopelessness, etc. Though I’ve only been privileged enough to witness our community in action over the last 7-yrs.
    I also found your comments in response quite harsh, e.g., shaming, and not at all in character with a public servant who is to encourage community engagement from all types. Yes, even the homeless, addicted. different languages, etc. Speaking of which, did you know that we’re at an epidemic level of American addictions to just about anything and everything. We need plans that address these issues here locally not just a rally cry of fear thus enforce and exclude in the name of ‘safety’. I would consider your view narrow and uninformed. Though much appreciated in the spirit of community dialogue.
    Lastly, my 16 years working in the anti-poverty and social justice advocacy arena tells me our nation has reached an unspoken consensus that terms like “gang-banger, thug”, etc. are no longer acceptable as they rely on an assumption that only homeless or urban people of color hanging around a public location are capable of and will more likely than not engage in dangerous and illegal activity and therefore are suspect and excluded. Not really a sustainable approach…not to mention the other 80% who are actually committing more heinous crimes than being homeless, poor, addicted or come from a different culture than you.
    A Council and Administration sounding very lopsided to me. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 I probably should have created a fake username. Ugh. Great community response none the less.

    1. Tess,
      3 cups of coffee may be exceeding your limit. On fire! Any solutions or just venting? A fake name like Queen B would be awesome!

    2. urban “thug” ok does that include the white teenagers that speak in some form of ebonics and or paints there face like a clown and drinks soda all day. Just because some so called music group tells them to.

  8. Does anyone know if this guy is REALLY Austin Bell’s grandfather?
    “Bell also says that his great-grandfather settled in Burien at the turn of the 19th century, and that his grandfather was ‘the first person to win a mayoral election in our town.'”

    1. It’s true. Malcom Bell was elected the mayor on Burien’s first attempt at incorporation in the 50’s, but the incorporation itself did not pass. Look it up in the Highline Times archive.

    1. They are probably parked there while they clean out the garage for the Kiwanis pancake breakfast next Sunday.

  9. Malcom Bell was never mayor of Burien. And Burien was never a town as Austin Bell claimed on his announcement to run for office. A person can’t be mayor of a non exixtent cit or town. This idea that Malcom Bell was mayor of Burien is pure nonsense. He was the pretend mayor of a city that never came into being, Pure powder puff fluff being used by Austin Bell to try to make himself appear important in his campaign.

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