By Jack Mayne

As of Friday’s filing deadline, 17 people are looking to become or remain members of the Burien City Council, but current councilmember Lauren Berkowitz will not be one of them.

The other three incumbents are seeking reelection against a large cast of citizens aspiring to lead the city under a newly selected city manager.

Councilmembers Stephen Armstrong, Debi Wagner and Nancy Tosta all are into the primary fray, with several activists aspiring to take over and do whatever it takes of change the direction of the city.

Five people already say they want Berkowitz’s Council seat. Armstrong has four opponents; Tosta has three and Wagner has two others seeking her Council job.

Berkowitz ‘confident’
Never a person to doubt her own plans and ability, Berkowitz said in a Facebook comment that she was “confident that should I run, we could continue the good work we have begun together.

“However, as I said when I ran four years ago, a certain amount of turnover is good for a city, allowing more chances for people to bring fresh ideas and populations to the council. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished in the first 3.5 years of my term, and I look forward to representing our city in the next seven months.

“Moreover, I am proud that we renewed energy, interest, and attention in Burien as we move our City Council toward reflecting the progressive ideals of our community.”

Berkowitz said she planned to make “public soon” her endorsements for candidates in the primary race.

Candidates for her seat include young libertarian Charles Schaefer who addresses the Council regularly on a variety of topics. Robert L. Richmond III has unsuccessfully run before, losing in 2013 to Debi Wagner.

Others seeking the Berkowitz seat are Gary W. Wood, Pedro E. Olguin and Joel Manning.

Olguin in a campaign website says “I want the very best for our city: safe streets, livable neighborhoods, and opportunities for all of our residents.” He adds he “will strive to make Burien more livable” and will “listen to you and your concerns.”

Candidate Joel Manning had a letter published on the B-Town Blog critical of Berkowitz.

“For too long you have allowed your fellow councilmember Lauren Berkowitz to disrespect the residents of Burien and to abuse her position by allowing her continued physical absence from council chambers during council meetings.”

Wagner faces 2
Lined up against first term Councilmember Debi Wagner are Jimmy Matta and Austin Tucker.

Matta has a bilingual Facebook website and notes there that he “is working to make Burien an inclusive city with safe streets, family wage jobs and affordable homes.”

Austin Tucker says on a Facebook page: “I’m a mid-twenties transplant from Florida to Burien Washington. I love the outdoors and I work full time in the recreational cannabis market.”

Tosta faces women
First term Councilmember Nancy Tosta has three women opponents, including Darla Green who ran and lost two years ago. Green has testified at Council meetings about crime and other disruption problems.

The other two are Jill Esau, who has testified at Council meetings about the increase of crime that has affected her personally.

Mary Russell posts often about crime and other safety problems on Take Back Burien and other websites.

Armstrong faces 4
Another first term Councilmember is Steve Armstrong, and he faces two women and two male candidates.

One opponent is Patty Janssen, who has posted on Facebook that “FYI, the citizens of Burien will not stand back and let the criminals take over our town.”

Krystal Marx has listed several campaign meetings and posted on Facebook.

“I think walking ones neighborhood is the best way to get to know your neighbors, take note of things that may attract crime, and see what looks out of place – after all, no one knows your neighborhood better than you!

“You don’t need rifles and body armor to keep your neighborhood safe; conversations, situational awareness and a smartphone for calling the police / taking pictures / video will get the job done.”

The other two candidates against Armstrong are Martin F. Culbert and Trevor Gage

Position 1 (Berkowitz not running):

  • Charles Schaefer
  • Robert L. Richmond III
  • Gary W. Wood
  • Pedro E. Olguin
  • Joel Manning

Position 3:

  • Debi Wagner*
  • Jimmy Matta
  • Austin Tucker
  • Lee Rich – Withdrew 5/18/17

Position 5:

  • Nancy Tosta*
  • Jill Esau
  • Darla Green
  • Mary Russell

Position 7:

  • Steve Armstrong*
  • Patty Janssen
  • Krystal Marx
  • Martin F. Culbert
  • Trevor Gage

*denotes incumbent

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40 replies on “ELECTION: Berkowitz not running, other positions draw largely anti-crime candidates”

  1. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this election is going to be a win for the anti-crime candidates. The two that voted for the sanctuary city resolution draw the most opponents with a good likeliness to be replaced. The hard working people of Burien are fed up with the high crime rates and will deliver their verdict.

      1. Reported Comment :”The sanctuary city ordinance has nothing to do with the crime rate.”

        It does, a Crime is when anyone breaks a law. The Sanctuary city is designed to bypass laws they feel they can. So in a way they are breaking the law. All Laws should be enforced !

        The Sanctuary City, is just a Political move. City Council needs to focus on the laws and enforcement!

        1. Blaming illegals for the general crime rate is both factually and morally wrong. That is not the type of violation you are including in violent and property crimes. It is a separate issue, and needs to be treated separately. Using it in the sanctuary context is also factually wrong.
          If an illegal commits a crime of the type people fear, they don’t get sanctuary from that.

          Alhough I don’t condone illegal residency, and don’t think they should automatically get lawyers, especially AFTER they aready had due process or they committed a crime, making general statements that reflects fear over facts is not productive.

    1. Yes he may be a nice guy. But a lot people had issues with Austin bell being so young. Starting his government career here in burien. I don’t know how Mr Schaefer will do.

      Then looking at his different online profiles and his website does he realize party lines are not a part of the council.

      On just about every page he states he is a libertarian even on a page under the word Earth he says he wants to take over the world. Ok that seems odd to me.

      On his Twitter profile he states to be a enfp from looking this up seems to be some type of personality thing.

      He seems to be a 28 year male trying to start his political career in burien. But I am still not sure what being a Taylor Swift fan has to do that.

      He seems to have a heart for politics but not much experience yet.

      I think I will am going have to look into more information about him before making a decision.

      1. Captain obvious:

        Thanks for considering looking in to Charles Schaefer and learning more about who he is and how he’d be a great representative on the Burien City Council.

        I have known Mr. Schaefer for at least ten years (since he was in high school). You’ve mentioned him identifying himself as a libertarian on nearly every one of his website’s pages. This may be true (I haven’t seen it yet), but I can guarantee that Charles Schaefer is probably the most non-partisan candidate of any race I have ever known. He is proud to be a Libertarian, but based on a lot of what I have seen him write, he is about as open-minded, respectful of other people’s party affiliations and ideas as a candidate can be.

        As for age, we here in Lake Forest Park clamor for “young” candidates. I, personally, am not in to any sort of identity politics and was surprised to see him identified as young. I thought of that, because of effective brainwashing, as being a positive. I get your point though. However, I would argue that Mr. Schaefer is about as mature, and responsible, as, again, any candidate can be. He doesn’t necessarily have political experience. But he is interested in, especially, good Burien city governance and has been actively involved on a local level for years.

        And, last but not least, the references to Taylor Swift and Taking Over The World. Well, I guess you’ll just have to get to know Mr. Schaefer. These are insider references, made jokingly for those who know him. He absolutely does have a sense of humor and wit that would definitely be a great addition to any City Council meetings. Some of the statements he makes are flat out spot on governance-wise AND absolutely hilarious.

        Mr. Schaefer is a definite yes as a candidate in my book. I just wished I lived in Burien to have the opportunity to vote for a candidate like him.

        1. Sorry but a sense of humor and anti government libertarian viewpoints don’t go over well helping run a city.

    1. Could it be that when he tried to fill out an application he kept running out of space?

  2. Berkowitz said she planned to make “public soon” her endorsements for candidates in the primary race.

    Good ! ! ! When she does, I’ll know whom not to vote for.

    1. I would rather hear about the officials​ you endorse and why. The belittling of one, especially one stepping down?

  3. I sure am glad I am a soon to be former resident of Burien. I have been watching this wonderful progressive city gradually become a city of hate. Good-bye and good luck.

    1. Hate for what? In your world conservatism is synonymous to hate. I notice more hate from progressives than from conservatives. Conservatives hate crime out of love for the victims…

      1. Being here illegally is a civil offense with a $250 fine and 6 mo in jail (as I recall). For this offense we force families apart and send part of them to another country, sometimes leaving children without parents or sending them to another country where they are complete strangers.
        So who are the victims of this “crime” that conservatives love?

        1. Lee – I don’t know what others are supporting, but I just want the illegal aliens who are here who commit serious crimes (such as gang activity, DWI, etc.) to be deported and not allowed to return. I am not for breaking up families merely due to being here illegally and I doubt most conservatives want that.

          But I realize that for some, its much easier to label people who disagree with you as “haters” than to engage in respectful dialogue.

          1. Peter,
            Being a sanctuary city offers no protection to the serious criminals you mention. It only means the police do not routinely question the status of those whom they contact. It also means the police will not help ICE as they wait outside immigration offices, schools, etc to pick up those whose only offense is being here illegally. ICS’s own statistics show that they are not limiting their apprehension to the serious criminals. There “law and order” tactics are terrorizing innocent families and benefiting no one but “law and order” politicians, starting with the president.

          2. Lee – where did I say anything about sanctuary cities? I am merely stating what I think is a fairly responsible, and moderate position on the issue – that we need path to citizenship for illegals, but any illegal who commits a serious crime ought to be deported and we need to be better about enforcing our borders.

          3. I agree with you. The position you describe is that of a sanctuary city. Burien doesn’t use the label either but it is a convenient term to use for discussion for that type of policy.

          4. I wonder in the small percentage of illegal aliens in burien. How many of them are committing crimes. Such as gang activity or DWI’s. Like Peter has mentioned that need to be deported.

            I know gang activity has been a problem recently it’s been two Spanish or Latin gangs. But are these illegal aliens in these gangs. Just because there Spanish or Latin doesn’t make them automatically a illegal alien.

            I feel the whole sanctuary city term kinda gets confusing do to the media now of days. That don’t really report news. They just report what there owners of the stations want them to say. We don’t really get a clear answer. Since each media outlet takes a different approach to the subject.

            We are stuck with a one sided opinion and most don’t have the time to get the actual important information on the topic. To make there own clear opinion on the topic. Just go with what hear or think.

          5. For me, most of the crime that I see in Burien appears to be caused by meth/drug addicts.

            At my business, I encounter several people in my office weekly that are illegal (it’s my job to know) and the only difference that I see between them and my other customers is that they speak with an accent, always pay cash and are very polite. I think the people that have issues with them are the people that have not made an effort to engage with them.

            Burien’s crime problem is definitely not caused by illegals…it’s caused by drug addicts.

          6. Apparently your right Peter(about the haters) more than twice as many people (on this blog) would rather listen to Not Fast or Furious belittle an out going Official than listen to him endorse a candidate and have some meaningful conversation.

        2. “Send them to another country” You meant to say the one they originally came from, right?

          1. Q A
            No I don’t mean the one they were born in. They are children, born and raised here, and are American citizens. If their parents are forced to leave, the children are forced to choose between losing their parents or going to a country they have never seen and where they know no one. What a horrible choice to have to make. This for a civil violation comparable to accumulating too many parking tickets.
            It may be law but it is a far cry from justice and benefits no one except the private prison industry and others who profit from fear building and politicians who keep chanting law and order

          2. By your logic, no criminal should ever be sent to jail, as that too separates children from the parent. Thus no law should ever be enforced.

          3. By my logic, no family should ever be split between two countries for such a minor civil infraction like being in this country illegally.

        3. Being in the U.S. illegally is a misdemeanor criminal offense and civil penalties may be imposed in addition.

          Harboring, aiding and abetting illegals is a felony punishable by up to 5 years or 10 years if profit motive is involved.

          1. If it were only a civil offense the Border Patrol and ICE sure wouldn’t be packing M-16’s and night vision scopes!

          2. Those are to combat the drug smugglers and coyotes (People that smuggle or walk the people from one side to the other).

  4. I find it interesting when people try to blame the city council for a high crime rate. When in burien are crime rates fluctuate from year to year. Most of large crime are really a small part of the crime rate. Then there’s the fact that most of shootings are not random. Are people that ether have some type of mental illness or live a life of crime for the most part. But the city council also has a budget they have to keep. Where most of the budget already going to law enforcement.

    Then you have people that here stupid stuff on 24 hr news station and other places and they believe it. Then think oh my God we have that here ahh oh no. We have a sanctuary city law that must be bad. But in actually it not bad and most likely does not effect most people’s day to day life. But then again the media has sponsor’s and advertisers to keep happy. So they have to keep viewers glued to the TV.

  5. People think they’re being so witty and so smart when they refer to union members and officials, especially Teamsters, as “thugs.” Especially when the Teamsters, in particular, represent police officers and corrections employees all over the country whose job it is to protect us from thugs.

    Teamsters Local 117 represents Department of Corrections officers all over Washington. You know, the prison guards who keep the real thugs behind bars. I hope people will remember that during this election. Pedro Olguin is about as much of a “thug” as your grandmothers were.

  6. I wouldn’t necessarily call Pedro a “thug”, but I certainly would call his ideas the opposite of what Burien needs on the city council. His site is long on promises to create jobs and housing, but short on specifics on how to get these things. Of course it is not Pedro who will provide jobs or housing, or city council of Burien. It is businesses in an expanding economy which provide people with jobs that allow them to afford a place to live. Pedro, like most liberals, does not understand that. We need someone on the city council who does.

  7. I strongly support Darla Green for position #5 on the BCC. She is a long time resident and business owner in Burien. She has followed and been involved with many of issues that have concerned our community. Darla is strong advocate in keeping Burien safe and inviting for generations to come. She has been involved in many local organizations here and is a frequent speaker at the cities sessions. She was even interviewed by the local news station on her stance on various subjects involving Burien. I personally can not think of a better candidate or representative for our Burien.

  8. Krystal Marx seems like the only one for position 7 that is actually interested in listening to and representing ALL residents of Burien. She’s got my vote!

  9. I agree with Mark. Darla will be a solid advocate for Burien.
    A lot of these younger candidates lack the professional and life experience to do this job.

    1. As a city council members you’re supposed to represent all citizens. How can Darla Green be a good representative of the people if she can’t even talk to those she disagrees with? How can she be good for the entire city when she has blocked everybody that disagrees with her on the local FB page? That doesn’t bode well for a representative council. That’s a recipe for a repeat of more contentious council meetings etc.

  10. Pay attention- There is a legal method to enter this country!.. If these folks are not here legally they need to be sent out and their kids born here need to go with them. This would solve the problem of breaking up families..
    I think the entire Burien city council should be replaced as they have done a lousy job!

    It is also time to kick the homeless out of Burien! Most are druggies. Have you ever noticed how their possessions around their camps seems to grow & grow? Because they are out stealing stuff at night.. Have you ever noticed that one homeless has multiple bicycles and that there are nice ones- stolen!
    Get Rid of Them.. quit feeling sorry for them…..

    1. I not sure how many of the bikes are stolen. Just the other day someone had a post on nextdoor for a couple free bikes and I bet if you look on craigslist there are probably more people getting rid of old bikes.

      What is going on is burien has always had a car prowling issue. But some people get lackadaisical. Because the car prowling is some what limited. Where you might leave your lawn mower around a corner of your house for years. But that one night someone snatches. Most likely they check your car first.

      Then yes there are some homeless that steal. But unfortunately the laws for simple theft is a slap on the wrist.

      Locking your stuff up and being more aware of the goings on around your property. Instead of blaming the city council for what they can’t control.

      To get all the homeless out they would have build a border around burien. Then check people’s mortgage or rent receipt before letting them past. I have a good feeling that won’t happen. There is a good legal battle there if you want the city council to get involved. But the price to the tax payers for courts cost I have to take a guess would be a little much.

      It’s all most the same issue with the illegal aliens who is going to pay. To track all them down . Then send them back to there homeland. Also how to we keep them from coming back. Trump’s wall is going to take awhile if ever to build.

    2. Kate Sterns:

      “The kids who are born here” are United States citizens, who enjoy the exact same rights and protections under the law as you do. If those rights and protections are removed, then yours are removed right along with theirs. If you think I am making this up, please read the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

      Deporting United States citizens just because their family members might be undocumented is a violation of the Constitution. No one can force you to like the situation, but it is the law.

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