by Jack Mayne Whether a new ordinance criminalizes homelessness or not again returned to the forefront at the latest regular Burien City Council meeting. Four people who said they lived in Seattle and not in Burien came to comment to the Council at the outset of its meeting on Monday night (Feb. 2). Blatant violation Bryce Phillips said he was against Ordinance 621, which “blatantly violates the Constitution,” and said he would be back with more people to future meetings. He added that more people in Burien are “waking up to this.” The way to stop homelessness was “to deal with homelessness and not to resort to brutality and segregation,” he said, but then Mayor Lucy Krakowiak interrupted him to say it was against the Council rules to make “personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks …” Phillips responded that he “was pretty sure this was still the United States, ma’am, and I have freedom of speech and nothing I have said is slanderous, they are all just facts.” He added some information about another city when Krakowiak again interrupted him to tell him his two-minute time was up. “Well, some people are starting to think that maybe your time is up if you are going to treat citizens like this,” Phillips said as he left the podium. Jeremy Griffin of Seattle said he was “here to urge you to repeal Ordinance 621” as a human rights violation that he doesn’t “want to be a have a long, drawn out campaign over this ordinance, but I will.” Carlos Hernandez, also from Seattle, also said he sought repeal of the “trespass” Ordinance 621, which “criminalizes, dehumanizes and discriminates homeless people.” Hernandez then looked at Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz, adding, “Thank you Lauren, you really represent the people. I definitely know people will prefer you,” he said. Already enough laws Tanya Partington, another Seattle resident, said “we don’t need a law to criminalize one, there is already laws in place for that. What we need is help with the homeless.” She said, “you people” are “quietly, behind everybody’s backs discriminating and criminalizing the homeless and you think nobody is going to bring that up?” She said, “We want to help help the homeless.” Then she turned to Berkowitz and said, “Lauren, I have never met you, but I have see some of the things you have done and you are a tremendous inspiration to a lot of young people for standing up.” She urged Councilmembers to not to “shut away compassion because you don’t want to look at it.” A dispute over time allowed to read a resolution came up when Rachel Levine said she represented a group, not just herself, so she wanted more than the permitted two minutes to read an entire resolution to the Councilmembers of behalf of the White Center Library Guild regarding a potential new library structure that her group felt should be left as a library even if the area was incorporated into Seattle. But, after two minutes, Mayor Krakowiak said her time was up. “No, it is not, because I am representing a group,” Levine responded. “I will finish, I will finish two more … I am sorry…” She read a few more lines when her microphone was turned off and she spoke a few more words soundlessly, and then left the podium. “Rachel, I am going to ask you to honor time just like everybody else,” said the mayor. Levine said since she represented a group she as supposed to have “a few more minutes.” “Rachel, we changed the rules and we have had those rules in place for a year,” Krakowiak said. County homeless plan The Council then spent a long time negotiating phraseology of a proposal drafted by the King County Committee to End Homelessness. The committee is working on a four-year strategic plan to replace the current 10-year plan that expires this year. City Manager Kamuron Gurol said the Council can make suggestions on changes, additions or deletions in the county document that Deputy Mayor Nancy Tosta, a member of the countywide committee, can take back to the Sound Cities Association for discussion. At its Feb. 23 study session, Councilmembers started discussions on this and some Councilmembers said they may have suggestions, but some comments were conflicting. The Council then spent several minutes discussing items in the proposed strategic plan, some members asking that items be removed, rewritten or added. But the Burien Council is only one member of the group working on the document and cannot make changes itself. The King County Committee to End Homelessness makes all change decisions and Burien can only suggest changes. Berkowitz suggested that editing comments in committee document as if they were directed at Burien would be “being a little bit high and mighty … all these things (in the proposed homeless policy) are not nearly just about Burien.” Gurol said the local, Burien topic of homelessness “is a conversation we are going to have episodically over the next several months so right now we are just keying up to getting input into the regional process, we’ve got our own local process as well.” Berkowitz said she disagrees with some thing in the document, but that it is “a really well researched document – it’s a draft … it sound like there is general support” for the County homeless group’s proposal. “Although there might be things that each of us don’t like so much, generally we do support this document, at least four of us do which is enough to move forward with a general recommendation” agreeing with the plan, said Berkowitz. Councilmember Debi Wagner said she was looking forward to “see a collaborative effort by all of the cities in the county working toward these goals …” Councilmember Bob Edgar said he focused on items in the County proposal that would more affect Burien, rather than broad concerns. He noted there would be not just cities involved, but businesses, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, “so there is enough to go around for everyone” and every city does not need to do everything in the proposal. Deputy Mayor Nancy Tosta said, “we generally support it” and that is a message to convey to the Sound Cities Association and “that we are grateful for the work that the committee on homelessness has done on this …” Tosta said the conversation at the association will be a “broad discussion with diverse opinions.” The Council also took some time to discuss the evaluation of Gurol on his first anniversary on April 16 as city manager. Angie Chaufty, the city’s human resource manager, said she wanted the Council to review the evaluation process and suggest any changes it felt necessary. Some review dates and minor items were changed and added to the review format.]]>

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.

41 replies on “Homelessness issue returns to Burien City Council at Monday night's meeting”

  1. When has criminalizing anything eradicated the problem?
    Lucy Krakoiwak sounds like she was trying to not miss her favorite nightly television programming. I’ll be at the next city council meeting to see if I can spot her sloppy puppeteer yanking furiously on her tense strings.

    1. I like our mayor and I don’t like your mischaractorization of her.
      Lucy is our elected mayor and has the respect of the majority of Buriens residents.
      U do not!
      So take your disrespect and rudeness back to Seattle or wherever u came from!

  2. The part that was shocking to me was how fast the Mayor Lucy Krakowiak threatened little ole 4 foot nothing Rachel Levine with removal by armed Burien Police.
    It wasn’t after a long drawn out argument and cutting the mic. It was about 2 seconds after Rachel’s time was up. The mic was cut long after the threat of armed removal was made.
    Joey Martinez

    1. Funny you didn’t feel the same when citizens were threatened with removal during the annexation fiasco. Sickening!!

      1. To the contrary: When the Anti-Annexation group was kicked out of the Jubilee days parade because they didn’t have a booth I argued that as long as they didn’t “setup shop” they should have been allowed to walk with their signs.
        I also argued that when they were on curtilage area near Malo’s property they should have not been harassed.
        That’s also on the record.

        1. Ya, but you never stood up or commented when the same thing happened to the pro people at the council meetings! That is also on record.

          1. They were never threatened with removal by armed Burien Police to my knowledge. Link me the video if they were, I’d like to check it out. If you can show that to me I would appreciate it.
            The previous mayor had even asked that they wrap it up quickly. And I don’t recall any citizens microphones being cut-off EVER in all the years I have attended meetings or watched online.
            Joey Martinez

      2. The height of a person is not proportional to their rudeness or disregard for the rules of conduct Joey! Lol

    2. Its not surprising you would support one of your annexation buddies regardless of her rudeness and disregard for the rules. Maybe she should complain to the NHUAC? LOL.

  3. I don’t go to Seattle because they charge too much for parking and the roads are horrible. Too much construction. Seattle hates cars and it shows. Too many people peeing in public too. I prefer Bellevue for high end restaurants and SouthCenter for decent middle of the road food. Plenty of parking and they act like they want my business.

    1. Loren, Try some of the very good restaurants in Burien, both high end and middle of the road food.

      1. Hi Eric,
        I have and I will continue to frequent restaurants in Burien. There was one we were going to that had some promise, but their prices are just way too high for us. We were paying quite a bit for garlic, olive oil and pasta.
        Burien government is not a friend of Burien business or residents, until we get a resident friendly government in, we probably won’t get the good restaurants like other more stable cities have.

        1. I strongly disagree with your assessment of our current majority on the council as they are much friendlier to the majority of the residents and business’s than the annexation anti business anti resident former city council.

  4. If you go to you can listen in on the threat of removal of Rachel Levine with Burien Police by Mayor Lucy Krakowiak, after 6 seconds not 2.
    The argument of time starts at 26:38 and the Mayor’s threat of armed removal by police starts at 26:44 #ItsonTape
    Joey Martinez

    1. I am thinking it’s karma not instant but considering how she used the NHUAC as a club against anyone who spoke in opposition to annexation I have no sympathy for her whatsoever.

    2. People, see for yourselves., I went to as Joey suggested and watched the video. Ms. Levine was given a generous extra 20 seconds before being told her time was up. She was then extremely rude and refused to comply with the rules. By contrast, the mayor was polite to a fault, explaining to Ms. Levine that the rules she was shouting about had been changed a year ago, and that Ms. Levine would have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. The mayor acted honorably; see for yourself.

  5. What is it with all these Seattle people coming down here to comment at meetings? Why don’t they stay in Seattle and work the problem there and let us work out our own problems? What am I not getting?

    1. Civil rights are for everyone and when you are introducing an ordinance to push the homeless problem off onto others, others have a right to comment as well.

      1. I’m not saying they don’t have the right to – I’m just saying maybe they should work on their own problems.

      2. That’s exactly it Lee. The violation of ANYONES civil rights ANYWHERE is a violation of all of our civil rights.
        In name this ordinance does not punish the homeless.
        However, in practice, the ordinances are designed to punish those do have anywhere else to bathe, brush their teeth, or have mental problems and can’t control their actions and/or are self medicating with non-prescriptive drugs.
        Federal Way is taking the exact opposite approach
        I understand and sympathize with local business people who are struggling with this issue. We can try to criminalize, tresspass, and hide the problem away OR we can do something humane and compassionate to fix the problem.
        For my money (with lawsuits and costs to enforce the unconstitutional and heartless Ordinance 621/606) I go with what Federal Way is doing. Let’s have a heart Burien.
        Joey Martinez

        1. If Burien is not good enough, Federal way,Utah and Indianapolis all seem to be ideal places for you to live. Let’s not make Burien any of those places, let’s make Burien,Burien. While I don’t agree with Joey or his mouthpiece Lee most of the time, I do respect their opinions.

    1. Just remember, nothing is “free”. The taxpayers are footing the bill. Something has to be done, yes, but Burien is to small and the businesses are taxed to death as it it. Taxes went up in November.
      I personally advocate for personal responsibility. People need to stop being victims and demand, yes they demand, that WE as a society carry them through. Need a roof over your head? check, taxpayers pay it. Need cable tv? check, taxpayers pay it. Need childcare? check, taxpayers pay it. Need health care ? check, taxpayers pay it. Need a call phone? check, taxpayers pay it. Need your TV dinners? check, taxpayers pay it…………
      I also advocate for mental health care. Bring back mental institutions> because that is what the majority of chronically homeless people need. Now that I would support.

      1. Another Mom, yes nothing is free. But as Utah shows it is MUCH less expensive the house the homeless than to treat them the way we have been treating them. Utah is not the only place that has demonstrated over and over that giving the homeless housing SAVES money. If you prefer to waste money and keep taxes, high then keep doing what we are doing now.
        “Lloyd Pendleton, the director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force, told me of one individual whose care one year cost nearly a million dollars, and said that, with the traditional approach, the average chronically homeless person used to cost Salt Lake City more than twenty thousand dollars a year. Putting someone into permanent housing costs the state just eight thousand dollars, and that’s after you include the cost of the case managers who work with the formerly homeless to help them adjust. The same is true elsewhere. A Colorado study found that the average homeless person cost the state forty-three thousand dollars a year, while housing that person would cost just seventeen thousand dollars.”
        Check out Housing First.

        1. Hey another mom there are metal health places in burien like navos that help a lot of the metal ill people in the area they also provide there own housing by connecting with king county housing they have provided a lot of people places to call home temporally until they get back on there feet. But a lot people or some people around here complain about what they do. But I feel most of these people that complain about navos or other mental health places don’t realize how much having a safe place to call home can turn someone life around. They also help find jobs for them to help pay so there not a so call tax issue.
          Them some people like to say well there shelters for the homeless downtown why can’t they go there .Well you have to consider these people live basically under the own set of rules and don’t like being told what to do but shelter of course have to have some rules. But some have rules that are ether confusing or change per situation. There also might be some that try to get people into some religions
          Also If you have notice in the comments that some people seem to stretch the term homeless to mean anyone that is walking around town with a jacket on thats not completely clean or pants with hole in them . Sorry most of them are not homeless even some that are spare changing.

        2. Its not Buriens job to provide houses for the homeless. That needs to be addressed by federal or state funding not put on the backs of the residents of our small town.

  6. and Berkowitz is no one’s hero, especially the City of Burien. Shame on her for bringing this into Burien. Don’t you people realize, that she is using Burien as a stepping stone??? She has no love for our beautiful city, just her eye on a bigger prize.

    1. What stepping stone? President? Constitutionally ineligible right now. Your reply is comical.
      CM Berkowitz tried to prevent this from coming to Burien. She repeatedly voted against it.
      You can thank the four whom fought to have this unconstitutional ordinance enacted.
      Joey Martinez

      1. Its not unconstitutional Joey. If you and Lauren are so convinced it is then hire a constitutional lawyer and take it to the supreme court.
        You always support the wrong side Joey starting with annexation so its no surprise you are on the wrong side again.

  7. To those saying this law is “unconstitutional”:
    If constitutional laws were the only law of the land, we would be in big trouble.
    Do you think you can say absolutely anything you want due to freedom of speech? No, there are laws against hate speech. What constitutes hate speech will even vary depending on where you are.
    Think you absolutely can’t be taken into custody without being charged with something? Nope, check out 72-hour holds for people thought to be a danger to themselves or others – though they likely haven’t violated any sort of law.
    Right to bear arms? Well, better check on where you are! Gun control laws vary considerably depending on where you are.
    Public nuisance laws on on record to allow the majority of people to get the most enjoyment out of a public space. Citizens utilizing public spaces should not, at any time, feel unsafe, and should at all times be able to enjoy the space.
    Finally, I used to work for King County, I think the Committee to End Homelessness does wonderful work and strongly believe that housing is the key to allowing all walks of life to begin on a path to success.

  8. Why can’t we just have all of Burien’s homeless population move in with Joey?
    If Joey refused do his civic duty & take them in, we could buy them all bus tickets to Seattle, Colorado or Utah.
    If they still won’t go for that, I say close the library. I already have an ipad and home internet, so I won’t miss it.

  9. Why doesn’t the Des Moines library and skateboard park have a bunch of homeless heroin addicts hanging out there?

    1. Because they have no camping laws and follow the state laws on trespassing. Also it’s a little colder there being that close to the water if you think about it and the fact the police station is just about in the same parking area as the library and the skate park right across the street.
      p.s. I went near the library today about 4:00 pm and I did not see any one hanging around out side the back area by the building also there was a police patrol car going by not sure if it just happen to be going by or if was patrolling

  10. The time allowances for public comments at Council Meetings were thoughtfully emailed to me by Monica Lusk after I had ignored the rules at the last meeting. I had thought I would have three minutes because I was representing a group. In an odd way, perhaps I would have, because the item regarding the White Center Library, Resolution No. 362, had been in the published Business Agenda. The Resolution I brought from the White Center Library Guild was to emphasize our concern for the future of this library, should Seattle annex the area in which the new library is to be built. I felt that our three conclusive statements should be heard by the Council and Public.
    Yes, everyone has to respect and follow the rules. However, sometimes common sense and courtesy yield a more satisfying outcome for everyone. I also appreciated the door being opened for me by the Officer who wished me a “Good Evening”. Thank you, Burien City Staff for your kind attention to the Public who attend.

    1. There are a lot of raucous radical left wing groups, unions, coalitions, and agitators in Seattle. Lauren Berkowitz is very in with this network and she invites them to Burien

  11. Ms. Levine has openly admitted that she was rude and disrespectful of the time limit rules at the last two council meetings and she was. Lucy K. didn’t have the mic turned off at the 2/23/15 meeting but Rachael did the same disrespectful behavior again at the 3/2/15 meeting again. She refused to stop speaking and argued back at the Mayor. Lucy rightfully had the mic turned off and had Rachael escorted down. Joey Martinez has been ever more disrespectful to the Mayor and some of the other council members. Look at his historical Facebook comments about them. With his attitude and obscene comments on a public media site, he really should not be serving as a representative for the city on any commissions. And as a father of juveniles and one who coaches local kids sports, he should be ashamed of the language he uses in public.
    The second protest speaker, who came at the urging of Council member Berkowitz, was even ruder than Rachael as he argued with the Mayor and disrespected her with rude comments back at her. This is a man doesn’t live in Burien so why is he here? All of these imported protest speakers from Seattle, like Berkowitz, keep claiming Ordinance 606 and 621 are unconstitutional. By what court case and which decision are they basing their comments? Let’s see that case. Right now their comments are just threats and smoke and mirrors to make Berkowitz appear to be something she is not. She is no hero rather she appears to be an agitator against the city, her other council members and the city staff. Her works appears to be negative because she seems to be pleased in bringing negative attention to Burien. Read her Twitter comments about her most proud moment on the council on 4/23/15. This is a woman who disrespects the police also. See her Twitter comments about the police in 2011 when they did their job.
    At a Jan. 2015 meeting, a citizen stood up and thanked the 4 council members who voted to have the PAA removed from the Comp Plan. Both Berkowitz and Robison rudely and out of order yelled at the Mayor for not stopping the citizen from making positive comments. At this last meeting when Berkowitz’s out of town protester admiration society started heaping praise on her, neither Berkowitz or Robison made no rude comments or yell outs to stop them. These two council members play by double standards and are frequently as rude as the out of town protesters they has invite in. They talk out of order, yell at the Mayor, interrupt other council members, speak rudely to other council members and regularly argue with staff. As Ms. Levine stated above, everyone has to play by the rules but these two council members seem to think they are exempt from the rules.
    Council member Robison was very rude and disrespectful to the Director of the King County Library. Watch the tape of the 2/23/15 meeting. He failed to mention that the NHUAC was in favor of moving that library further north in 2012 and he was one of the people who pushed the library system to hurry up and build the library. Then he attacked the Director of the Library System for doing what was suggested by the NHUAC at the 4/23/15 meeting. Not nice!

  12. I miss Lamonts & never seeing a homeless person in Burien.
    What the hell happened?
    152nd looks like University Ave now.

  13. I’d like to correct a few of the dates I posted in my blog comment. Mr. Martinez made obscene comments about the Mayor and the some City Council members on his Twitter site in January, April and Dec.. 2015. This site is completely open to the public.
    Ms. Berkowitz made obscene comments about the police doing their job in 2013 on a public site.
    The White Center Blog of Jan. 5, 2015 shows the NHUAC leadership stating that moving the library north was the optimal thing to do.
    Any meeting that I referred to as happening on 4/23/15 actually happened on 2/23/15-a key strike error on my part.

  14. So what country are these homeless people migrating from? Because I bet if you took a toll. Oh but wait….have you asked? Are you scare to find out they ARE your OLD neighbors? Have you asked “the homeless”. No probably not.. ..go talk to these ” homeless” people!……. Walk do not judge.

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