EDITOR’S NOTE: Since our creation in 2007, The B-Town Blog has allowed residents running for local office one free post for when they announce their candidacy. Also, South King Media Founder/Publisher Scott Schaefer is a partner with John White in an LLC that produced “The Maury Island Incident” film, but will treat him like every other candidate:
Hello fellow Burienites,
My name is John White and I’m running for Burien City Council Position 7.
I was born in Seattle. I grew up in Arbor Heights. I raised my four boys while living in White Center and later in Normandy Park. My oldest boy went to Highline High School and then on to Seattle University. the second oldest went to Kennedy and then also to Seattle University. The third son also went to Kennedy and then Washington State. The youngest also graduated from Kennedy, graduating salutatorian, receiving a scholarship to American University-Paris. We have deep roots here. I am committed to Burien and am here to stay.
I built a worldwide pile driving equipment company, inventing revolutionary machines that have been used to build some of the world’s largest bridges. I traveled to many countries, including Russia, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, Haiti, Panama, introducing new bridge building technology. My machines were used to build the longest bridge in the world, the 35-mile long bridge from China to Macau. My machines are used every day on many bridges around the world. My company enjoyed being a major Washington State exporter to all these places. My former company, APE, was one of the first US companies to form a wholly owned business in China back when most foreign companies were forced to yield to minority positions. I continue to invent new pile driving machines under a new company called Antaeus. You may have seen my newest machines on the 520 bridge.
My travels have allowed me to experience many different communities and cultures. This has opened my eyes to see the beauty of our diversity.
Over the past eight years I have worked to generate community spirit in Burien. My wife, Shelli and I, are strong supporters of the arts in Burien, we have been the main sponsor of The Art Alley located in SW 152nd Alley. Shelli and I co-founded the Burien UFO Festival and the Burien Film Festival. As a part of the Burien Film Festival, we created the “Hyper-Local Burien Short Film Contest” which emphasizes the neighborhoods of Burien as well as the businesses in our community.
I was the Executive Producer of “The Maury Island Incident,” a short film about a historic, true, local UFO story in 1947 that was covered up for more than 50-years. That film was Directed and Produced by Scott Schaefer of The B-Town Blog. We filmed it in Burien, at the Tin Room, as a means of bringing more attention to our city. We also filmed parts in Des Moines and Tukwila to help those cities as well.
We open our home to musicians, filmmakers and writers so they can have free-to-low-cost space in which to create. We encourage artists to help us bring good will to Burien. In the last five years, many wonderful Burien films have been created – many of them highlighting the issues we face in our city.
I was a vocal advocate for saving the Annex, and the valuable non-profits housed there, including the Burien Actor’s Theater, Para Los Niños and Transform Burien. Sadly, poor decisions were made, and the Annex was torn down. This caused massive unnecessary disruption to these businesses and ended the ability of BAT to do live theater. We can do much better. I pledge to you now I that I will do everything I can to see the return of BAT. Burien must have its acting theater returned to the stage.
I fought to save the Eagle Landing Park Stairs, a neglected city resource, spending time and resources to stop the dumping of storm water on the park property. After 8 long years, the storm water drain has been installed and our dream to save the stairs is in process. Gone are the slides, now it’s time to restore our only other public beach access. We paid for it; we deserve to save it.
Leadership and Vision Takes A Plan
Decisions are being made without key stakeholders being given a chance to be heard or even notified. The current method that our city government uses to make important decisions for our town is flawed and broken and it shows. I will work to make sure the voices of community members affected by issues or decisions are heard. We are missing a key component. That key component is implementation of a decision-making Stakeholder’s Wheel. Deals are being made behind closed doors without fully considering the impact. When community members are left out it takes the wind out of our sails.
My first goal is to strengthen our 18 neighborhoods. At present, very few people even know Burien has 18 neighborhoods. Whether I am elected or not, my hope is that by the end of my campaign, most everyone living in Burien will know all 18 neighborhoods by name- that in itself is a step forward. Reaching that goal will be my first accomplishment. It’s going to be fun and exciting. I hope you can watch my video on “How to Learn To remember all 18 Burien’s Neighborhoods”:
Why is it important to know your neighborhoods?
Knowing our neighborhoods is knowing each other. Knowing each other brings harmony, peace, pleasure, fun, and creates a real platform to work together to address crime, homelessness, division, and hostility in our town. Together we can work towards supporting city programs like the Affordable Housing Demonstration Pilot Program and the Burien Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.
We are a city of many ethnic backgrounds. While I was in the Marines, we had no such thing as white, black, brown, yellow or red. Yes, we were all from different races, but our color was “Green”. Veterans know what I am saying here. We learned a long time ago to dump the stereotypes, bad attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. We worked as a team not only to accomplish our goals but to save each other’s lives. It’s hard work that never ends. We are Burienites. Everyone is part of the whole. We are stronger when we work together.
Vision – What Our City Can Become
Burien has a unique potential. We are next to the water, close to downtown Seattle, near a major metropolitan airport. It is a place to enjoy food and drink. We have more than 160 restaurants representing foods from all over the world. We have good bones; restaurants are only the beginning. We need to attract a few hotels.
There is a very special city in the world that is about the same size as Burien. It has almost the same number of neighborhoods and about the same population. We are talking about Siena, Italy, an amazing place. For over 1500-years they have been celebrating their 17 neighborhoods. We can learn from Siena. their success is strengthening their neighborhoods. We can do the same.
I want to introduce a new platform to help all of us grow and learn about each other. I have recruited three representatives for each of our 18 neighborhoods. That is a total of 54 Burienites on the ground working for all of us. Our goal is to visit you directly and listen to your goals and dreams, complaints and suggestions.
In closing, here we come. Until then, I have a fun assignment for you Burienites. Please try to learn all 18 of our neighborhoods by name. Ask yourself “How many neighborhoods can I name?” How did you do? Let’s build Burien into the safest, most fun city in our region.
Hello to Shorewood, Salmon Creek, Beverly Park, Southern Heights, Boulevard Park, Inglesea, Evansvale, Seahurst, Chelsea Park, Highline, Maplewild, Lake Burien, Downtown, Sunnydale, Three Tree Point, Gregory Heights, 5 Corners, and Manhattan. See you soon.
I am not Left, I am Not Right, I am Burien-Unite!
– John L. White