[EDITOR’S NOTEThe following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff. For more background on this issue, read our previous coverage here.]

To the Burien Community:

I’ve been asked recently about my resignation from the Planning Commission, and I’ve written this statement about why I did it. I also want to clear up some misinformation that have been raised by others in the community.

I was appointed to the Burien Planning Commission in 2019, and until Friday, June 16 I was proudly serving my community. I enjoyed the work, the feeling of helping my city grow in an intentional and thoughtful way, and the camaraderie that was developed between myself and my fellow commissioners. During my tenure, I was happy to have the opportunity to serve as commission chair and vice chair. 

Over the past several weeks, I’ve watched as our City Council held two special public meetings to discuss actions taken by my fellow commissioner that they themselves acknowledged he took as a private citizen (1). This all began in April, and since this started I have been unnerved by the thought that this could happen to me. I am an activist. I have been critical of Mayor Aragon and Deputy Mayor Schilling. I don’t want my private life subject to a “hearing” and aired publicly for all to see. 

Prior to resigning, several commissioners made our concerns known multiple times to the Council. In the wake of their decision, our resignations should not have been a surprise to them.

Now my city is worse off for the loss of knowledge and talent in the now eleven resignations from Commissions. I feel sad about this and the fact that I was put in this position, but my resignation in the face of the Council actions was the right thing to do for myself and my family.

It has been reported that my resignation (and others) was a planned protest in solidarity with the former chair. While we care about him as a person, this was not some stunt meant to bring attention to him or his actions. We each made our own decisions and in no way did any of us take our decision lightly. This is about our rights.

It has also been reported that the commissioners would return if the former chair were to be reinstated to the commission. I want to be clear that while I would consider returning to my position if asked, I would not do so without a guarantee from Council that my actions that are not directly related to the work of the commission would not be used against me, unless otherwise illegal. I would need to know that as a commissioner my constitutional rights would be respected by the Council.

Meanwhile, the tragedy of all of this is that our Council has still taken no action to address the real issue our city faces. We have neighbors who need our help. We have an offer from the County on the table that is being ignored. We need our leaders to focus on this now, help find a solution and stop looking the other way.

–August Hahn
Former Planning Commission Chair

(1) https://www.burienwa.gov/news_events/city_newsroom/news_announcements/statement_from_the_city_of_burien_2023_april

EDITOR’S NOTEDo 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 scott@southkingmedia.com and, pending review and verification that you’re a real human being, we may publish it. 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).

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9 replies on “LETTER: ‘I am submitting this letter to the editor regarding my resignation from the Burien Planning Commission’”

  1. “I’m an activist” that quote in itself is why you have no place serving Burien because your ability to serve the community equally is compromised by private beliefs and agendas. Your decision was yours alone, own it.

  2. Being an activist is no barrier to serving the community. If only people with no passions, no ideas, and no vision were to serve then our city would be a terribly boring place to be. That might suit you, I doubt it would suit everyone.

  3. The whole encampment debacle has shown that allowing liberal activists to volunteer for the planning commission is a bad idea.

  4. The issue at hand is your (A.H.) published statement saying you would have done the same as Charles and tell squatters where to camp on City property. That in itself shows disregard for the community at large whom you signed up to serve, and without showing bias. That in itself is why I feel you are unfit to serve and why your resignation is a good thing for the City and it’s taxpayer base.

  5. Commenting on your own letter to the editor is akin to wearing the shirt of the band you are going to see. So cringe.

  6. You might want to consider that personal choices are different than responsibility, you mixed the two and now you get to focus on just you instead of pushing an agenda on others. Good luck

  7. ‘It is a far, far better thing that you do by resigning, than you have ever done; it is a far, far betterment that I have ever known”

  8. It’s sad that the norm now in Burien has devolved into drugged out homeless people exposing themselves in public or ODing in the Grocery Outlet parking lot. I live in Burien and work at the Dollar Tree and have come to expect the worst. These activist Planning Commission members are ACTIVELY working against solving this problem. It may take a little “tough love” to deal with this crisis. I see two types of homeless people . . . mentally ill and drug addicted. Anyone seriously interested in getting off the street is not living in this camp. Aside from the rampant shoplifting and property crime, this camp is a real danger to the community. Fires, drug ODs, violent crimes . . . this isn’t a situation where these camp dwellers can be coddled into accepting treatment. These people are DEFIANTLY preying on Burien without any fear of any repercussions or the police.

  9. The camp that was in downtown Burien has relocated near my neighborhood. It is in the small triangle of land between Ambaum Blvd SW, 12th SW, and SW 120th St. The encampment smells awful and I’ve seen “residents” throwing objects into Ambaum behind me as I’ve driven past. Not to mention “residents” wandering into the roadway. I fear someone will get hurt before long. Anyone out there know who I should alert to this problem?

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