Since the 1950’s the Highline area has been in a tug of war over its form of government and what we expect from government. First to incorporate, in the area, was Normandy Park, 1953. Next, Des Moines incorporated in 1959. The people of both cities incorporated because they wanted to control their own futures. Few people know this but long ago Seattle originally had eyes on the area all the way down to about 160th as evidenced by the current boundaries of Seattle City Light in Burien.

Annexation was brought up for Burien (and surrounding areas) in 1954, 1960, and 1984. Each time the vote was shot down because among other reasons the city would have started off as the 3rd largest (at the time). The earliest iterations of “Burien” would have included the areas now known as Burien, North Highline, and large chunks of SeaTac. Interestingly enough, my area of Burien (Manhattan/Woodside) was expected to incorporate into Normandy Park. Instead we incorporated into Burien in 1999.

At the time, Residents were happy with a single representative in the King County council. The impetus for change in the area was the realization that King County had been allowing unchecked high density, the impeding 3rd runway and the need to coordinate efforts against it and the final straw – the proposal to build a bridge between Burien and Vashon Island-Maury Island. It’s hard to imagine what that would have done to our Burien.

The city of SeaTac incorporated in 1989 because they felt they were a cash cow for the County with little of that money staying in the area.

Due to the reasons listed above as well as SeaTac’s early success Burien worked on its own incorporation. North Highline, including the area formerly known as Area X, was considered but left out of the incorporation efforts. Reasons for excluding the North Highline areas were contentious. Critics of the borders charged that the area was left off to exclude low income housing from the tax base. Proponents of the border stated that the area showed little interest in joining the incorporation movement.
Our city-incorporating pioneers filed the requisite paperwork with the Boundary review board and were accepted in 1991. In March of 1992 residents voted for incorporation and February 28th 1993 was set as incorporation day.

In order to know where we’re going it helps to know where we’ve been and how we got there.

– Joey Martinez

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27 replies on “LETTER: ‘In order to know where we’re going it helps to know where we’ve been’”

  1. Dont forget joey, there was an incorporation effort back in the 80’s to incorporate Burien, Sea Tac areas as the city of Highline as well… just mentioning

    1. Rob, I put the date in the article but didn’t really go into it. I’m constrained because I’m also putting it into the local paper and they have limits. The history on incorporation attempts alone could be put into a book!
      The history of Highline is amazing and inspiring. They should build a museum or something! Oh wait they are?!?! Sweet!
      Joey Martinez

    1. As I read the article, I felt the same way too, Diana…..and that was before I saw who wrote it. But then I saw it was written by Joey Moretaxes, I immediately felt that I wanted to hear the other side of the arguments and decide on my own which side to believe.
      Sorry Joey, but you know that old saying about Democrats – how can you tell they’re lying… can see their lips move. You’ve been so over the top in the past, I have to take anything you put out there with a grain of salt.
      That being said, I’ll go back and try to “read between the lines” for your real purpose of writing this letter. (Anyone else skeptical as to his motives?)

      1. Well it’s a good thing I was typing CON! And funny I’ve heard the same thing about Republicans. Democrats also put their dogs in the car (not on the roof) when transporting.
        Joey Martinez

      2. Really nice CON to reort to namecalling on a guy who was just pointing out local history. Of course what else do I expect from the GOP? Try using your real name and I might take what you say more seriously.

        1. Hey Rob, take the tinfoil off your head and then I’ll take YOU seriously……;)
          But all seriousness aside, unfortunately Rob, we are put in tough economic, political and social predicaments because guys like you don’t question the motives of someone like Joey who is, in my opinion, working VERY hard to acquire power for personal gain. I don’t see him (or many on our council and our city manager) working with the public’s best interest at heart. All too often, we see career politicians start at the local level, then continue their selfish motives to State then National offices. They rely on the apathy and laziness of the voters to continue their rise to power.
          I, for one, will continue to question these individuals when the decisions they make and the arguments they put forward are, again in my opinion, not truly in the public’s best interest. That is why I feel the way I do against Joey and his annexation arguments and welcome the similar inquiries by Debi Wagner and William Forest. Normally, I wouldn’t bother addressing the sniping that you or Dr. DreamOn do, but this gives me the opportunity to clear up one item in your post……..I’m more Tea Party than Republican – the GOP, quite frankly, isn’t conservative enough!

          1. Rob, good lookin out! 😉
            I like CON, or at least I used to until I found out he was a Tea-Bagger. I’m really glad that movement has fissiled. I was worried for a while. The Ultra-Conservative movement is only a step or two away from the Ultra-Nationalist movement which is but a mere step away from a fascist government. I saw the earliest signs of Italy just before WWII back in 2010-2011.
            Seriously CON, you really don’t know me or what I’m about sir. Three things you should note. I have two young boys who are my life. I am working to make their lives better. I am trying to leave them a city that they can be proud of and live in for a long time. I would never jeopardize that for some type of political gain. I happen to believe that annexation is a neccessary step.
            Secondly, I have no political ambitions. IF I decide to run in 2013 it will be because I want to more actively contribute to this wonderful city that I am raising my family in.
            Thirdly, and William here is your answer, I work in information technology. It is a job that I love to do. Whereas a great many people work in a job because they have to, I count myself lucky because I work in a job that is a passion and a hobby of mine. I feel more like a baseball or football player doing what they absolutely love to do day in and day out than a real worker.
            And you’ve asked, in the past, why I choose to work for “the government”? It’s not for the money trust me. In the last 6 months I’ve turned down a couple of jobs that would have doubled my salary. I choose to work in government because I’ve worked in the private sector and didn’t like senior management doing things for that almighty dollar. These weren’t just small corporations but companies that were/are top 50 in the NorthWest.
            I choose to work for government because it personally gives me a level of satisfaction in knowing that somehow in some small way I’ve helped someone instead of helping a rich man get richer. This is a personal choice of mine and I am lucky I have the skills to allow me to make that choice. It is also a choice that will guarantee I will never be rich. You can agree that some things are worth more than money.
            Joey Martinez

          2. CON, You know, I don’t question the motives of someone like Joey who is because I don’t care who he is or what his motives are. Hell I didn’t even vote for the guy. And another thing I am against annexation as well. BUT all I am saying is don’t start name calling and abusive behavior towards Joey just because you think you know what he is about. Geeze.

          3. Oh boo-hoo, Joey. You think you’re the only one with family (3 kids here) that’s working hard to give them a better life? Save the emotional, sympathy guilt trip for some bleeding heart liberal who’ll cave when you play the race card and/or fears being called homophobic if they disagree with that less-than-5% group.
            You put yourself out there Joey, with all your comments, analysis, etc. So if your nose (and Rob’s and Burienite’s too) is a little out of joint because I disagree with your “vision” for a better city and call you out on it, then I guess you aren’t ready for the big leagues (meaning an elected political office).
            You noted, “…I like CON, or at least I used to until I found out he was a Tea-Bagger…” Don’t worry, I’m not offended by the name calling and, quite frankly, I think deep down you still like me. I enjoy the sparring over issues with you – it helps to strengthen my belief in liberty and individual freedom and hopefully, you’ll come to see that “less is more” – in this case, regulation and taxation. So go ahead and refer to me as a tea bagger; you’ll always be sweet Joey Moretaxes to me; a one percenter – that is, 1% truth, 99% bu!!sh!*……;)

      3. Geez CON. Take it easy. Why so angry all the time? Why is it impossible for you to simply say “we agree to disagree” and move on. Always personal attacks with you.

    2. Diana, Since June I’ve been talking to random people who are residents of Burien all through out the city. I was surprised that so few people know the area’s rich history that I felt it’d be a good subject to start with (and only a small sliver of it is covered).
      I’ll be sending a letter a week for several weeks to try and show my though process and analysis of the annexation question.
      Joey Martinez

  2. Whats your point Joey? Bottom line is it will be a financial disaster for Burien to be the welfare provider for White Center. They can’t support themselves and its been a run down high crime area for decades.. I doubt very much that’s going to change as a result of annexation by Burien .. BTW.. Its commonly known as RAT CITY.. Now Burien is going to be known as Rat City..GREAT! Annexation is going to bring DOWN property values for current Burien residents and result in tax increases to cover the costs of maintaining an area that King County is eager to get rid of. If the housing market was not so depressed I would be moving out of Burien as fast a possible before the annexation of white center destroys the current flavor of it.
    Anyone with a clue knows how badly you want on city council and the best way for you to get there is to cozy up to the white center pro annexation PAC in the hopes that will get you more votes next time ,because there is no way in hell current Burien residents would ever elect you..
    Its coincidental that Mike Martin’s empire building excursion happens to fit in with your plans.. I wonder how much of a raise Martin is going to ask for if we do annex rat city? Substantial I am sure and certain to make this grossly overpaid city manager fat and happy on his retirement pension courtesy of the taxpayers of Burien.

    1. Easy William, save the rants buddy. I’ll give you plenty of opportunity in future letters. This is just a blast from the past. Something I’ve found, especially newer residents, don’t know.
      Joey Martinez

      1. You work for Seattle City Light right Joey.. Btw .. .what do you do there?
        Other than blogging I mean?

  3. The City of Burien cannot afford to annex anymore of North Highline.The city council(Jerry Robison) is trying desperately to increase our taxes ASAP before we take on this drain to our city. If you don’t believe me I urge you ALL to watch the Council Workshop meeting from April 23rd. Since we are loosing the liquor tax he suggests to add one for Burien to collect as well as drastically changing the B&O tax structure in Burien. If I was a business owner in North Highline/Burien I would be VERY concerned about this.
    We can look at annexation as a Rainbow and Cotton Candy story or view it in the real world.

  4. If you go back a little farther in Burien’s history, you find that all of this land belonged to the Duwamish tribe. Then we stole it. Then we invented reasons why stealing someone’s land was the right thing to do. What does that history say about our future?

  5. I was young, but my memory of the 1960’s effort is that if we had incorporated them Southcenter would have probably followed, instead of going to Tukwila.

  6. I appreciate the time and effort that went into this letter. It is very important to lay the ground work, on a subject that has many citizens excited and opinionated. Judging by some comments I have read, there are those who know very little about annexation, count me as one of the those. I look forward to more of your letters, as you promised. I have no reasons to questions your motives, but I will verify the relevant facts.

    1. Definitely Big Nate, verify! I looked at everything for myself, at the time for my 2011 campaign, and discovered that I did not agree with the anti-annexation message.
      I hope to share with everyone what I’ve looked at over the next few weeks.
      Joey Martinez

  7. All this shows is that we don’t learn from history. Annexing Area X wasn’t a good idea. Now we are looking at Area Y. What a disaster.

      1. How specifically did it drive up your taxes and by how much? Are you speaking of your real estate taxes? I would be interested in documentation on this.

    1. I think most of you who appose annexation and use terms to like “disaster” and the like, should really take a moment and consider all of this “stuff” from of matter of perspective. This isn’t the end of the world folks.
      Having a tornado tear through a town and level a majority of the buildings and kill dozens of people–now that’s a disaster.
      I’m not very keen on another annexation either, but let’s keep it in perspective people. Calm down–take a deep breath.

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