[EDITOR’S NOTE: The 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.]
To the Editor:
At the city council meeting on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, a woman (well-known to the council) shouted in her public comment that this council was in the pocket of Dow and Jay. This is totally wrong. We all know who is controlling the council, and if we can just find Hillary’s missing emails we’d know the truth!
If that sounds stupid, well, it is. But that’s the level to which politics has gotten in this city. So much said recently is just vitriol, spite, anger, hatred, and lies. We are supposed to be listening to the better angels of our nature, but we are not.
Instead we listen to only what we personally know. Councilmember Stephanie Mora constantly brings up her sister’s addiction, and so believes that only forced treatment will work – when it’s been shown that doing so can harm people more than it helps. Councilmember Jimmy Matta brings up his father’s mental health issues, as if everyone who is homeless is severely mentally ill, and so the homeless should be forced into treatment. They do not seem to be listening to other opinions, facts, observations, or the conclusions of those whose lives are devoted to solving the issues we face. They listen only to themselves.
It’s understandable that they think this way. The reptilian part of our brain is very strong and can override the more-advanced cortex, to the point where we do incredibly dumb things out of fear and anger. Stress is the driving factor that can compel the person to “lose it” and the primitive brain comes to the fore. You can see this in Councilmember Kevin Schilling when he gets red-faced and starts shouting. His ability to think rationally at that moment seems to be gone, and the anger is in the driver’s seat. And I do think that the situation in Burien is stressful to everyone involved, to the point where some might self-medicate to relieve the pressures of life.
But the city cannot be run based on fear, it must be run calmly, rationally, and with concern for everyone, regardless of their personal situations. It sometimes appears to me (and this is only my opinion) that Stephanie, Jimmy, and Kevin are not capable of rational thought regarding the homeless situation – they are too stressed. Or they just simply don’t care. It’s hard to decide which is which.
“City” comes from the latin civitas, one meaning of which is “membership in the community”. This membership comes from simply being here in the city – it does not come from who we are or where we’ve come from or how long we’ve been here. All people who live in Burien are in our community, even those whose living situation is unconventional. The council should be looking out for all of us, not just the ones around city hall. It’s sad to me that, based upon their actions and their words, this concern for all of Burien’s people does not seem to be important to many on the council, nor for some in the community.
– August Hahn
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