[EDITOR’S NOTEThe following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff.]

In response to the very-late notice of Monday night’s Community Information Meeting, I am struck by the composition of King County invited speakers, none of whom are elected officials representing a constituency of voters from Burien.  Yet, there is acknowledgement in The B-Town Blog article Friday night that none of the duly elected Burien City Councilmembers, including the Mayor, were involved in the selection of speakers, agenda, or purpose of the “community meeting.”

Also, I found it odd that a City of Burien contractor – Ted Boe, from King County Sheriff’s Department – would be representing the City of Burien, when apparently none of the elected officials were invited to be on the panel. Does the Sheriff’s Office and employees of same believe that the Burien City Councilmembers are mere figureheads and not decision-makers; or do they just oppose the Council’s recent decision-making about encampments?  

Or could it be that the tragic and unnecessary deaths of four “campers” due to drug overdoses compelled the County to request a mental health expert, a Purpose Dignity Action professional, and LEAD professional to share with us residents of Burien how successful their programs have been to stop overdoses by campers? So these folks were not invited by Burien elected officials, but King County wants to lobby the Burien citizenry prior to an imminent decision by the US Supreme Court on matters like these?

The County’s intentions appear to me to be to persuade Burien attendees at the suddenly organized community meeting that having a suite of auxiliary services is the goal, which supports their position of not banning campers, or even designating locations for camping despite objections from local residents, including parents and grandparents of students attending Kennedy High School.

Of course, the purpose of the last-minute meeting is not to discuss the costs of this suite of services, how many of the campers are actually Burien residents, how sustainable are the costs of a pallet village, or options that elected decision-makers and Burien citizens can afford without raising taxes. (I mention taxes because I’m still in shock over how much I just paid in income and property taxes last month.)

Certainly we Burien residents recognize the adage “Build it and they will come,” and it applies to this scenario. We’ve witnessed it for years and paid taxes to support a King County Housing Authority that failed miserably. We are also observing a heavy-handed response from the County to keep Burien consistent with their history of reducing the camping population, which has also failed.

No Burien resident wants deaths on our sidewalks, but those deaths were caused by addiction not camping on public spaces. Having a shelter does not guarantee life, but perhaps a mental health intervention is best handled by Public Health professionals and not the King County Sheriff’s Office.   

– Sharyn Parker
Burien resident

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 name, as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes). Read our updated Letter to the Editor policy here.

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

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  1. This meeting will be the equivalent of using smoke on the battlefield to distract and confuse while sneaking around the other side. It’s totally inappropriate to come to Burien selling services when the Sheriff isn’t even providing the ones we pay for, it’s basically ignoring the elephant in the room.

  2. Well said and true. Some people here, as well as the Sheriff, refuse to accept the results of our last election. The majority of voters, actual citizens of Burien , spoke. We want safe streets and reasonable laws. We need to think about our children and stop catering to the addicted. Maybe making a certain element welcome here is not the best policy.

  3. Our city counsel has become a national embarrassment. They are a bunch of NIMBYs. I can’t wait to vote them out. They’ve made it clear what they want and it doesn’t reflect the majority of what their constituents want. Why invite them to the meeting? Never in my life did I expect to side with the popo but definitely support their refusal to enforce a law that will surely be found to be unconstitutional. I have not seen the council hiring an mental health professionals to help with the addiction and housing crisis we face.

  4. Um, you need to check the election results. The majority won and elected our City Council. Most of us do not want to coddle and babysit drug users. I would guess that a lot of the drug users are not from here. Also, I have close friends in different parts of the country. No one has mentioned Burien or that it is a joke. The joke is people who can’t accept cleaning up the mess created by out of touch enablers who were in charge for way too long

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