[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.]

The current council has been bouncing around the time the meeting starts.  

The agenda for the May 6th meeting says it will start at 6 p.m. after scrapping the regular meeting, for the same date, which would have started at 7 p.m.  Then, the first portion of the Special Meeting will be an executive session which may end after 45 minutes (maybe less, maybe more). So, the agenda guesstimates the actual meeting will start at ‘about 6:50 p.m.’

How is the public to know when the meeting starts? Is it an intentional guessing game? What is the legal notice required? 

In a time of higher-than-usual tension between the public and our government, why is the city of Burien making it seem as though there is something to hide? The priority should be consistency so that members of the public can anticipate and plan their participation, rather than guess or make last-minute changes. 

Between this and the unannounced “press conference” with a quorum of city council members present last week, it’s hard not to get the sense that the city is intentionally making it difficult for the public to know when and where our elected representatives will be making decisions, open for our input, or sharing critical information. 

Prior councils routinely held executive sessions before the start of the meeting and posted the agendas as separate meetings. This made it easier for the public to be confident about the start time of the regular meeting and to find information later (as special meetings seem to be listed on a separate part of the website). 

The default view is for regular meetings, whereas it appears there hasn’t been a regular meeting since April 1st. While Special Meetings in the past have been ad hoc meetings about one or two topics, the last two have included the agenda items for a full regular meeting, again creating confusion for the public. So, what is the difference between them?

Furthermore, Monday’s meeting start time seems to have been adjusted intentionally to conflict with the King County Sheriff’s community meeting that the city manager has already expressed anger about and which was posted well before the time the city council meeting was changed from the usual 7 p.m. 

The community meeting was scheduled to end at 6:50 p.m., clearly designed to give the public time to get to the regular Council meeting. By changing the start time of the special meeting, the city looks petulant and puts engaged citizens in the position of having to choose which meeting to attend. 

This frequent shifting of the start time makes it difficult for the public to plan to attend or participate in meetings and should only be done in rare cases and never for punitive, partisan purposes. Our city officials and our police need to work together if our community is to remain safe. I urge our city manager to stop playing games with public access to our government.

– Kelsey Vanhee
– Stephen Lamphear
ACLU Burien People Power members

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. Maybe this is all a long con April Fool’s joke?! The last “regular” meeting they had was April 1st. Then they swapped the meeting on the 15th to the 29th (making it “special”) and then canceled the one on the 22nd.

    Or is this a way to confuse the public enough that they won’t attend to tell council things they don’t want to hear?

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