By Jack Mayne Burien City Attorney Lisa Marshall told the City Council at its Monday night meeting not to worry about threats from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding stripping federal dollars from so-called “sanctuary cities” because the local ordinance doesn’t use the term “sanctuary.” Councilmember Stephen Armstrong wanted to know if threats by President Donald Trump or Sessions about potential penalties or liability from the Administration over supporting so-called sanctuary city ordinances would affect Burien. “I don’t see any liability,” said Marshall. “The city did pass the ordinance in January – it does not use the word sanctuary because the term does not have any single, unified generally accepted meaning, but what the city did was simply extend the policy already in use by the Sheriff’s department – apply that to city employees.” One order was enjoined by a court against the issue in California, she said, “so it is unlikely that cities, the hundreds across the United State that have adopted ordinances like this would be impacted by it.” City Manager search continues The Council has apparently made little or no process in finding a new city manager despite over a month pondering. It appears the five formal candidates that were up for potential selection is not pass muster and word has seeped out that new candidates were being considered, but nary a word from city staff, councilmembers or the usual potential of an “informed source.” Some observers have even suggested making Acting City Manager Tony Piasecki the permanent Burien manager but he is unlikely to want that because he retired last fall after 20 years with the City of Des Moines, and as its city manager for 14 years. He and his wife sold their Des Moines home and now live in a downtown Tacoma condominium. Threats, PDFs and gravel parking It was a night of little action by the Council, including a long discussion on suspending for a while parts of the city’s parking ordinance. But North Burien Dick West told the Council during public comment period that he was visited last weekend by a “political operative” who gave him “a threat that if I spoke tonight, there was going to be a code violation filed against me” about the size of his driveway. “What I want is to ask the Council is to ask the city attorney to identify individuals who went on my property to measure the driveway and prosecute them for trespassing,” West told the Council. City Attorney Marshall said he could take it up with the police because “I do not act as the city prosecutor.” West had said he gave “much more detailed information to the city attorney on this.” He added that his question was “is this the way that when there are people who have disagreements with the Council (this) is this how it is handled? There are situations here when there are threats to misrepresent information to this city” and the person causes problems. He said the problem mentioned by the person was his driveway that was installed two years before the area he lives in was incorporated into the city, “and it was put in per code in King County” which makes the driveway a “grandfathered situation.” Later, the city manager agreed his driveway was legally grandfathered and was not an issue, and Marshall said there were no violations “either now or in the past.” No more paper packets? Marilyn Ketcherside of the Chelsea Park neighborhood said she has been told that city documents would become all electronic and paper copies would not be available “and we would have to download a PDF which some of “don’t want to or can’t.” She added that she would even prepay to have hard copies ready to be picked up at City Hall. Later, City Manager Piasecki said that PDF-only was news to City Clerk Monica Lusk. Paper copies of documents would continue to be used and issued to those seeking city documents. Ketcherside also said that phone calls were difficult to hear at Council meeting, apparently referring to Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz, who has attended meetings on the telephone from her home for over a year. “Half of what is said on Skype is not understood,” referring to a telephone messaging application and difficulties hearing over the telephone speaker. Dragon Pearl parking Dragon Pearl Restaurant and bar owner Angela Cheng returned to the Council to complain about the need for a paved parking lot to replace the gravel one that she says she’s been working for years. Cheng had similar problems with city inspectors over the years, especially in 2014, when she was fined for various violations. “Why? Thirty-nine years gravel’s okay…?” The city years ago had ordered parking lot improvements, mandating a hard surface lot with clearly marked parking stalls. In addition, Cheng says she has a homeless person who won’t leave, even once throwing a rock at the tiny Cheng. Police say they cannot force him out, similar to earlier comments to the Council over the years. Proclamations The Council approved a proclamation making the week of May as “Affordable Housing Week” to note that King County area housing costs have been rising in recent years, and that “numerous communities throughout King County are recognizing the week of May 15-22, 2017 as Affordable Housing Week to inform the public of the critical need to preserve and provide affordable housing.” Hillary Coleman, the community projects manager for the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness, accepted the proclamation and said her group was working to get homeless people registered to vote and to vote in this year’s election.]]>

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.

3 replies on “No federal liability seen with sanctuary ordinance, Burien City Council told”

  1. While the inspector was behind “Da Pearl” I wonder if they took notice of all the junk vehicles overgrown and leaking next door and the additional trash dumping issue behind Rent a Center? Why are those more pressing problems not subject to code enforcement?

  2. The search for a city manager shows how indecisive and ineffective this council is. There was at least one qualified candidate among the five that would have the ability to move the city to the next level, but it takes a strong leader to recognize a leader.

  3. I feel the search for a city manager maybe taking awhile. But with issue’s of past mangers and other officials. I think the council members maybe just be double checking things. To not run into future issues.

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