by Stephen Lamphear

Attention North Highline Annexation Voters: your Voters Pamphlet contains a steamy, smelly pile of bovine fecal matter about annexation to Burien. Here are some of the dung piles dropped by opponent Mark Ufkes:

Pile #1 — Mr. Ufkes does not live in the voting area – he is not affected by the annexation vote. [full disclosure: I, too, do not live in the voting area, but as a Burien resident will be affected by your vote.]

Pile #2 — The Westwood Village and White Center areas are not included in the voting area, but I’m sure you can find a particular home in N. Burien that is valued lower than a particular home in Westwood. So? Truth is: the homes in unincorporated North Shorewood, Salmon Creek and Boulevard Park (neighborhoods within the voting area) are similar to their long-time N. Burien neighbors’ homes.

Pile #3 — Mr. Ufkes has been a vocal critic of the North Highline Fire Department. That despite the huge satisfaction level of residents. The city of Burien does not provide fire services. All of Burien and North Highline are served by independent Fire Districts — you elect Commissioners who set policies and standards. You will continue to be served by Fire Commissioners you elect, and control taxes for fire services.

Pile #4 — Burien has no plans to hire more police officers AT THIS TIME because it’s not necessary. Burien and North Highline share police services provided by King County. That will continue after annexation. The size of Burien’s police force will always depend on need.

Pile #5 — Burien has no budget deficit — in the state of Washington, all governments are required by law to have balanced budgets; Burien always has. What Burien doesn’t have is debt – it has operated as a cash basis city.

Pile #6 — If Burien decides to build a new community center with a new tax, the law requires voters to approve any such new tax. There is no new tax on the horizon.

Pile #7 — The is no such thing as a Burien downtown fire department tax for Town Square. Town Square is a private development. No taxes have been or will be used for this private project. There is also no massive property tax giveaway to potential Town Square residents.

Pile #8 — There is no factual evidence that property values have any relationship to your address. Property values are simply the value of your property compared to similar properties in a similar neighborhood. Fire services are also not related to your property value — a mansion gets the same fire truck, the same emergency medical team, as does a modest bungalow. Voters set the level of taxes for fire services.

An 8-year former Burien City Councilmember, I live 4 blocks from the proposed annexation area. I’m anxious to re-unite with my neighbors under one government that promotes strong single family neighborhoods rather than the rampant multifamily projects favored by King County and Seattle. Vote ‘YES’ on annexation.

Stephen Lamphear
North Shorewood

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We welcome all opinions, and publish pertinent ones at our discretion. We advise all residents in the North Highline area to read as much as they can about the upcoming Aug. 18th Annexation vote, and decide for themselves whether they want to become a part of Burien or not. As always, Readers are encouraged to either email us their thoughts, or Comment below…]

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

18 replies on “OPINION: Former City Councilmember’s Rebuttal To The “Statement Against” Burien Annexation”

  1. Good comments, Stephen. However, I must point out that you missed a pile: “Burien scheduled the vote in August when 40% fewer people vote.” Apparently Mr. Ufkes believes that Burien conspired to have the county primary moved to August. Was there actually any fact-based content in the “Statement Against”?

  2. Mark does not speak for the majority of NH residents nor does he speak for the City of Seattle. The pamphlet states his one opinion with no facts to back it up. Every time I pick up a paper or read a blog online, I see many comments and responses from people in favor of a Burien Annexation, in turn, I only see Mark opposing it. 4 years ago I asked the City of Seattle to provide me with facts and documentation regarding what, and how the City of Seattle is willing to contribute financially to North Highline regarding providing all services.
    An employee that is employed by the City of Seattle, and who is authorized to speak for the City of Seattle handed me a 6 page document in 2005 explaining what they will provide. 5 pages consisted of guesses and estimates of dollar amounts and projections that they thought would be sufficient levels of services cost wise. 4 years later, still there is no update of an actual plan with real figures existing to date. For NH residents to see the real picture I would suggest going to the City of Seattle’s web-site and look under their annexation section, read for yourself how well they plan on taking care of your community, then check Burien’s. You will be quite surprised with what is on their web-sites and to read the facts. If Seattle had actual info on their web-site or showed the slightest interest in our Residents and our area regarding annexing our area, and if an actual Seattle City employee was the one stating the figures in the pamphlet, then it would be different in the respect that I would actually have some facts to base a decision on , but because there is limited info on annexing our area with no real facts listed financially from Seattle and the info given in the pamphlet is an opinion of one, I would go with the facts I am presented with and make my decision based on which City presented me with the facts of caring for our area in our best interest pertaining to community oriented planning, community desires, services offered, financially, and flavor.

  3. As homeowners in White Ctr for 30+ years, we often asked how to become a member of the White Ctr Homeowners Assoc.which Mr. Ufkes claims to be President of. We know other homeowners whom have asked this also, and people have asked when this group meets. Apparently, the meetings are secret. Therefore, we’d like to say, for the record, that Mr Ufkes does NOT represent us with his opinions.
    Most of the neighbors we had in North Highline’s north section would prefer to be annexed to Burien and will wait for that to happen, and vote NO to any attempted annexation by Seattle.
    We now live in Boulevard Park, and are still in a portion of North Highline where we will be waiting for our opportunity to vote YES to annex to Burien.
    If you think Mr Ufkes is correct (at all) about wonderful Seattle services, just look at, or speak to residents of) South Park, or the South Delridge community.

  4. Mark Ufkes is trying to deceive us. An old political trick to to start up many associations just before and election and have them support your cause. I know poeple who have tried to join his association and were turned down. It seems his association is very private and very small. I know that the White Center Residents for a Secure Future was just started by Mark on July 28 because that is when the Public Disclosure Commission received his application. I wonder if it has any members other than the same old cronies who are on his other associations. Don’t fall for Marks games. The residents of North Highline are smarter than Mark gives us credit for and we will not put up with dishonest tactics. Shame on you Mark.

  5. As a past senator for South Seattle Community College and former Clan Chattan Society U.S.A Washington State Commissioner I understand willfull misdeception and misrepresentation extremelly well, well done Stephen! Your my new favorite political jackass! Please note hint of sarcasm fellow blogger.

    1. I was refering to Mark Ufgus as the jackass but accidentaly entered Stephen’s name inadvertently, see how easy misinformation can be, even unintentional, sometimes.

  6. Do any of you know who is paying for the rather expensive looking blue and white signs out here in the unincorporated area? Thanks for the info.

    1. Dale,
      I haven’t seen these signs, can you tell me a location where I can go look at one? How big are they? What do they say?

    2. Not sure who is paying for the signs, Maybe it’s Seattle City residents who do not want us annexed to their City of Seattle. There are thousands of Seattle City residents who oppose Seattle annexing us because Seattle does not take care of their own residents, and that is documented in Seattle City Council records, police department records, human services cut backs, etc. In fact, on December 1st, 2006 several groups from Seattle representing several of Seattle’s neighborhoods and community coalitions groups and community organizations spoke at the Seattle City Council and submitted reasons why they opposed annexing NH. They gave numerous reasons and examples of why. Mainly the reasons consisted of financial issues to due Seattle not providing services to their own communities and residents along with Seattle claiming to be providing basic services to them that were and still are not met.
      Of course, it could also be people that want to be annexed to Burien too. Hard to tell. If you find out let me know. I would like to buy some for my neighbors who want to annex to Burien. Thanks

      1. Dale,

        The signs on Occidental Avenue S. between 116th and 120th are being passed out by Greg Duff of the North Highline UAC. You might ask him who is paying for these signs.
        They are very expensive looking, and also are appearing our of the X boundary.

        1. Marlene, I went and looked at the signs. They appear to just common plastic yard signs which can be purchased at many places locally (or even on-line) for a little over $2.00 and a stick costs, what? Maybe about 50 cents. They sure don’t look “very expensive” to me.

  7. The signs are paid for and distributed by People for Burien ( They are a group that believes that North Highline would be better served by going to Burien. The funds for this organization is from private individuals and not any government entity (including the North Highline UAC).

    If anyone has a question about annexation please feel free to contact me at
    Thank you
    Greg Duff
    NHUAC President

    1. Awesome Greg, Thanks for the info! I checked out their web-site and it looks great. What a cool group. I can’t wait to join. Pro-active grass roots community out reach is awesome!

      1. It looks like has a Burien P.O. Box number. So I guess this means some of the supporters are not just from Southern North Highline, or area X.

        1. Marlene, People from Area X, Seattle, Burien and lots of other places support the annexation of North Highline to Burien. There are many Burien residents who want the entire North Highline to be annexed. In fact private citizens, like myself, are joining the cause for annexation to Burien. Want to join?

          1. Thanks for asking Greg, but no thanks. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow night at your house.

            Oh, and this is for Stephen Lamphear. Although we disagree about annexation, I do think you are a wonderful person. I was reading about some of the history of Burien and southern West Seattle, and I came upon an article about Elda’s Paradise Garden. What a fabulous thing you did to save her garden. That tells me what a big heart you have, although I’ve never met you. I was very moved.

  8. Thanks Greg for answering my question. This b-townblog is a rich source of information about our community. Dale

  9. If Ufgus is so stuck on Seattle, then why doesn’t he just move there? It’s just so pathetic reading the same crap over and over. If my children acted like this, they would be in a time out. It’s time to grow up or pack up and move over the border to where you will be happy. We don’t need negitive people bringing down everyone else’s proud community.

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