Each candidate for Burien City Council was asked ten questions covering topics like their reasons for wanting to serve on the council, what they think about current issues in the city, and what kind of solutions they have.

The following responses to the second question in our series are from the candidates for Position 2, which is currently filled by Cydney Moore, who is running for reelection.

NOTECandidates are listed in order as per the King County Elections online Voters Guide website. Photos and links are to/from each candidate’s profile on the same website.

What is the biggest issue facing Burien residents, and how can that be solved?

Brittany Williams

Did not respond.

Linda Akey

“Tent encampments, grocery store shoplifting, auto thefts, and even convenience store armed robberies have left residents feeling unsafe and questioning the livability of our community. I’m different from the other candidates because I care about the unhoused enough to find a path to recovery that does not involve enabling and neglectfulness. 

“I’m committed to finding sustainable solutions to help the unhoused get back on their feet and not creating more tent encampments that facilitate inhumane and unsanitary conditions, drug abuse, fires, and even human trafficking. I support the creation of substance abuse and mental health treatment centers, and transitional housing options. I want to see people healed and housed.”

Rut Perez-Studer

“I have spent many hours talking to people in Burien at public events and canvassing neighborhoods and businesses. The biggest issues are public safety in reference to homelessness and affordable housing.

“We need to recognize that chronic homelessness has little to do with homes and more to do with mental illness and drug addiction. Our un-housed problem is really a people-in-crisis problem. One of the most compassionate and loving things we can do is to get the remaining un-housed people in Burien into inpatient facilities to remove them from their cycles of trauma and networks of violence. This treatment needs to be effective, compassionate, and mandatory. This is a public health crisis and demands intervention and treatment for those unable to responsibly care for themselves. Everyone deserves to feel safe and protected, whether at home, in a business, or in a public space. A safe community starts with establishing safe spaces, emergency preparedness, and implementing the most appropriate response to people in need.  We can and must work with our police officers, drug treatment professionals, and mental health counselors in conjunction with local businesses and residents to increase public safety.

“Ensure increased density where it makes sense and ensure that the character of Burien is maintained through proper sustainable design guidelines and not approving exemptions on building codes for health and safety. There are various national and internal housing models that can be utilized to ensure proper affordability in the long-term.”

Cydney Moore

“We cannot rely on single-issue leaders, because the needs of our city are complex and diverse. We need leaders willing and able to take on multiple issues at once, who recognize the importance of a well-rounded approach. 

“I believe there are several major issues Burien is facing right now – poverty, a housing and homelessness crisis, recovering from the pandemic, a need for economic growth, the need for improvements and expansion to our infrastructure, and the need to address environmental sustainability and climate change, just to list a few.

“When it comes to solutions, I believe stability comes from the ground up. We must ensure the safety and well-being of all our people, to establish a solid foundation for our community. We build our prosperity on the foundation of our workforce – so we must make sure our workers have access to housing, transportation, a livable wage, healthcare, education, and enough food for their families. We must reach out to those who are struggling so we can help address the root causes – whether it is housing insecurity, mental illness, addiction, lack of resources, etc. – and get them back on track.

“When people are no longer living in poverty, they have more money to spend in our local economy. They can support our local businesses, or start their own. They are less likely to resort to crime, and are more likely to invest in their future. Recognizing inequity so we can prioritize underserved populations and neighborhoods in our community, and identify and address gaps in service and opportunity, helps put people on a more level playing field. Incentivizing affordable housing development helps ensure everyone has a safe place to call home. These are ways to address immediate concerns in our community, but long-term planning also needs to be taken into account, and working to protect our environment and address the climate crisis should always stay at the forefront of our minds. Implementing policies that increase eco-friendly practices (such as expanding public transit and transit-oriented development to reduce reliance on fossil fuels), and curb unsustainable or harmful activity, is one example. Preserving our green spaces, retaining and increasing our tree canopy, and reducing harmful pollutants being released into our community are further ways we can be proactive in our approach.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Look also for answers to this same question by candidates for Burien City Council, Position No. 4.

Next up in our 2023 election series – we ask Burien City Council candidates:

What are your thoughts on conducting sweeps of homeless encampments? How would you balance the rights and needs of people experiencing homelessness and those of other residents and businesses in Burien?

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors...