On Tuesday night (Oct. 3), The B-Town Blog held its second and final 2017 Burien City Council Candidate Forum at Merrill Gardens at Burien (an Advertiser).

This final forum featured candidates for Burien City Council Positions #5 and #7:

  • Darla Green vs. Nancy Tosta
  • Patty Janssen vs. Krystal Marx

This year our Moderator was David Ruby, a Civics teacher at Highline High School. He asked relevant local issue questions, which mostly came from Reader submissions.

Overall, 14 questions were asked, in addition to opening and closing statements.

As we did at our previous forum Sept. 26, each candidate was given a “Pink Card” which they could use just once to rebut another’s statement. This forum included two uses of the Pink Card, which we’ve notated in the list of questions below.

Click below to view the full, raw footage of Tuesday night’s lively debate (running time approx. 1 hour, 43 minutes; NOTE: there may be moments where the audio is out of synch, or there are video glitches due to technical issues):


1:20: Opening statements from all candidates.

10:24: The term ‘Activist’ has been used quite a lot recently. What does a good Activist look like to you? What is model behavior for an Activist?

14:52: Is there anything in the City budget you would repeal, and why?

18:45: A lot of Merrill Gardens residents walk to Bartell’s Shopping Center for basic needs. However, due to heavy speeding traffic between 4th Ave. SW and 6th Ave. SW this is now an extremely dangerous crossing. A marked crosswalk is desperately needed for safe crossing at the above named corners, and before there is a fatality. How would you take care of this issue?

24:20: What is your favorite book that you’ve recently read?

26:50: A business question – how do we create incentives for small and local businesses to prevent Burien from turning into a ‘franchise city’?

32:36: What do you see as the role of the city in supporting schools?

39:02: Lake Burien is owned and maintained by the state, but entirely surrounded by private properties. Do you support opening Lake Burien for public access?

44:53: According to the Housing Development Consortium, whose members include all of King County’s nonprofit housing developers as well major banks, architects, attorneys, and government agencies…the city of Burien needs at least 1,054 more homes for people who make between zero and 30% of average median income. How would you address that gap?


50:42: Candidate Darla Green states:

“Government has no business in private enterprise – this can only lead to rent control, which is something my opponent would favor. That would be disastrous for Burien…”

Her opponent Nancy Tosta then uses her “Pink Card” to challenge Green’s statement:

51:33: “My opponent attributes behavior and points of view to me when she has no idea what I think…she has never talked to me about it. I am not a proponent of rent control…I don’t think (or am not even sure) that it’s even legal in the state of Washington. I do think we could look at some options for trying to protect tenants from significant rent increases like 80% increases (crowd murmurs)…no, that’s not rent control – you don’t know what rent control is (crowd reacts). Give me a chance and I’ll explain it…if a landlord proposes to raise your rent 10% (for example, hypothetical) you’ve got a month to find a new place to live; if a landlord raises your rent 25% you’ve got to have longer to find a place to live because it’s a challenge…” (timer bell chimes)

53:04: What is the City doing really well – and maybe not so well – towards fulfilling its strategic plan?

59:30: What is your opinion on Safe Injection Sites anywhere within Burien or unincorporated White Center?

1:06:52: Okay, now you’re a Tour Guide to a group of people from out of town – what three places would you take them in Burien?

1:11:14: Do you think Burien has any unsung heroes, and if so, who would you name?

1:16:14: Our Burien community is becoming more diverse. People with different ethnic, racial, religious and economic backgrounds and ways of life are in our community. What are you planning to do to bring more diversity to Burien?

1:24:28: The election is in five weeks. What is your strategy?


1:28:30: Candidate Darla Green states:

“I want to remind this group that Patty, Joel, Debi and I – we’re working candidates. We’re all working candidates…we know how hard it is to work and feed our kids and take care of all that other stuff, but remember – we’re also running for your vote. We don’t have the ability to come down to the Farmers Market because we’re working. However, all of us are very accessible… so we’re doing all of this to meet you, our community…”

1:29:39: Candidate Krystal Marx uses her Pink Card in response:

“I want to address something…every single candidate running for Burien City Council is a working candidate (applause)…I think that is important to note…as people who are working, I think you make time for what is important. Now, schedules are different and I respect that…it is hard to get home from work early, it is hard when you have people depending on you, it is hard if you’re a business owner and you have clients to serve…I think that it’s really important to acknowledge, but you also make time for what is important, and for those who choose to show up on Thursdays they think that’s important there …so just to clarify, we’re all working candidates, and we all have a stake in this as well, and I don’t appreciate that comment.”

1:30:36: Closing statements.

Putting on a successful Candidate Forum is a LOT of work – from organizing/scheduling/confirming the candidates to finding a location to setting up and much more…so we’d like to give a HUGE THANKS to the following:

  • Katalia Alexander, Organizer/Producer (and student at Mt. Rainier High School)
  • All Burien City Council Candidates
  • David Ruby, our Moderator (and Teacher at Highline High School)
  • Nghi Lam, Volunteer Timer (and Student at Highline High School)
  • Merrill Gardens at Burien’s General Manager Debbie Woodworth & crew
  • Theresa Schaefer for all her help
  • Andrea Reay of the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce
  • Dick West, for helping us set up
  • Matt Moeller for loaning us the PA System
  • Tommy Walker, who helped with security at the event
  • Our very civil 146+ person Audience!

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15 replies on “VIDEO: Here’s raw footage of The B-Town Blog’s final 2017 Candidate Forum”

  1. One of the ways that a small city like Burien can help with creating and keeping affordable housing is to advocate with the county and state for fiscal or other incentives ensuring it. For the working folks who need to be able to live close to where they work in order to get ahead, and not have to commute from ghettos a couple of hour away. The servers and the line cooks and the medical assistants and the delivery people…etc.
    Over the years, I’ve known of many landlords who rented for below market rate to young couples just starting out, or single parent families. They didn’t have an interest in making a huge profit on their rental properties as much having reliable renters and helping someone out, because they themselves were already comfortable. Now there is a tax code that makes it very expensive to rent at below market rates.

    1. Taxes are not the main reason for housing prices doubling, and rents almost doubling in 5 years. And neither is supply and demand as much of a factor as unregulated greed–with money laundering and private equity coming into the picture now.

      1. I should clarify that I meant that with the tax code limiting deductions for landlords renting their properties at below market there aren’t many incentives for landlords with maybe just one or two properties to rent at below market rates (market rate is nuts around here lately – I never thought I would see an old former motel rent tiny studios for $1,000 a month). If I understand it right.

        1. Thanks for your clarification. I agree. This is something Burien should consider as one but not the only option to preserve affordable housing. A good question for the current crop of Council candidates.

  2. Thank you B-Town Blog for providing the video of this forum! I encourage all voters who did not attend to watch the video. Yes, it is long. Watching it in 2-3 segments can help. I found watching the whole forum worthwhile.

  3. On affordable and homeless housing:
    The only developers who will “leave” will be the ones who want to build high end units exclusively. They are not the only option. Local Land Trusts, cooperative ownership and other alternatives should at least be on a level playing field with non-local developers and investors to meet both lower and middle class needs. The situation is little different elsewhere in the region. Developers are not building units for low to middle income people. Since they are not, they don’t have the right to claim no one else can.

    Burien had a target that it met. That is NOT a limit, nor should it be considered adequate to meet current or future needs. Middle class and lower housing IS the new poor today. Mitigation directed to the rent gouging by at least allowing more time to find another place is not rent control in the real world.

    On Lake Burien:
    Granted, this is not a top priority, but it is a symptom of how public taxpayer money is used for private benefit. As long as the lake itself is publicly owned and maintained by the State, there should be some public access to the lake. Foot access to a lake so small is what should be allowed with a public right-of-way. This should not be a big expense to carve out a 15 ft wide strip to the shore for public access. You don’t need a parking lot and a beach, just accessible shoreline access in one spot.

    Otherwise, those private property owners are being subsidized by the state taxpayers to keep their property values up. Without the Lake, or a lake in decay, their properties crash in value. So, if this was actually “all theirs,” they should be assigned the costs at least to keep the lake in a condition sustainable for wildlife and their own properties.

    I can also respect Tosta’s position on Safe Injection sites at least. The others really don’t have anything productive to say that seriously addresses the topic.

    1. Captain Ob.-
      Who would be against a clinic that helps wean infants off opioids?
      Are you suggesting that if a person is against SIS’s that it follows they are against helping wean infants off drugs?

      1. Karen Boyden, since you asked, apparently the republicans in congress would not be in favor of money to care for babies born with opioid addiction according to their recent attempts to pass their versions of medical coverage.

        1. Michael J you and everyone else who attended the Candidates Forum have been misled. You and the rest of the public are not paying for anything concerning Lake Burien. Someone who wrote the question for the B-Town Blog forum about Lake Burien doesn’t understand the City’s Shoreline Master Plan and can’t read the map of the Lake Burien area. The private property owners that abut the lake not only own their land property above the water but also the land that goes into the lake bottom. These are called secondary shore lands. So the State of Washington may claim that it owns all of the water in the State as well as Lake Burien, but it doesn’t own all the land the water has collected on. There are a number of private lakes in the State.

          Of the total area of Lake Burien, the State only owns a limited section of the lake bottom at the center of the lake. The rest belongs to private land owners. The State sold these lands off 100+ years ago. The current owners of these Lake Burien lands do not get tax dollars from the federal, the state, the county or the city government to maintain and take care of the lake. They pay taxes to own their land and pay addition costs to maintain the lake.

          The private property owners pay for; regular water testing, cleaning up of waste and dead animal bodies, garbage, paper, plastics and other pollutants that get into the lake, noxious weed removal and noxious weed control around the lake, maintenance of the weir, and environmental practices to keep the lake clean. No other group of tax payers in Burien or in the State are paying to maintain Lake Burien.

          1. If accurate, thank you for the clarification. However, I do find it more than strange that that state only owns “a limited section of the bottom at the center of the lake.” Why is that section different?

      2. Not suggesting anything just asking a simple question. Since there against adults getting help with a addiction to prescribe opioid medications. If they block it from one group they block it from both. I guess it becomes a catch-22.

        It’s kinda like how some are against pan handling witch sounds good. But what about the people that pan handle to actually get food or gas. To feed there children and keep warm. I know that maybe slim in number’s but there most likely a few that actually do that.

  4. Then there is another thing I have noticed on the burien proud burien first website. They talk about how the far left is fighting the far right. (City council not suppose to take sides) but some of the people running must have forgotten this rule when making this website oops.

    But If you look at how many people on the far right get money from pharmaceutical companies. It pretty obvious of why they want to keep people using these drugs. This also helps the far right arguments about homeless and illegal alien issues.

    Then there is the amount money these other rehab places get from insurance companies. These places also tend to use other pharmaceutical medications to treat people. That puts more money into some else’s pocket.

    So in the end it seems to come down to personal greed over helping people. Now do we need more personal greed in the city council or do we need people willing to help people. That as a tax payer your going to have to pay for this one way or the other. Ether paying to help the people or paying for more police EMS and alarms for house’s.

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