To the Burien City Council, Carolyn Hope, and City Manager:
1. By State law, the city is required to (1) have a balanced budget, (2) protect public safety,
(3) maintain the infrastructure and (4) comply with all Federal and State laws and agencies that enforce them and enforce their local laws. These items are not listed as priorities for the vision or sub-areas of this strategic plan. If this plan is to drive budgeting, then it is completely missing the target priorities. The residents and businesses have voiced these four items as their top priorities for many years also.
2. The rest of the items that Burien is funding, or that some highly-vocal residents and non-residents, some council members and non-resident staff members pretend the city is required to fund, are NOT required by State law (such as: human services, parks, and recreation, grants for nonprofits, language interpreters for non-ADA issues, alleged housing for all, “Discover Burien,” city-sponsored parties, theme-day celebrations, baking contests, summer camps, fiestas, ethnic tutoring sessions, animal control, litter pick-up, graffiti clean-up on private property, the hard copy (Postal Service) mailed city magazine, the unending string of outside consultants, studies and poorly constructed surveys that residents and businesses never see the results of.) These things that are being paid for out of the general budget the city is NOT required to fund if it cannot fund and balance the budget for the State and Federal-required city-required services.
Communication is abysmal for residents and businesses in the city; it is especially exclusionary for seniors and the disabled who are not listed in this vision.
3. During the last Strategic Plan, the city was unsuccessful in the #1 priority of providing public safety for all or even having enough police to protect residents and businesses. And that priority is not even listed on this chart. I encourage this council to vote against this Strategic Vision until it is amended to reflect the voice of the real Burien residents and businesses; open communications are needed regarding how city money and resources should be budgeted. This should be done in an open meeting and not a closed executive session!
4.In looking over the items for this strategic vision, they are not representative of what Burien businesses or residents have expressed as their vision and priorities for Burien in the next 3 to 5 years. Unfortunately, this vision was put together by the consultants and city staff for the purpose of budgeting what they want and NOT what the residents and businesses want! The majority of the work on this plan was done behind closed doors in Council Executive Sessions. Where is the transparency in that model?
5. All of Southwest King County has been hit with increased crime and dangers to public safety. This is well-documented in the media and by what our neighboring Southwest King County cities have had to say. And yet this city mayor and council have refused to publicly acknowledge the problem and ask for additional help from the county and state. And continually, the Burien Council still has done nothing, including not even putting public safety as a top priority in the Strategic Plan/vision/subareas? Where is the concern and outrage of our council members for how businesses and residents have been killed, injured, traumatized, victimized, and suffered emotionally, property, and monetary losses during this increased crime escalation?
6. The real racial, economic, and educational inequities in Burien have occurred because of intentional policies driven and/or then ignored by the King County Executive, the King County Council, and State elected legislators and the State Government for many years. King County did not even follow its own Comp Plan relating to housing but now wants to solve its and Seattle’s homelessness, drug, and crime problems by shoving these populations into predominantly Southwest King County cities.
I encourage this council to vote against this Strategic Vision until it is amended to reflect the voices of the REAL Burien residents and businesses regarding how city money and resources should be budgeted. Let’s have an open meeting and not a closed executive session!
Dr. C. Edgar