It’s “Budget Season” for the Burien City Council
Presently they are working on drafts of the Budget for 2023-2024. The city must perform and provide two top priorities by State law: Public Safety and a Balanced Budget.
Burien is struggling with increasing crime and not enough money to pay for the police officers it needs. They must resolve these issues and the money needed for 2023-2024 before passing a balanced budget. (That is what the data shows and what the three council members who signed the 11-3-22 online public letter have demanded). The public wonders why they have yet to be operating on data-driven solutions for all of their city discussions and decisions prior to the issuing of this letter?
Between the years 2019 and 2021 Burien had the second-highest rise in crimes per thousand-of cities in King County per the KCSO/ WASPC data. Also, Burien appears (from 2018-2021) to have the lowest number of Officers per thousand, according to the same data sources. Public Health and Safety are rapidly declining for residents and businesses in Burien due to State Legislation, County Legislation, and the misguided actions and personal agendas of the 2018-2022 majority of council city members.
Crime per thousand residents rose in Burien from 2018 (41) to 2021 (84.5), -a total of 43.5 persons per thousand increase. This was an over a 100% increase in Crimes per thousand. In the same period, the Burien Officers per thousand dropped from 1.03 to 0.71 Officers per thousand. (These numbers were obtained from KCSO/ WASPC data.)
Obviously, the Council has yet to examine this data; residents and businesses have been complaining about crime and begging for relief! Instead, the Council appears to have been yielding to “Astroturfers*” demands and electronic communications (instigated by some council members). Due to these 2018-2021 misguided council actions, Burien is now a city in King County (declining in Public Health and Safety and Officers per thousand) while being second highest in Raising Crime per thousand. There is currently an inverse relationship between crime and the number of police officers in Burien-as crime has gone up, the policing staff has gone down. This needs to be fixed to keep residents and businesses safe.
Contrary to the letter of Nov. 5, 2022, publicly submitted on behalf of ACLU Burien People Power et al., stating:
“A recently publicized letter from eight of the 13 South King County mayors made a (false) unsubstantiated claim that policing and drug policy reforms enacted by the State Legislature are driving an increase in crime… The truth, supported by evidence, is that new policies are working.”
This does not accurately represent what is happening in Burien. These new state policies combined with new policies and programs (2018-2022, including LEAD) enacted by the Burien Council appear to be rapidly escalating crime per thousand in Burien.
Residents and businesses need to insist that the Council develop a data-driven solution to reduce crime per thousand for the 2023-2024 budget draft.
The next public hearing on the 2023-2024 budget draft is. Dec. 5, 2022.
Public safety must be the top priority of the city. Please take the time to speak out or comment to the Council in writing at Council@burienwa.gov
Increasing Public Safety may require cutting city positions and programs that are not required (by state law ) for a city to fund. Council, please pay attention!
*Definition of astroturfing
: an organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation, union, political coalition) //Classic astroturfing is the practice of disguising an orchestrated campaign as a spontaneous upwelling of public opinion. …// The modern form of astroturfing uses the Internet, and corporations, religious groups with a social agenda, and public interest groups can flood an in-box in an hour with e-mails that may come from a single source using many accounts.— Alan Boraas, Anchorage Daily News, Apr. 4, 2009 –Dictionary, Merriam-Webster.