Home Letter To The Editor Letter to the Editor: Burien is No Longer a Safe Place for...

Letter to the Editor: Burien is No Longer a Safe Place for Residents, Businesses, and Families

Below is a message to the Burien City Council and City Manager:

To the Burien City Council and City Manager;

Many Burien residents and business owners know that the suspect in the Gas Station 76 shooting/murder is a frequent visitor to the city hall tent vagrants’ encampment around City Hall. Yet no public announcement from the City of Burien or the Burien Police has officially been made for the public to aid the police in finding him. The shooting occurred on February 13, 2023 off 1st Avenue South and Southwest 148th Street just after 10 p.m. Detectives say the suspect ran away from the scene. K-9 teams searched the area but were not able to find him. Then they went to the city hall vagrant tent camp to search for the suspect there because he frequents the tent site and their occupants. The suspected murderer is still at large. The majority of these vagrant tent campers are harboring stolen goods, using and storing illegal drugs, selling illegal drugs on city hall and library property, possibly storing illegal weapons and creating a threat to public safety. Why have they still not been removed from the site? The stolen shopping carts in photos are immediate evidence of criminal activity. This appears to be happening because Dow Constantine will not allow the Burien City Manager to use the Burien (KC) Police to protect public safety.for Burien residents, city staff and library patrons.

It is this heavy handed control from King County that Burien incorporated 30 years to get rid of.

It is the politicalization of the Burien (KC) police for county purposes other than policing and public safety in Burien.

The condition of the downtown Burien City core is frightening in appearance and unsafe.

The #1 job of the city is to provide for public safety. That isn’t happening right now.

1. Tents housing criminals, vagrants and murderers surround the City Hall/Library.

2. Gangs have taken over the core of the city as evidenced by the graffiti on the mural directly across from the City Hall/Library, graffiti covers the Dollar Store and the Robbins’ building and blue structures across from Merrill Gardens. the door to the Parking Structure Garage was smashed out last week. Four years ago, the majority of the Burien Council refused to publicly state that gangs were a problem in the city. Said it was bad PR. Council members in the city refusing to admit that were; Matta, Marx, Olguin and Bell. Based on the current Council apathy to take action and the connection between gangs and drug cartels, it appears Drug Cartels have moved into the city also. The intensive gang graffiti is their visual, “middle finger salute” to the city and the police, in open view of the City Hall/Library..

3. Many of these criminal vagrants are coming in through the Burien Transit Center. They cross 148th and rob and commit crimes over in the Safeway, etc. Shopping complex, Across the street in the Bartell shopping complex, they destroy the windows in Bartells, Ace Hardware’s windows have been smashed out frequently. The Highline Hearing Center has its property regularly graffitied and damaged. The gas station adjacent to the Transit Center lot is regularly overrun with shoplifters and out of control people exiting the buses. Dow Constantine and the County Council are derelict in their responsibilities in that they do not provide sufficient funding for Metro Security at the Transit Center to divert these out of control riders and criminals.Metro Transit workers have confirmed they lack adequate funding and the policies of the Burien Council keep them from making that transit area cleared and safe.

4. It is the job of the City and this council to develop and pass policies and ordinances to protect public safety and to hire a policing service to protect Burien citizens, residents, businesses and visitors to the city. That is not happening right now and the council is complacent and derelict in its responsibility. Crime has increased per thousand  by more than 100% in the last four years.

5. The King County Sheriff’ (who is appointed by Dow) is also derelict in her duty in that she has not hired sufficient police officers to cover Burien even though Burien has signed a contract on this issue. The Sheriff appears to not be running an aggressive enough search effort to hire the “contacted for” number of officers Burien needs. This hiring problem has gone on for years and keeps Burien from being a safe city for residents. The refusal of allowing her officers to remove the criminals and murders from around the Burien City Hall/Library demonstrates her lack of concern for public health and safety in Burien. Public Safety is Job #1 for the Sheriff also.

6. As Dow C. controls the Sheriff by appointment. He is derelict in his KC Executive duties by not protecting public safety-Job #!- by not directing the Sheriff to develop aggressive police recruitment programs for King County Police Officers. Also, it appears that now he is dictating to the Burien City Manager that the manager may not employ the current, contracted KCSD officers to protect the City Hall/Library grounds and protect the residents and patrons who are trying to use these facilities from the criminal vagrants engaging in criminal activities and storing illegal property and weapons on these grounds.

Some possible solutions for this council are to;

1. Develop a plan and funding model to end contract services with the KC Sheriff

2. Build a Burien owned Police Force

3. End any law enforcement services and models funded and controlled by King County-such as Burien LEAD

4. Oppose affordable housing development models that allow King County the special privilege  of exclusively deciding and importing who will be housed in Burien.

5. Request that the King County Executive stop promoting and condoning lawlessness and criminal activity in Burien. And that he cease interfering in Burien council voting by attempting to offer special deals, favors, county employment and campaign fund raiser events to council members for their votes on his pet projects-as was the case with DESC.

6. The Burien City Council step up and support the Burien City Manager in a statement saying that the Council opposes and will actively work to diminish gang and drug cartels and their activities in the city. In the 2021 KC City Health Profiles, Burien was the second highest city in KC for opioid related deaths. The illegal drug sales and other illegal activities from these groups are endangering and killing Burien residents..

7. Build collaborative policing and funding models with neighboring KC incorporated cities.

8. Develop a volunteer citizen/city model for the quick removal of graffiti in the city and not hijack that model by requiring that the volunteers complete copious hours of bureaucratic paperwork.

9. Perhaps it is time to consider a volunteer citizen to citizen protection model as is being used in Detroit.

The #1 job of the city and this council is to provide for public safety. That isn’t happening right now in Burien due to interference from the King County Executive and the KC Sheriff.



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