Home Business & Commerce Let’s Work Together Kicks Off Movement

Let’s Work Together Kicks Off Movement

By Martin Barrett

On Monday evening, about 35 Burien business owners and 15 residents came together to kick off a movement. This movement aims to hold the city leadership at the council and staff levels accountable. There was a clear sense of energy in the room. All participants have a significant stake in the city; none believe the leadership is moving Burien correctly.

The group was called together by local business owners Leslie Newman, co-owner of the RE/MAX office directly across from Town Square Park, and Robyn Desimone, co-owner of Iris and Peony, along with Robyn’s partner in the Burien Business Association, Lucas Mathews.

“Many building and business owners and also city residents are concerned about the direction of our city. We have all participated in many conversations and felt it was time to get everyone together in the same room”, said Newman.

At the meeting, the element of “compassion” came forward several times. “What has been happening in front of our City Hall and Town Square Park does not feel compassionate. What the city and those advocating the current actions are doing is nothing more than enabling. It is cruel,” one of the participants said. The group unitedly shared that perspective.

“The leadership thrives on the frustration of the ordinary people who just want to go to work and feed their families. They hope the average person runs out of energy and fight and throws in the towel. It’s been a winning strategy for a while, ” added another participant. The perception shared by many is that Burien’s leadership is not open and transparent. The group collectively believes “decisions are purposefully ‘fast and furious’ at the end of the meetings when no one is still up watching. Hence, people cannot keep up, and therefore they give up,” added another person in the room.

“It’s like planting a carrot. You plant the seed, water, and weed, and the plant starts to grow. Then show up at harvest to discover the carrots have been moved. Many believe the current culture of leadership is like that carrot being moved,” said Newman.

“It was wonderful to see fellow Burien building owners, Burien business owners, and Burien residents unite tonight to begin to build a stronger community! We all deserve a community where true compassion is the norm, where our laws and ordinances are not just enforced but where crime is deterred! A community where council members who do not reflect our community values are put on notice and voted out, where our children can walk safely to and from school, and where we can be proud of our city center, the heartbeat of Burien”, said Green.

The group hopes to achieve three things, both based on accountability.

1. True compassion and healing for the broken.
2. Public safety.
3. A clean city; requiring an end to panhandling, including placing signage throughout the city (specifically the downtown core: clean streets,
planters, benches on 152/153, graffiti off public buildings.)

The group asked everyone at the gathering to sign up for specific activities, including social media posting, letters to the city council, going to city council meetings and speaking, door knocking, and more. The sign-up sheets were full at the end of the gathering.

The meeting finished with Attorney John Kannin updating the group on the class action lawsuit he is bringing against the city for its dereliction of duty in keeping the Town Square and Library usable as intended. He invited all present to join in. Signers surrounded him after the meeting ended.

It was noted at that time that no one wanted to sue Burien, their city. This decision was born out of the sense that no one is listening. There is no way to make Burien’s leaders lead with a compassionate heart and wisdom. The faux compassion that is spending more money resulting in more suffering is the mindset of the leadership and is currently in vogue, but through a lawsuit, people who genuinely care can make the leadership enforce laws that move the addicts and mentally broken people off our streets into places of healing rather than dying in tents or DESC.

In doing so, we first serve the broken, and the city spaces are returned to Burien’s citizens for their intended purpose of enjoyment.

“It’s always exciting to see passionate community members come together to support the greater good,” said Lucas Matthews of the Burien Business Association.

“By the end of the meeting, I think we all concluded the obvious: the way they are living is not ideal for anyone-especially them. The citizens would like to have their park, library, and personal safety back; the campers need a safe and healthy alternative place to go. We discovered that if we come from a place of compassion, the solution is clear, and the result will organically achieve both goals. The meeting attendees are motivated to take the first steps on the hard road ahead. With the offer from local faith organizations to provide a place for them to go and get that help, it was obvious everyone would win in the end”, said Janice Hammond, Owner of Sunrise Financial.

The group plans regular gatherings to move the vision and the actions into reality.

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