Home Local Government Manager Bailon, Council Members Mora, Matta, Aragon and Schilling Step Up

Manager Bailon, Council Members Mora, Matta, Aragon and Schilling Step Up

By Staff Writer

This past two weeks, the residents of Burien have seen a stark picture of dysfunction. We learned that King County Executive Dow Constantine believes he runs our city. Constantine informed Burien that it is required to accept the homeless people Seattle and King County’s policies have created, policies which enable drug use, human trafficking, and rampant mental health issues, or he will prohibit the Burien police from enforcing the law. Constantine said that any person Seattle puts on a bus and sends to Burien is now Burien’s problem to fix. Constantine communicated a false reading of the Martin vs. Boise decision that says a city may not remove a vagrant from public space unless they are offered a safe place to spend the night.

 It was understood by most cities, including Burien, when it cleaned up the downtown core a few years ago, that it was not a requirement for the housing option to be inside the city limits. A city could partner within the region to share open bed spaces. Constantine stated that Burien was responsible for finding a place in Burien! Constantine communicated his intent in a King County Letter to the City of Burien, dated May 19, 2023.

There may have been a few reasons for invoking a false interpretation. One, the city of Seattle is running out of low-barrier beds and needs to push the problem to outlying cities. Two, several of the Burien City Council members are under the thumb of Constantine. Four in particular: Jimmy Matta, owning the majority of their campaign contributions, Hugo Garcia, dependent on Constantine for his job, Sofia Aragon, running for a county council seat; and Kevin Schilling, who seeks higher office requiring the approval of influential Democrats. Three, other cities in south King County have laid down clear homeless policies and do not have subversive players like Cydney Moore and Charles Schafer working from the inside. 

But, for all those watching, this should be no surprise! King County has been deliberately tightening its grip on Burien over the last 10 years. Seattle needs a “safety valve,” which city council member and current candidate Krystal Marx said Burien should be. The Eastside is too financially important for the county, so it must be careful how hard it presses. (This has largely been successful.) Since Burien’s incorporation in 1993, it has made a concerted effort to put an end to the county’s use of Burien as a dumping ground for all things not wanted in the more politically influential Seattle and Eastside,

What is a surprise is that the Burien City Manager, Adolfo Bailon stood up to the County. Even more surprising, so did 4 of the 7 Council Members, including Matta, Aragon, and Schilling. Bailon responded to Constantine’s letter to the City of Burien by clarifying the law and the situation. In a well-written letter, he rebuked the county. At the meeting, Council Member Stephanie Mora, who is not intimidated, was joined by the other 3 members to affirm the city’s lease of the encampment site to a private party which was not intending to allow open camping; (even though this left Police Chief Ted Boe and the entire police department out of the equation due to Burien’s contract with the county for police services.) 

It has been a long time since the Burien City Council and Manager have chosen the right direction for Burien, aside from the desires of outside interests. This is a hopeful sign! 

We have some large issues in front of us. For example, now that Constantine has made it clear that he runs our police department, can the city council trust their first responsibility for public safety to an outsider (especially one who will manipulate the law for political purposes)?

What is the city to do with Cydney Moore’s abuse of power which set the stage for this confrontation and is likely already setting up another collision with the county by personally sanctioning a new camp on city property? Will the rest of the Council finally stand up and censure?

We do not know what will happen in the future. However, for now, we can thank Manager Bailon and Council Members Mora, Matta, Schilling, and Aragon for choosing Burien’s best interest.  

Below is a report related to this story posted by The Choe Show on Twitter:

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