September 16, 2013

INTENT: To show how becoming congruent with the Vision Statement will transform the City

This is my favorite presentation. It was a challenge to write, and things will go terribly wrong from the instant I reach the podium. More about that in a moment.

Schools are the bedrock of a community. They are what draw people to want to live in a city. Schools are also what creates the future. Tonight, I am drawing on the Vision Statement of Burien. The three aspects I will present are Prosperity, Education and Collaboration.

Its not hard to imagine why the school drop out rates are so high in cities that are dysfunctional. Kids aren't blind, they see what is going on around them. They see Robber Barons pillaging neighborhoods and whole Cities, unchallenged. Is it any wonder that these kids lose a sense of hope? A sense of purpose? When these most basic of human needs are extinguished, the desire to stay in school flickers, then goes out.

Political apathy is a major problem facing the Country. It isn't that we don't care...its that we don't see a way out of the political gridlock that is hamstringing the country. When we give up on our dreams and all the things that are possible – reactivity sets in. Power oriented interests (political and corporate) benefit from reactivity and apathy.

Collaboration is a way of bringing more ideas to the table. Better solutions are possible with more input than the “My way or the highway” approach of today. Cities can, and should be a model of collaboration. This sets the example for the students to see the 1st Amendment of the Constitution in action, where everyone's voice is heard.

Before kids leave home they are learning life's skills. They will use what they learn the rest of their lives. Collaboration will be one of the essential skills that will benefit them and the Nation. Seeing it in action is the easiest way to model the behavior we want to see out of the future generations. City Hall is the best place to start that modeling. It deals with issues that are happening locally; and is the place where solution can be easily implemented.



Tonight I will allow myself to become unfocused, and twice, you will see fear in my eyes. As I arrive at the podium I start to get off aim by not taking a moment to ground myself. Instead of organizing my papers prior to speaking, I choose to start my presentation without being properly organized. I have become overconfident.

Within a matter of 30 seconds of starting, there will be two disruptions in the room. All of the Council Member's eyes will shift from me, to the distraction. I will get that “Deer in the headlights” look. That is what field dependence, my default power position, looks like.

My adrenaline reaction caused me to be unaware of how much time had elapsed since I started speaking. The fear intensified when I realized I was just concluding the first paragraph! I still had much more to present with no clear idea of my remaining time.

I had two choices: I could take a deep breath or I could succumb to panic. In the ACTION TUNNEL, action (breathing) is the way back to Field Awareness; and reconnecting to the audience. You will hear me breathing deeply to keep myself grounded. In that centered moment, I chose to elaborate on this presentation like I did on the one prior. I simply connected to the Council by sharing more in depth on each of the pieces I was presenting until the red light came on.

My hopes in sharing this are simple: Breathing exercises will make make you a better speaker, no matter what you may confront at the podium.




One of the greatest things the Council can do is hire a city manager who will collaborate with the community and the Council to turn the City’s Vision Statement into reality. There are several parts of the vision statement I’d like to cover:

  • Prosperity
  • Education
  • Collaboration

I believe that they are all intertwined:

Prosperity provides the parents the ability to to improve the Highline School District through school levies. It also enables them to assist their kids with college tuition.

Collaboration will be where all of us join to find ways to make things happen in this City instead of finding excuses why they aren’t possible. The wealth that will be created in this dynamic will be over a billion dollars in Burien alone. The possibilities from this kind of wealth creation will enable great things to happen for us, our schools, and our kids.

I believe that the Council can use the hiring of the new City Manager to begin the collaboration process. High performance candidates will be attracted to a City that is actively engaged with its residents. This kind of dynamic will enable us to spend time fixing problems and not just blaming.

Kids model their behavior after what they see. Its important to make sure the message we send is one of hope and possibility. Hope is without a doubt one of the most powerful emotions. It isn’t just words…its tangible actions that are congruent with the words that make hope such a potent force.

We can change the course of our City through the City Manager selection process. It will require a renewed focus on the part of the Council. The time for us to collaborate for a better Burien is now.





September 16, 2013

The information on schools came from the Council Meeting where the local School District spoke.

The Vision Statement can always be found on the City's website.

I am contrasting 3 fundamental Vision Statement items not happening under the current Council:

  • Prosperity
  • Collaboration
  • Education

I am sharing how the City Manager search process can address them.

The renewed focus that I am calling for from the Council calls into question the status quo.




Prosperity, education and collaboration are important pillars as we transition from a non sustainable present to a sustainable future.

As the climate changes, many things are going to visit us: plague, famine, pestilence, and war:



The West Nile virus is now spreading in North America. Our changing climate makes its adaptable mosquito hosts quite comfortable in areas not typically associated with this virus.

There will be a need for medical professionals in a variety of disciplines. Collaborating with the pharmaceutical industry will be important to combat this and other viruses that are spreading.



Droughts, such as those now occurring in California, and other breadbaskets of the world are drastically reducing food availability. Simultaneously, the world's population is expanding rapidly. This is causing inflation to rise. A couple more years of this, and more serious consequences will become self evident.

Feeding an expanding population during droughts will require new methods of producing fruits and vegetables. Greenhouses located closer to the market will be one possible solution. As the prices continue to rise from California, these new greenhouses will become more widespread. Good quality produce will be available year round throughout the Country with innovative technologies.



Climate change has led to widespread destruction of lodge pole and ponderosa pines in the Rocky Mountains. Mountain Pine Beetle population has exploded as temperatures keep rising. They are now destroying the very trees that are necessary to absorb carbon dioxide here in the United States. These dead trees create dangerous fire conditions. Fires will release tremendous amounts of carbon into the air, further fueling this problem.

Industries such as forestry, fisheries, etc will have to come up with innovative new methods of eradication or control of these and other invasive insects. Jobs will be created, lumber will be harvested, and we can once again use the forests as a carbon sink.



As resources such as water, oil, and minerals become more scarce, war becomes more likely.

An approach similar to the International Standards Organization's ISO 14000 is a good starting place. This is a standard that has been around for many years. It has a large following in the business community. Essentially, it requires companies to optimize their use of resources. They aren't doing this for altruistic purposes; they are doing it because it is more profitable. Applying the same logic on a governmental level will have profoundly positive effects.

It will be cheaper to make ourselves self sufficient than to go out and commit acts of war.




A sustainable future requires three basic ingredients:

  1. A well educated population to deal with the challenges we are facing.
  2. A willingness to collaborate to reach those sustainable goals.
  3. Access to our net worth so we can undertake these endeavors while creating wealth and jobs at the same time .

City Hall has in its hands, all the Municipal authority to make the challenges we face, turn into opportunities instead of problems.