October 6, 2013

INTENT: To ask for a top performing City Manager

The economic decline we are experiencing today is exacerbated by the loss of our net worth. Over the next 10 years, the baby boomers will retire. That drop in the workforce will further dampen economic activities as Seniors cut back on spending. 70% of the GDP comes from consumer spending.

Increasing net worth is essential. The easiest way to increase net worth isn't redistribution, its about increasing the value of our basic nest egg – our homes.
The wealth effect that the Federal Reserve refers too, is real. Greater economic activities do occur when we have a greater net worth. That makes more things possible for everybody.

Even before the last recession ended, there has been a tremendous drop in wages. This is impacting retirees and those still working. Lower contributions to both Social Security and 401K's will lower disposable income to retirees. Business activity and job creation will suffer as a result of this reduction. Those still in the workforce will not go unscathed. That wage drop will be aggravated by a likely increase in Social Security taxes to make up for the current shortfall in the system.

My City is not alone, thousands of poorly run cities dot the map of the United States. In each of them, opportunities are being squandered and decline is settling in. Businesses are shuttering, and jobs are lost. Some of the poorest neighborhoods can be found in Cities that don't take care of themselves or their residents. This sullen state of affairs creates an incentive for people to take advantage of property tax waivers. Unfortunately, this denies the City the needed revenue to operate and provide basic services. This is an issue that needs to be addressed at the local level now, not at some unknown future date before Congress.

Reverse mortgages have been around for years. Potentially, they could be of good value if safeguards are put in place to prevent abuses. Banks will need to be engaged at the local level. This should be an all inclusive collaboration between the banks and the communities to create sustainable wealth; for not only the retiree; but the City as a whole as well as the Bank itself. Property taxes have to be paid to maintain these mortgages. This helps the City meet its obligations. This type of mortgage provides a steady stream of income, so both the retiree and the business community will prosper. To get the maximum benefit for everybody, its going to require the Cities to engage all the issues holding back property values. This will create opportunities on a tremendous scale. We will need this type of wealth creation to deal with the issues that we are about to confront as we enter the Age of Carbon.




This spring I will turn 62. In the next 10 years one in four Burien residents will be at retirement age or older. Many of us have watched our 401k's evaporate and even Social Security is on shaky ground.

Burien's Vision Statement contains two important elements to help both the Seniors and the City itself:

  • Good governance.
  • Planning for the future.

Good governance makes all things possible. Our City will become more desirable and our home values will improve. This increase in our net worth will allow us Seniors to meet our retirement needs while still contributing to Burien's economic well being.

Burien's median household income is $48K per year. Seniors receiving less than $35K annually may legally avoid having to pay property taxes. This is where planning for the future is critical, because unless wealth is actively created here in Burien, there will be decades of reduced revenue that will debilitate the City.

I believe that every candidate for City Manager should be able to document their achievements in implementing their previous City's Vision Statement.

In Burien, our home values provide the backbone of prosperity for:

  • Retirement
  • Education
  • All the decades in between.

The Council's final choice of City Manager will affect Burien for decades to come.



October 7, 2013

The City website also contains information on age and income demographics.

The County Assessor's Office has information on income qualifications for property tax waivers.

The use of good governance and planning for the future are things missing under the current Council. I show how the City Manager search can be used to turn the City around.

Not all City Manager's are created equal. I am looking for someone who has moved other Cities forward.




Most of us took a 40% reduction in net worth during this last recession. The statute of limitations on recovering these monies have for the most part, expired. The role of the Cities in this new era will be dramatically different. To compensate for that loss in net worth, municipalities will have to find ways to lower the cost of living for the residents.

A trillion plus barrels of oil that have been burned since the Drake wells in the mid 1800's. The Age of Carbon isn't about burning oil, its about creating structural items that have lasting value. They can be as simple as snowboards, or as complex as the Boeing Dreamliner. All of them create sustainable jobs that pay well.

As the climate continues to change, water availability will become more unpredictable. Many of the breadbasket regions will turn into dust bowls. In that expansive wind blown prairie will rise giant windmills made from composites. They and photovoltaic will usher in a sustainable energy future. Gone will be the days of gyrating energy prices and the wars that come with oil. Jobs will be created as the Nation re-electrifies itself.

How does this apply to my city? Municipal Bonds. These are the financial instruments that cities use to improve the well-being of the community. Banks will be engaged and money will flow to underwrite these projects. Every city will have a different need. Some will install windmills to generate power for businesses and residents alike. In the not so windy areas such as Seattle, photovoltaic provides a 7 year return on investment. That is a solid 10% return. Municipal Bonds can hasten the day of energy independence and prosperity.

Regions such as Southern California will have a need for water. Lightweight structural items are cheaper to install than heavy concrete and steel. Aquaducts have been used for thousands of years to transport enormous amounts of water to thirsty cities. Some of these aquaducts from antiquity spanned a hundred miles. With the Age of Carbon, the reach will be almost unlimited. It only takes ingenuity and lightweight composites to quench the thirst of our Cities.

The talent for these types of undertakings was not outsourced during the last 15 years. Be it a plant manager, an engineer, a factory worker or anyone in between, good paying jobs will be created as we enter the Age of Carbon. The secondary creation of jobs will be quite impressive. The barber, the baker and the butcher will have good paying customers to create even more jobs. What it is going to take is the chutzpah of City Hall asking clearly and directly for what it wants for its residents.

Turning cities around will energize the residents as the community becomes vibrant. Cities are already lobbyists in Congress. Cities don't bring bundles of money; they bring something more important: votes. City Hall will be modeling the behavior they expect from Congress. Some of these newly elected people in City Hall will move up the political ladder based on their performance.

Making a case for change at City Hall does effect the course of the Nation.