October 15, 2013
Asking the Voters to change the course of the City

INTENT: Asking for a fundamental change in policies: Burien first


A National Problem

In the political arena, October is a deadly month; The October Surprise. Thirty second sound bites fill the airwaves with politicians slashing each other. The ensuing bloodletting is a precursor to how the voters will be treated by the “Victors”.

Voters frequently become disillusioned with their favorite candidates after the election. Why? Because blaming and attacking others does not answer the most basic question: how are they going to turn the situation around? In failing to offer genuine solution – the status quo is maintained and gridlock continues.


Policies not Politics

My message was always focused on the policies of getting the City cleaned up and prosperous, not the blame game. This approach keeps the conversation vibrantly alive – it is a message of both hope and possibilities.

These were troubled times in Burien. It wasn't the Banks, the Slumlords, or graffiti that caused the City to decline; it was inaction by the City Council. They failed to set appropriate boundaries for both monied interests and the City Manager allowing problems to fester unattended. They had many simple choices based in law and code, yet did nothing.

I have detailed the results of the City Manager's inaction without blame and have offered many solutions. The Council's evaluation of the City Manager shows them supporting his management performance. The City was in economic free fall. And would continue to decline, until action to reverse it was implemented.

Accepting the Council evaluation of the City Manager without rancor, the choice before me and the voters is clear. A change in direction of the City is going to require a change in the City Council. The City Manager is the one who implements the directives and policies of the Council. The City Manager is hired by the Council and does their bidding.

Asking clearly and directly for what I want

The City Council had become disconnected and unresponsive to the residents over the years. The annexation issue was divisive, expensive, and time consuming. It occupied the Council and City's time for years on end. All of this to the detriment of the residents, and City alike. I believe it to be the primary cause of the City's decline.

I will be using a PDF file from the City website to demonstrate that annexation remains a real possibility again. I will be outlining where the candidates stand on the focus of existing Burien as first priority vs another attempt at annexation.

A City Council that is engaged with the residents in turning the City around will attract a first class City Manager. This Manager is going to require a significant amount of centered Council time and input. A quality candidate will rise to the challenge Burien presents, if there is follow through by the Council. I am asking for a shift in policies; Burien first.

The campaign has now come full circle. I will be tying the conclusion back to beginning – annexation. Each of my presentations articulated what was going on and ways to remedy it. I now bring the campaign to its logical conclusion – I ask people to join me in voting to change the course of the City, by changing the composition of the City Council.




I believe Burien’s quality of life started to decline when the Council became obsessed with annexation. It wasn’t just the loss of dollars that caused the problem, rather it was the staff time not being focused on Burien that allowed the City to slip into decline.

The Burien website contains the Seattle Financial Analysis Report of White Center . This report shows the daunting magnitude of what it would take to assimilate White Center, as well as the unmanageable tax revenue shortfall. The City Council was fully aware of the issues in this report, yet still ordered the City Manager to attempt annexation. This caused thousands of man hours to be needlessly expended in Burien’s:

  • Legal Department
  • Finance Department
  • Public Works Department
  • Planning Department

Today we are confronted by the specter of annexation and all of its problems again. In each race for the Council there is one candidate for annexation and one who wants to focus on Burien.

The candidates that are for annexation are:

  • Lauren Berkowitz
  • Rose Clark
  • Joey Martinez
  • Joan McGilton

The candidates that want to focus exclusively on Burien are:

  • Steve Armstrong
  • Jack Block Jr.
  • Nancy Tosta
  • Debi Wagner

I believe that getting Burien back on track is no more difficult than changing the composition of the Council. This change will also positively affect the City Manager search. Specifically, we will have a united Council that has a mandate to work on Burien. High performance City Manager candidates will want to work with a focused Council. With that, our new City Manager would:

  • Make Burien more desirable.
  • Help us improve our home values.
  • Collaborate with the business community, thus creating jobs.
  • Stabilize Burien’s finances.

I am asking you to join me in voting for change, so that we can change the course of our City by staying focused on what counts most, Burien, the city we call home.

Dick West



October 15, 2013

Information on where candidates stand on issues can be found by attending Candidate Forums or check your local news outlets.

City websites contain enormous amounts of information for a campaign like this. The Seattle Financial Analysis Report of White Center was found in the Business Development Section. .

Here is where I tie it back to the beginning – where the City Council lost focus: annexation.





The Election

The voters connected with the message of 4 new candidates, and a year later, change is clearly underway. The City Council and new City Manager are actively engaging the community on a variety of fronts.

Abandoned Bank REO's are gone. Graffiti is now difficult to find anywhere in Burien. The City is noticeably cleaner. Economic spring has now arrived; property values in the City have risen by a half a billion dollars in the first year alone.

The tab called Burien Today, provides a few links to Burien's change since the election.


The Grass Roots

A City's refusal to faithfully execute its laws and ordinances is a serious matter. If your Council is unwilling to require compliance by monied interests; then starting and shaping a conversation is the way to motivate them. What it takes is calling out the behavior in front of the community. To be effective, blaming must never be used, or you will activate the Drama Triangle, and maintain the status quo.

City Council elections are important. Conveying how the election will affect who is chosen to be the City Manager is your task. Not all City Manager candidates are created equal. The composition of the Council will affect who is chosen to manage the City's desirability and your home's value.

Expounding upon your vision of a better City using solution, is an inclusive way of building consensus. Turning your anger about the way things are into passion for change, is a way to create the momentum for that change. What it takes is commitment to speak to the issues. In every problem there is an opportunity waiting to be shared. Solution draws people's attention to the idea that things can be better. People want solutions, not excuses.

A sustainable future is created by increasing net worth, not by the continued slide downward. All Cities have the tools they need in their Municipal Code to address what is holding back the City. What it takes is political will and passion to collaborate with the community in shaping a better, brighter tomorrow.



Neighborhoods and Cities are the missing component in the National economic equation. Businesses can't add jobs without financially healthy customers to buy their products. We are all interrelated in this equation. The continuation of the Gilded Age is not sustainable with its asset bubbles and crashes. Real net worth based on tangible property has to be created, not financial derivatives. The statement, “It takes money, to make money”, is true. Increased net worth will underwrite the opportunities of tomorrow.

The new challenges that face our Nation are immense. Where are we going to find: the water to drink and grow crops to feed an ever expanding population?, energy to comfort us and propel industrial output?, minerals to manufacture into products? We can look at these as opportunities or problems. Net worth creation is the catalyst that will usher in the The Age of Carbon.


The Age of Carbon

This new Industrial Revolution will be more expansive than structural items.
Buckyballs, graphene, and carbon nanotubes are just a few areas that will have a profound impact on society. Jobs will be created in R & D, the application sciences, the factory floor, and people doing installations. The secondary job creation will be far reaching as people once again have money to spend.

A few of the areas where these applications will show up are: high density room temperature storage of hydrogen gas – ushering in cheap hydrogen power for cars; super conducting properties – more efficient energy transmission; inhibition of viral reproduction – currently used as an HIV protease inhibitor; semiconductors – more powerful computer chips; paper thin batteries – will make mobile devices more efficient; carbon nanotubes – lightweight items that are 100X as strong as steel, yet much lighter. The list goes on and on, and is limited only by the imagination, and the willingness to learn and create.

Education is a critical component in this transition to a new era. It will take money and commitment to master these new materials and skills. With a collaborative approach at the Municipal level, we can model the behavior we want from future generations, and create the wealth to make it happen.


The Podium

It was an honor to have spoken and shared my thoughts about what my City can be. I have written The Bully Pulpit so that you too, can make an effective case for change in your City. Each of our Cities' individual needs are different – yet similar; a need for hope and prosperity.

All of the tools are here for you to speak effectively for change. In staying focused on solution, you will create a conversation that needs to happen all across this Nation. Our Cities will usher in the change that needs to happen. Speaking effectively at the local level will change the course of the Nation. Unlike politics, this is about the policy of inclusion and collaboration.

No matter how tyrannical the power structure of your City, it can be easily engaged for results. This isn't about mass demonstrations, its about Standing Forth and offering solutions to what is holding your City back. And in doing so, we will create sustainable wealth, and change the course of our Nation – one City at a time.