April 1, 2013

INTENT: To show the Council is not properly overseeing the health of the City


Fiddling while the City burns

City Councils are the ones who are presiding over the decline of this Country. The issues that bedevil the Nation aren't happening on the South Lawn of the White House; they are happening right in our neighborhoods.

Councils formulate the policies and directives that are carried out by the the City Manager. They alone, are directly responsible for the oversight of the health of the municipal corporation.

Many Councils are permitting tolerance policies to exist. These policies are in direct contradiction to the ordinances they passed. This kind of willful inaction is illegal. Essentially, a City is taking money for services it has no intention of performing.



Tonight I am going to establish clear and effective boundaries about the conduct that is damaging the City and the neighborhoods. I always stay away from legal jargon like: malfeasance and misfeasance. These are legal determinations reserved solely for the Court system.

To allege these, requires significant sums of time, money and effort. The legal process is neither cheap nor speedy. The process is often fraught with peril. Rulings are very limited in scope, and the term “reasonable attorney fee recovery” is an oxymoron statement.

In contrast, a change in City policies can be far broader in scope and is much easier to achieve. These kinds of changes requires getting the attention of the Council. Establishing boundaries from the podium is high profile. I will not be walking on eggshells tonight, nor am I engaging in revenge. I am articulating what I see happening.

The Council and City Manager won't like being engaged like this. They most likely will want me to stop speaking. They have two ways they can proceed:

  1. Clean up the issue
  2. Deflect it

In the next presentation, their choice will become clear.



I am both pleased and disheartened by the City Council's decision on voting wards. I am pleased that it is not going to go forward at this time. I am also angry at the waste of time and money this issue has caused.

The four Council members who were advocating it had the votes, the legal prerogative to make it happen, yet were unable to execute this.

This pattern of failure to execute policy shows up repeatedly in Burien:

  • Failure to enforce the Burien Municipal Code has caused housing prices to decline.
  • Failure to followup with the City Manager on requests for information is pervasive.
  • Failure to respond in a timely manner to requests for Public Records is pervasive.
  • Failure of Council to vote when a quorum is present because certain members choose not to attend that evening happens frequently.
  • Failure of the City to follow its own laws.
  • And the list goes on and on.

At a recent Council meeting on Planning for Business development the members of the Council were heard talking about calling it an action plan so that it wouldn't sit on the shelf like the others.

Unfortunately, talk doesn't make things happen, it is passion and conviction to see it through that makes things happen.

Ultimately, life comes down to DO IT, DELEGATE IT, or DUMP IT.

The City and the community cannot afford to be led by people who will not stay focused and appear incapable of implementing their own directives.

I am respectfully requesting that the members of the Council whose terms are up, not run for reelection.



April 1, 2013

Wards was a controversial program that the Council proposed. It was covered in the Council meetings and the press. It was seen as form of gerrymandering. There were enough votes to pass it, yet the City Council was unwilling to execute.
Shows a lack of follow through on the part of the Council to implement policies.

Requests for information can be seen at the Council Chambers as members request more information from the City Manager. There had been much written on this topic to suggest that many members of the Council were being ignored.
Specifically, the number of requests far exceeded the information provided by the City Manager. Stonewalling – naming it is a powerful tool.

The Council requires a quorum to conduct business. There were numerous times that a quorum was present, yet voting on key issues was not allowed because certain members chose not to show up. A case in point was the meeting in which a Council member proposed changing Burien to a Mayor system instead of a City Manager. Members who supported the City Manager walked out. The meeting was then adjourned due to a lack of a quorum.
Calling out their behavior gets attention.

City right of way was strictly a City issue. The City was not keeping up its own property and thus degrading the City further.
Naming specific points of action.

Failure to implement the BMC led to blights such as: dilapidated Bank REO's, slumlord dwellings, graffiti, etc. All of these contributed to the decline of the City.
Pointing out the Councils failure to direct the City Manager to enforce its Ordinances.

The “action plan” I referred to happened on the first night. The Council was discussing a Business Development Plan. Several Council Members were in agreement that it should called an action plan so it wouldn't sit on the shelf with all of the others. At a candidate forum in July, it came out that there were over a million dollars worth of these plans sitting on the shelf.
Detailing your Council's lack of follow through will be a powerful impetus for action or change.




Changing the course of this Country starts with the discourse – yours and mine. The language we choose frequently determines the outcome, for better or for worse. For every person who speaks, thousands remain silent. Many of the silent are very angry about what is going on around them. This site is designed to give you a different perspective on speaking effectively to the issues happening in your City.

Tolerance policies are about poor boundaries. Blaming the Council for their boundary issues with monied interests is not congruent. Blame, while juicy, takes no responsibility for what is happening. Responsibility is not about fault and blame, rather its sharing what I/you are experiencing, and offering solutions.

Audiences frequently dismiss people who criticize others' boundaries. This isn't a choice between care taking or rage, its about boundaries. Boundaries are the place we engage in solution or fight about being right.

There was nothing wimpy or vengeful about my presentation when I asked the Council not to seek reelection. I use ownership language at all times – both at the podium and in my life.

There is a tab called OWNERSHIP LANGUAGE to give you more insight. I believe you will be more effective communicating with everyone. Co-workers, spouses, business partners, etc will notice the difference when blame is not used. It tends to be more inclusive. People will want to know more. They will be more engaged. The Council will notice when consensus is being created at the podium. Speaking this way acts like a catalyst, change will occur.

Creating consensus through inclusion is how conversations like these are shaped. This process requires a more thoughtful approach. Reactivity will generally diminish and results will improve.

If you are the kind of person who “hates drama”, I propose this approach is well suited for you. There is no slamming fists, loud voices or crazy making here. It is about having clear boundaries while sharing what is happening. Staying away from the blame game is all that is required – nothing more.

The individual does make a difference, when they speak effectively.