City Government

City Council members will see all the proposals Aug. 19 from search firms bidding to find Burien’s next city manager.

The lawmakers will also hear staff recommendations on who they should pick.

Mike Martin left the city manager position at the end of July to become Lynden’s city administrator. Lynden is a small town located near Bellingham. City Attorney Craig Knutson is filling in as interim city manager.

Even if current council members hire an executive search firm, it will be up to the new council that will be sworn in in January to select the new city manager.

Councilmember Rose Clark, who has helped select two city managers, said it might be in the spring, four or five months after the search firm is picked, before a new manager is hired.

Another veteran council member, Jack Block Jr., noted it took over a year before Martin was selected. Block said there is no rush because Knutson is a capable interim manager.

Councilmember Joan McGilton said current lawmakers “have a wealth of experience on who would be appropriate for Burien.” She added new council members wouldn’t have that knowledge.

Park to be closed until May

The largest shoreline restoration project in the Puget Sound area will begin next month at Burien’s Seahurst Park.

“This is the most important thing that has happened in my 12 years on the council,” Burien City Councilmember Joan McGilton declared at the Aug. 5 council meeting. “This has national significance.”

Seahurst Park will close in late September and when it reopens in May, the north seawall will be gone and the adjacent beach restored to natural conditions.

A narrower pathway will still extend along the north beach to the science center and marine technical laboratory.

The north beach will begin to look like the park’s restored south end. The seawall was built in 1972.

Parks development and operations manager Steve Roemer told lawmakers the beach will become more friendly for marine habitat while the park’s recreational features for residents will be preserved.

“We are trying to get our shoreline back,” Roemer explained.


There could be at least three new Burien City Council members in January if Aug. 6 primary election results are a good indication.

In results as of Wednesday evening, Aug. 7, challenger Lauren Berkowitz was garnering a majority of the votes against Councilmember Jack Block Jr. and Kip Walton.

Former Burien mayor Joan McGilton was in a dead-heat with council critic Debi Wagner for McGilton’s council seat.

In the race for Mayor Brian Bennett’s council seat, newcomer Steve Armstrong had a healthy lead over planning commissioner Joey Martinez and Chuck Rangel. Rangel has also been very critical of the council majority. Bennett did not seek re-election.

In SeaTac, councilmember Rick Forschler had a small lead over challenger Kathryn Campbell. The third candidate, Othman Heibe was eliminated from the general election race.
Appointed councilmember Jeremy Nutting had a substantial lead over law-and-order candidate James Payne in Des Moines.

The top two vote getters in each race will continue on to the Nov. 5 general election.
For Block’s Burien council seat, Berkowitz received 51 percent, 2,541 votes; Block 42 percent, 2,101 votes; and Walton, 6 percent, 285 votes.


Press release:


Nathan DiPietro - "Green on Grey Exhibit"

Open House Reception: Thursday, August 8th at 7:00pm

We are most fortunate to have Nathan DiPietro exhibiting at Normandy Park City Hall, as his unique egg tempera paintings exemplify aspects of
development which concern every community. This exhibition explores a newNorthwest where the lush overgrowth of the native landscape has been
replaced with neatly platted developments, leveled fields, and manmade greenbelts. In their regional focus and tight linear detail, DiPietro’s works are reminiscent of early 20th-century American painters such as Grant
Wood, but in contrast to those warmly nostalgic scenes from everyday life,
DiPietro’s images have the air of stage sets - uninhabited and artificial.

The exhibit will be on display in the Normandy Park City Council Chambers,801 SW 174th St, Normandy Park, through September 2013. The exhibit may also be viewed during city business hours, Monday-Thursday.

The City of Normandy Park Arts Commission invites you to join us at the


Press release:

This Sunday, Aug. 4 combine a leisurely urban walk, good company, and a lot of Public Art!

The City of Burien is launching its new Public Art Walking Tour
by partnering with a WABI Walk-n-Talk… Wear your walking shoes!

From 2-4 p.m. Start at 2 p.m. at the Burien Community Center Annex Skate Park, corner of 4th SW and 146th SW.

Included will be:
• A tour map
• Special presentation by local artist Phillip Levine!
• Tea tasting and snacks at Phoenix Tea

For more information:


Apparently Mr. Axtell believes that roads can be paved without the money to pave them.

First, while it’s true that utility rates have gone up over the years, the taxes on those
utilities are not used to pay for road maintenance. They are used to pay for general city
services, such as police, parks, and planning/building services.

Second, it would not be “impossible” for the city to handle an increase in funding for
paving. The money goes to the companies winning the contract to actually do the work.
For years the city has managed paving projects. There would be no problem in
managing that work, and the city would not need to hire more employees.

Third, utilities pass along the utility taxes to their customers. Everybody knows that; it’s
just normal procedure. There’s no negotiation, they just do it.

Fourth, the city is audited on an annual basis by the Washington State Auditor’s office.
As part of their annual audit, they will determine whether the utility funds designated for
road maintenance are used for that purpose and only that purpose. We have good, solid

City urges Burien residents to sign up for electronic newsletter

In response to the letter in the July 26 Highline Times, “Why is Area Y still getting Burien newsletter,” our answer is , residents in Area Y are NOT receiving the newsletter, or at least they shouldn’t be.

The City stopped sending newsletters to the proposed annexation area after the measure failed at the polls last November. If anyone in Area Y still received the newsletter, it was an addressing mistake and not intentional. We’re certainly not still paying to send newsletters there; our lower post-annexation payments for newsletter postage reflect this.

The mailing of the newsletter will no longer be an issue in September when the City begins electronic distribution. Previously, all households and businesses in the City automatically received the newsletter in the mail. The upcoming fall 2013 edition will be available through email or on the City website. We will continue to send a printed version to those who are on our mailing list.


Press release:

The City of Burien will accept proposals from qualified consultants to assist the city with conducting a search that will lead to the selection of a new City Manager. The city is interested in completing the search and selection process for the new City Manager by the end of January, 2014.

Details of the RFP may be found on the City’s web site at: Services to be provided include recruitment, screening, interviewing, and selection assistance, and may also include participation in, and assistance with, site visits of finalist candidates.

Proposers must submit ten copies of their proposal. Information that must be included for a proposal to be deemed responsive to the RFP is available on the City’s web site:
RFP responses are due to the City of Burien Human Resources Manager, 400 SW 152nd Street, Suite 300, Burien, WA 98166, by 5:00 pm. PDT on Tuesday, August 6, 2013. Full details are available at the City’s web site listed above. Any questions regarding this project should be directed to Angie Chaufty, 206-248-5504 or


The City of Des Moines has placed on the August 6 Primary Election ballot a scheme to collect, according to the City, "approximately $1,100,000 per year for City street pavement improvements". Called Proposition 1, the scheme is to "increase the the utility occupation tax from 6% to 8% for a period of twenty (20) years". If approved, the 2.0% increase would be specifically dedicated to provide funding for city street pavement improvements.".

The Proposition suffers from several serious flaws and should be rejected by the voters. Here's why.

First, the City collects a tax from all utilities that provide services to Des Moines, such as cable, sewer, water, and all other such businesses that are contracted with the City. Not one of those services has ever been known to reduce it's customer rates over the years, instead, their rates always increase. So when the City taxes are added to your utility bills as a percentage, the City's take also always increases. The $1.1 million for next year will increase with time, becoming $1.5 million at an inflation rate of 2% for 20 years. Our streets could be paved with gold.

Packed house debates SeaTac minimum wage measure

UPDATE:Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association failed Friday, July 19 to convince a King County Superior Court judge to halt the SeaTac council from placing the measure on the Nov. 5 ballot.


There was only a week’s notice but the place was packed.

Proponents and opponents of a proposed ordinance that would set a minimum wage of $15 per hour and other employment conditions for some airport transportation and hospitality workers testified at SeaTac City Council chambers on July 16 in a town hall meeting.

The SeaTac City Council is expected on July 23 to formally put the measure on the Nov. 5 SeaTac election ballot. Because the initiative received the required amount of petition signatures, the lawmakers only other choice would have been to adopted the ordinance outright without a citizens’ vote. They refused to do that at their July 9 study session.

Two separate proceedings on Friday, July 19 could halt the council’s action. One is a review of the validity of the signatures by King County Elections. Aug. 6 is the deadline for placing measures on the November ballot.

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