WCCDA Sends Letter To Seattle City Council, Encouraging Annexation Vote

On Friday, March 11th, the White Center Community Development Association sent a letter to Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin, encouraging him to “place the annexation ballot before the 20,000 residents of White Center/N. Highline this November 2011.”

The letter is signed by WCCDA Executive Director Aileen Balahadia, Chair of the Board of Directors Heather Downey, and Vice Chair Justine Leyson.

While “applauding” Burien’s annexation of the North Highline area last year, the letter appears to support the idea that the remaining area be annexed to Seattle.

There’s no indication that a similar letter has been sent to the Burien City Council.

Here’s the letter in its entirety, as posted on the WCCDA website:

March 11, 2011

Council President Richard Conlin
Seattle City Council
600- Fourth Avenue Seattle, WA 98104

The Honorable Richard Conlin:

Thank you for your careful consideration of the potential annexation of White Center/North Highline.

On behalf of our community-driven board of directors, staff and 1400+ volunteers, the White Center CDA urges you to place the annexation ballot before the 20,000 residents of White Center/N. Highline this November 2011. We are a historically disenfranchised community and one of the most diverse in the state. We are a mixed urban and residential community that does not receive adequate services since King County is spread thin and increasingly less able to offer local services. Residents to the North in the bigger city of Seattle get those services; residents to the South in the smaller city of Burien do too. Last summer we applauded the city of Burien’s decision to place a vote before portions of N. Highline and were happy to see the annexation approved by voters. But the remaining area of White Center is an “urban island” and it is a troubling. Those pillars of our nation–justice and democracy–call for the Seattle City Council to give White Center the chance to speak for ourselves on the issue of annexation by putting this matter on the ballot.

Furthermore, White Center is an up-and-coming community with tremendous human capital and capacity that is in search of a municipal partner to reach its potential. Our human assets include high capacity resident leaders and strong community organizations like the CDA. A clear example of this capacity and potential is the development of the resident-driven White Center Neighborhood Action Plan. The Plan represents resident’s comprehensive vision for a healthy and prosperous neighborhood. White Center’s capacity is further shown by our ability to implement elements of the Plan, despite the community’s disenfranchised political status. In fact, the CDA has tracked the leveraging of millions of dollars of largely private funding for Plan implementation. We now need a municipal partner to fully achieve our vision of a vibrant commercial district connected to safe, residential communities. Whatever city embraces us will be able to tap that already existing blueprint and the human capital and resident leadership ready to carry it out.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak and for allowing the diverse people of White Center to decide their fate in this important governance decision. We look forward to working with you in the future.

Aileen Balahadia
Executive Director

Heather Downey
Chair Board of Directors

Justine Leyson
Vice Chair

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