LETTER: ‘NHUAC Represents Views of Very Few People Who Live in Area Y’
At the City Council meeting on March 19, 2012, there were citizen presentations questioning some city staff and city council members’ association with the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (NHUAC).
Who is the NHUAC? This group was set up and recognized by King County to represent the people of North Highline. It was supposed to create membership seats based on areas of neighborhoods. King County gave them $10,000 per year to run this group. However, so few people vote in the NHUAC elections-2 to 20 people per each seat elected (representing no more people than the council itself and some of their spouses)-that there is really no neighborhood representation, let alone representing Area Y. The NHUAC represents the views of very, very few people who live in Area Y- less than 1%.
What their purpose is as a group is also unclear. Their president spoke at the last Burien City Council meeting and implied that they are a public service group. However in a review of the minutes of their meetings, it appears that a good portion of their time has been spent in pursuing annexation to the City of Burien. If they are not a representative council but a public service group pushing annexation, then they are really a political action group (PAC). They don’t appear to be registered as such with the State Of Washington-why not?
Even more interesting is that the Burien City Manager has been presenting monthly at their meetings for years-even though they are not part of the City of Burien. He gives out information about the City of Burien to this group prior to that information being released to Burien citizens. He appoints members of this group to Burien City committees to make decisions about Burien when they are not even citizens of Burien. This appears to be a case of pandering to a very small, select group of people. Why is this small group of people being given such preferential treatment over Burien citizens or at all on decisions that relate to the City of Burien?
Lastly one of the Burien City Council members, Jerry Robison, has, for years and may still be serving as the attorney for NHUAC. As of January, 2012, he stated that his sole purpose/legacy that he plans to leave the City of Burien is the annexation of Area Y and he has pressed very hard for this to happen. He does not favor neighborhood representation or an advisory vote from Burien citizens on annexation. The majority of Burien citizens in informal media polls have opposed this annexation by 2 to 1. So who is this council member really representing?
Should he recuse himself from voting on this issue?
Is this annexation really being advanced by the majority of Burien Citizens and the Citizens of Area Y or is it the pet project of some Burien City Council members, the Burien City Manager and this small select (13 people) NHUAC? Every citizen stuck with this annexation and its very large unmitigated costs should be asking for some answers and accountability from the Burien City Manger and Council.
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