LETTER: Concerns About Jerry Robison, Mike Martin and Area Y Annexation

At the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting (NHUAC) in White Center on April 5, 2012, regular agenda presenter Mike Martin, Burien City Manager, launched a public attack against some of the citizens of both North Highline and Burien who have been opposed to the annexation of Area Y/ White Center (White Center Blog 4/6).

Martin stated, “That shifts the ball into the court of the local community” and that the city “stuck to the facts and on the high ground” unlike some foes of the proposed annexation.” He also said the process had been contentious. A number of my friends, neighbors, myself and good citizens are the people that he attacked and I believe these comments, although shocking, are telling. I believe that we have always taken the high ground on this issue and stuck to the facts. In contrast, Mr. Martin, some of the staff members of Berk, Jerry Robison and some of the City Council members have failed to give the public all the information on many occasions.

The Burien City Council members that appointed Jerry Robison knew that he had a conflict of interest on the issue of the annexation of Area Y. Mr. Robison has been the attorney for the NHUAC and the head organizer for the White Center Jubilee Days. This could hardly have been missed as it is plastered all over Mr. Robison’s law firm windows. Additionally, Mr. Martin had been a regular presenter at the NHUAC meetings for years and saw the agendas where Mr. Robison was listed as the NHUAC attorney and heard Mr. Robison give legal, financial and political advice to the NHUAC. When questioned about this close affiliation and apparent conflict of interest, the NHUAC denied in writing that Jerry Robison has ever served as their attorney. The question of Mr. Robison’s recusal on his vote on annexation at the last council meeting should be raised.

Even more interesting is that the Burien City Council has always been extremely cautious about who they appoint to the Council or to Advisory Board positions. Anyone with too extreme of a position historically has not been allowed an appointed position or has been removed from an Advisory Board Position as was the case with Doug Moreland being removed from the BEDP. In the past, anyone who has opposed annexation has not been allowed an appointment to any of the Council or Advisory Boards. So it is strange that Jerry Robison, who was the attorney of record for the NHUAC, head organizer for White Center Jubilee Days and an extreme political activist for the annexation of Area Y was appointed to the City Council. Jerry Robison has publicly stated that annexation of area Y is the legacy he wants to leave the city of Burien but he failed to disclose this and his close connections with the NHUAC during the election, at the forums, in his campaign materials, during Council meetings and at the testimony he gave before the Boundary Review Board.

Mike Martin and Jerry Robison have attempted to conceal the facts on a number of issues about the annexation of Area Y such as the validity of the details and financial projections that were shown in the Berk Report Draft. Mr. Robison has stated that these details are unimportant and Mr. Martin refused to have the draft revised and finalized before it went to the Boundary Review Board (BRB) because he implied it was too expensive to correct. Vital information such as the letter from the fire district was missing from the packet delivered to BRB which Burien citizens uncovered. BRB has never approved an application with this type of condition before now.

This issue of annexation has never been about what the majority of citizens of Burien or North Highline want or think is best for them. It has been about the political maneuvering for power, more land and the economic gain of a few politicians, land developers, some seemingly deluded members of the NHUAC and Burien City Council members. Honesty, ethics, the moral high ground and the facts have never been the arena that they operate in-related to this issue. Every voter in both Burien and North Highline should be asking who has allowed this miscarriage of truth and justice on this issue to go on for so long. Someone needs to answer from the City of Burien and the Burien City Council.

Lastly, I do not take lightly the attack by Mike Martin at a NHUAC meeting in White Center that anyone who opposes the issue of the annexation of Area Y White Center is not taking the moral high road and distorting facts. I have never heard him say anything negative about the people of North Highline even though some annexation proponents and supporters of NHUAC have called Burien citizens liars, racists and have made inappropriate and insulting accusations. I believe this behavior shows his ongoing disrespect for the Burien citizens who pay his salary and that he is supposed to represent and the hard work many have done to read all the reports, analyze, comment and present at various meetings. And why is he regularly going up to the NHUAC meetings and acting like the de facto City Manager for Area Y on the Burien taxpayers’ dime?

– Debi Wagner

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