LETTER: ‘I’m Pat LeMoine and I am Against Being Annexed by Burien’


Hi, I’m Pat LeMoine and I am against being annexed by the city of Burien.

What helped solidify my opinion are the dozen or so newly annexed Burien residents of Area X that I have talked to. I have heard complaints ranging from higher taxes, no improvements in services, to a city hall hostile to its own citizens. A recent favorite of mine was walking into a local beauty salon to let the owner know about changes she will have to make to her signage under Burien Municipal Code if annexed. As the owner gazed in perplexed astonishment I notice a waiting customer whose eyes began to light with fire “YOU DO NOT WANT TO JOIN BURIEN!” She exclaimed then with blood boiling she went on to talk about all the taxes (http://www.burienwa.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1118) that she now has to pay as a result of being annexed to Burien. She reminded me of Kathy Parker who under oath testified before the Boundary Review Board on 1/9/12 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9zn2lOyJpg) (51 minutes in) and presented the board with a petition signed by 2000 residents of the newly annexed Area X who where so unhappy that they wanted to leave Burien. Keep in mind that only 1,380 voted for annexation from a population of over 14,000. At that same meeting I estimate 80% of the audience where residents of Burien warning the rest of us not to join.

I’ve tried my best to step away from my personal feelings and look at what the pro annexation side has to say and all I see is an argument based on fear and fantasy. Fear that we will loose our fire dept. Fear that we will loose our police. Fear that we will loose any number of other services. I see no reason why I should believe the fear mongers and am reminded of a speech from a great president “All we have to fear is fear itself.” Then there is the fantasy in the belief that Burien can afford taking on White Center. The BERK Report (http://www.burienwa.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1961) is packed full of questionable financial expectations. Examples include Burien’s Human Services annual estimate of only $100,000 which becomes laughable when compared to the more experienced Seattle’s estimate of $1.7 to $1.9 million. For police Burien estimates a cost of $3.1 million where the once again more experienced Seattle estimates between $6.9 to $8.7 million. Also keep in mind that Burien has been running a deficit for some time now just to meet its own needs as stated by concerned White Center resident Mark Ufkes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpNn5EGFimU). So how can it meet the needs of the poorer White Center Gregory Heights area? It is almost as if the City of Burien is living in a world of unicorns and fairies.

The only positive argument for annexation that I have heard is that since Burien is smaller then either Seattle or King County our voice would be more easily heard. Honestly I find this argument null and void when compared to all the negative stories I have heard about dealing with city hall, which tends to boil down to adjectives like unfriendly, uncooperative, and in one extreme hostile. As an example Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/buriencitizen_media) has some complaints regarding Burien’s inability to enforce its own code in regards to Bank owned abandoned homes that are falling into disrepair helping to lower property values. Then there is Lee Rabie who was so incensed by what Burien did to his property that he did a mass mailing at great expense to warn us why we should not join. A speech he gave on this can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BlIxYFEN8A (30 minutes in). Ultimately what good is city hall other then just another layer of bureaucracy that demands more taxes, does nothing to make our lives better, and just gets in the way.

I have lived at my home for over 16 years. I am happy with both the King County Sheriffs and our Fire Dept. Both seem to show up when you need them. All the services I need from power, water, sewer, and phone work just fine. Roads in my neighborhood are adequately maintained. I live in a neighborhood that loves to celebrate its nations birthday through fireworks and looking across the horizon we are not the only ones who do. I am an environmentalist and I like trees but some times they have to come down and I like the fact that I can cut down a tree on my property without having to ask permission or pay an exorbitant fee for some stupid permit. Frankly I see absolutely no viable argument on why we should join Burien.

- Pat LeMoine

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Comments

4 Responses to “LETTER: ‘I’m Pat LeMoine and I am Against Being Annexed by Burien’”
  1. Michel Hansmire says:

    Dear Pat,

    I used to feel the same way because I wanted my address to say, ‘Seattle’.

    While I appreciate your letter, it seems clear that your main problem with annexation is that you don’t want to pay for the level of services that the area requires. If I am wrong, do you suggest being annexed by Seattle who, as you state, has much more realistic expectations of the costs of properly serving the area (and higher taxes)?

    And while I love that you have cited your sources, when I click the links I find that your statements are rather misleading:

    1) The taxes you scare the salon owner with don’t actually apply to businesses such as hers as far as I can tell. (utility tax applies to businesses the provide utilities).
    2) Kathy Parker does submit a petition but also points out that the area to be annexed does not currently receive the services that it needs by King County.
    3) Mark Ufkes states the need for services but does not suggest a way to pay for them.
    4) The slideshare complaints; I’m not sure how Burien would plan to take on the banks when our federal government can’t do it.
    5) Lee Rabie – I feel badly for what happened to Lee but just because a contractor harmed his property does not mean that annexation is bad. He needs a lawyer.

    Lastly, you fail to state the reason why annexation is even being considered: King County doesn’t want you. They don’t want to pay for services in urban areas because they can’t afford it. So should we wait for Seattle? If yes, great.

  2. Fred says:

    To Michel H.-

    1.Anyone who uses utilities pays for yhem and their taxes and Franchise fees. Businesses frequently pay at a higher rate than residential.
    2. You and Joan McGilton clearly do not understand what the petition was about. Put in a public information request with the city and find out-read the petition.
    3. Mark Ufkes has suggested many times how to pay for the services that are needed. Go back and read the many blogs on this topic.
    4. The agents and contractors that harmed Lee Rabie were the City of Burien when it hired King County to do the work.
    Right now the question is whether to join Burien or remain with King County. King County has a much larger tax base and array of services to support Area Y than Burien could ever dream of. Burien=more taxes and less services.

  3. hellpig says:

    NO BURIEN

    NO SEATTLE

    YES TUKWILA

  4. Jack Block Jr. says:

    Live in North Highline and wondering how to vote on annexation? Here’s a few things to ponder:

    Your taxes are going to go up for, at best, the same level of service.

    The County will be dumping a $77 million capital backlog on you and the rest of the citizens of Burien.

    The tab for providing public safety services to the large number of tax free subsidized housing units in the North Highline area will switch from the county to you and the rest of the citizens of Burien.

    Still think its worth it so you can have a “voice” in your affairs? Consider this: The majority of the Burien City Council voted to go ahead with annexation despite the overwhelming opposition of Burien residents. You’ll have your voice, but it will fall on deaf ears.

    Vote No!

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