Highland Park Action Committee hears from Seattle-annexation supporters

(Photo courtesy Dina Johnson)
From left, Seattle annexation supporters Peggy Weiss, Mark Ufkes, Don Malo at last night’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting in West Seattle. Toplines of their appearance are part of the summary we’ve just published at WSB.

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32 Responses to “Highland Park Action Committee hears from Seattle-annexation supporters”

  1. The title of this article isn’t exactly correct. There were at least two actual White Center Home Owners there who seriously oppose annexation. We tried to bring some balance to Mr. Ufkes’ spiel.

    The problem with Ufkes’ position on a vote is that he doesn’t even suggest that the people of North Highline (it’s not just White Center, folks), should have the facts before we vote. An ignorant vote is a sham.

    Years ago, I asked Mayor Nickels to paint us a picture of what our community would look like if we became part of Seattle. He said that was a “reasonable request.” Nonetheless, we are still hearing vague references to “better” services. We aren’t getting any specifics. Where is Seattle’s plan?

    Given the lack of information, it makes sense to look at what Seattle has documented – it’s Comprehensive Plan. Despite Kenny Pittman’s assurances to me years ago that I was misreading it, Seattle’s Comp Plan clearly designates North Highline as a potential Urban Village. That means multi-family, high density zoning. Just what investors who are concerned about profit as opposed to community would love to see. Economic diversity is the key to ethnic diversity and a healthy community. Where is Seattle’s plan to ensure that it’s Urban Villages are economically diverse? What will North Highline look like in 10 to 15 years if we become part of Seattle?

    It’s unfortunate that such an important issue was not given the attention and consideration it deserves at last night’s meeting. It is encouraging that HPAC is willing to give time to those of us who worked with it to stop the jail. We can only hope HPAC members wait to have the full story before making a decision to advocate for “offering” the people of North Highline an uninformed vote. I would hope Mark Ufkes would agree. After all, that was the position he espoused when many of us on both sides of Roxbury were concerned about Seattle’s proposed jail.

  2. The photo speaks a thousand words. I have been a witness to Mr. Ufkes and his misplaced intentions for several years. His time on the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council was full of secret meetings with Seattle officials or so says the meeting minutes. The community of North Highline should be very cautious about the words coming from him. He has only one focus and that is to personally benefit from what he hopes will be zoning that will give him what he is after since he is a developer of real estate. He would be placed in the same category as Greg Nickels another real state baron in North Highline. All they really want is the potential dollars they might receive by a high density community. After he gets what he is after you will not see Mr. Ufkes in North Highline any longer except to collect rent checks.

  3. This is nothing but a dog and pony show that Mark Ufkes has put together – it is misleading to say that he represents the White Center Homeowners – as far anyone can determine, there are no members of the White Center Homeowners Assoc except Mr. Ufkes. It is well known that he is a property owner whose intention is to get the most money he can for his property, which he believes Seattle will offer. It should be brought out that Peggy Weiss owns rental property in White Center, but does not live there. What concern does she have for the community except to try to get more rent money for her property. These people have no business saying they represent this community, they just have louder voices.

  4. Has anyone read the cover of the Tuesday Seattle times? There is a article about a $300000 severance pay for the leaving Chief Scott Lavielle. He is a great person but who approved this? I think that all the back scratching going on in Burien is exactaly what will continue in our neighborhood if we annex Burien. How much more money do they need to send to that town center. Would they really even do anything for White Center? do you think they want anyone shopping farther away from there tax base, how many more people need to be over paid for there service. Do we really want wasted time and space like the horible art display they have down there? oops had and what is the real cost to remove and rebuild the parking lot it sat on. was it not a parking lot before? Do we need to sling more mud cause there is dirt galore down the road. I think a well informed vote is fine and both side should be able to write it down and state there case then let the informed people vote on it fairly! I hear over and over about how bad Mark is and how he is only in it for money. Wake up we all want this place to get better and be worth more money dont you? Dont you want your community to improve? I do live in White Center and I work here as well.I still dont see anything solid its all talk! Burien is just buldozing manure around and calling it fact, do we need to talk about the amount of money paid to Russ Pritchard or the many cost over runs down the road? how come that stuff is always so hush hush? are they not conflics of interest that should be discused. Are you those people? I am a hard working simple person but I vote and it will count, you want to be heard stop with the crap and prove what Burien can actually do for White Center! All I for see is the rape of our taxes for improvments down the road! Why should we lie down and be treated like the armpit of Burien we have alot to offer.

  5. LOL, how can I join the not so centered home owners association? I’ve tried for years…but no real info on this entity is available. It’s bogas crap, just a title with no leverage! Are the meetings public? NOT! It’s a big myth..oops, mystery. Any how, when the so called entity is truely open to the White Center Community Residents let me know, I would love to attend one of their meetings to learn more about their organization and how they operate for the good of the White Center Home Owners. Maybe this blog could provide a little more info on the organization they write about, ey – it would be helpful to know

  6. Sam and Sadie, the folks at the West Seattle blog need to hear what you have to say. Please check the link above and share the truth. Thanks.

  7. FACT – The White Center Homeowners Association is a group that is closed to anyone except those that are in favor of Seattle annexation. Mr. Ufkes does not allow members who have differing opinions. So my question, Mr. Ufkes, is how can you say that you represent the homeowners of White Center, when most people are not welcome in your association. Mr. Ufkes, on your tour of the neighborhood groups, there should be full disclosure of who you represent – a small group of people (some who are real estate developers, like you – as noted in your White Center Chamber of Commerce resume)who are in favor of Seattle annexation – all others need not apply.

  8. “How much more money do they need to send to that town center. ”

    Burien Town Center is a private development.

  9. Who really gives a rats ass about the white center home owners ass., “it”, considers south west seattle city limits as part of White Center, it’s irrelevant. B intrestin ta know how many of “it’s” members actually reside here in WC, (AKA) North Highline. There are really borders and the fake maps and all their efforts are void.

    Voting yes to annex to Seattle = Gangland, watch the show, take a good look at South Park and Delridge, KCSO Gang Unit is in WC why?…
    Protecting Our Borders… the writing is all on the wall.

  10. VOTE NO ANNEXATION TO SEATTLE OR YOU MIGHT BE FEATURED IN ONE OF GANGLANDS EPISODES!

  11. Wow. I’m always amazed by the vitriol these articles about annexation produce. But just to directly respond to Sadie’s concerns about my interest in White Center:

    I purchased my first home in White Center in 1985. I lived there for roughly twenty years. I moved after suffering through a crime against my person and property, but retained my house in order to provide affordable housing for a colleague who works, like I do, in the arts (not a well paid pursuit). The rent that I charge is well below market rate. In exchange for reasonable rent, my tenants permit me to use a guesthouse on the property as office space for my consulting practice.

    I founded and directed the White Center Garden Tour for 14 years, bringing more than 200,000 people to the community to see for themselves how cool the neighborhood is. I raised all the money to produce this effort, receiving support from local businesses like McLendon’s and Village Green Nursery, and brought a network of gardeners together in the community who had never before met one another. My former husband was a founding member of the NHUAC, though he’d be mortified to see how that organization has evolved.

    I was a member of the original Resident Leadership Council, and subsequently a founding member of the Community Development Association. I currently serve as a board member on the White Center Chamber of Commerce. I’ve participated in many cultural projects in the neighborhood. I’ve contributed literally thousands of volunteer hours on behalf of the wonderful neighbors and businesses in White Center. I think I’ve earned the right to speak out in good faith about the future governance of the northern, highly urban section of North Highline.

    I don’t have a personal dog in this fight, and I don’t have an economic interest in the decision beyond ensuring my property value (which I think is reasonable) and working toward stable taxes and a high level of service delivery. I just don’t understand why our friends and neighbors WOULDN’T prefer to have access to the resources and technical assistance that only the City of Seattle can offer. And I don’t understand why a rational, informed, civilized conversation can’t take place.

    Please resist the temptation to make things personal. It diminishes the discussion, and serves no one. I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.

    Peggy

  12. Hey Peggy, Personal attacks only? Is it then ok to attack entities by making statements like below? I don’t really know you other than you support a Seattle annexation, big deal. I support a Burien annexation, big deal. Does it now mean because I am a NHUAC member that I am any less than you? I don’t really appreciate being labeled in any way, just like I wouldn’t label you.

    What it comes down to is RESPECT for people’s opinions regardless.
    ————————————————
    My former husband was a founding member of the NHUAC, though he’d be mortified to see how that organization has evolved.

  13. The White Center Homeowners Association was created over 4 years ago by a group to support Seattle annexation of White Center. Anyone who supports Seattle annexation of White Center is welcome to join. Send me an email stating your support and I will put you on our emailing list. If you do not support Seattle annexation of White Center, start your own organization. Its as simple as that.

    These personal attacks reflect poorly on the writer and more important, they reflect poorly on our community. This discussion is not about me. Its about White Center and our collective future. And to claim that somehow folks are misinformed due ot our work is hypocracy. Look at the information that the pro Burien group put out last August for their vote. Its total content was “nothing will change” but actually lots will change. Our fire services will go down, for one thing. And the new Burien decision on zoning concentrates x rated book stores along 16th and 112th next to a childrens school, our library, the McDonalds, and the nearby Homeless Women and Infants group home nearby.

    I’ll bet that not one of those businesses was involved in the public hearing in Burien that was so quickly organized and so quickly decided. Why was it rushed so? In Seattle it would have taken a year and everyone would have known what was going on, as we should.

    Mark Ufkes
    Markufkes@comcast.net

  14. Mark,thanks for clarifying. Why not be perfectly clear and change the name to “White Center Homeowners Association for Seattle Annexation?” It would be so much more transparent.

    You are mistaken about the information distributed by People For Burien (notice how transparent that is?) last summer. It focused on finally having a voice. That’s bound to come of being 31% of a city. (About 14,000 in a city of about 45,000). In Seattle, we’d be 3%. (About 18,000 in a city of about 600,000). That’s a big difference. You might say it’s transparent.

  15. Mark, you really need to get your facts straight and not mislead or try to sensationalize. You also should be honest about who you are and who you represent, and you should stop the name calling – those opposed to Seattle annexation are not “Seattle Haters” as you like to call us. We just see a better community vision with Burien – and land owners such as yourself might be limited in what you can do with your land – which will ensure a better quality of life –
    the following is the article from the Highline Times regarding zoning – you made it sound like Burien is opening their arms and asking people to set up adult entertainment venues in the area –

    Burien limits adult entertainment in annexed North Highline
    By Keith Daigle
    February 6, 2010
    The Burien City Council has voted in zoning regulations that will limit adult entertainment in the Burien annexed portion of North Highline.

    The council voted unanimously approved the zoning code for the part of North Highline that will become a part of Burien. Councilman Gordon Shaw was absent,

    New zoning code will restrict adult entertainment to between Southwest 112th Street and Southwest 116th Street along either side of 16th Avenue Southwest.

    The zoning codes will become effective April 1 when Burien annexes the southern portion of North Highline.

    Originally adult entertainment was allowed under the King County CB-Special District Overlay Zone. The City of Burien tried to conform the current King County Zoning into its own code.

    The King County CB-Special District Overlay designated a commercial and industrial area and was put into effect by the county to accommodate and encourage growth

    The council expressed concern about zoning allowing adult entertainment, agreeing to the compromise of keeping it contained to a small area along 16th Avenue.

    With the upcoming meetings for the Port of Seattle’s Part 150 Study on airport noise, Councilwoman Kathy Keene said wants to make sure the new residents from North Highline are involved in the discussions. Keene asked that city staffers look at holding meetings to make sure the future Burien residents have their opinions heard. The rest of the council echoed her sentiments.

    Keene said she doesn’t think anyone has ever asked the North Highline residents what they want and she wants to make sure they are a part of the discussion, even if they are not officially a part of Burien yet.

  16. Dick Thurnau Says:

    It has been interesting reading of the different comments on Annexation of North Highline. What i do not see either Seattle or Burien jumping at the chance to annex this North area.Why is that just drive around the area you will see shopping carts filled with garbage along side of the streets or autos with their wheels stripped of, or autos with their engines removed the list goes on. My point is if we all spent our energy and worked together to resolve these poor conditions we might be able to shed the name of Rat City

  17. Mark, it is nice to finally find out what the White Center Homeowners Association is and does. First your name “White Center Homeowners Association” is misleading and a lie. It should read White Center Home Owners Association For Seattle. You leave the impression that you are representing all the homeowners of White Center and that is a lie. You represent only a few hand picked ones. You state that you have 25 or 30 members. That is only a drop in the bucket for the number of homeowners in White Center. Also, I am not sure what your legal status is but, you could be called for discrimination, which I think is against the law. You may not tell lies but you distort and edit the facts to suit your purposes as your title confirms. You continually ignore the fact that White Center is just a small part of the potential annexation area that is still open. Those of us that favor Burien have done a great deal of research and study between Seattle and Burien and come to the conclusion that Burien would be best in all respects for the entire area and not just White Center. As for Burien holding secret hearings and rushed votes they have always been above board in any dealings with the people of the area. You have to pay attention and attend their meeting to get their ideas and plans, and not sit back and complain.
    Seattle on the other hand has not made any moves that would appear to answer all the peoples questions and concerns. They talk in general terms and change their information a lot. I lived in Seattle for over 20 years and just because the services are there does not mean you will receive them. And with the small voice we would have if annexed to Seattle, there would be no way to request or acquire them if we had a problem receiving them. Most of us that favor Burien over Seattle do so because of the long run in better
    living conditions and do have a personal reason for our actions. You keep talking about we need to think of a better business plan for White Center. In personally talking with many White Center Business people I have noticed that many are concerned that the higher cost of doing business with Seattle would force moving or closing their business. In closing, it appears that anyone who disagrees with you is attacking you. Good luck, and I still think you need to clarify the name of your organization to stop the confusion and the possible discriminatory actions of your association.

  18. I’m not sure really where to begin, it’s abundantly clear that anyone involved in any way with the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, NHUAC, has completely lost base with reality. Many of the people that have posted above are currently on the NHUAC board or once were. NHUAC is a very small but annoyingly vocal group that has no interest in the communities best interest. Their only interest is a misconceived notion that in smaller government you will have a louder voice.

    Russ Pritchard currently is a board member of NHUAC and is the center of attention for local media. I’m sure that he’s a adamant supporter of small government due to his ridiculously high salary which boosted his pension as Fire Chief. Every one of us paid for that salary instead of having more firefighters on the street. I should also mention that he is still a current commissioner for Water District 20. Kathy Kenne is also a Water District Commissioner, shame on you, but that’s an entirely different issue.

    Bottom line, NHUAC most definitively doesn’t have the numbers on their side. NHUAC members and their supporters have done nothing to provide statistics in their favor of a Burien annexation of North Highline. They have done good a good job of making issues blurry.

    Factually speaking, with Seattle, you’d have more police officers, more firefighters, better social services, a drop in your utility bills and last but not least CHEAPER PROPERTY TAX. I’ve posted all the facts previously, if you’d like me to post them again, let me know.

    God Bless,
    George

    Thanks,
    George

  19. George, If you have issues with NHUAC members, I would suggest you attend a meeting and voice your concerns. NHUAC has conducted studies in the past re: annexation options. Per the study, an outcome of a preference to a Burien annexation was an outcome, that is exactly why the Southern half was annexed to Burien, the numbers were there and the people voted for it.

    NHUAC did hold many community meetings with both Seattle City and the City of Burien where both cities had the opportunity to sell their perks. Obviously the Southern half has spoken and went with the City of Burien.

    Further more, the studies conducted are all on NHUAC’s web site to verify the outcomes of the study and survey’s.

    The best intrest of the community is for them to be informed about their options. Comments trying to sway them one way which is obviously the way some want them to go, “vote”, is meaningless without facts. It is the responsibilty of the interested City to inform us about all service levels that they can provide to North Highline.

    I would prefer to hear the facts from the City of Seattle and base my decision on that. People on these blogs keep running numbers on service levels but we have yet to hear it directly from City of Seattle Reps.

  20. The bottom line is that Burien doesn’t offer as much to the citizens of north highline as Seattle does. Period.
    Liz, you just don’t seem to understand that being a smaller portion of a city doesn’t equel less of a voice. Just look at the idiotic small government that currently runs north highline. Small districts taking care of thier own with no regard for the citizens of the area.
    You mean to tell me that you would rather have higher propety taxes for less services? For what?
    Small government does not equal effective government. I can think of several examples.
    NHUAC is as biased as they come. Fact.
    Seattle offers more services for lower property taxes. Fact.
    In the end the voters will decide… Even though Kathy Keene knows what we want.

  21. George, If you have issues with NHUAC members, I would suggest you attend a meeting and voice your concerns. NHUAC has conducted studies in the past re: annexation options. Per the study, an outcome of a preference to a Burien annexation was an outcome, that is exactly why the Southern half was annexed to Burien, the numbers were there and the people voted for it.

    NHUAC did hold many community meetings with both Seattle City and the City of Burien where both cities had the opportunity to sell their perks. Obviously the Southern half has spoken and went with the City of Burien.

    Further more, the studies conducted are all on NHUAC’s web site to verify the outcomes of the study and survey’s.

    The best intrest of the community is for them to be informed about their options. Comments trying to sway them one way which is obviously the way some want them to go, “vote”, is meaningless without facts. It is the responsibilty of the interested City to inform us about all service levels that they can provide to North Highline.

    I would prefer to hear the facts from the City of Seattle and base my decision on that. People on these blogs keep running numbers on service levels but we have yet to hear it directly from City of Seattle Reps.

  22. Wow! George and AJ sure like to spew – you really should do some fact checking before you make blanket statements – I am not now or have ever been a member of NHUAC, but I have attended many of their meetings – this is an open transparent group who have benefited this neighborhood in many ways – unlike the “White Center Homeowners Assoc” (talk about bias)- which if they actually have meetings, are done secretly – potential members need to send a letter to Mark Ufkes claiming their allegiance to Seattle annexation – after which he may or may not put you on his “mailing list” – NHUAC meetings are open to everybody – they have brought in various speakers from the community and have addressed many issues that are of concern to the residents of North Highline – you should really find out what these people have actually done for this community before you start throwing stones. Also, Seattle refuses to let us know what their intentions are regarding Library services, school districts, community policing, etc – Kenny Pittman has cancelled his appearance at NHUAC’s meeting and no other Seattle rep has stepped forward to take his place – there are many unanswered questions -

  23. Barbara,

    This video is a great example of the current reasoning and responsiveness to citizens of the current NHUAC council as well as Burien City Council.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-SK1-iILlY

  24. LOl George, the only badgering going on is your repetive blog posts with fire and police numbers!

  25. In all seriousness North Highline Unincorporated Area Council is very much a Pro-Burien club. NHUAC claims to be transparent, however, the council and it’s supporters are very good at running anyone out that even considers supporting a Seattle Annexation. For yourself, or anyone to claim otherwise is simply silly.

    George

  26. Heidi you may think so but I’ve posted far more then police and fire numbers, I can repost if you like. At least we could get a good laugh though. Funny video huh?

  27. If you’re going to post a badger clip, the hypnotic 2006 classic might be better …
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BUHf3tY9JI

  28. LOl, badgers baders! Too funny.
    My point is proven, you don’t know me at all. I can only repesent myself as a NHUAC member and you are clearly wrong about me. I support a Burien Annexation, big deal. I have no issues with people that support a Seattle annexation. That is their choice and everyone has a right to their own choice just like I do. NHUAC members badgering people because of their preference on annexation is silly talk. I have never seen any NHUAC member badger anyone because of their preference. I feel like you are badgering me because of my preference to Burien by making silly false allegations that are not true, and because I am a NHUAC member. Tell me who was ran out of where because of their preference to a Seattle annexation and who ran them out, your accusations are ridiculous. Thank you for sharing your judgemental views with out knowing me, maybe sometime you would like to debate in public how you were able to come up with your scenarios on how I think about individuals and their preferences. It’s all breaking news to me. I’m glad you offered to get more numbers for me, but as stated earlier, I would prefer to hear it directly from Seattle reps.

  29. I think the problem Heidi, is that NHUAC presents itself as an unbiased community council…and we all know it’s not.

  30. where were George and AJ at the NHUAC meeting???

  31. Good question, Barbara. Where were George and AJ?

  32. Seattle-

    More services
    Less taxes

    It’s that simple.

    -AJ