Seattle council committee votes to delay annexation-vote decision till 2012

(Substituted in early evening – archived video of today’s meeting)
1:50 PM: At 2 pm, you’ll be able to click above and watch live Seattle Channel coverage of the Seattle City Council Regional Development and Sustainability Committee discussing items including North Highline annexation. (later note: the video you see above is now the recording of the meeting)

2:47 PM UPDATE: The resolution is now being discussed by the committee. Council President Richard Conlin says he personally feel there are a lot of opportunities and he would like to see it move forward. But he says other issues have come forward. And he reveals that the City of Tukwila has appealed a small part of the annexation area, requiring mediation. He thinks that there’s no way to handle that in time for a fall 2011 vote. He is proposing a substitute resolution. The resolution says the city will decide by February 2012 whether to call for an annexation election. In 2012, the resolution says, we will either decide to proceed or will withdraw this as a potential annexation area. He says he regrets that they are unable to proceed this fall.

Councilmember Jean Godden asks if that would violate the “memorandum of understanding” that they had with other parties including Burien. Mayoral staff member Kenny Pittman says that though the council didn’t approve that, in the spirit of the agreement, Seattle had basically dibs until the end of this year. So technically beginning in the start of 2012, Pittman says, Burien could declare they want to go after it themselves.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien says he’s disappointed they are not at a place today to be able to go ahead to give NH residents a chance to vote. He says he disagrees with what he heard in public comment, that White Center could be a “drain” on the city of Seattle; he feels it would be an asset. On the other hand, O’Brien said, if you want to look at it that way, any neighborhood could be a “drain” on a city, just because that’s the way it works.

Councilmember Godden says she shares the financial concerns that have led Mayor Mike McGinn to oppose proceeding with annexation, and notes that the financial picture got even worse when the state’s new revenue forecast came out last Thursday. “Waiting till next February isn’t going to give us an awful lot of new information,” she says, “I feel it is unfair to keep people in limbo. … I must say that shelving our decision is possibly the least ethical choice.” And yet, she says, “I feel terribly, terribly torn about this” because the financial outlooks regarding annexation effects have conflicted lately.

They vote; Conlin and O’Brien pass the delay-till-Feb. 2012 resolution, Godden votes no. The resolution goes to the full Council on March 28th.

ADDED 4:35 PM: We contacted Burien’s city manager Mike Martin for comment. He said he’s “seeking clarification” on how this affects the situation; he also says he did not have advance warning of the sudden Seattle move to delay rather than vote yay or nay. (We’ll see if this comes up for discussion at next Monday night’s Burien City Council meeting.)

ADDED 5:27 PM: Archived video of today’s meeting in its entirety, added in the video window atop this story.

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10 Responses to “Seattle council committee votes to delay annexation-vote decision till 2012”

  1. […] (Wedgwood View) Half the Viaduct DOES close next year, project boss points out (West Seattle Blog) Seattle council committee votes to delay annexation-vote decision till 2012 (White Center Now) Share this:ShareEmailFacebookDiggStumbleUponReddit Filed under News blog […]

  2. Mark Ufkes Says:

    It is ironic that the anti-Seattle crowd is now constantly yelling that Seattle can not afford White Center. When these same cost issues were pointed out legitimately to Burien and its much, much smaller budget two years, and when Burien stated that they had no money for more police, or to provide a higher level of fire service if they annexed White Center, this same anti-Seattle group screamed “sham on you” for pointing out that we need more police officers, better fire services, and more neighborhood services in White Center.

    Now this same group who screamed sham on you then are now chanting this same “can’t afford it” point, basically telling Seattle, we do not want Seattle’s more police officers, better fire and public safety services, and a multitude of other services that Burien can only dream of providing to its residents.

    And since the anti-Seattle crowd can not argue public safety issues,or small business development support, or neighborhood watch program support, or new homeowner purchase programs,or more renter rights, or more community centers, they instead latch on libraries.

    The dishonesty and hypocracy that pervaides some of the anti-Seattle comments is getting embarressing. Rebecca, the five schools will stay in the Highline School District, even if we annex to Seattle. Get your facts straight. And Barbara, the White Center area will not lose two libraries with annexation; that decision has not been made but there is discussion to consolidate two libraries into one. Any new library will still be in the area. Another dishonest claim.

    If my house catches on fire again, or if my family has another heart attack threat, I am sure not going to call a librarian.

    And then of course there is Liz. For you to degrade the good work of the CDA, while using the almost non functioning NHUAC, and the 50 people who vote in its elections, to calm it “represents” North Highline and supports Burien, is the height of hypocracy.

    If any of you anti-Seattle crowd are truely working to expand police, public safety, and other services to White Center residents, you would be supporting Seattle annexation and you know it. That is way you are afraid of a public vote on Seattle annexation. When level of services amd public safety are the debate, Seattle wins over Burien every time. and our property taxes will be the same.

    Mark Ufkes
    White Center Resident

  3. Anyone interested in learning the truth about what was said at the meeting can find it by viewing the video – just as the truth about what North Highline could expect from a Seattle annexation is plain to see by taking a ride on Delridge or visiting South Park or Southeast Seattle or any other low income Seattle community.

    Maintaining public safety is one of the main functions of government. Anyone who reads the paper or listens to the news knows that the Seattle Police Department is stretched thin. An article resulting from the unjustified shooting of Native American woodcarver John T. Williams by a Seattle police officer disclosed that 1/3rd of Seattle police officers have less than 3 years of experience. At the request of the ACLU and nearly 3 dozen civil rights groups, the Justice Department initiated a federal investigation to determine whether there has been a pattern of unnecessary violence against minorities by the Seattle Police Department. Meanwhile, the front page of today’s paper disclosed yet another Seattle Police Department scandal involving its DUI Unit. As Seattle’s Police Department struggles to regain trust and maintain public safety within Seattle’s current borders, how can SPD provide just and adequate police services to our community?

    On the other hand, the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) has been providing North Highline with experienced and competent deputies for decades. As a contract city with the Sheriff’s Office, Burien is able to employ KCSO personnel who know our community and have a proven track record of working diligently to protect us. Over the years, King County Deputies like Steve Cox and Jeff Hancock have shown us what real commitment looks like.

    Fire service is also crucial to our public safety. If Seattle’s history in Arbor Heights is any indication, we should be concerned. Prior to the annexation of Arbor Heights to Seattle, King County Fire District 12 protected Arbor Heights. Seattle closed the Arbor Heights fire station more than 50 years ago. At a recent meeting with Mayor McGinn, a Seattle firefighter talked about Seattle Fire’s “really long response time” to Arbor Heights. That “really long response time” has resulted in Arbor Heights being described as a dead zone. What would happen to White Center if Seattle annexed and closed our fire station on 112th? How would that improve our public safety?

  4. The link to the video on this site now brings up the
    March 21 Seattle City Council meeting – to view the 3/18 meeting regarding annexation – go to “” – click on Videos, then go to “Browse by topic” and click on “City Council” and then scroll down to “Regional Development and Sustainablity 2010/2011” then click on the 3/18 meeting –

  5. Thanks, Barbara, that’s funny, shouldn’t have done that but I’ll substitute for posterity’s sake.

  6. Clearly, Mr. Ufkes has and is channeling his energy into anger as is evident in his comments. Instead of focusing on issues he has chosen to attack people and organizations for their opinions on annexation. I can only hope that the residents of the impact area will get behind a campaign that seeks out facts. The history of the unincorporated area and its desires to be annexed by Burien over the course of 10 independent studies is a fact. Politicians often promise things they can’t deliver and Mr. Ufkes’s interpretation and opinion about “promises” are skewed. As the ONLY North Highline Fire District employee that resides in the unincorporated North Highline area I welcome your questions about fire service and potential impacts of annexing one way or the other. While I am not the “official” spokes person for the fire district I can relate as a citizen and employee of our fire district, a very unique position.

  7. …and, fixed.

  8. Reading Mr Ufkes comments shows that he is not interested in facts, only name calling. Then this is not much of a surprise as anyone that does not agree with his thinking and opinions is in trouble.
    He says that the No.Highline Unincorporated Council has only 50 voters and they represent the people of No.Highline. Every election has been open, public and advertised as much as possible to get the people out. I don’t know how you can make the people get out to vote, but they don’t seem to care. The Council has stated that the No.Highline area favors annexation to Burien. Why ? King County funded an independent study of the annexation and after many months of work, interviews and questions came up with a pro and con list for Seattle and Burien. Weighing the facts: they recommended Burien as the best choice for the residents of North Highline. The Council only voiced the study and recommendation to the people.. But Mr Ufkes treats any one that agrees with this like it is their personal plan. Mr Ufkes is always stating that he is president of the White Center Housing Association. This appears that he represents all the people of No.Highline (or just White Center). After several years of being called on it, he finally stated that there was a qroup of 15 or 20 that met at his house that were in favor of annexation to Seattle. Please Mr Ufkes tell the truth and not just part of the facts when you make statements. As for Burien being able to annex area X is still an open question. But so far the area that they have annexed has been well taken care of and supported. Thank You

  9. I would like to see a side by side comparison chart, put together by an unbiased party and mailed to all the residents of North Highline. All I am really asking out of annexation is to be neglected to the same level to which we have been accustomed. On the other hand if taxes are to be raised then I would expect services to improve. While you can argue facts and numbers all day long- there is definitely a gut level reaction to being swallowed up by a city. My thought is that if we are to go to Burien and make up half of its residents- then the city should be renamed White Center/Burien. I can’t stand the thought of uppity Burien lording over us. If we are to be swallowed let’s get eaten by the big fish.

  10. It’s nice that the annexation vote has been postponed till 2012. Seattle made a great decision this time. This gives opportunity for more research to make the best decision when voting!