Letter to the editor: Annexation statements in ballot pamphlet disputed

With ballots arriving in King County homes starting today, voting begins, and everything’s going to get pretty intense for the next two-plus weeks till voting ends and vote-counting starts on August 18th. We are welcoming any “letter to the editor” format comments on the election – as long as it’s an issue or position that White Center voters will be considering in this election. We start with one received from Stephen Lamphear:

Attention North Highline Annexation Voters: your voters pamphlet contains
a steamy, smelly pile of bovine fecal matter about annexation to Burien.
Here are some of the dung piles dropped by opponent Mark Ufkes:

Pile #1 — Mr. Ufkes does not live in the voting area – he is not affected
by the annexation vote. [full disclosure: I, too, do not live in the voting
area, but as a Burien resident will be affected by the vote.]

Pile #2 — The Westwood Village and White Center areas are not included in
the voting area, but I’m sure you can find a particular home in N. Burien
that is valued lower than a particular home in Westwood. So? Truth is: the
homes in unincorporated North Shorewood, Salmon Creek and Boulevard Park
(neighborhoods within the voting area) and similar to their long-time N.
Burien neighbors’ homes

Pile #3 — Mr. Ufkes has been a vocal critic of the North Highline Fire
Department. That despite the huge satisfaction level of residents. The
city of Burien does not provide fire services. All of Burien and North
Highline are served by independent Fire Districts — voters elect
Commissioners who set policies and standards. You will continue to be
served by Fire Commissioners you elect.

Pile #4 — Burien has no plans to hire more police officers AT THIS
TIME because it’s not necessary. Burien and North Highline share police
services provided by King County. That will continue after annexation. The
size of Burien’s police force will always depend on need.

Pile #5 — Burien has no budget deficit — in the state of Washington, all
governments are required to have balanced budgets; Burien always has. What
Burien doesn’t have is debt – it has operated as a cash basis city.

Pile #6 — If Burien decides to build a new community center with a tax, the
law requires the voters to approve any new taxes. There is no new tax on
the horizon.

Pile #7 — There is no such thing as a Burien downtown fire department tax for
Town Square. Town Square is a private development. No taxes have been or
will be used for this private project. There is also no massive property
tax giveaway to potential Town Square residents.

Pile #8 — There is no evidence that property values have any relationship
to your address. Property values are simply the value of your property
compared to similar properties in a similar neighborhood. Fire services are
also not related to your property value — a mansion gets the same fire
truck, the same emergency medical team, as does a modest bungalow.

An 8-year Burien City Councilmember, I live 4 blocks from the proposed
annexation area. I’m anxious to re-unite with my neighbors under one
government that promotes strong single family neighborhoods rather than the
rampant multifamily projects favored by King County and Seattle. Vote ‘YES’
on annexation.

Stephen Lamphear
North Shorewood

Again, other “letters to the editor” are welcome – whitecenternow@gmail.com is our address.

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17 Responses to “Letter to the editor: Annexation statements in ballot pamphlet disputed”

  1. Mark does not speak for the majority of NH residents nor does he speak for the City of Seattle. The pamphlet states his one opinion with no facts to back it up. Every time I pick up a paper or read a blog online, I see many comments and responses from people in favor of a Burien Annexation, in turn, I only see Mark opposing it. 4 years ago I asked the City of Seattle to provide me with facts and documentation regarding what, and how the City of Seattle is willing to contribute financially to North Highline regarding providing all services.
    An employee that is employed by the City of Seattle, and who is authorized to speak for the City of Seattle handed me a 6 page document in 2005 explaining what they will provide. 5 pages consisted of guesses and estimates of dollar amounts and projections that they thought would be sufficient levels of services cost wise. 4 years later, still there is no update of an actual plan with real figures existing to date. For NH residents to see the real picture I would suggest going to the City of Seattle’s web-site and look under their annexation section, read for yourself how well they plan on taking care of your community, then check Burien’s. You will be quite surprised with what is on their web-sites and to read the facts. If Seattle had actual info on their web-site or showed the slightest interest in our Residents and our area regarding annexing our area, and if an actual Seattle City employee was the one stating the figures in the pamphlet, then it would be different in the respect that I would actually have some facts to base a decision on , but because there is limited info on annexing our area with no real facts listed financially from Seattle and the info given in the pamphlet is an opinion of one, I would go with the facts I am presented with and make my decision based on which City presented me with the facts of caring for our area in our best interest pertaining to community oriented planning, community desires, services offered, financially, and flavor.

  2. Mr.Raymond Arthur Ricci Says:

    As a past senator for South Seattle Community College and former Clan Chattan Society U.S.A Washington State Commissioner I understand willfull misdeception and misrepresentation extremelly well, well done Stephen! Your my new favorite political jackass! Please note hint of sarcasm fellow blogger.

  3. Mr.Raymond Arthur Ricci Says:

    I was refering to Mark Ufgus as the jackass but accidentaly entered Stephen’s name inadvertently, see how easy misinformation can be, even unintentional, sometimes.

  4. ChristopherN Says:

    Thanks for sharing. I had a bit of a WTF? moment when I opened up my King County voter’s guide that came in the mail yesterday…

  5. Stephen Lamphear Says:

    @Raymond – I’ve been called a lot more colorful names than ‘jackass’. Both my parents wore Army boots!

    As a community activist and a Burien City Councilmember, I’ve gotten telephone calls threatening my safety. My property has been vandalized because of who I am.

    Regardless, I’m not afraid to stand and state the truth though I may suffer slander for it.

  6. Mark Ufkes Says:

    Mark Ufkes responds

    Mr. Lamphear’s anger and false statements do not warrant a response, except to remind voters that Lamphear ran for the Burien City Council, served for eight years, and was soundly beaten, did I say soundly? and thrown out of office based in part because of a factual letter sent out to all Burien residents by a Burien resident who too, was treated by his angry outbursts and personal insults. This letter explained how Mr. Lamphear has lived his life and his continuing hypocracy regarding local politics. It ended his political career in Burien, and we all are better off as a result.

    I can provide substantial back ground information on fire service differences between Seattle, North Highline and Burien. Burien is the lowest and if I were a resident of Burien, I would be insulted that Burien can not even secure a WSRB rating above 4. Get the facts folks – these are real issues that will impact the safety of your family and your neighborhood. Brushing this over is dishonest Mr. Lamphear and you know it.

    I’m a Democrat these days, so being called a jack ass is fine, but where is the substance of the discussion here folks? Our Seattle address adds considerable value to our homes, and any claims to the contrary are untrue. And Seattle offers services and programs that Burien can not even consider. Evergreen Pool will be kept open with Seattle annexation (Seattle has ten pools aready). Burien cut the line around the pool, because they can’t afford a pool. And Burien right now is doing budgets for next year and dealing with a significant deficit in revenues, its next year thats the problem Mr. Lamphear not right now. And you know this but you are mumbling the issue as you do on so many issues.

    Folks, read the pro Burien statement again. Nothing is offered in it, so, as I say, nothing offered, nothing gained. It is vague and shallow. “Nothing will change” is their mantra, which of course is not true. Things are going to change.

    Then read the anti-annexation statement again, that actually 12 of us penned, many who do live in the area who will be voting. Note its specifics and note that it reminds us that annexation should be about making our lives and neighborhoods better, not about the pandering and degrading hostility that people like Lamphear bring to the public discussion. And Heidi use your last name and tell the folks who you really are, and address the issue that Seattle can provide more daycare oversight, which I think is a good thing. I want my kids in the safest day care possible. Do you support this?

    And Mr. Lamphear, it is my personal opinion that you need counseling.

    Mark Ufkes

  7. Mark Ufkes Says:

    Oh, and one final comment

    I was asked by Burien City Manager Mike Martin to prepare the anti-Burien statement in the Voter Pamphlet, and his request was approved by the Burien City Council. I took the liberty of getting content and editing input from my many friends who do live in the area that Burien is attempting to annex. So, Mr. Lamphear, Burien asked for the statement from me that you are ranting about. Mr. Martin will confirm all this too.

    Mark Ufkes

  8. Mark, you and everyone else on this blog all ready know that it’s Johnson!

  9. Look, Seattle City web-site says nothing about annexation other than some old notes about past meetings 3 years ago, so the point is, if their so interested in annexing this area, Mark..why is their web-site not reflecting it! Safe Child Care’s I do support, Seattle annexation “NO”

  10. Mark Ufkes was over on Crosscut about a week ago telling people there they needed to get counseling too. I guess that must be his regular response when people simply disagree with him.

    See his comments on this story about White Center and annexation.

    However, it appears that the primary reason he was so upset on Crosscut was because the majority of the commenters used user names, not their real full names. I’ve been regularly commenting on blogs since 2003 and haven’t ever seen anyone else get riled up over people using user names.

  11. Jerry Robison Says:

    In his personal attack on Mr. Lamphear, Mr. Uffkes refers to a bit of hate mail that was circulated by an individual in Burien who is opposed to annexing North Highline into Burien. It was full of the kind of exaggeration and lies that have become an earmark of annexation opponents.
    But I will limit my comments to just Mr. Uffkes’ oft repeated yet unsupported assertions regarding property values and fire services.
    Mr. Uffkes (who moved to White Center about eleven years ago and has since purchased two more view properties with development potential) probably would see a surge in the value of his property if it was annexed to Seattle then rezoned for high density development under. But that effect would not be the result of any inherent increase in property values. The myth that he promotes, that the same property will have a higher value if it has a Seattle address, is simply not supported by any factual comparison. The comparison is easy to make in this area. Find two houses that are in close proximity and essentially equal otherwise and compare the sale prices. What becomes obvious is that property values are affected by factors like proximity to amenties and separation from undesirable influences (like Seatac Airport), not which city the house is located in.
    As for fire services. Seattle has a top notch fire department, especially with respect to specialized situations like shipboard fires, high rise buildings and hazardous substances, but is only marginally able to provide adequate protection for its residential neighborhoods in the southwestern corner of the city (Arbor Heights). Seattle has run through two special levies to modernize its stations and equipment, and still hasn’t finished that job. What the people of NH need is a fire department that can and will respond to their emergencies when needed, and in which they can have a say on how the department is run through elected commissioners. They have that now, and the best way to keep that is to annex into Burien.

  12. Martha Koester Says:

    If you want a comparison of serices, try comparing the Seattle library system with the King County Library system. The latter is much better run simply because they get their funding from a specific library taxing district instead of getting in line every year to fight it out with every other public good. The same goes for fire, water and sewer districts. In general, you get more bang for the buck with specific puropose taxing districts, and that’s what we will get by annexing to Burien.

    Not to mention that we would have far more political power as 40% of Burien as opposed to 5% of Seattle.

  13. Stephen Lamphear Says:

    My goodness! Ufkes is certainly an angry man when his deceptions are layed bare. As they say in the law: if the law’s on your side, pound the law; if the evidence is on your side, pound the evidence; if neither is on your side, pound the table.

    So, Ufkes pounds the table and takes the personal turn on issues because he has nothing to offer but his own opinion.

    And to repeat, Ufkes does not live in the annexation area. He has no dog in this race.

    I’m sure Ufkes is qualified to determine who needs counseling.

    But, what does that have to do with the piles of poop he spread, anyway?

  14. … just out of curiosity, I noticed Mark, you said that there were an alleged 12 penciling the opposition to a Burien Annexation for the KC voters pamphlet… so…do any of those 12 ever speak up? Mark, seriously…I keep hearing you talk about your groups and people like the 12 above, and so forth, oh hey…are you going to be the president of your new group or will it be democratic and run like with voting and policies of openness so that people that want to join, can? Anyway, Mark seriously, we’re talking about facts here, and this is all I want to know…where is Seattle? Their web site states nothing, 0, nada, dates back to 2006 when Conlin said, and I can quote it cause it’s on cd, “these people come with land”. Well yes our community does have land, but not for Seattle peeps like Conlin, Nickels, and who ever else runs around in their circles with developers building concrete forests. Talk about counseling. Not every one sees dollar signs through their retinas, and if you think for a minute that the line adding value to your home with a Seattle address works… I love it, keep using it! Anyway, where is the Seattle government, mayor, bottled water ordering clerk, street sweeper…or someone…anyone that is employed by Seattle City representing YOU and your opinion? Where is the city government you speak so highly of?

  15. Marlene Allbright Says:

    I would like to respond to the tone of this blog. I think that it is possible for all of us to communicate our opinions without reaching the level of incendiary or hurtful comments. I think most of the people who have posted are all good people, who happen to disagree.

    I think Burien is a great city, and I think Seattle is a great city, but they are very different. Small town politics is different from big city politics. Burien has not had a long history of working with large diverse communities. Seattle has.

    It doesn’t help to use the politics of fear to persuade people to vote in a certain way. Yes, the Growth Management Act has encouraged cities to annex unincorporated areas, but North Highline is still going to survive if we are not annexed. King County now has only 300,000 residents to govern as opposed to over a million a few years ago. It would be convenient for Burien to annex us, but it is not the only option.

    Yes, it is true that Mark Ufkes doesn’t live in the voting area for annexation, but he has been an advocate for those of us in North Highline who didn’t have a NHUAC or city government to help us with support. Mark really didn’t have to be help us in any way, and he has a better chance of being annexed by Seattle than Burien.

    I think the larger issue is that the residents of North Highline do not want to be separated. Burien can’t afford both Area X and Area Y, and I have strong opinions that they can’t afford to annex Area X.

    I think the residents of North Highline have been sold on the utopian idea that things will be so wonderful when “we have voice” in government as opposed to big, bad Seattle.

    I lived in Seattle my entire life until four years ago. When we wanted a traffic circle in our neighborhood, we were able to access the excellent services of the Department of Neighborhoods so that we would have safety for children in our area. Please don’t tell me as one blogger did to Mark to tell me to move back to Seattle. That is cruel and unnecessary.

    There is an important election coming up, and I feel that if we treat each other respectfully, we can work together more productively, however this election turns out.

  16. Mark, now that you claim to be a Democrat, in case you aren’t aware, the King County Democrats, the 11th District Democrats, and the 34th District Democrats all have endorsed a YES vote on the annexation ballot measure. And the support for these endorsements was overwhelming. At the King County Democrats, the vote was by acclimation. At the 11th Democrants, only two of their members voted against it and at the 34th Democrats only 4 members voted against it.

    [For readers who may not be aware, Mark Ufkes is a former Chair of the 34th District Republicans.]

  17. Stephen Lamphear Says:

    @Mark — Let’s get back to the points made in your AGAINST statement. I haven’t seen a defense of any one of them.

    Although I don’t know Burien City Manager Mike Martin as well as you would seem to, I know him well enough to say that he would not be supportive of lies and fantasy framed as an argument. Martin neither supports nor opposes your statement; same goes for the FOR statement.

    Also, to continue Alcina’s comment, it was West Seattle Democratic King County Council Chair Dow Constantine who proposed endorsement of the Annexation vote at the 34th Democrats meeting.