This was the fifth, and potentially final, meeting to discuss the Burien’s “Sanctuary City” ordinance. They were prepared for the huge attendance with a television stationed in the hall outside, broadcasting the meeting for the standing-room crowd.
For this meeting, Debi Wagner joined the council by phone.
Senator King Lysen was honored for his work as State Senator. He was a longtime Burien resident and teacher, who worked with and supported many local unions, as well as protecting local parks and wildlife.
We then heard public comments unrelated to the agenda. A brief summary:
- Ice cream trucks in low-income neighborhoods causing a constant noise issue.
- Access to City Council meetings is needed for non-English speakers.
- One resident had a harrowing experience with someone breaking & entering.
- An enquiry was made about who would be the new Police Chief; the Mayor responded that this would be revealed later in the evening. This, however, did not happen- as you will see.
- Bellevue passed an ordinance banning safe injection sites. Should Burien?
The Consent agenda passed unanimously and without discussion.
Lisa Marshall, the City Attorney, explained that the deadline for getting the “Sanctuary” ordinance on the November ballot has been extended to August 11th. Placing this item on the ballot will cause the current lawsuit against the City to be dropped, and will not cost the City additional money.
After this news, public comments related to the agenda were heard. All comments addressed Ordinance 651, the “Sanctuary” ordinance. During the nearly two hours of comments, all but three people were in support of 651. A brief summary:
- Many people mentioned not feeling safe revealing their addresses, with Craig Keller, the man who brought both the Proposition to repeal the Sanctuary ordinance, and the ensuing lawsuit, to Burien.
- Craig Keller mentioned the recent rape in Burien, and that some places have rejected similar Sanctuary ordinances.
- Many people expressed support for placing 651 before the voters, since it seemed inevitable that it would end up there eventually either way.
- Some mentioned an uptick in violence and hate crimes.
- Many reminded us that our country stands for liberty & justice for all.
- Some said that the petition to repeal the Sanctuary ordinance was blatantly racist, and an obvious attack on progress.
- One said that racial profiling breaks down community trust.
- The three Council Members who signed the petition were called out by name: Krakowiak, Wagner, and Edgar.
- One young speaker left in tears before he was able to read what he wrote, in his native language.
- One mentioned that the Council leadership is ineffectual and needs to be replaced.
- One blamed the modern economic system for pitting workers against each other in the first place.
- One refugee equated Ordinance 651 with dignity.
- Many said that when we vote, we will choose love.
- One mentioned that no one should be using a rape survivor as a political tool.
- One resident pleaded with the council to make it very clear to the public what Ordinance 651 is, vs. Proposition 1, before we vote on it.
- One expressed that Burien is a city for everyone.
- One argued that 651 changed absolutely nothing besides the issue of religious status.
- One shared a message from Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel: The first thing they did was to declare the Jews illegal.
- One person reminded us that 3,648 people signed the petition stating that they wanted the Sanctuary ordinance repealed or put on the ballot.
- One stated that racial profiling makes us less safe.
- One said that all 10 claims made on the Respect Washington website were debunked by the LA Times in 2007, and reminded us that 1/4 of the signatures on the repeal initiative were fraudulent.
Around 9pm the Mayor called a break.
Bob Edgar then spoke at length in favor of putting this to a vote. After ten minutes of the Council discussing and disagreeing on how to make this decision, they voted 4:3 in favor of voting on the motion without discussion (no doubt they were working to avoid another filibuster, but as Austin Bell mentioned, they might have been putting the cart before the horse, since it was unlikely that anyone would filibuster this meeting). Finally, with no discussion of the subject in question among the Council, the motion to put the Sanctuary Ordinance on the November ballot passed, 6 in favor and one abstention.
No discussion was allowed before or after the vote, and the public got noisy about this change in the rules. At their first rumblings, the Mayor called another recess, and left the room along with Edgar. Berkowitz, Bell, Tosta, and Armstrong stayed, and Tosta addressed the public with her comments she was not allowed to say while council was in session. She said that she was very troubled by the outside influences that brought the Initiative against Ordinance 651. Then Berkowitz explained her position in abstaining, and in her filibuster last week during the special meeting.
One audience member asked why this ordinance even mattered, and Bell explained after a few audience members tried to answer the question. Bell said that the Ordinance bolstered existing laws, and spoke of concern that the City government is becoming an arm of the Federal government.
Mayor Krakowiak reentered the room at this point, and told everyone that we needed to clear the room so the Police could explain the rules of conduct. After this disruption, we again found our seats and there was a drawing to determine who would be on the committee to write the “Pro” statement in the Voter’s guide, and who would write the “Con” statement.
The names in the drawing to write the statement in favor of repealing the Sanctuary Ordinance were Chuck Rengol, Darla Green, Craig Keller, and Frank Coluccio. Green, Keller, and Coluccio were chosen randomly.
The names in the drawing to write the statement against repealing the Sanctuary Ordinance were Hugo Garcia, Terri Lindeke, Jennifer Fichamba, Daniel Martin, Joey Martinez, Krystal Marx, Jesse McFarland, Sandy Restrepo, and Phil Smith. The three chosen committee members were Fichamba, Restrepo, and Smith.
And so ended the meeting, at 10 pm. The remaining City business was tabled for the next meeting, despite Tosta highlighting the time-sensitive nature of the next agenda item.
Here is The Stranger’s report on our meeting.