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City of Burien Council Position No. 5

Salary: $7200Term: 4 yearsThe Burien city council is responsible for policy making, and for appointing a professional city manager, who is responsible for administration. Under the council-manager statutes, the city council is prohibited from interfering with the manager's administration. The city manager, however, is directly accountable to and can be removed by a majority vote of the council at any time.
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  • Darla Green (NP)

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    Nancy Tosta (NP) Retired

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Biographical Information

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastucture?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

What are other major issues facing your city or town?

Of those listed above, which one is the most urgent?

What methods will you use to work with the mayor (if you have an elected mayor) or the city manager or administrator(if you have an chief administrator hired by the council)?

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Phone (206) 886-5591
Email nancy@reelecttosta.org
Town where you live Burien, WA
Experience (300 characters max) 4 yrs on City Council, 4 yrs on Planning Commission, 16 yrs in state gov't, 4.5 yrs in fed gov't, 3 yrs as Director of Growth Strategies at PSRC, 18 years consulting to gov't agencies and foundations on econ dev, environment, climate change, health.
Our public works fund is underfunded, meaning many of our roads are in poor condition. We make do as we can, but it is an ongoing issue. We do not have the resources to build needed sidewalks or to establish traffic crossings that the community has asked to install. Our Public Works Dept recently had to hurriedly vacate a leased facility and has been functioning in temporary space. We are hoping for a partnership with transit agencies to assist in resolving this.

On a “social infrastructure” front – we have finally made the decision to hire a human services manager who should be able to assist us in our efforts to provide services to the unsheltered population in our community, along with those needing mental health or addiction services. But we have too few resources to meet the needs.
We have very limited city resources. We are seeing rising rents and are fearful they may be accompanied by increased homelessness. I believe we need to find a way to build and keep housing more affordable for low and middle income families. Some thoughts on doing this are to encourage more housing be built with zoning changes, passing a source of income discrimination ordinance, passing some tenants’ rights legislation that requires a sliding scale in length of notice to match rates of rent increases. We do not have a day or night shelter (aside from one facility with a few beds for women to stay for a few months) and do not have the city resources to build, staff, and maintain one. We need to do more with partnerships with both not-for-profit and for-profit entities to find ways to provide services that help people avoid becoming homeless and getting the care they need when homeless and mentally ill or addicted. My main goal in short term is to better understand the problem.
I am one! We have a growing senior population and have helped to support the development of several senior housing projects. Burienites love their community and many who have grown up here want to retire here as well. We have many recreational activities that are oriented towards seniors, that are supported by our City’s Parks and Recreation budget. I am committed to ensuring our seniors feel safe, along with our newly growing families. We have a community that welcomes and protects all ages.
In January I advocated for and supported passage of our Ordinance 651- prohibiting unnecessary immigration inquiries or\ the creation of religious registries. This has elicited a great deal of reaction in our community, with one very positive benefit being the engagement of members of our minority communities who have not participated in city politics before. The Ordinance was taken from the King County Sheriff's office policy that has been in place for 30 years. I believe that immigration enforcement is a federal issue and does not require enforcement at the local level.
1. Budget: We do not have the budget we need to provide all the services needed by residents in our community. We spread our dollars wisely, there is never enough to pay for roads, ensure public safety, and provide needed social services. 2. Gentrification and lack of vision: The job growth in Seattle is changing the housing market (increasing prices) in Burien. More income is spent on housing, longer commutes are common. Significant increases in rent are pushing people into homelessness. I have been advocating for 3 years for a 20 year plan and have been unable to get a majority of Council to agree. 3. Divisiveness: As our minority community has grown and become more engaged, there’s been a backlash within and from outside attempting to intimidate the community and rile up protectionist, racist tendencies. National behavior is enabling a culture of incivility, making it difficult to find common ground.
The divisiveness is dominating every conversation in the community, as well as our current elections. It's been present on Council, with little effort on the part of our Mayor to bridge the differences of views within Council. We need to agree to try to find common ground through respectful dialog before we can begin to plan for the future or address the other challenges we face as a community.
I meet at least weekly with the City Manager. We've had 4 City Managers in the 4 years I've been on Council. We have not been able to agree as a Council on the key characteristics we believe are essential in a City Manager. I have worked to develop a working relationship with our new manager, as I have with all of our previous City Managers. I believe that open and honest communication, sharing information across the entire Council, and clarifying roles and responsibilities can provide an environment that fosters trust and effective working dynamics.

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