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LETTER: Former Burien Councilor: “Local government is where real decisions are made”

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

Local government is where real decisions are made. While the federal government gets the most attention, it has less of an impact on our daily lives than local governments. Your local city council has more control over your daily life than any other level of government.

Your city council will determine how you can use your property. It sets the speed limits on the streets in front of your home and business. It protects you from dangers to life and property. It sets the standard for everyday relationships between neighbors.

Unfortunately, people often don’t know who is in charge of their local governments until problems hit their backyards. Schools no longer have a civics curriculum, but we can choose when we are 18. Since we generally pay little attention to local government, we get suspicious when something changes and we don’t know it’s happening. We form strong opinions based on 10-second sound bites, sensational news articles, and quirky neighborhood rumors. But are we involved?

In general, I think that there are at least three types of people when it comes to civic engagement: There are people who want something; there are people who don’t want them to have it; and there is a large group of people who do not know that something is going on.

We are in the middle of a two-year election cycle for our city council. It has resulted in two people running for each of the four council posts. Candidates tried to reach us through neighborhood doorbells, mailings, social media, and blog posts. In light of the pandemic restrictions in place, contact via candidate forums and debates was problematic. But are we listening? Are we doing our own research? Do we care enough to know what is really going on?

The city council may not be glamorous, but real power is wielded and real changes can be made in the lives of everyday people. Please get to know the candidates, research the topics and vote in the best interests of the entire community.

– Stephen Lamphear
Shorewood, Burien
Former City Councilor 1998-2005

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Do you have an opinion that you would like to share with our dedicated local readers? Then please send your letter to the editors via e-mail [email protected] and pending review and verification, we can publish it. Letter writers must provide their full name and sources – as well as an address and telephone number (NOT for publication, but for verification purposes). Read our full guidelines for submitting letters to the editor here.

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