LETTER: Anti-Annexation Protestor Removed from White Center Jubilee Days
To the Editor -
Citizens in the White Center/Area Y annexation area were censored from hearing both sides of the annexation issue by the Committee Chairman of White Center Jubilee Days and the President of the North Highline Unincorporated Council (NHUAC for info see>>> http://b-townblog.com/2012/03/28/letter-nhuac-represents-views-of-very-very-few-people-who-live-in-area-y/).
On Saturday, July 21, 2012, the first day of White Center Jubilee Days, the festival chairman had a citizen “removed from the area” of White Center Jubilee Days for simply handing out a half-page flyer stating, “Vote No on Burien Annexation”.
The citizen was on public property, creating no public nuisance and simply handing out flyers sponsored by the “Independent White Center PAC“, a group of concerned local residents and business owners opposed to Burien annexation.
It is likely that the festival official was prompted by a NHUAC representative to have the citizen removed. The citizen was not breaking any laws or violating any King County ordinances according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. It also appears that based on all of the printed materials from the White Center Jubilee Days Committee, that the citizen was not violating any of the posted rules for people attending the festival.
The festival organizer told the citizen that he owned the street and for that reason, he insisted the police remove the citizen from “the area” which included removal from private property which the citizen had the owner’s permission to be on. While other people were handing out items on the street without having a booth, they were not removed from the festival. So the question is, when a public festival organizer gets a permit to close a street does he “own” the street or does he simply have the right to limit vehicular access to that street? Also at a public festival, does the organizer of the festival have the right to throw out peaceable citizens because he does not like their political views? Lastly, does the organizer of a public festival have the right to supplant the rights of private property and business owners because he is having a festival?
The “Yes on annexation” folks were present in numbers and handing out materials promoting annexation but apparently took great umbrage at this little flyer that contradicted their viewpoint.
Here are the simple words on the flyer which also had a festive candy stapled to each one for anyone that was interested in reading it.
on Burien Annexation:
- No new property taxes
- No new business taxes
- No new utilities fees
- No new ordinances or zoning changes
If you are a citizen of White Center/Area Y, I think it is important that you hear both points of view and not just one side of the issue.
At the last annexation outreach meeting a city representative refused to allow a citizen to ask a question that he did not want asked.
The city of Burien also failed to post notice to Burien & Area Y citizens that a public hearing on the annexation of Area Y was being held by the King County Council.
Last I checked, this is still the United States of America where anyone is supposed to be free to express their political viewpoints so voters can make an informed decision.
I think a fair question to ask is why are they afraid of a free and open dialogue on the issue of annexation?
Maybe because if people were fully informed there is a good chance that the majority of voters in area Y might decide leaving King County and incorporating into Burien is not such a good idea after all?
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