Some SeaTac officials object to Burien Mayor Matta siding with residents of Firs

By Jack Mayne

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta created a small controversy when he wrote a letter to the King County Superior Court judge presently considering an appeal of the residents of the Firs Mobile Home Park who have been told they have to move to make way for a commercial development.

Some members of the SeaTac City Council and city residents have said it was inappropriate for the mayor of an adjoining city to interfere with SeaTac’s decisions and processes. Matta told the SeaTac and B-Town Blogs that he had the right to comment on what appears to be an unfair action involving the mostly Hispanic residents of the Firs.

On March 30, King County Superior Court Judge LeRoy McCullough postponed the decision on an appeal by the residents of the approval by a SeaTac hearing examiner of a decision that allowed the park to close and the property redeveloped possibly for hotels and other higher uses.

“I did not have time to get through the voluminous record,” the judge said in a written statement released via his court bailiff.

The Firs residents said in their appeal that “mobile home park owners and residents are subject to reasonable regulation, which include carefully balanced requirements for closing a mobile home park: At least one-year proper notice of intent to close a mobile home park, cooperative formulation and implementation of a relocation plan to successfully relocate all residents of the mobile home park before a mobile home park can be closed and converted to another land use.”

Matta asked the judge to send the matter back to the original hearing examiner for more consideration of the decision.

Several legal observers, including SeaTac City Attorney Mary Mirante Bartolo, have said state law offers no other help the city can utilize to help the residents who have been protesting the eviction for over a year.

SeaTac officials and some residents have said it was inappropriate for Mayor Matta to say in his letter that “This letter is my opinion and not the opinion of the Burien City Council” but then sign it as “Jimmy Matta Burien Mayor.” Matta said Monday he is legally permitted to use his signature as mayor in communications.

Here’s Matta’s letter:


13 Responses to “Some SeaTac officials object to Burien Mayor Matta siding with residents of Firs”
  1. Earl Gipson says:

    Mayor Matta needs to mind his own City. Remember this?

    How about Mayor Matta read some laws or the legal submissions in the Firs case?

  2. Rick Harwood says:

    Which SeaTac city officials and residents object? Why aren’t they named?
    And what about the letters submitted by County council member Claudia Balducci or by the Port of Seattle Commissioners? Do some members of the SeaTac city council and city residents also object to their letters? Is that they object to concerned people who don’t live in SeaTac but with an interest in the future of some SeaTac homeowners writing letters or is it an objection to the content of the letter?
    The big question here is does SeaTac, a city used by residents all around the region, need more hotels and parking lots or does it need to preserve affordable housing for long time homeowners who work, raise children, and pay taxes in SeaTac?

    • seatac says:

      Should you live in a mobile home park?
      Many times I wonder if people actually stop to ask themselves, “Should I live in a mobile home park?”
      My answer is, it should be something you do on a temporary basis. And by temporary I mean 5-7 years at the most. I look at living in the park then same way as I look at working minimum wage jobs: it should be one stop in a larger plan, it should not be the final destination.
      If you live in a mobile home park long enough it becomes a losing situation financially.

  3. Kathie Brave says:

    I am just flabbergasted at this entire debacle! The man owns the property, the man can do what he wants to do with it! No one had better tell me what I can do when I’m ready to sell, sooner than later I hope. He has given them plenty of notice and also money to help. Who do they think they are? No better than I. Since when, other than zoning regulations and such, can citizens TELL the owner what they can and can’t do? As far as the mayor of Burien, none of your business.

    • Rick Harwood says:

      Really? So if Mr Park wanted to build a strip club or a marijuana dispensary he could do that too? Zoning regulations can say more affordable housing and no hotels or parking lots or business parks in a residential neighborhood. How/why do you think the property was rezoned for mixed use? To keep out the low income residents.

      • seatac says:

        Rick Harwood,
        regardless of your ideology, the fact is the current private property owner has proposed a hotel and apartment building which will provide more affordable housing than the current mobile homes provide. more affordable housing because it will be several stories high, providing more density than a single-story mobile home.

        you want more housing, but no more development? why don’t you try focusing on realistic solutions instead of no-win ideological scenarios?

      • seatac says:

        by the way, do you know that Mia Gregerson.rezoned the property “To keep out the low income residents” back in 2010? why don’t you complain to her instead of supporting her sour grapes state campaign?

  4. Joan of Arc&Saw says:

    Mr. Matta must not have enough to do in his own city if he has time to advise his neighboring cities on what they should do.

    So, Mr. Matta — do you like the way things are in Burien now? Keep following your own advice and you will attract more and more thugs who don’t pay taxes, who sleep and defecate in your streets, and who kill one another. Your city may grow in population (if you can find any volunteers to count the homeless when the census is taken), but your city will not prosper. You might want to begin building orphanages for the thousands of kids these non-contributors will create but never parent as well. Your vision for the future is clear! Good luck with your philosophies in a far away land.

  5. Lisa J. says:

    Rick Harwood co-founded the “Seatac Neighborhood action Council”, which raised (raises?) awareness about the Firs eviction, and meets with the Firs tenants, so I’m pretty sure he knows what’s going on and who Mia Gergerson is.

  6. chuck darielli says:

    Well Lisa that explains a lot!

  7. Joel Wachtel says:

    For the record, I have taken the time to verify with city staff that the zoning for the Firs property has not been changed by the city council and remains consistent with the comprehensive plan. The front of the property, on International Blvd has always been commercial and the rear section has always been mixed use. Therefore any statement regarding “plans to rezone” the Firs property are totally incorrect.

  8. Jen says:

    This was posted the following day. Notice it is ‘for Spanish’ tenants. I asked if there are translators for English… No response

    A free workshop on Tenants Rights will be presented in Spanish at the Burien Library this Saturday: