Protesters disrupt SeaTac City Council’s brief special meeting Tuesday

By Jack Mayne

A unidentified group of mostly young women filled the audience area of the SeaTac City Council chambers Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 18) as the Council held a brief special meeting made necessary because the city clerk had been unable to record the votes by members when the Council voted 5 to 1 to commence discussion with a company that seeks to buy the purchase the SeaTac Center.

The brief video with the protestors and revote was filmed by the group under contract to the city to video all regular and special Council meetings:

The Council had previously voted at a special meeting on Dec. 13.

City Clerk Kristina Gregg on Tuesday called the role for members to vote as they had the previous week. Mayor Erin Sitterley and Councilmembers Pam Fernald, Clyde Hill, Peter Kwon and Joel Wachtel voted for the sale. Councilmember Rick Forschler was the lone vote to reject the sale proposal. The Council’s seventh seat was vacated with the recent traffic accident death of Councilmember Amina Ahmed.

Kwon said the group protesting at the Dec. 18 meeting “was a Seattle group” but there was not independent verification of that fact.


26 Responses to “Protesters disrupt SeaTac City Council’s brief special meeting Tuesday”
  1. Kathleen Brave says:

    Such rude people. This was all scripted. I left after 45 minutes and they were still there shouting and singing. I loved (not) the chant of “we fight, we win”. Afraid not people.

    • Lonnie L says:

      My God, the commenters are racist. Why are white people soooo hateful when it comes to people of color using thier First Amendment rights? Just because white people are cowards and prefer to whine in the Comment sections rather that exercise their rights doesn’t mean that these immigrant business owners and their supporters are rude. The Seatac City Council does NOT only exist for right wing white residents of Seatac. Is the city targeting these business owners because they know some of them don’t speak English well and don’t understand the process?

      – Just another white boy tired of racist white trash

      • Pam Fernald says:

        Lonnie, you wrote: ” Is the city targeting these business owners because they know some of them don’t speak English well and don’t understand the process? ”

        Okay, Lonnie I’ll play your game. The city of SeaTac is targeting no one that I am aware of.

        Are the paid agitators and politicians who are harassing the city council and spewing hate speech at SeaTac city council meetings targeting and using these business owners for their own personal/political agendas because they know some of them don’t speak English well and don’t understand the process? ”

        Please sir, you seem to be ‘in the know’ — enlighten us as to what is really going on. Am interested to hear your insider knowledge. Thank you.

        • Ali Elmi says:

          Joel Wachtel And Pam Fernand

          You’ve raised two issues against immigrant community that I feel completely to respond straight away. First you keep bringing this issue of the City only having contract with only 11 business owners. But you and the city are aware that the so called 11 business owners have subcontracted with multiple business owners. Wasn’t the City the authority that issued licenses to the sub tenants to operate? What about the rent the subtenants pay? Can you honestly say that those rent don’t end in the City’s account?

          Secondly, you keep mentioning outside agitators/politicians who have their own agenda. If you have something to those concerned citizens and our empathetic supporters, perhaps you need a different approach. The fact still stands that there are 50-60 SeaTac business owners who you’re ignoring. Currently, you have an ongoing discussion with Inland private developers but not including those immigrant business owners. Thus, the plight of the small business owners is not even on your agenda during your discussion with Inland.

          • Vicki Lockwood says:

            At Ali Elmi and anyone who agrees with that opinion:

            At what point does a business’s responsibility stop? There must be a stopping point somewhere. If there is no stopping point, then any one business could be responsible for the entire world forever, which is asinine and unreasonable.

            Let’s say Boeing lays off 2,000 workers. These people will qualify for Unemployment Compensation for whatever period of time is allotted by the State of Washington for such people to find a different job. Boeing is responsible for paying for this benefit for those working for them. Boeing’s tax for this benefit is determined on their past history of layoffs and the rate Boeing pays for this employee benefit is continually adjusted as this likelihood of their employees to get laid off increases or decreases. Ok so far?

            Now, because of the Boeing layoffs and the change in those 2,000 former employees change in buying habits, an employee at a Safeway store is laid off, a service station employee loses their job, a bread truck driver loses his job, etc. etc. etc. Is Boeing responsible for the unemployment benefits of these ‘spillover effects’? The answer is ‘No’. Safeway, the service station owner, and the bread truck owner each pay an ‘unemployment tax’ to the State of Washington for the likelihood of their workers to be laid off. Ok so far?

            Let’s go a little deeper. Because of the aggregate layoffs at Boeing, Safeway, the service station and the bread truck driver, a clerical worker at an insurance company gets laid off because fewer people are paying for car insurance, a seamstress in Taiwan gets laid off because fewer people are buying clothes, and an employee in Russia loses his job in a Vodka bottling company because people are not consuming as much vodka. Are Boeing, Safeway, the service station, and the bread truck owners responsible for these spillover effects? Again, the answer is no. Their responsibility is only to their direct employees.

            As you can see, we could take this scenario on for an infinite number of re-iterations until according to your theory Boeing is responsible for every layoff that occurs throughout the world. And perhaps with your thinking Boeing will also be responsible for all lost jobs on any future planets humans may inhabit. Does your thinking make any sense?

            If you still think your thinking makes sense, then I ask you: Is it practical? If you think Boeing is responsible for the Safeway worker, the service station worker and the bread truck driver, then aren’t Safeway, the service station owner and the bread truck owner partially responsible for the layoffs of the insurance worker, the Taiwanese worker and the Russian worker? Who is going to determine what percentage of their unemployment is attributable to Boeing and what percentage belongs to the other companies?

            Remember, these spillover layoffs do not occur on the same day as the day that the Boeing workers were laid off. How long of a time period after Boeing lays off their 2,000 workers are you going to hold Boeing accountable for other layoffs? Who will decide the correct time period? Or according to your thinking will Boeing’s responsibility go on until the universe no longer exists?

            The City of SeaTac is only responsible to the lessees who have signed a lease with the City. These lessees have known for many years that this property was going to be re-developed. It was their choice to continue their leases. It was their choice whether to buy and install new equipment in this building while knowing full well the property was going to be redeveloped. It is not up to the City to make these business decisions for the individual business owners. Those are part of the responsibility of the person who owns each business.

      • Janice Taylor says:

        Well, I guess I’m also a “white trash racist” because I think the protestors were nothing but rude and disruptive. The tenants had plenty of notice the property was being redeveloped–that’s years-old Seatac news. ANYONE who rents knows the owner of a property can sell at any time.

        The immigrants I know are smart, resourceful and quite competent. So, why do those protesting FOR the immigrant community treat them like they are so incapable, they can’t get along without their hands being constantly held?

  2. Pam Fernald says:

    Only in America–the land of the FREE and the home of the brave.

    I thank all of our soldiers and veterans for making it possible–in the land of the free and the home of the brave–for protests like this to occur.

    I hope all protesters keep that fact in mind when they exercise their freedom–it is a privilege that we have because of the great loss of much American blood and treasure.

    Never forget that…

  3. Chuck Darielli says:

    I hope at the next meeting they have the common courtesy to turn the page to the second verse.

  4. Citizen of Seatac says:

    The majority of the folks were SeaTac Center small business owners, who are at risk for displacement. #facts

  5. Janice Taylor says:

    Why were they not removed from the meeting?

  6. Thomasina says:

    Good lord…why must we go directly to the race card? There is nothing racist about the comments or commenters. The City is not targeting business owners of any kind…the City is doing exactly what they said they would do with this property 8 years ago and the businesses that are in the SeatTac Center knew what the plans were for this building when they signed their lease. It seems they conveniently forgot – well that is no ones problem but their own. Yet, they automatically go to displacement and bigotry and racism. They claim the councilmembers are being disrespectful to them, what the he** do you call standing up and singing and chanting and disrupting the business of the City. These people are being disrespectful to the Council and to the City..the City these people claim to love and helped build. I don’t see the logic in this behavior. Just because you didn’t get what you wanted doesn’t mean you can act like a bunch of a**holes during City business. Also, if you really knew Amina – which many of you say you did – then you would know how she would have voted..which is No!

    • Thomasina says:

      Sorry – what I meant to say is: If you really knew Amina you would know her vote would be YES!…not no

  7. Earl Gipson says:

    Both protests after the Thursday and Tuesday Council Meetings within the Council Chambers, by what was said by the speakers, were a direct violation of RCW 42.17A.455-Use of public office or agency facilities in campaigns.

  8. Lonnie L says:

    Had the City bothered to reach out to business owners whose first language is not English, they would not be seeing protests now. It’s the city government’s obligation to SERVE the people in the city not blindside folks because they don’t know the process. The city should make it easier to work with the city, not unleash white trash racists on folks when they take a stand for inclusion.

    • Thomasina says:

      Blindside? Oh Lonnie…poor misinformed Lonnie…

    • Pam Fernald says:

      You are very misinformed. Not trying to be rude, but I hope you are enjoying your kool aid.

      People really do need to pay better attention and hear all of the facts before making uneducated statements.

      Who/what is your source of misinformation?

      This misinformation is a cheap, ‘old as the hills’ tactic to try and sway uninformed public so they will become a ‘tool’ for the misinformation agenda and the misinformation will be spread around–just as you are doing.

      If you live in SeaTac or even if you don’t, meetings that have been held with business owners is documented in our minutes, videos, audios and on the website. Please educate yourself. You will feel better if you do.

  9. Chuck Darielli says:

    Good one lonnie when you have no facts play the race card. Typical

  10. Jen says:

    There has been over 13 years of public engagement related to this:


    154th Street Station Area Redevelopment

    2005 Station Area Planning & Community Engagement Process
    2006 December – Adoption of Station Area Plan
    2007 Adopted Zoning and Development Regulations for S 154th Street Station Area
    2008 City purchased house at 3261 S 152nd Street – Demolished 2016
    2009 Start of Light Rail Service – Tukwila International Blvd Station
    2009 December – Adoption of Ordinance 09-1043 Authorizing Purchase of the SeaTac Center Property
    2010 Transfer of ownership of SeaTac Center Property to the City
    2010–2018 Ongoing maintenance work performed on the SeaTac Center property to ensure safety
    2010 June – City Council Retreat – Reviewed S 154th Street Station Area Plan progress
    2011 Developer Input Tours – Heartland Study & Report
    2011 S 154th Street Roadway and Sidewalk Improvements, Capital Improvement Projects Adopted by City Council December 2010
    2013 March – City Council Retreat – Reviewed S 154th Street Station Area Plan progress
    2013 April – Authorized Pancake Chef Property Purchase Option
    2014 April – Council Meeting – Urban Land Institute (ULI) Technical Assistance Panel (TAP)
    Report on the S 154th Street Station Area.
    2014–2015 Integrated Planning Grant (IPG) for environmental assessment and redevelopment prep work
    2014–2017 International Market Place Grant – $1,212,500 Appropriation from Washington State
    Department of Commerce
    2015 June – Council Meeting – IPG Report
    2017–2018 Design of Military Road and S 152nd Street Capital Improvement Infrastructure Projects
    Adopted by City Council 2017
    2018 March – Completion of the “Triangle Property” acquisition for Development Agreement #98-A075
    2018 Sale and Redevelopment of SeaTac Center property Request For Proposal (RFP)
    2019 Scheduled Construction Military Road and S 152nd Street Capital Improvement Infrastructure Projects

    Notice in 2014-2015 it was MIA GREGERSON who was mayor when the redevelopment preparation work began.

  11. Joel Wachtel says:


    I wonder if you are actually part of the group pushing “misinformation” or are truly clueless about the politics? Many of the “protestors” are well know outside agitators. Many of that group appeared during the Firs protests. Our former Mayor, Mia Gregerson seems to regularly show up for these political theatrics and it was her council that had the “it is the Cities intent to sell and redevelop the property, and we will give you at least 9 months to leave” clause into the 11 actual tenants leases. That’s right Lonnie there are only 11 tenants who have actual leases from the city! If your wondering where all the other alleged tenants came from, well their own community member (like the Bakaro Mall) knew about the exit clause and plans to redevelop, but did not share that with the people they gave sub-tenancy. But again they were advised in 2013 of the plans.

    The council has met with the tenants multiple times. They don’t want to leave. They want the city to keep everything the way it is, just because they want it that way.

    So since the sub-tenants are not doing business with the city, why is the city responsible for their situation?

    Try getting the facts next time Lonnie!

  12. Chuck Darielli says:

    Ok so here we go again. People people people for good or bad or happy or sad it has been pointed out here and on other sites, Things change. We may not like it or maybe some do. Business and people have been displaced since the start of time. Whether it’s for the airport, freeways, shopping malls, hotels, parking garages or lots, whatever. I’m sure long time residents notice more than others the changes made in this area. Again we may or may not like it but life goes on we adapt.

  13. Jen says:

    Ali Elmi

    With any type residential/commercial properties that have multiple units, it is very unlikely ALL units would have no past due owed and all paid their rent on time.

    You mentioned: ‘What about the rent the subtenants pay? Can you honestly say that those rent don’t end in the City’s account?

    There are 11 businesses that have a written lease with the City of Seatac for renting a suite. The subtenants have agreements with the lease holders not the city. I would recommend that anybody who is a subtenant is to ask the lease holder if they are current with the city.

    I can honestly say Ive seen that there are some lease holders that have a past due owing from $8,000 – $118,000. If there are businesses that owe that much, wonder if they are current paying taxes?

    Any property owner, residential or commercial, if a tenant owes $118,000 in past rent, that business owner should be thankful and quietly relocate. Seems the city has been very laid back when they could have evicted delinquent tenants… like they should have

  14. Earl Gipson says:

    The lawsuit filed by the SeaTac Center Community Coalition is 18-2-56796-3 and names the City of SeaTac and CAP ACQUISITIONS (The Inland Group) as plaintiffs. How do you sue someone for trying to buy a property? This is new to me.

    From the words of the speakers at the post Council meeting protests in the Council Chambers this is purely obstructionist tactics and any negotiation refusal claims by the coalition is a smoke screen. There is no intention by the coalition to compromise, negotiate, and/or relocate.

    Regardless of fairness, perceived injustice, etc the Rule of Law must prevail or there will be chaos and no one will be able to buy, sell and/or rent real property without Court approval in Washington State. Is this what we want/goal?

    • Jen says:


      If the coalition has no intention to compromise, negotiate, and/or relocate, then the City of SeaTac needs to evict all the delinquent lease holders. When they are evicted, the subtenant will know their payment went to the lease holder bank account.

      Who ever is a subtenant to a lease holder who is evicted, they also will have to go.

      After the City of SeaTac evicts all the delinquent lease holders, there will be very few businesses left.

      Then the city can sell the property without any problems.

  15. Jen says:


    Because they seem to feel they are being discriminated because they are immigrant business owners, it is only right for their businesses to be investigated for paying taxes and also face eviction for past due delinquent owed to the City of SeaTac

  16. Chuck Darielli says:

    Who is responsible for collecting the rent, taxes etc.