Wash. councilwoman flexes her ‘authority’ over homeless outside condo: ‘You do not belong here’

A Washington State city councilwoman is facing scrutiny over a video showing her confronting the homeless people living outside her condominium building.

Published last week, the video shows Burien City Council member Linda Akey telling a group of homeless folks camped out outside her building that they’re trespassing.

Watch:

“I have authority,” Akey says in the clip. “I live here, and you do not belong here. … Get out from under where I live.”

She goes on to threaten to call the police unless the homeless push their tents back at least five feet away from her condominium building.

At one point, some of the homeless begin heckling Akey, telling her to “take your drunk ass home.”

“I’m trying to help you,” she replies. “I’m trying to help you, okay? And everybody out by 6:00 am, okay? I want all tents gone by 6:00 am. If you need to start at 5:00 am to do that, then you do that. You can laugh at me all you want, but the law says 6:00 am.”

According to Sam Campbell of local station KIRO, the 6:00 am request is “a reference to the anti-camping ordinance passed November in Burien, which allows tents to be erected but only between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. and only if no shelter space is available.”

“Get away from here, move away from here,” Akey continues. “If you don’t want my attitude, then leave, take your tent. Residents live up here. I live here. I live here. All these people live here. All these residents. All these residents. All these residents. … I live here and you do not belong here.”

Speaking later with Seattle station KCPQ, Akey said she was driven to action after nearly a week of observing open drug use, drug deals, and a fire lit next to the building.

“I have been calling the police pretty regularly for trespassing,” she said. “I have been told a couple of times by the police to trespass them myself, which is what happened that night.”

See footage of the fire she mentioned below:

According to the Daily Mail, Akey is a left-winger.

“In an information pamphlet ahead of the August 2023 local elections Akey ran on a platform of enhancing community policing, stronger gun laws, creating more affordable housing options and support minimum wage increases,” the site notes.

As a result, some say she deserves having the homeless live outside her home.

“Yeah, liberals are all generous until you ask them to live with the results of their policies. Not news,” one Daily Mail commenter wrote.

“Why didn’t she just bring them inside to stay with her? Isn’t she compassionate about finding them somewhere safe? I thought that’s what she ran her election on,” a second commenter wrote.

“She’s compassionate while using other people’s money. Compassionate when it’s other people’s property,” a third commenter replying to the second commenter added.

Akey is also facing some pushback for yelling at the homeless. But in a statement issued to the B-Town Blog, a local outlet, she apologized for raising her voice but stressed that she’d done nothing wrong.

“I recognize I may look angry and I apologize for raising my voice,” she said. “As Councilmember and resident, I understand the complex issues surrounding homelessness and residents’ safety concerns. I’ve been in communication with both parties regarding unauthorized belongings on private property.”

“On the night in question, I approached individuals camped on the sidewalk, informing them of condo policies and city ordinances. While I empathize with their challenges, ensuring everyone’s safety is a top priority. My primary concern is the well-being of all involved. I believe a multi-faceted approach involving residents, social services, and relevant authorities is crucial to address homelessness and addiction,” she added.

Meanwhile, controversy is brewing over claims that a former council member, Cydney Moore, whom Akey had beaten by 1,652 votes in a recent race, had lured the homeless to Akey’s building out of spite.

Moore currently serves as president of the Burien Community Support Coalition, which reportedly helps the homeless with finding spots to camp out and directs them when it’s time for them to pick up shop in the morning.

Moore has for her part denied purposefully placing the homeless in front of Akey’s building.

“No,” she told the B-Town Blog. “We have done extensive research searching for public land people can camp on throughout last year, and every piece of public property that has enough space for even a small group of people to camp has already been eliminated (we showed people every space we found, and the city turned it into a dog park, or allowed a private entity to illegally dump rocks on the land, etc.).”

“There is no other land available to my knowledge. The last space people can camp is on sidewalks, and the law is that if someone is occupying a sidewalk they can’t obstruct the pathway – they must leave at least 3 feet of clearance for people to get by. There are no other sidewalks in town that I am aware of that are wide enough for people to reasonably fit tents on besides those in downtown,” she added.

Vivek Saxena

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