On Jan. 5, there will be a new face on the Edmonds City Council: Adrienne Fraley-Monillas. A resident of the Lake Ballinger neighborhood in southeast Edmonds for more than two decades, Fraley-Monillas is retiring from her job at Fircrest School, where she has served as an adult training program supervisor. My Edmonds News interviewed Fraley-Monillas about her goals and challenges as she prepares to be sworn in at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Q: What would like your constituents to know about you?
A: I’m very open-minded, and I want to truly do what’s best for the people who live in the city. That’s why I ran to begin with. I don’t have any hidden agendas.
Q: What do you believe is the most important issue in front of the City Council in 2010?
A: Our fiscal issues. How are we going to be able to afford things going forward? Certainly the City Council hasn’t faced anything like this in at least 40 years. Everything needs to be looked at, although my social services background tells me that people need to come first.
Q: What are your top additional priorities for the year?
A: We need to streamline our council. These meetings with super-packed agendas that go on until midnight are crazy. I don’t think the way we are doing it is very effective for the council, the people who sit at the meetings or the people watching it on TV. I also want to continue the city’s work on sustainability issues in Edmonds. We have been at the forefront of those issues, with the green building at PCC and the plastic bag ban. The city is already doing that now, but I would like to see us keep it up. I would also like to see the zoning regulations applied more uniformly to everyone. And I would like to work on the Highway 99 issue. When you travel from Shoreline to Edmonds on Highway 99, you are hit with a bucket of cold water when you drive into Edmonds. I think we could attract green businesses to Highway 99 and perhaps some more dense development, similar to the apartment buildings they have near the Dale Turner YMCA in Shoreline. What really takes me back is that many of our better paid employees in the City of Edmonds can’t afford to live here. The new development planned for Firdale Village will be a first test: mixed use and on a bus line; I’m hoping that will be the start of a model.
Q: Most people in Edmonds don’t take an active role in local government, as evidenced by the same few citizens who regularly attend council meetings. Do you have ideas for engaging the public in conversations about important city issues?
A: I would like to see us hold local neighborhood meetings to get people engaged. I also think it’s important to look at city projects that extend beyond the Edmonds Bowl; I sat on the transportation committee and most of the sidewalk projects were in the Bowl. As someone who lives in the Lake Ballinger area, I feel like a stepchild to some degree. It would be nice to see a connection between all neighborhoods.
Q: What do you like best about the part of Edmonds that you live in?
A: I love my neighbors. I live in a working-class neighborhood with people who work at Nintendo, for the railroad, who are nurses. We all watch out for each other. I also love being able to walk to the lake and being close to the freeway and having it be so easy to get to wherever I want to go. And the neighborhood is very multicultural with people of all different backgrounds and cultures.