Court rules in city’s favor regarding Edmonds Crossing records request


Something that may be of interest to government watchers in Edmonds: a ruling in Snohomish County Superior Court last week in a case involving Edmonds resident Finis Tupper, who had alleged that the city didn’t respond adequately to his request for public records related to the Edmonds Crossing Project. (Edmonds Crossing, which would have involved relocating the Edmonds ferry terminal south of the existing site, is currently on hold.) The court ruling, issued Wednesday, March 16, stated that the City provided in a timely manner all records that Tupper had requested.

According to court documents, Tupper had requested the records on Nov. 24, 2009, and the City responded on Dec. 11. Tupper then modified his records request on Jan. 10, 2010, and the city’s response came on Jan. 26, 2010. “The City made available to Plaintiff (Tupper) all known records responsive to Plaintiff’s January 8, 2010, modified/clarified request” after it had “performed an exhaustive search of 20 bankers boxes of materials,” the court said. “The estimate of time provided by the City was a reasonable period of time to conduct such search and to make the responsive records available,” the court said.

The court also noted that Tupper “has accepted the City’s invitation to inspect records related to the Edmonds Crossing project.”





  1. There are a few citizens in our city who seem to make a hobby of filing public records requests. The only apparent purpose for those requests is to harrass city staff and/or elected officials. These requests often involve the assembly of massive amounts of documents that when made available are never viewed at city hall by the requestor. This “hobby” costs Edmonds taxpayers considerable expense for the staff time needed to comply with the requests. It amounts to so much work that the city this year must hire an additional staff member simply to handle public records requests.

  2. Ron,

    Having requested records from the city myself, I will speak to why I did so. I requested documentation of how much OMW was paid, after observing that Councilman Bernheim was being stone walled by the former Mayor in his request for the same information. I was also concerned about the size of the city’s legal bills and, specifically, the amount of money spent by the city on one short plat application in our neighborhood.

    I will add that my request was promptly responded to and everyone that I interacted with at city hall was friendly, respectful, and helpful to me when I went in to review the records.

    Often the reason that citizens request public records is due to a lack of transparency on the part of city government. If all public records were openly posted on the city’s website, there would be a lot less need for public records requests by citizens.

    Transparency is the key. Blaming citizens who request public records completely misses the point of the reason that city government is legally REQUIRED to respond to all requests for public records. It is because all citizens have the right to be as informed as we wish to be about the operation of our government. This is as it should be.

  3. Joan:

    I have no problem with with what you’ve said. My frustration is with citizens who cause the city staff to assemble the relevant public records and then they never go to city hall to review the documents.

  4. There is no doubt in my mind that the 10 years of Haakenson was the major reason for a larger number of freedom of info requests, and hardly not evil pernicious individuals seeking to damage their city. I was also sickened and offended by the refusal of Snyder and Haakenson to comply with Bernheim’s request for specific details for certain of Snyder’s billings. That smelled to high heaven in my view. I still wonder, did those mysterious and still unknown expenses include legal costs in which our city was billed for candidate DJ Wilson’s PDC defense? This would seem to be a clear violation of using city resources to promote a personal campaign. DJ has danced around answering that question as he also has also so done on the question of the failed attempted smear job on Stephanie Wright. What about those questions DJ?

  5. Ray–

    You continue to have some fixation with me that stretches so far into the la-la land of your imagination, I am flattered. Thanks for the energy.

    As I have said to you when I took you to breakfast, when I have spoken with you at Council, and which I have addressed when asked:

    – Your PDC claim against Councilman Strom Peterson and me was found to be without any merit. No defense was needed. Moreover, it was an accusation related to my city council position, not my campaign.

    – Stephanie Wright is a friend I have known and worked with for 11 years. I have not had anything to do with a “smear” campaign against her.

    And again, thank you Ray for your comments in August of 2009 where you praised me as Council President for being forthcoming and releasing city documents otherwise protected under attorney client privilege.

    All the best!


  6. DJ:
    Question #1- You, once again, evade a straightforward answer! Were city funds or resources, specifically the city attorney, used to defend you, a political candidate, in your PDC complaint? Yes or no?

    question #2 – You have partially answered. I now suspect that you may have have knowledge without originating it yourself ? What did you know and when did you learn about the dirt campaign against Ms. Wright? And who else would possibly benefit by it?

    For your “praise” column, I believe your performance has improved somehat recently; likely due to the influence of a different Mayor.



  7. #9 – Wow – 415 words to reply to comments that are without merit…that’s a lot of something about nothing then. Or is it the other way around?

    The comment that the city is poorly run is insulting, and fortunately a statement of opinion rather than of fact.

  8. Its important to differentiate between the Haakenson years and the current operation when it comes to a “poorly run” opinion. There lies the difference.

    The current Council and our new Mayor have been doing very well, especially in cost controls, transparency, and fair minded common sense. Also important is that most city employees have performed well in both periods.

  9. Ron or Ron, Just copy the email and past it to you response and it all comes. If the email has attachments then each attachment has to be copied and pasted to the response box.

  10. Wow, I guess the evil ex-mayor and his cronies, led by the Finance Director so recently drummed out of town, really pulled the wool over The Man’s eyes in order to receive the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).

    The constant accusations and insinuations of nefarious purposes by council members and a few members of the public are both ignorant, and insulting to the city staff and public as a whole. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it wrong.

  11. Methinks this whole series of comments should be required reading for Superior Court Judge Wilson who basically ruled against a citizen’s right to full disclosure of public records!

  12. this just in..”the movie Conspiracy Theory was about to take a serious hit at the box office until the re-release in the small town of Edmonds, Wa…sales have been so extraordinary Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson are considering a sequel…”


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