Edmonds Councilmember Steve Bernheim says he won’t seek second term

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Steve Bernheim

Edmonds City Councilmember Steve Bernheim said Thursday he is not running for re-election to his council seat and will retire after one term.

“I am pleased to announce that I will not be a candidate for re-election to Edmonds City Council Position 6,” Bernheim wrote in an email to My Edmonds News. “I leave to others the challenge of getting us to a better position four years from now.”

Bernheim said he was proud of the council’s many accomplishments during his time in office, including the creation of a Transportation Benefit District, the rezone of Firdale Village to attract new development and the repeal of bans on wall murals and outdoor dining.

An attorney who is known for his commitment to environmental issues, Bernheim also cited the passage of several sustainability measures, including the legalization of hens as household pet, creation of a Tree Board, increasing penalties for illegal tree cutting, and banning disposable plastic bags.

“This is not a list of everything I wanted to accomplish or thought I would accomplish,” Bernheim said. “But it’s why I say Edmonds is a better place today than it was four years ago when I first decided to run for office.”

So far, only one candidate has declared for Bernheim’s seat — retired carpenter Paul Anderson.

Here is the complete text of Bernheim’s email:

To the voters of Edmonds, I give my thanks for their votes, confidence and encouragement over the past three and a half years. Since I joined the Council, the mayor quit, two (or was it three?) finance directors left, the city attorney was replaced, and three City Council members resigned or passed away.

Since I joined the Council, in spite of all that, we’ve improved government by eliminating city-paid health insurance for family members of the City Council; adopting a local Disaster Plan; creating the productive Economic Development Commission; and adopting a protocol for notice from the city clerk for the effective dates of new ordinances (so the ones we pass don’t get lost).

We’ve raised needed money to pay for the increasing costs of society, including creating the Transportation Benefit District to raise $25 a year for each car for transportation improvements; finally repealing the mayor’s salary increase; and raising utility taxes, and stormwater and water rates to pay for necessary maintenance and improvements.

We’ve protected residents and enhanced neighborhoods by reforming planning laws to expand buffers around new developments, increasing City Council review of development decisions, rezoning Firdale Village to attract new development, preserving the 215th St. SW neighborhood with a unique “downzone,” and repealing the bans on wall murals and outdoor dining.

We’ve improved our environment by legalizing hens as household pets, creating a Tree Board, adopting “sustainability” as an express value in our planning laws, increasing penalties for illegal tree cutting, expanding the number of parks where dog walking is allowed, banning disposable plastic bags, and allowing a zoning exception for the rainwater collection tank to help PCC build a top-rated energy efficient supermarket.

We’ve added twelve sites to the Edmonds Historic Register and limited individual contributions to local City Council and Mayor election campaigns to $500.

This is not a list of everything I wanted to accomplish or thought I would accomplish. But it’s why I say Edmonds is a better place today than it was four years ago when I first decided to run for office.

I am pleased to announce that I will not be a candidate for re-election to Edmonds City Council Position 6. I leave to others the challenge of getting us to a better position four years from now.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I would like to thank Bernheim for at least taking a chance and stepping up to serve as a council member which is typically a thankless job.

    On that same note, I hope that his pet projects listed above serve as a reminder to citizens as to why it is important to get involved in local politics….we don’t need more council members with their personal agendas taking precedent over what the city and citizens truly need…..definately not another 40k for an electric car plug in that isn’t used or a ‘tree committee’.

    None of Bernheim’s accomplishments addressed the true concerns of the citizens in this economic climate and only distracted others from what should be done…figuring out how to bring more business to Edmonds (not push them away with threats of plastic bag fines) and solve the financial woes of the city.

    Council members should remember that they are serving the citizens….not themselves…and despite their beliefs, they do not always know what is best for the citizens and should solicit credible input. As citizens, we should become more involved and ask the council members whether their pet projects are fullfilling any actual need or the actual mandate of government.

    I have always been very critical of Mr. Bernheim as I generally don’t agree with him but do have to bow to him for stepping up and choosing to serve a term.

  2. I haven’t always been a supporter of Mr. Bernheim either. However, I applaud Mr. Bernheim for putting himself at the mercy of the citizens of Edmonds. It is a difficult thing to do.

    Having said that, I am disappointed that Mr. Anderson is running unappeased for this seat. As you will remember, Mr. Anderson applied to be appointed to the City Counsel Seat left open last year by a resigning counsel member.

    I hope someone else decides to run against Mr. Anderson. If you are a fiscally conservative liberal, you are my candidate. I will be the first to donate to your campaign, hold a fundraiser for you, I will door bell for you and waive signs.

    Watch for my future letters to come as to why I do not support Mr. Anderson.

  3. Some very good changes and improvements occurred during Mr. Steve Bernheim’s term such as a major improvement in accountability and transparency in our city’s affairs. He was a strong influence towards these improvements. He has served us very well, and we are now generally more confident in our city’s management.

    While I place the plastic bag thing in the same category as the cat leash law, we should remember that the whole Council approved those highly unpopular and annoying laws, and not just one person. Steve alone didn’t pass plastic bags. And electric vehicles are not truly viable nor probably never will be either in my opinion. On the other hand there is not a single Council person of the past 41 years that I ALWAYS agreed with on everything. These criticisms are minor and for most folks do not affect our quality of life.

    (What I would like to know is why {and who} in the city’s staff failed to detect the obvious engineering failure of the rebuilt Milltown building. Is that not why Ace hardware has moved out? That is serious and should be on the Council agends for discussion. Why not inform the public?

    And the best of everything to Steve Bernheim. Thanks to a guy that help make things better.

  4. Ray:

    For the record, I was the single vote against banning single-use plastic bags; Council Member Wilson was absent from the meeting at which the vote was taken.

    Regarding the ACE Hardware situation, I fully agree with you that the public needs to be given more clarity about what’s really going on there. Is the second floor really not safe for useage as a hardware store? If so, why did the city issue an occupancy permit? My personal feeling is that that story is untrue; my very frequent observations indicate that ACE had insufficient business. If the weight of the paint was really a problem, why not continue with the remedy they already made – leave it in the garden center.

  5. The Economic Development Commission is composed of citizen volunteers. The question should be answered by Mayor Cooper and the planning department (Development Services Division?) of the City of Edmonds.

  6. I would like to thank Mr. Bernheim for his service to Edmonds. I have only worked for the City for ten months but have had several opportunities to work closely with Steve on a number of important city issues. I have found him to be a good listener, an articulate spokesperson for his ideas and opinions, and someone who is very willing to explore reasonable compromises when strongly held opinions and positions are preventing progress. He seems to be driven by results and positive change rather than a need to “win” or a desire to look good “losing”. I admire those qualities and wish him well in his next endeavor. Thanks for your service on the Council and your friendship Steve.

  7. Thanks for your service Steve as councilmember and 2 or 3 years of volunteer service on the Transportation Committee as well.

  8. I had a detailed conversation with the manager of ACE when I went in to purchase paint. It seems that there were bad decisions made on all sides. I do not believe there is any “true” story; there is no conspiracy going on here. Sometimes, things are what they are.

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