Rick Steves among those on mayoral candidate Earling’s endorsement list

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Edmonds mayoral candidate Dave Earling Monday released a preliminary endorsement list Monday that includes Rick Steves of Edmonds-based Europe Through the Back Door and former Snohomish County and Edmonds City Councilmember Gary Nelson.
 
 “Edmonds needs a city government that can bring differing viewpoints together to get the job done in the interest of its citizens,” Steves said. “Given Dave’s experience in government, his business background, and his long-term passion for this place we call home, I believe Dave can provide the steady leadership we need at this time.” 

Added Nelson: “From budget concerns and land use decisions, to environmental and transportation challenges, I have witnessed Dave Earling’s ability to reach consensus. I know Dave Earling will be a Mayor of whom we can be proud.”

Earling earlier picked up the endorsement of former Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson and also has received endorsements from the mayors of Everett, Mukilteo, Mountlake Terrace, Bothell and Woodway.

The former Edmonds City Councilmember is hosting his official campaign kickoff Thursday at Arista Wine Cellars from 5-7 p.m.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Mayor Cooper is the Chairman of the Regional Fire Authority Planning Committee. There are 6 other mayors on the committee. I believe it is very significant that 5 of those 6 mayors have chosen to endorse the candidacy of Dave Earling.

  2. I’m going to guess Dave Earling did not seek the endorsement of the 6th mayor. That would be Don Gough of Lynnwood. If you follow Lynnwood politics at all you know that Mayor Gough is not well liked.

  3. Joe:
    I mis-counted. The Mayor of Brier endorsed Mayor Cooper. Dave Earling has 5 of 7; still very significant! I originally did not include Mayor Gough in my count because I first thought that 3 council members were representing Lynnwood. I’ve now re-checked the committee’s minutes and see that Mayor Gough is apparently a member of the Planning Committee.

  4. I haven’t made up my mind on the mayoral candidates yet, but here’s my take on endorsements: an endorsement is simply one other person’s opinion. Being rich, well-connected, or being elected to office, doesn’t make that opinion somehow more informed or relevant.

    So it is not intellectual shorthand to follow the endorsements, it is abrogating your responsibility for personal inquiry and consideration.

    There is no force (at least no real force) behind any argument that proposes that a candidate is in any way more acceptable due to either:
    A. Endorsements
    B. Amount of funds raised.

    But I’ll bet we’re going to hear a lot of both of these arguments.

    Let’s ask the candidates the tough questions, and judge them by their answers. We are incredibly fortunate to at least have a RACE for each seat that is up for this election, given how vacant the field was a few weeks ago.

    This gives us an opportunity, through thoughtful, guided questioning, to set the tone for the next administration. Our questions force candidates to think through their answers and present them repeatedly. If we ping away with questions about minutiae, then the candidates will be confused about our priorities, and will dive into the minutiae once they are in office.

    We must let the candidates know what we DO want, vice what we DON’T want. Yammering about endorsements simply encourages candidates to spend their time and energy garnering more endorsements.

  5. Ron B.
    Great summary of the duties of a City Manager!
    I firmly believe that this is the way to go in Edmonds.
    Roger Hertrick is the only candidate that does not have any allegiance and does not have any political ambitions. He has always put the needs and rights of the citizens first and has taken much flack in the process through the years. As far as I am concerned he is an unsung hero in Edmonds making the mayor and city council publicly accountable for their actions. From what I know of the other candidates it seems that it will be more of the same we have now. it is high time for an educated professional manager who will deal with the business side of our city without being beholden to unions or old buddies, etc.. Someone who is smart and can make the tough decisions to cut down on all expenses and work with council and citizens to increase revenues. We could also have a mayor to represent Edmonds and cut the ribbons at new businesses openings! The “Strong mayor” format is just antiquated and will not work well any longer since our city has grown to be a multi million dollar enterprise. I firmly believe that especially during this election we need to retain or vote for people who are independent and have NO political connections nor political ambitions. It is high time for a change!

  6. What is interesting to me is that Mr. Steve’s claim to be a Democrat, has spoken at many Democratic functions, has refused endorsements to many Democrats, and now endorses a conservative, anti-union candidate. Good job, Rick!

  7. Darrol, thanks for asking a great question. Ron B, that’s a great list to start things off. Todd, I really appreciate your comments over in the Joan Bloom article that our financial problems are too big to be solved by any single solution. Those thoughts echo what Ron W has been saying. Betty, I agree that Ron B’s list describes a city manager. A mayor should have all the qualities a city manager needs.

    The quality that’s missing is leadership, though I would prefer to think of it as consensus building. Our city council lacks a leader who can get everybody on the same page. Everybody fights for their own narrow agenda, so nobody wins. With 4 city council members and a mayor up for election, this problem is only going to get worse between now and November. Everybody is going to fight for the candidates that fall closest to their positions and nobody is going to fight for consensus.

    I don’t think it matters what kind of levy is put on the ballot because without a strong consensus it will fail, regardless of the serious need for more revenue. (Re-read the survey results if you disagree.) I’m OK with that because our council and mayor need a slap in the face to stop the infighting. I don’t think the city will survive without a levy, but it will survive a delay in passing one.

    I’m hoping that either one of the 3 candidates for mayor, or one of the candidates for council will emerge as a leader who can stand up and say “these are tough times and nobody is going to get everything they want. including me. Here’s a modest plan that includes a levy to fund the things we really need, cuts the things we don’t need, and builds new sources of revenue for the things we want.” I don’t hear any candidate saying anything like that. I hope that between now and November we will.

  8. Priya:
    Rick Steves action is a demonstration of why he’s a very successful businessman – he’s objective.

  9. I agree with Priya that Rick Steves is not objective because objectivity is a myth. I think that saying he is objective is always just another way of saying I agree with him. In addition, he is highly opinionated on a number of subjects and is unafraid to express those opinions, even when they clash with his own business interests.

    I strongly admire Mr. Steves, but like Todd I haven’t made up my mind about who to vote for, and endorsements (not even Mr. Steves’ endorsement) are not going to affect my decision.

  10. Joe, some really good points back at 9. Glad I asked the question. Here are some added points that hopefully will add to the discussion and lead us to some really good questions that Todd talks about as we move forward in this campaign. At the outset of the Economic Development Commission all commissioners agreed that the notion of “consensus” was one of the key factors for Edmonds to move ahead. When Council works in a “retreat” setting they talk, listen, learn and discuss issues well. When they try to do the same thing at Council meetings the results are not the same. That is way I urged them at their retreat and again at a Levy discussion on Feb 22 to immediately set up a plan to discuss the financial and levy issues at a “retreat” type setting. It took 4 months, competing proposals, charges of going back on their word and a host of other things that did not resemble anything like “consensus” In my work on several city issues I have seen first hand the concensus building behavior of Phil Williams, Carrie Hite, and Stephen Clifton. What a great team of individuals we have running their respective departments.
    I have goggled the job discriptions for Mayors and City Managers and other then the “ribbon cutting “ activities they are pretty much the same. Same WORK PREFORMED and same “QUALIFICATIONS” See a sample of a City Manager Job description at the end of the post.
    So if we are “voting” for a Mayor or we are “hiring” a City Manager the work performed and the qualifications are about the same. There are some really good mayors around Puget Sound and when you look at their success it is usually related to the skills and qualifications they possess, not the form of city government.
    Ron B’s list is a good one and has a lot to do with style and attitude. Very important. Qualifications are also important and a proven track record of building consensus is right up there. In the upcoming development of a Strategic Plan one of the key components is the development of actionable items for which there is a consensus from the public at large. This will provide a citizen driven clear direction to where Edmonds should go and how to get there.
    Todd’s point of the questions we ask should be built around all 3 areas: 1. Understanding the work to be performed. 2. Possessing the qualifications to do the job. And 3. The style and attitude they bring to the job.
    Here is the Job description:
    DEPARTMENT / DIVISION: City Manager
    Work is performed under the direction of the City Council.This is highly responsible executive level work planning, directing, and coordinating the work of City agencies on behalf of the City Council. NOTE: The City Manager’s position description is defined by City Charter. This position is unclassified and subject to change or modification at the discretion of the City Council.

    SUPERVISION RESPONSIBILITIES:
    Executive direction is provided to department heads, Assistant City Managers, and support staff.

    WORK PERFORMED:
    Plans, organizes, coordinates, prioritizes, assigns, and evaluates the work of department heads, Assistant City Managers and support staff; provides counseling and training as needed. Prepares annual report on Programs and Priorities. Evaluates the City’s physical and service needs and financial resources; provides policy guidance for the development and review of budget requests and program proposals; appraises agency performance in relation to program objectives and priorities. Directs the preparation of the annual budget and presents budgetary recommendations to the City Council; oversees budgetary execution and control and recommends or approves budgetary adjustments in keeping with City policies. Provides executive leadership for major City functions; coordinates the work of City agencies among themselves and with related federal, state, and local agencies; plans for future development, growth, maintenance, and expansion of public services. Supervises and participates in preparing agenda and agenda materials for the City Council’s consideration; formulates alternatives and recommends program and administrative policies for Council consideration; evaluates plans for effecting Council policies; plans and oversees the preparation of regular and special reports for the City Council and the public. Represents the City government in dealing with State legislative and executive officers, federal administrative agencies, officers of local governments, and community groups. Appoints department heads and other personnel, as provided by ordinances. Advises City Council in financial and legislative matters, suggesting actions which should be taken for the betterment of the community; provides recommendations regarding revenue sources, management of financial activities, investments and indebtedness, and utilization of available federal/state grants and matching fund programs. Assesses governmental operations to ensure effectiveness, efficiency, and public convenience. Performs related work as needed or assigned.

    PARTIAL LISTING OF MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:
    Possession of a Bachelor’s degree in Business or Public Administration or related field and broad and diversified managerial experience in planning and directing major programs of local public services; or any equivalent combination of education and experience which would provide the following knowledge, skills, and abilities: Extensive knowledge of the principles, theories, and practices of modern executive and administrative planning, management, and control. Thorough knowledge of federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies applicable to structure, functions, programs, and practices in conducting public services through City government. Thorough knowledge of modern principles, practices, methods, and techniques in evaluating program and facility needs of a medium-sized City. Thorough knowledge of effective practices and methods of communicating with the public. Ability to plan, organize, coordinate, prioritize, assign, and evaluate the work of subordinate staff. Ability to communicate complex ideas effectively, both orally and in writing. Ability to evaluate socioeconomic and physical problems of urban populations. Ability to devise cost effective approaches to satisfying community needs and aspirations. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with elected and appointed officials at all levels of government, the media, and the general public. Excellent work history and attendance record.

  11. Joe:

    Objectivity is not a myth for me. I come out of a business career where if your decisions and actions were not weighted toward objectivity you did not survive.

    There are lots of people who I believe to generally be objective who I sometimes don’t agree with.

  12. Ron, you’re right – I was careless with my words. Please allow me to restate myself. While some people are more objective than others (as you stated), nobody is objective. Everybody has biases and opinions that shape their decisions. Some people are pretty good as setting aside those biases, but nobody’s perfect.

    Having heard him speak many times, I’m sure that Rick Steves would describe himself as strongly opinionated on certain controversial subjects.

  13. Given that this is Flag Day, and we’re discussing how objective Rick Steves is, I thought I would remind people (and tell the newcomers) about an event over 8 years ago. You can read all about it in this article on Rick Steves’ web site

    For what it’s worth, I applauded his courage then, and admire it to this day. I just wanted to lay to rest any idea that he is objective or that he tempers his opinions when exposing them might hurt his business.

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