Edmonds Election Watch 2011: The Herald endorsements are out


The Herald newspaper in Everett has released endorsements for Edmonds mayor and city council. Here’s a sample of what the editorial board said for each candidate:

For Mayor, Dave Earling: “One of Earling’s most pertinent traits is his ability to work constructively through difficult problems, building consensus by focusing first on areas of agreement,” the Herald said. “It’s an approach that’s sorely needed in a city with too much recent history of bitter political fighting. Disagreement isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but in Edmonds, it has too often been a barrier to progress. Earling’s leadership skills offer the best chance of clearing such roadblocks.”

The Herald described incumbent Mayor Mike Cooper as “a seasoned lawmaker, having served in the Legislature and on the Snohomish County Council,” but noted that recent events involving his adminstrative assistant and the city’s ex-Human Resources director, “have raised serious questions about his administrative abilities.”

For City Council Position 4: “In a close call, we endorse the appointed incumbent, Diane Buckshnis, over Bob Wilcox. Either would serve well.” The newspaper said that “Buckshnis has had a positive impact on financial transparency and accountability, and vows to keep focusing on that area.” Wilcox, the Herald noted, “is a strong first-time candidate” who would also bring a solid financial background to the council.

For City Council Position 5: The Herald has endorsed Joan Bloom over incumbent DJ Wilson. “Both are highly intelligent, committed candidates,” the newspaper said. “Wilson, however, has often been at or near the center of conflicts that have resulted more in paralysis than problem solving. If he is re-elected, we urge him to work on resisting his propensity toward political gamesmanship.” The newspaper noted that “Bloom believes council members ‘should be stewards first, and politicians, a distant second.’ That’s a fresh approach this council could use.”

For City Council Position 6: Frank Yamamoto “is the clear choice,” the Herald said. “He has been a leader in several business organizations, and understands that developing a smart economic development strategy is key to providing fiscal sustainability and maintaining Edmonds’ high quality of life.”

For City Council Position 7: The Herald is endorsing Darlene Stern over the appointed incumbent, Lora Petso. The newspaper calls Stern “a breath of fresh air and positive energy who can help turn the council, and the city, in a better direction,” although noted that Petso “has shown competence since being appointed 15 months ago and during a previous full term on the council.”

Ballots are scheduled to be mailed to voters next week, with the deadline of returning them on general election day, Nov. 8.
You can read the full editorial endorsements for council here and for mayor here.


  1. For the Mayoral endorsement. What the Herald should have said is that Cooper is a lifelong politician and believes that he operates outside of the scrutiny of the people. Hence his sweetheart deal he tried to write with Ms. Cole when she “resigned”.

  2. I found the endorsement of Darlene Stern was particularly shallow. It sounded like they just did a little rephrasing of campaign slogans from her website. They didn’t even touch on her complete lack of government experience. Maybe they just saw that her website says she has “years of experience” and took it at face value.

  3. There are advantages and disadvantages to being an incumbent. Generally there is more known about the incumbent, and if there are negatives about that person they are disadvantaged. This is one of those times. I can list several reasons why Lora Petso should not be elected:

    1) If Ms.Petso had had her way there would be no Point Edwards. The city’s sales tax and real estate excise taxes would not have been enhanced by the massive amount of construction there; the 261 condos there are currently valued by the county at $133 million! And our city would be missing $280,000 in property tax each year. The development yields $1.3 million in total property taxes, which helps keep all of the school taxes we pay lower.

    2) If Ms.Petso had had her way the city would have purchased all of the 11-acre Old Woodway Elementary school site. The city would now be paying back the additional $5 million – the cost to have a park twice as big as was ever on the site.

    3) Ms. Petso was instrumental in the selection of The Lighthouse Group of attorneys; a group that had only been in business a few months. The illegal severance agreement they crafted for Kimberly Cole is evidence of their inexperience. The selection of those attorneys is a demonstration of Ms. Petso’s poor judgement.

    4) Ms. Petso was the fourth vote for the appointment of Mike Cooper as mayor, a candidate who had little or no management experience. We’re all now paying for that! Another demonstration of Ms. Petso’s poor judgement.

    5). Ms. Petso was appointed to city council, after having lost in 3 prior elections. In January she was named to be a member of the City Parking Committee. Thru May she had missed all 5 monthly meeting. Even though her membership was listed under her name on the city’s website, she claimed that she didn’t know that she was a member of the committee. And Ms. Petso belongs to fewer council committees than any other council member.

    Those are some of the reasons why I, and the Everett Herald, believe that the better selection is Darlene Stern.

  4. So the Herald says that “Petso has shown competence”, yet they endorse Ms. Stern because she is a “breath of fresh air”. Are they saying they support her because she is a breath of fresh air from competence? This is a very strange endorsement indeed.

  5. Kris,

    We will never know until the Council puts it on the ballot. We may get an indication from Lynnwood’s election since they do have it on the ballot.

    Personally I believe it would likely pass. Its working well in most cases where tried, although I’m sure, like most things in life, it won’t be perfect; yet hopefully better than what we have been getting lately.

    Elsewhere, I think the Herald’s emdorsements are well reasoned except for the Stern one which is inexplicable and is clearly without reasoning. I suspect the Enterprise has it in for Lora and unfairly so.

  6. I’ve also wondered whether voters would approve dividing the City into districts and electing one councilmember from each district. (We could also have one or two at-large councilmembers representing the whole City.) I’ve always thought downtown interests have been over-represented.

  7. Joe, It would be interesting to know who you think on the council is representing downtown interests. What ever that means.

  8. Don, you may have misread my question. I did not intend that it be used to support or oppose any particular candidate. I recognize that downtown is the economic and cultural center of the city and deserves more attention than any other part of the city.

    But to answer your question, almost every single candidate either has a business in the bowl, lives in the bowl, works for a business in the bowl, or at one time met one of those criteria. Nothing wrong with that on an individual basis, but only one viable candidate appears to be clearly focused on the neighborhoods.

  9. The City Manager idea is not ripe for Edmonds. You do remember how it was briefly discussed yet no supporter could say ‘why’ it was necessary here. Just the usual comments about what it can do and why they liked it. The idea needs a full public airing and input from nonpartisan experts showing the strengths and weaknesses of this governance model. Do some reading for examples of City Managers who kep a tight-fisted strangle on their cities, or the wishy-washy types that allow Councils to run their cities. There may be a time for this idea, but it appears we’re not ready.

  10. I think there may be two candidates without ties to downtown Edmonds: Diane Buckshnis and Al Rutledge. Al has consistenly supported the ward system for City Council.

  11. I believe the ward system with individual districts would be a favorable improvement.
    The people in Meadowdale, Ballinger and that area near the King county line are
    all under represented on our council. How about we fix that next time around?
    Dave Page


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here