Letter: Now that election is over, time to focus on needs of all neighborhoods

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Editor:

We have a new Edmonds City Council and a new mayor. Where will you lead Edmonds in the months and years to come?

My fear is that the preponderance of members now owning downtown businesses or with Chamber of Commerce ties will only lead to more of the same – the enrichment of the Downtown/Bowl at the expense of all of the other neighborhoods and taxpayers outside of that zone.

It was shocking to me, for example, to see the minor, cosmetic surface needs of the downtown Caspers Street ranked as of higher need in Prop 2 proposals emanating from City Offices than the many street tracts in North Edmonds that are in far, far more disrepair than are the streets of that downtown area. If the discrimination we experience needed illustration, I cannot think of anything more powerful than the City’s own pre-election statements about its road needs. I recently saw more road improvements being made to the relatively intact Dayton Street, west of the ferry tollbooths, while we in the north continue to sink into the potholes and degraded road surface caused by City-permitted construction on the north end of 75th, between Meadowdale Beach Road and North Meadowdale Beach Road. I know other, out-of-bowl residents could add their own examples of the discrimination that exists in City resource allocation decisions, from road maintenance to storm recovery, to safety barriers.

In the campaign, all of the candidates waved the flag and embraced a multi-neighborhood approach to Edmonds, but only in terms of business development at Four Corners, Perrinville and Firdale, in addition to the usual Bowl/downtown priorities. A sustainable neighborhood policy involves more than business development, it involves a sustainable and sustained infrastructure in those neighborhoods. I worry that the “Business First” predilection of our incoming Council membership does not bode well for equitable neighborhood resource support. To date, the City has demonstrably failed in creating an equitable neighborhood-based approach to the allocation of City resources. Will this new administration reverse that practice, or will it be ‘more of the same?’ Time, not rhetoric, will be the judge.

So, what will all of you small business owners and Chamber of Commerce devotees do, now that you are seated? Will you bring each neighborhood up to a common standard of sustainability and common standard of infrastructure support, or will you continue to perpetuate the imbalance of resource allocation to those areas where you personally reside and operate your businesses? Will you represent all of Edmonds, or will you continue to be a body that abuses its authority by elevating one section of the City, and self-interest, over the good for the whole? I know where I think your actions will tilt, but only time will tell if you are in public service for your narrow self-interest, or if you will begin to elevate the vision of the Edmonds City Council and Mayor’s office to pursue a more inclusive goal for the larger neighborhood tax base that comprises the City of Edmonds? Time will tell. You will be judged not by your rhetoric, but by your actions.

Peter Hodges, Ed.D.
Edmonds

10 COMMENTS

  1. Dr. Hodges,

    You make some valid points. I too believe that it is not healthy to have a council majority of business owners and I am pro-business but not if decisions are only made with business development in mind and not examining the big picture and repercussions for all citizens and community. It is hard for them to be subjective.

    I conitnue to hope and believe some on this council and mayor will get this. As you say, time will tell.

  2. Peter, Have you asked Phil Williams the public works director why Dayton street was Worked on. As a downtown business owner I can assure I have no influence on the city as you suggest. As a member of the CEDC we discuss all the areas of the city and one of the first studies was the Uof W coming up with redevelopment ideas in westgate and five corners. I would hope you would come to CEDC meetings , become involved in the stratigic plan and speak at council meetings ,the city needs more people to become involved

  3. The section of road between the ferry lanes and the railroad tracks was really bad.
    All of the traffic to and from the marina and all the traffic to Harbor Square had to
    Navigate that section of road daily. It should have been a high priority. I just drove down to Meadowdale and can see the deplorable condition of our roads in that area. We have a funding problem more then a priority problem.
    If you want something done Dr. Hodges do something more then to pick apart a council and Mayor That has just been seated. Reread #3 we welcome you to the small club of people who constructively get things done.
    Dave Page

  4. Dr. Hodges, I share you concerns about roads and the allocation of resources between DT and the neighborhoods. I would like to contact you to discuss. Please as Teressa to give you my email or Teressa, if you see this send my email to Dr. Hodges. I would like to work with you Dr. Hodges to incorporate your ideas.

  5. Dave Page is absolutely right about the stretch of Dayton Street referred to by Mr. Hodges. The street had been dug up for a variety of utility work several times each year for several years. The repaving was long overdue and was not paid for out of the city’s General Fund.

  6. Mr. Murdock:
    A “council majority of business owners” as you have stated is incorrect. There will be two business owners in the new council; the current council has three business owners.

  7. Mr. Wamboldt:

    Thank you, I was aware of that and meant to state that I did not believe that this council did have a majority of business owners.

    I continue to believe this council and mayor will do the best for all citizens regarding this issue.

  8. Regarding the claim of bias toward downtown development it would seem that parks spending has been spread out geographically. In recent years the city spent millions on Hickman Park in south Edmonds, millions on Haines Wharf Park and the sidewalk project in north Edmonds, spent over a $100,000 on finishing the Interurban Trail in east Edmonds. After buying the OldMilltown property in downtown it took three years to start the development. Over $100,00 is from donations. That will be over half of the total project cost. I think the idea of speaking with the Public Works Director, Phil Williams to get insights on how they prioritize might help the citizen from north Edmonds understand the process. I also believe the city is quite thoughtful in how they choose to work on public projects.

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