Edmonds City Council passes resolution supporting same-sex marriage

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Updated at 8:08 a.m. Tuesday with quotes, additional details.

The Edmonds City Council voted 4-0, with three abstentions, to approve a resolution supporting an effort in the Washington State Legislature to pass a law supporting same-sex marriage.

The three councilmembers abstaining–Joan Bloom, Frank Yamamoto and Lora Petso–said that they didn’t believe that the city should be focused on such an issue and the matter should be left to the state.

“I’ve thought about this awful lot,” said Bloom, who was elected to the Council last November after defeating first-term councilmember DJ Wilson. “I wholeheartedly support marriage equality as a private citizen. I do not believe that the citizens of Edmonds have given me the authority to speak on their behalf for the state Legislature.”

Yamamoto, elected in November to fill the seat vacated by Councilmember Steve Bernheim, said he chose to abstain because he didn’t believe the city Council was  “the proper venue” for discussing such a matter.  I think we’re charged with policymaking and making sure we spend our money wisely,” Yamamoto said. “To me it doesn’t directly affect our daily operations.”

Fraley-Monillas, who arrived from another meeting in time to cast the fourth vote in favor of the resolution, said that she “wholeheartedly”  supported the Council taking a stand on the matter.  “I don’t believe this issue is so far from being in our city,”  she said. “I believe we need to stand up for equitability for all people no matter who they love.”

During the council’s public comment period, several citizens testified on both sides of the issue.

“In the community that we have, that I consider progressive, I would like to see us take a stand and really show that the support comes from grassroots and not just as an overall populace,” said Edmonds resident Royce Napolitano in urging the council’s support.

“It is not just that I, as a gay man, don’t have the same rights as everybody else out here,” resident Jeff Coe added. “The Constitution says we are all created equal. I am not equal.”

Speaking against the resolution was Dave Page, who called the issue “very partisan” and one that would be likely to divide the community. “You don’t need to do this,” Page said. “Anybody with a grain of sense can tell that the state Legislature is going to pass this. There is no need for the City of Edmonds to commit on this topic.”

Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling noted after the council voted that he also would not be signing the resolution.

“Our core mission at the city is to aasure the city’s day-to-day  operations and city needs are met with regard to public safety, infrastructure needs such as streets, sewer and water maintenance [and]  long-term planning  as well as land-use issues,” Earling said. “The resolution before us deals with a state issue, which is currently under discussion and which now appears to have needed votes by which to pass both the state House and Senate and the governor is ready and willing to sign the legislation.”

The mayor noted that if he belonged to the Legislature, he would probably support the measure, adding that he has a history of favoring similar issues, including domestic partnership legislation.  “I am, however, not a member of the Legislature and I am an elected representative of the City of Edmonds with a different core mission,” he said.

In other action,  the council :

–  had a long discussion, but took no action, on a proposal to amend the Edmonds City Code to clarify that the role of the Edmonds Citizens Economic Development Commission is to “identify new sources of revenue as a direct result of economic development projects for consideration of City Council.”  When this issue first came before the council a few months ago, it was alleged that the commission was attempting to create new taxes rather than focus on its mission of economic development. Newly elected councilmember Frank Yamamoto, the former commission president, said that the allegation was unfounded and added he would be happy to discuss the issue in more detail during the upcoming Council retreat Feb. 2 and 3.

–  Voted 5-1  (Lora Petso voting no and Adrienne Fraley-Monillas absent at the time of the vote, although she did arrive later) to approve an Edmonds Planning Board recommendation to loosen restrictions on outdoor dining regulations.  Under the approved measure, outdoor dining will be allowed under the following conditions without a conditional use permit:

  • The site is not directly adjacent to any residentially-zoned property(ies).
  • The site complies with  existing landscaping requirements along the property line(s) directly adjacent to residentially-zoned propery(ies).
  • The dining area is screened from adjoining property(ies) by a building and/or a 4-foot wall, hedge, or solid fence.
  • Seating is limited to an additional 10 percent of the existing interior seating of the establishment or 12 seats, whichever is greater.

The Council did approved an amendment by Petso that requires any outdoor dining establishments located next to a residence to ‘sclose at 9 p.m. rather than the 10 p.m. time recommended by the planning board. An additional amendment by Petso to further tighten outdoor dining restrictions, failed on a 3–3 vote.

–  unanimously authorized the mayor to sign a two-year interlocal agreement for the Lake Ballinger/McAleer Creek Watershed Forum, and approve $1,600 per year for administrative costs.

– approve municipal code changes to simplify rules for providing concessions in parks, also on a unanimous vote. City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carri Hite told the Council that the action, under which the mayor will have final approval of any concession applications, will make it easier for the city to invite a variety of offerings into the city’s parks. Last year, for example, a vendor proposed offering paddleboat rentals at Marina Beach Park, but the city had no mechanism in place to approve the idea, Hite said.

 

 

9 COMMENTS

  1. Really! i guess now we have something else that the council can argue about, It was building heights now this. Get back to work on what we elceted you to do sove problems and make Edmonds a first class city again Do your jobs and stop with non important issues tthat don’t concern the city. if you keep working on these types of non important items that dont matter to the city then i guess we will know who to vote out next time around!
    Get to wrok!

  2. i would offer my support but it is far too late for such.

    i refuse the better late than never thought process…this should not even be a debate.

    marriage is for ALL!!!

  3. Thank you Teresa for this quick follow-up on last night’s council meeting considering you have two casted arms. You are amazing!

    I appreciate the posting informing us of the dialogue that went on between the council members and Mayor that did not vote in favor of this resolution.

    Your writing clearly points out in Mrs. Bloom, Mr. Yamamato, and the Mayor’s statements that they never said they were against equal marriage rights.
    Knowing these people in our community I would never classify them as being bigots or racists.

    This being said, I do however agree with the folks who testified before council that they believe change can start at a grass roots, city-wide level. Through our various proclamations, resolutions and example, we as a city can make an impression on state incentives. At the state level then we go on to changes being made on a Federal level which is sometimes referred to as a “trickle effect”.

    I like to think that our city’s examples and voice is seen, heard, and respected. This might not have been a city budget item or day to day operation but the fact remains it is a definite way to tell all of Edmonds residents gay or not gay that our city respects it’s residents differences and basic human rights.

    I would like to encourage all Edmonds residents to watch the Channel 21 replay of last night’s Council meeting and the dialogue that took place. We vote-in these public officials… lucky for ALL of us that is a right we have.

  4. I appreciate the stance that the Mayor and the three Council members took on this issue. This is a State issue and there are dozens of other agenda items that the Council could be working on. I would feel the same way if the Council decided to pass a resolution on prayer in schools. Note to Council…. stick to the city issues.

  5. Thank you to the 4 council members that had the courage to vote for this important resolution. It makes me proud to live in Edmonds. This is a huge issue to many of us that live here.

  6. Tom, this is a non important issue to you for you are not gay, probably do not know any gay people nor have a gay member in the family. But it is important for many including myself so please do not degrade this important issue for many across the land and in our great city. Btw they are working! I am both glad and sad for the mayor has what I would say cowardly chosen not to sign this. But it has been passed and I am glad to be a gay tax paying, freedom loving, citizen of Edmonds. Now this important issue needs to pass the state legislator and probably a referendum vote this fall.

  7. It is a very simple matter for the City of Edmonds to say, We Don’t Discriminate, at any level. You can do all the planning, build all the new buildings, do all your development, pass all your resolutions, but Edmonds will never be a “first class city” unless it takes a stand on a very human core issue, discrimination. This is not a complicated thing. It is quite simple. This is not a “state” or “city” issue, it is a core issue of human EQUALITY! for everybody. Thank you to those members that stood up for a very simple important issue. This is a city issue…It is an issue for all of us.

  8. Passing resolutions at the local level in support of state legislation has been done numerous times over the years. Why is this any different? Voting in support of this resolution isn’t partisan, it is simply the human thing to do. The issue at hand needs to be supported strongly at every level. The status quo is discriminatory. Councilmembers Fraley-Monillas, Plunkett, Peterson and Buckschnis are to be congratulated for doing the right thing.

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