Edmonds candidate forum: Issues summarized, video coming soon
Note: The City of Edmonds website will replay this candidate forum daily at 4 p.m. ending Nov. 5. Check back soon for My Edmonds News videos of the forum, which will be posted soon and available to view 24/7.
http://www.edmondswa.gov/government/communications/edtv.htmlCitizens had an opportunity to hear candidates for Edmonds City Council, Edmonds School Board and the Port of Edmonds Monday night, as the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce presented its annual candidates night in the City Council chambers.
We’ll present a brief summary here, but will have the full video available online for viewing by late Tuesday or early Wednesday. It’s worth watching as the councilmembers were asked a range of questions, from their views on the inclusion of recreational marijuana businesses in Edmonds to what is the top regional issue facing Edmonds in the next 15 years.
We spent more time summarizing the comments of the school board members, since they weren’t interviewed for our video series on candidates that you can find linked under the Election Watch 2013 tab on our home page.
(Note that not all candidates attended; some names may appear on your November ballot that are not included here.)
Port of Edmonds Commission
Bruce Faires, Port of Edmonds Commissioner: Faires, who is running unopposed, said one of his main goals is to “plot a new future for Harbor Square,” now that the City Council has rejected Port’s Master Plan for the business complex it owns near the Edmonds waterfront. “The Port respects the Edmonds City Council’s authority to make land-use decisions regarding Harbor Square’s future,” Faires said, “and therefore we must develop a new vision for Harbor Square’s future. He also invited port district residents to help the port develop what that vision will look like.
Edmonds School Board
Ann McMurray, Director: The current board president, McMurray has been on the board since 2005 and represents the areas of Brier and Mountlake Terrace. She is running unopposed.
Susan Phillips, Director: Phillips, current board vice president, has served on the board since 2007.
Both school board members were asked about why the Edmonds School District’s on-time high school graduation rate is in the lower quartile of all the school districts statewide. McMurray and Phillips pointed out that the graduation rate is compiled using students in a variety of alternative programs as well as the district’s traditional high schools, which lowers the average. “When you look at the rate in the comprehensive high schools, you’ll see that the rates are in the high 80s or low 90s,” McMurray said.
The board members also were asked about a variety of other topics, including the following:
The possibility of requiring students to wear uniforms. Both McMurray and Phillips said that this proposal came from families on fixed incomes whose students found it difficult to “compete” with the wardrobes of other classmates, and the board is considering making this option available to schools that are interested in it. “What we are looking at potentially doing is allowing individual school communities to make a decision about uniforms if it matches what they need and then vetting those decisions at the board level,” McMurray said.
The elimination of police officers (student resource officers) dedicated to local high schools. While city budget cuts have reduced the number of officers in schools, there is still an officer at Lynnwood High School since it is located a distance away from a police or fire station, Phillips said. At Mountlake Terrace High School, there is a student liaison officer who is “designated to stop by the high school at least once a day, check in, make sure things are going OK,” Phillips said. “It’s a resource for the administration at the high school and it’s a way to keep the costs down so we’re not having that officer on campus all day.”
School boundary adjustments. “Right now because we have so many kids in the north part of our district and so many of our buildings in the south part of the district, boundaries where people literally are up to the doorstep of a school and they don’t go to that school, ” McMurray said. “We are in the process of constantly evaluating the boundaries and how to take a mobile population of students and make them fit with a fixed set of sites, and it’s something we wrestle with. It is always in flux.”
City Council Position 1
Randy Hayden, challenger, said he is a long-time business owner who is “dead set against” raising building heights. He favors eliminating health care for part-time city councilmembers, and instead using that money to provide more police and fire services, and protecting small businesses.
Kristiana Johnson, incumbent, said she grew up in Edmonds and prides herself on her civic involvement, as well as being prepared for council meetings, doing her homework and asking questions.
City Council Position 2
Strom Peterson, seeking his third term on the council, said his priorities haven’t changed: public safety, environmental protection including leading the fight against coal trains through Edmonds, and ensuring that Edmonds has a healthy climate for small businesses.
Al Rutledge, the challenger, has lived in Edmonds for 28 years and said he is running to represent the interests of the community.
City Council Position 3
Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, running for her second term, is a 29-year Edmonds resident living in the city’s Lake Ballinger neighborhood. A retired state government employee, Fraley-Monillas said she is an active community volunteer and during her time on the council has prioritized cutting spending and supports “sensible redevelopment” of Highway 99.
Ron Wambolt, a retired manufacturing executive, is working to be re-elected to the seat he held before losing to Fraley-Monillas in the primary four years ago. During campaign doorbelling, Wambolt said, citizens have expressed their frustration with the council’s inability to get along, adding “I’m your best hope for change on the City Council.”