Consultant Carol Sanford speaks on economic development in Edmonds



Watch on My Edmonds News TV: The Aug. 28 presentation by Edmonds author and consultant Carol Sanford to the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce on Economic Development in Edmonds.


  1. As a resident, parttime worker and mother of three here in Edmonds I was happy to attend this presentation and luncheon sponsored by the Chamber. Ms. Sanford’s definition of Economic Development as “… One of the Tools used to create Community…” is an excellent perspective to keep in mind during meetings of the city’s various development and Chamber Council meetings. I highly encourage the Chamber to test out the “Story of Place” technique that Ms. Sanford spoke of for our city of Edmonds, so that Edmonds can continue the work to capitalize on what makes this city unique; and that the need to generate revenue doesn’t pave over the very essence of what makes this city so special in its appeal and livability factors. I think “Story of Place” would be a good investment in Edmond’s sustainable future.

    • Hi Dave — Since June, we have been placing all Edmonds-related videos, including video news coverage both taped and live, on a new website called We call it “TV” because that is a term that most people are most familiar with, but it is broadcasting over the Internet. We do have a link to MyEdmondsNewsTV at the top of the My Edmonds News home page, and when we post a video on My Edmonds News, it links to the My Edmonds News TV site. I hope that helps.

  2. I enjoyed Carol’s presentation because she shows the possibility of disparate elements coming together for mutual benefit. I hope her ideas will be used.

  3. I just got around to watching this presentation. There are concepts described that could be useful to Edmonds. Any citizen who pays attention to how our city is managed will likely find the video interesting.

  4. I just watched this speech and am surprised by what I heard. I find the discussion of citizen involvement between elections alarming. Public hearings are referred to as being at the bottom.

    I think those elected to public office are supposed to represent the citizens and to do that they need to greatly involve the citizens between elections. Public hearings can be and should be of great value to elected officials.

    My opinion is that the ranking of public hearings as being at the bottom is unfortunate. We have laws that promote citizen involvement between elections, such as the Open Public Meetings Act.

    Furthermore – What happens when those that we elect to represent us are not provided complete and accurate information during the time before (and even after) open public hearings are held? What happens if the elected officials are provided inaccurate legal advice? Are citizens supposed to just sit by idly while elected officials make decisions based partially on incomplete or inaccurate information?

    I believe citizen involvement between elections is critical.

    Maybe one should determine what truly fragments the progress of government, rather than simply claiming that it is citizen involvement and public hearings that can cause fragmentation.

  5. I want to clarify that I am not saying public involvement is bad and at the bottom. It is when it is done as a SUBSTITUTE for dialogue with elected officials and community members. And it is when each person speaks only for themselves and there is no process to build a conversation.When this is how all conversations happen, it creates a fragmented community. When it is done in the context of conversations with elected officials building a direction, and has an exchange of ideas (rather than only a monologue one after another) it works. The communities that lose land value and have business do poorly are ones where there is no dialogue among elected officials but instead have mostly a stream of hearings leading to no decisions. Public involvement is core, but it must not be the only or primary
    thing. The communities that work, have engagements, not just hearings. That is the point.

    • “elected officials building a direction”……….Let me get this straight, like George W., the Decider or Richard M. Nixon, the “I’m not a crook” ?

      We’re all (citizens) supposed to just going along with their direction and what they’re deciding?…….History shows that doesn’t work well, unless of course, you are the Decider on your own.

      • Thanks for all that and the example. In my experience it is more HOW people are involved than when. Early does matter. No question. Where I have seen it really get all the ideas on the table and more carefully vetting of the ideas and facts is when there can be what my grandfather called “a conversation about it” rather than a debate to which no one listens.

        what I was suggesting is that we find a way to bring in more engagement rather than more individuals saying again what they think and then the next person. In my youth, my parents had everyone at the dinner table listen carefully to what each other member said. If my parents thought we were not listening, they would make us repeat what we just hear from everyone else and say what we thought it meant and sometimes how our thoughts related to it. I think that is a bit much, but the idea was how can we arrange to hear one another.

        We can all think we are being fully disclosing, even with very good intentions. But we cannot tell what we did not say or what was not heard. So I want to change HOW we talk, in fact do more of it, and not see one another as on sides of a subject. But all trying to find the best answer that makes our community great.

        One of the reasons for this is that cities that do not do this start to have businesses refuse to have their business in our town. The taxes go up on us home owners. And them property values degrade and I cannot sell my home (or my kids sell it later). I want a community that works so we have strong economic value for the city and me personally. And I want us to have conversations instead of debates where we thing we have to take sides. We all make mistakes and with a healthy conversations, we can get things corrected, early and also as we go along.

        I want to have conversations like my parents required of me over dinner to make sure we all hear one another, help our elected officials succeed on our behalf. And build on the uniqueness that Edmonds has, for us now and our future.

        Thanks for taking the time to comment and to follow up. I hope you will help me improve HOW we have conversations here.

        • Thank you, Carol. Yes, all the facts and then we can have a clear conversation and have a community that works and attracts new good business and moves forward for all of us, one community working as a whole to a shared goal. Thank you. I like the “story” idea too. We have one here and I think it is grand.

        • Thanks Ms. Sanford, I have a much better understanding of your message now. I fully support better conversations in Edmonds, conversations based on greater knowledge of the facts and details under consideration…as equal knowledge as possible.

          I’ve witnessed the City make decisions based on incomplete, inaccurate information. Mistakes and improper acts will happen, but the City should do its best to minimize them and have the courage to correct them. I believe one of the the best ways for the City to rebuild trust is to sincerely apologize. Trust is at the foundation of healthy relationships and conversations.

          Thanks for caring so deeply for our community.

  6. Thanks for your clarification Ms. Sanford. I think the City needs to do a much better job of engaging the public much earlier in the process. It is critical that the public be provided complete and accurate information from the start of that engagement.

    Is it possible that most fragmentation results from an incomplete/poor initial engagement of the public? What happens when the initial conversation is built on an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of the underlying facts?

    I don’t have a good economic development example off the top of my head, so I’ll provide a public works example.

    During the March 25, 2014 City Council Meeting, Councilmember Petso asked how much additional right-of-way was available to the east of the existing sidewalk on Sunset Avenue. Mr. Williams answered 18-24 inches. Please note that this answer was provided nearly 3 years after Councilmember Wilson commented during the July 19, 2011 City Council meeting that there had been a lot of staff work done on the Sunset Avenue project. I wonder how that staff work could not have included a determination of where everything was located along Sunset Avenue.

    On August 19, 2014, it was finally discussed in a Council Meeting that some of the existing sidewalk was on a handful of private property owner’s private property. Why was this information not provided from the beginning, back in 2011? Why wasn’t the public and the City Council all told exactly where Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s Property line was located from the beginning? Would there have been stronger opposition to this project had all of this information been provided at the very start of the process? Would the direction that was built for this project have involved removing the existing sidewalk from private property, especially when there was enough land and the design flexibility to do so?

    In this example, I believe those responsible for not disclosing in full where everything was located along Sunset Avenue are responsible for any related fragmentation.

    These are just my beliefs and I may be wrong . . . but this is honestly how I see it.


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