Letter to the Editor: How are things supposed to work in Edmonds?

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Editor:

My siblings and I were educated by an excellent public school system. We learned lessons about the political process, the judicial system, the checks and balances. Perhaps the most important lesson we learned was that a democracy DEPENDS on active participation of its citizenry in order to prevent government from running amuck.

My Yankee uncle was fond of saying, “It is incumbent upon you, as a US citizen- to vote and to participate in YOUR government.”

Well, readers? Edmonds is amuck: both the city and the school district. As an ordinary citizen, I thought that the mayor, the city councilmembers, elected and non-elected officials (city attorney) would follow the law. Not interfere with public process. Respect the rights and interests of ALL citizens, not just a small (but vocal) demographic of organized sports. I presumed that the city administration, and other public officials (elected or not) would conduct the business of the City of Edmonds in a fair, informed, transparent and honest manner. Boy, was I naïve!

The development of the soccer fields on the renamed “Woodway Campus”, provides examples of shockingly bad behavior by a great many people.

The Edmonds School District should act on behalf of the best interests of its students (that means children, not adults.) The ESD should make decisions that safeguard children’s health, not jeopardize the health of children. The ESD should plan and act with long-term goals in mind… we can reasonably predict that children will still need education in the future. We can reasonably predict that environmental education will be among the most essential components of education and development if life-skills.

Far-reaching activities, with multi-year effects, should solicit and respond to citizen input. All applicable laws should be followed every step of the way. “No one is above the law.” This principle seems often overlooked, but should guide decisions. Wouldn’t you think we could count on this happening in our fair city? I certainly did.

Citizen input has been at times received, but entirely ignored. Hearings have been held, but recommendations by the Examiner and subsequent decisions by the City Council have been circumvented, if not blatantly ignored. Permits have been manipulated. People at the top of the City Parks and Rec, City Planning Division and others, have acted in a biased, unethical manner.

A fair and judicious process has not taken place. And for that, we are all the worse off.

With dismay,
Maggie Pinson

11 COMMENTS

  1. Do you know for sure that these types of field rubber fields are bad for your health? I have not kept up with it as my kids are grown. Are there facts from medical doctors or AMA that proves this?

  2. There is not absolute proof, mostly becasue the signs show up far down the road. The issue is very similar to Cigarettes, Asbestos, and others. The definitive signs show up long after the exposure in most cases, some sooner but they get thought of as “normal”. The similarities are striking.
    1. A big lobby that pushes for ways to use ground up tires in ways that are not just putting them in land fills. Companies pay to put them in Landfills. They get paid for them if they are “Recycled”.

    2. Crumb rubber contains approximately 40+ studied compounds, 15 of which are known to cause cancer. There are another 50+ not ever studied.

    3. There now just being done thorough studies starting, several including one by Harvard point to issues. The Consumer Product Agency admitted to misleading parents on the subject in April or May.

    4. The EPA has retracted their support.

    5. Many countries ban its use.

    Simply children developing should not be exposed to things that have legitimate questions needlessly.

      • Mike, it is actually Alar, but I get your point. Along with the scare of Peanut Butter causing cancer, Hotdogs, etc. However, there is at least 2 major differences.
        1. The decision of one small group of people is being made for ALL parents that wish their kids to have quality fields. In the cases above a parent has the ability to research, make their own judgement and find an alternate option, or just not eat apples. To have Government Agencies making a choice for all sports loving parents is not the same.

        2. In this case we are talking about the fundamental makeup of the product not additives and such that should give a place for common sense. When a product is known to have not one but scores of carcinogens and the only reason they are able to use it is because it is classified a recycled product more questions should be asked.

        3. We are talking about our children, not Adults that are “supposedly ” to use these fields. I personally would not support a ban until more science is in. But do the science before subjecting all our children to it. If the Seahawks with adults using it and they have their own insurance want to use it for their commercial purpose it is basicly up to them until greater solid science is in.

        4. The bigger issue though is the process this went through. Every citizen should atleast agree that the decision process should be open, explained, thorough, and ethical. Just some of the issues are a fraudulent SEPA statement, a City Attorney that is documented in a records request manipulating the process to get around the City Council, zoning conflicts that other developments would never have even got started past.. There are many more.

        5. Some people that have money to be made directly from these fields at your taxpayer cost are making this out as a fields or no fields. That is not the case, there are alternative

  3. Didn’t Edmonds-Woodway High School just install a new turf field over summer? I honestly didn’t see any complaints about all of the district games being played on those fields starting this weekend.

    So are the complaints only about turf being installed at the Woodway campus? And not Lynnwood High, Mountlake Terrace or Edmonds-Woodway high schools?

    Feeling a little lost…

    • To be clear, there are really 2 issues here.
      1. The first is one every citizen of Edmonds and really any municipality should be able to agree are serious concerns and that is the process and the clear violations of codes that are happening. Whatever the feeling of the project it should be done in a fair, thoughtful, legal, ethical way. The facts are this.
      1. The public notices were not properly done.
      2. There wer no recent public input as required, until after the project was submitted, so not input more of a “here is what we are doing”
      3. The current zoning is completely wrong for the project. A Regional Adult Sports Complex (the language is used by the City and ESD no matter what their rheteric) is not explicitly not allowed.
      4. There are many more parts of the development code not followed as well as the Comprehensive Plan.
      5. Imagine having 6 soccer fields with 90′ lightpoles runing from the hours of 4-10 every night in your back yard.

      2. Is the concern about especially the infill which is the crumb rubber which there are alternatives, however there are health concerns over all. People did voice their concerns over those projects, but since they were approved many new things have developed. The EPA removed their support, the Consumer Products Agency admitted they misled parents, the % of fields using Crumb Rubber is dropping, and more science has been developed.

    • Lisa,
      We did protest the use of crumb rubber at Edmonds-Woodway High. We researched and presented alternatives to the district. It is all documented in the school board meeting minutes and e-mails sent to school board members. The issue did not have the same media coverage, so it may appear as though it was ignored, nevertheless we did try to get a non-toxic infill used at that school as well… we will continue to do for all upcoming fields.

  4. In a State struggling to pay for its obligation to provide an education to all students, seems kind of precious to me to see all the flap over an optional item like artificial sports fields ( better than grass?) rather than being concerned over basic education for all our State’s children. Sports is a small part of an education, after all. Class size, teacher salaries. Where is the outrage? And Edmonds already has crumb rubber and artificial turf…but in a higher density neighborhood.

    • D Talmadge : I am having trouble finding the corollary between (fields) and (education). Though since you have presented an argument I can contribute to I will gladly enlighten you to the facts. First off for many years than I can count these school district’s have always used “kids” and “teachers” as an PR campaign to get money.. The truth of the matter is school district employees are well paid. Feel free to look up salaries it’s a public right.. District Administration make $90k-200k+ a year You know teacher’s don’t work all year right? There was an article today online about Everett teacher’s getting an 8% raise, thanks to the McCleary case.. Now some Everett teachers will make over $94,000 a year. (15 years experience with a Master’s degree). Poor teacher’s so underpaid. I have yet to hear about class size reduction in Everett, yet you hear about the teacher’s excessive raise. Edmonds School District salaries before McCleary are not much different. In fact the average starting wage for the last 156 new employees in the district was $68,500.(According to the WA Auditor’s Office). Long time teachers in Edmonds already make close to the high 80’s if not 90’s a year. The question that needs to be asked more is why the school district’s are not held accountable for what they currently do and don’t do with the public funds? (And let happen) The court has ordered that the public fund further a broken system that waste’s money. The kids are the only one’s that will suffer here. The motive of the McCleary case should be clear by now, McCleary herself is an HR Director at a school district.. HR Director’s are paid over $100k a year last time I checked. To further prove my point the teacher’s paid the bill for the legal case which was over 3 million. This field is just another waste of public money brought to you by the school district. It is evident that the public doesn’t want the fields, though the district has chose not to listen to the people. I find this blatant disregard for the public’s input a product of the McCleary court order, apparently the district doesn’t feel the need to answer to the public anymore. The difference between a court order and a levy. This field issue is just a way to use public funds against the public. I would like to remind all the Superintendent for the Edmonds School District was an spokesperson for the school district’s during the McCleary case..

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