Letter to the editor: What this Edmonds City Council has accomplished

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Editor:

I attended the debate last night at the Edmonds Senior Center and imagine my surprise to hear many the Edmonds Election Group candidates’ themes of current council not getting along with each other and being unable to get anything done but infighting.

They are mistaken on that theme.

I’m here to tell you that democracy isn’t alway clean and neat, sometimes it’s down right messy. At least you know the issues are being debated publicly, that council has studied the issues and has truly taken a stand on what they believe is the best thing for our 40,000 citizens. If we always agreed on the same issues you would have to know that we were either meeting behind the scenes to come to agreement or some weren’t paying attention and voted the way they were told too by others. Also keep in mind our job isn’t to agree with everything we are told by staff; if we did, then why do we need a council? We are elected to determine if it’s in the best interests of the citizens.

You just need to look at Congress or at our State House and Senate to understand.

Could the Edmonds City Council use a more polite and less dramatic approach at meetings? Sure, we all agree the tone needs to change. But It’s very easy to sit in that armchair and criticize what you’re seeing on TV but it’s another thing to stick you neck out and try and make a difference in our city. Passion tends to bring out many emotions in all of us.

Finally, I’d like to address the continual campaign rhetoric we all continue to hear and be offended by………… “we can’t get anything done”

Let’s go over a few things we have got done in the last four years or so: Pay careful attention, candidates, because you will be expected to work harder to ensure more is done, after all “the current council can’t get anything done”

We have as EXAMPLE:
Established Business Improve District – now called Edmonds Downtown Alliance or ED!
Completed the 5 Corners Roundabout project
Approved updating of Personnel Policies (badly outdated)
Amended Code re Downtown BD Zones (Ord. 3918)
Ord. 3921 – Allow public markets in BC, BD & CG zones
Ord. 3934 Adopt Park Impact Fees
Adopted 2013 Comp Sewer Plan
Adopted CFP Element of Comp Plan
Adopted Recreational Marijuana Zone Regs and adopted review process for State-issued recreational licenses
Adopted Westgate Mixed Use Zone District
Updated 2015 Comp Plan
Approved the main street projects
Approved City park upgrades including spray pad
Working on the critical areas ordinances
Approved multiple labor agreements including change to medical insurance to be more competitive with market.
Approved code of conduct
Approved the veterans memorial concept
Adopted the cities investment policy
Adoption of new senior center
Changed the zoning along Highway 99 to ensure development

All and all this council has completed more in the past four years than any council has done in 20 years. Although it appears we struggle at times to approve items, it’s only because the current council believes they are doing the best thing for the citizens by getting all the information needed and making a thoughtful decisions.

So candidates, I would suggest you quit suggesting that nothing is getting done on council because some of you may be on the other end of this stick shortly and unable to be that armchair quarterback but the policy maker.

Adrienne Fraley-Monillas
Edmonds City Council, President

17 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for sharing this information Council President Fraley-Monillas.

    One comment – I do not know how many citizens are aware of the group apparently calling itself the “Edmonds Election Group”. I do know that Teresa/My Edmonds News was made aware of it back in February of 2015 when former Councilmember Michael Plunkett emailed out an email with 5 documents attached. I don’t think anything was reported to My Edmonds News Readers, including the documents provided.

    I’ve seen these documents and I know that the documents indicate that the group’s intention was to “slowly grow our base through personal invitation and referral and then when we have critical mass, to go public.” Maybe the group will finally “go public” now that it is referred to in this Letter to the Editor.

    I have been researching the group’s use of a Fire Station. City Clerk Scott Passey has informed me that “…the Fire Stations located within the City of Edmonds do not offer any meeting rooms for rent. Mayor Earling and Chief Widdis have not responded to my requests for information.

    • I did receive that information and chose not to publish it. It also wasn’t published by any of the other many media outlets that were copied on the email. Mr. Plunkett made allegations that were not substantiated and I am not going to perpetuate those allegations during this election campaign. If folks don’t like that, they can use other ways to communicate with each other.

  2. Ron – Why ask me to do more work instead of just doing it yourself? Please research your allegation and report on it. If something improper took place – please let all know.

    I only have so much time and am simple trying to get Mayor Earling and Chief Widdis to investigate and answer the following questions:

    1. How did this group gain access to the Fire Station? Who allowed the facilities to be used and who let the group of citizens into the building?
    2. Who were all the parties involved? “all” includes City staff(if any), Fire Department staff and members of Edmonds Election Group, including EDC Commissioners.
    3. Was Rent paid? If so, who was it paid to and who paid it?
    4. A list of all the dates the facilities were used by citizens including a group that documents suggest called itself the Edmonds Election Group.
    5. Any and all additional information discovered – including whether other individuals or groups have been allowed to use City owned Fire Stations without the City’s knowledge or approval, etc. If so, who, how often and on what dates?

    • Ron and others – so far, these are the main points FD1 has made in response to my public record request:

      1. Fire Station 17, Fire station 16, and Fire Station 20 are owned by the City of Edmonds and any public use is scheduled and maintained by the City.

      2. Snohomish County Fire District 1 does not schedule, or rent these facilities meeting rooms to the public. You would need to contact the City of Edmonds for this information.

      3. Any information regarding the Edmonds Election Group’s use of the facilities, specifically Fire Station 20 will need to be obtained from the City of Edmonds.

      City Clerk Scott Passey has represented that:

      The City of Edmonds does not have any records responding to any of the three items outlined in your request. This is because the Fire Stations located within the City of Edmonds do not offer any meeting rooms for rent.

      These responses coupled with my knowledge that a Fire Station was used have led me to request an investigation by Mayor Earling and Chief Widdis.

      • Not a word from Mayor Earling or Chief Widdis about who let the group in to use the City Owned Fire Station, whether or not they paid rent, etc.

        I keep hoping and wishing for a truly open and transparent City Government, not a Mayor who ignores simple basic requests for information. If somebody was using a facility that I was responsible for managing, I would appreciate it if a citizen brought it to my attention so I could investigate what is going on.

        • Ken, if you would provide me with detailed information about this meeting, which Fire Station, date and time, who attended and how you learned about it, I would be happy to investigate further.

        • Happy to Harry – I’ll tell you everything I can. When and where can we meet? I have time this afternoon if you are available. I’ll try to email you directly – if you want to email me, I still have the same email address.

  3. Howard Zinn comes to mind…….”Theyre willing to let people think about mild reforms and little changes, and incremental changes, but they dont want people to think we could actually transform this government , defy the authorities……”.people have to push for the changes themselves…..Howard Zinn….Historian of the PEOPLE……the American everyman and woman….to enact change. Thats the only way change has occurred historically in this country

    Not just the deeds of those in POLITICAL power……without the power of the people pushing and prodding, change will not occur…….This is democracy……not government for the select few we have here. That is not democracy. Those in our government not asking the hard questions…….always the same 5 to 2, with only two really questioning

    I am reminded of the photographs of those running for office that this publisher published yesterday and how they were edited and order of appearance. Interesting editing considering there were probably many photograps taken.A picture is worth a thousand words regarding bias and politics. …..

    Again, amazing things can happen with the power of the people

    Democracy refers to the power of the people…..not whats fed to them by biased media, and again, the people of this town did not just fall off the turnip truck and do not just believe everything fed or not fed to them by the only two media sources.

  4. Interesting that at least one candidate appears (according to street signs) to be supported by the Fire Dept. in big letters on his signs. I guess Im curious in regards to who all those involved in this were too…..

    and call me a country bumpkin, but I still dont get the million or so retroactive pay for the Fire Dept.. I tried to follow the threads but still didnt quite understand

    With all due respect to all the great firefighters, volunteers etc, across our country

  5. Just a point of information. I’ve met at the fire station with people interested in Brightwater. There was never any rent charged.
    There is also a meeting room at the library that does not charge rent. Just a matter of scheduling it.

  6. Thank you Adrienne. And all citizens have to do is look up Ordinance #1328 to see all that was accomplished by Council last year; a second year of perceived dysfunctionalism, which started with the selection of Council President and the appointment of Council Member Mesaros (after 57 votes and weeks of deliberations). After those tense times, the Mayor and I and many of us decided it was time to roll up our sleeves, keep our head down and work through the processes.

    Yes, we have some highly emotional and critical citizens that utilized hundreds of hours of our time to make their point. But, rather than be critical, let’s look at our Edmonds’ economy – especially the Downtown area, Westgate, and Five Corners – things are hopping, people are smiling and the economy is thriving. Overall, people seem content, happy and enjoying our wonderful City. I am hopeful we will continue to keep our sleeves rolled up, our heads down and be consistent in working through the processes pragmatically.

    Thank you to the Mayor and staff and all my fellow Council Members for their leadership as it has been another successful year.

  7. “Completed the 5 Corners Roundabout project” for 3.1+ Million dollars

    This is not an accomplishment…it is a boondoggle…Other cities do roundabouts for a LOT less.

    Who got the kickbacks, palms greased, brother-in-laws made rich, etc ???

  8. I would also commend all the council members for their public service. It is difficult to sit in those shoes I am sure. They choose to serve and should be respected for such service. I don’t agree with all of them, some are quick to communicate with citizens, others never answer any communication. Those will be remembered at election time so please vote.

    It becomes easier to criticize performance to get elected and much more difficult to sit in those shoes. How about a rotating public representative appointed to join the student representative at the meetings? I know, a crazy concept but what the heck.

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