By now, news watchers in Edmonds have seen one or more stories about the “Paris Accord” Resolution passed by the City Council on June 27. I have waited until now to say something about my “No” vote on that item. I waited primarily so that I could see the entire resolution and amendments written in the public record.
The fact that the resolution came to us as an action item on June 27 meant that we could vote on the motion at the council meeting that evening. Prior to our 6:30 p.m. start, the council received a lengthy email with proposed amendments sent by Councilmember Nelson to rest of us at 5:30 p.m. During the council meeting he apologized for sending the amendments so late and then continued introduce 17 amendments one by one.
Some of the amendments were approved and others were not. If you’re interested in the discussion and votes you can read them in the minutes beginning on page 7 here… https://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=2311&MediaPosition=&ID=2212&CssClass
As I mentioned in the council deliberation, I had a problem supporting the amendments without the benefit of reading the text and evaluating their merits prior to our discussion. In retrospect, I should have at least asked the council to postpone deliberations to a future date. Council President Mesaros has since apologized for not making the resolution a study item instead of an action item, for which I’m appreciative.
When it came time to vote, however, I could not support the “Paris Accord” Resolution because it lacked clarity in several important areas, including budget considerations and the administrative resources required for implementing the action items. While it’s true that it is a resolution, not an ordinance, this one has specific target dates and expectations. By approving the resolution, the council effectively set in motion an action plan that requires city resources to accomplish the objectives.
Beyond the lack of clarity, I was concerned that we had not heard from the citizens of Edmonds about their priorities for actions the city ought to pursue regarding climate change objectives. Had this resolution come to the council in the usual way, beginning with a study session, citizens would have had ample time to read the materials and bring their comments. In addition, councilmembers could have asked staff to prepare estimates on the cost of implementing the proposed resolution.
Now that the resolution has passed, I want to invite the citizens of Edmonds to help shape its implementation. There will undoubtedly be proposals that come to the council and administrative details to approve.
Among the questions that I’ll be asking are: What amount of our annual budget should be dedicated to implementing the Paris Accord in Edmonds? What, if any, projects — like the Waterfront Activity Center, for example — should be postponed or included to accommodate new practices? What is a reasonable time frame for completing these goals? Is five years good or is 25 years good enough?
We can’t change the steps to getting the “Paris Accord” resolution for the City of Edmonds. That’s already behind us. We can, however, influence the way its implemented. This is something the entire council can agree upon. We value citizen involvement and will seek to do better the next time a resolution like this comes up.
Note: Full Name as Amended…
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
EDMONDS COMMITTING TO ACHIEVE OR EXCEED AT THE
LOCAL LEVEL THE GOALS ESTABLISHED
IN THE PARIS ACCORD
— By Neil Tibbott, Edmonds City Councilmember