Letter to the editor: Don’t vote for Port Commission races based on sound bites

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Dear Editor:

During the past 20 years, the Port of Edmonds has made an important transition from an average marina serving primarily as a home for fishing and small boats to being elected both the best marina on Puget Sound by KING-5 TV and the best marina in the United States by a national publication.

The Port of Edmonds has led the marine industry in planning for a very long-term future by developing a financial plan that looks far enough ahead to allow for the cost of replacing the docks and other physical assets without taxing the Port residents to pay for it.

The public amenities that the Port provides are enjoyed by many of our residents. The public walkway, the new plaza by Anthony’s restaurant, and the Jazz on the Docks program are examples of Port efforts to enhance our quality of life.

Just as importantly, the efforts by the Port toward economic vitality is attracting tourists and businesses that bring in revenue that would otherwise have to come from taxes.  Great examples are the whale watching expeditions and the Destination Edmonds program which encourages visitors to the Port to visit many of the businesses in the downtown area.

In addition, despite owning only 10 percent of the Marsh and 5 percent of the 700-acre watershed, the Port has spent $4 million dollars in voluntarily cleaning up historic contamination at Harbor Square, replacing the stormwater conveyance system, replacing roofs with eco-friendly roofing systems, installing and maintaining filters in stormdrains, and cleaning out sediment in site catch basins—all of which result in improved stormwater quality from Harbor Square, as compared to the untreated stormwater that flows from the upland drainage basin and State Route 104.

The Port is where our beautiful natural environment and our built environment literally and figuratively meet.  The current commissioners understand this and take their jobs very seriously.  They put in countless hours preparing for meetings and attending conferences that provide state of the art information.

Their opponents have just started to attend Port Commission meetings.

You may hear that “It’s time for a change,” or “The Port is not doing enough to help the Marsh,” or “They’re spending taxpayers money to fight environmental safeguards.” The truth is it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize or, worse, present biased information that doesn’t present the whole picture.

We need to do our homework and make sure we make an informed vote for Port Commissioners this November.  You can find extensive documented information at: www.fairescomm.com or stevejohnstonforport.com.

Look for the “Facts about the Port” on their home page. Don’t vote based on sound bites.

Mike Schindler
Edmonds

15 COMMENTS

  1. Looking for the “facts” on the campaign web sites of the incumbents is not likely to provide unbiased information. Instead, those who truly want the facts, should look to scientific research and to the port records. Actual science shows that the marsh is contaminated and port records show that the clean up work done has NOT been voluntary as claimed.

  2. Marjorie, please do check the facts. As a third generation resident, I can certainly share that the marsh was not what it is today. I think you’ll find that the marsh was in far worse condition prior to the Port’s involvement – and these commissioners’ involvement. And to assume that all candidates – or these candidates – do not host unbiased facts is certainly a bias.

  3. Sorry to once again bring up the issue regarding ownership and restoration of the Edmonds Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary; but for the last few years, the City has been mostly responsible for the restoration of the Marsh and funding being provided by WRIA8 (a commission I sit on representing Edmonds). One needs only to go to the City website and search the Edmonds Marsh to see the involvement of City of Edmonds staff in conjunction with necessary consultants. Granted mitigation funds from development that occurred in critical areas within the Port property (Jacobsen Marina and American Brewery) have assisted in the current restoration along the banks of Marsh. Currently the Parks and Recreation Department is working with the confines of the CAO (which Council will revisit) regarding restoration beyond the 1500 square feet over a three year period.

    Once again, I suggest that anyone in the Port voting area, really review historical records, talk to some of the old timers regarding condemnation of property. Or just listen to some of the public comments made by Port officials regarding the Port Master Plan (presented outside of the current contract zoning requirements), our beloved Marsh and their minimum buffer suggestions or negative comments about individuals who are attempting to help the City with volunteer work.

    As a Port taxpayer and fiscal conservative, I personally do not like the fact that my tax dollars are being spent for a management consultant to improve the image of the Port or the money spent on mailers that are sent out throughout the entire city (or outside of the Port voting district).

    • Elected officials will never please everyone all of the time; the Port sometimes fails to please everyone, just like actions by our city council sometimes displeases some citizens. The Port should be judged by the total job that they do. Since 2002 I’ve been following the performance of the Port – I’ve attended more than 100 0f their meetings. During those 15 years they’ve consistently done a job that we all should be proud of.

  4. Mr. Schlindler, I totally agree with the title of your editorial; but your comments quickly become hypocritical with your use of misleading and incorrect “sound bites” about the actions of the incumbent Port Commissioners especially as they relate to the protection of the Edmonds Marsh and its wildlife.

    Instead of listening to biased “sound bites,” I agree the voters of Edmonds should rely on factual information about the actions, or lack of action, by the incumbent Port Commissioners regarding environmental stewardship of Port property and their impacts on the natural environment, especially the Edmonds Marsh which is now a remnant of what it used to be due to development and other human action/inaction.

    It is a known fact (see minutes of City Council and Port meetings) that these incumbent Port Commissioners attempted to reduce the protective buffer around the Edmonds Marsh to 25 feet to allow development as close to the Marsh as possible. Published scientific reports provide no basis for such a small buffer and the Commissioners had to know it would be to the detriment of the Marsh and its wildlife. Instead of good environmental stewardship and use of best available science, these Commissioners discussed how much money they should set aside for litigation (see the minutes of the Sept. 8, 2014 Port Commissioner meeting at
    https://portofedmonds.org/about/port-commission/ ). This information is not an unsubstantiated “sound bite,” it is a documented fact and I think voters will be appalled that the incumbent Commissioners would even discuss such a misuse of public funds.

    Also, regarding your “sound bite” about the incumbent Commissioner’s partial cleanup of Harbor Square, voters should be aware of the fact that both Harbor Square (reported as “Port of Edmonds, W Dayton”) and the “Edmonds Dry Storage, Port of Edmonds” are still listed as HAZARDOUS SITES (see the State website on Hazardous Sites in Washington at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/mtca_gen/hazsites.html). I view this as an environmental embarrassment to the citizens of Edmonds living in the Port District, not to mention the impact of the contaminated sites on the adjacent Marsh and Puget Sound.

  5. So which supporter is running around cutting down current port commissioner’s signs? That’s pretty pathetic to stoop to such low levels. It seems that this election is bringing a new level of hatred to this election. It’s a sad day when we are already experiencing this across the nation on other platforms. Regardless of who wins, the election process should be conducted in a respectful way for both sides. Shame on you whomever you are.

  6. Yes, please leave the signs alone for a few weeks. I have had six stolen from a property on 9th that gave me permission to post a sign, and one stolen on Olympic Ave where I also had the property owner’s permission.

  7. Mr. Scordino – this issue is reminiscent of my long ago debate classes: one issue – opposing “facts.” I fail to see where I’m being hypocritical, but I do suppose that’s debatable too. It’s easy today to state someone is hypocritical if they disagree with your facts or have a differing point of view. Bottom line: I can assure you I am interested in seeing the marsh preserved – and under this current leadership (and even some of the past port commissioners), progress has been made. I also am certainly content leaving the facts speak for themselves. When one digs beyond rhetoric and looks at the objective truth, they will find my statements to be true.

    • It’s members of the Democratic Party wanting to totally control our City. The elected positions are non-partisan, but they don’t seem to understand what that means.

  8. Ron: Excuse me but perspectives regarding, residential-centric, 5-story development of Harbor Square, protecting/enhancing the Edmonds Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, and desire for a Port Commission that listens to and cooperates with City Council, community organizations, and Edmonds citizens are hardly partisan issues.

    It’s time for new Commissioners that will bring fresh perspectives and are willing to work with all a stakeholders on creative solutions for the betterment of Edmonds’ waterfront properties and shoreline ecosystems.

  9. Ron:

    Are you suggesting that Edmonds residents living outside the Port District have no interest in the management of Edmonds waterfront and near-waterfront properties? And that these citizens participation in community discourse, including the dissemination of factual information as well as opinion, is somehow irrelevant. It doesn’t seem to prevent the Edmonds Port from mailing these citizens their PR materials, containing information that at best doesn’t tell the whole story and at worst is misleading.

    Here’s an interesting fact: Port Commission minutes (8/31/2015) show the Senior Center Executive Director made a presentation regarding replacement of the current Senior Center Building with a facility to serve as both a Senior Center and a Community Center. His presentation included an explanation of why the decision to proceed with a two story building was made, stating “although it would be beneficial to construct a 3-story building, the Senior Center Board has decided against proposing an additional story given the community’s strong opposition to greater height limits.” Port Commissioner Faires responded by encouraging the Senior Center Board to reconsider constructing a third story on the site (without any differing views offered by the other Port Commissioners).

    In other words, the Senior Center Board listened to and respected the community’s desires, but the Port Commission did not.

    Is there any doubt the current Port Commissioners favor increased height limits along the waterfront (in addition to the residential-centric, 5-story Harbor Square Development)?- whether they own the properties or not.

    • Rich:
      Your last paragraph is simply provided to scare the uniformed. You are well informed and you know that the Port is unable to build any taller buildings without action by the city council to changed allowed building heights. And, by the way, you also know that the city council members running for re-election are doing nothing to remedy the toxic storm water that flows into the marsh. You seem more interested in disparaging those that you are unable to vote for than those who you are able to vote for.

  10. Ron:

    Requiring City Council to relax building heights didn’t stop the Port from proposing a residential-centric, 5-story development for Harbor Square which remains their objective (despite strong community opposition). Port meeting minutes from 3/1/2017 & 3/27/2017 confirm this to be true; they are only waiting for the Council makeup to change.

    Since when is the truth supported by references of the Port Commissioners own words considered disparagement. Perhaps, they disparaged themselves. Voters should be informed of the truth and where to find the supportive information.

    It’s time for new Commissioners that will bring fresh perspectives and are willing to work with all a stakeholders on creative solutions for the betterment of Edmonds’ waterfront properties and shoreline ecosystems.

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