Letter to the editor: A message to our police and fire chiefs

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Dear Editor:

I’m writing in hope the eyes and warm hearts of our Police Chief Compaan and Fire Chief Bruce Stedman have the opportunity to review and consider the below content.

To most of us, our eyes do not lie:

    • The traffic violations we see every day, are not decreasing.
    • The traffic accidents we see every day are not decreasing.
    • Pedestrian injury/deaths due to automobile involved accidents, are not decreasing.
    • The property crimes we experience every day, are not decreasing.
    • The amount of time your agencies are spending addressing opioid related crime/medical, is not decreasing.
    • The diversity/types of crime occurring in Edmonds, that used to be considered extremely unusual, are not decreasing.
    • The population you and your talented, brave and fearless team’s serve is not decreasing.

All of those facts scream a need for resources. Let alone, http://mynorthwest.com/878052/edmonds-traffic-calming-solutions/

I, nor anyone I know, would ever belittle the services you and your brave men and women provide us every day. But, it is hard to believe you are receiving the financial support required to be as effective as you are now required.

The catalyst for my letter is the recent announcement/plea for money to address SERS and end of life.http://myedmondsnews.com/2018/01/aging-county-emergency-radio-system-must-replaced-officials-say/

To me and most reasonable citizens, this cannot be the only vital system your teams’ require, aging due to a lack of required maintenance. The SERS system is facing a, “fall off the cliff scenario” due to no fault of anyone under your management. How many other of these “fall off the cliff “scenarios” do you see coming? Where have you been denied funds to meet service requirements?

I’m writing to suggest you begin to think out of the box in building relationships with your best lobbyists…. Those you protect. It should be the citizens of your jurisdiction lobbying the politicians, not you or your unions. We’re not interested in hearing about the occasional town hall meeting, arguing with city council after your requests have been parsed through them nor the occasional public announcement post on the city website (from 12/2016).http://www.edmondswa.gov/images/COE/Government/Departments/Police/Documents/Letter_to_the_Editor_article_on_My_Edmonds_News-Compaan.pdf

Tell us the truth about your current preparedness and what you require to keep up with the current crime/public safety trends. If you’d like help organizing a “Public Safety” State of the City Address, I’m fairly certain there are enough concerned citizens, we could fill the ECA. Let alone, keep a meeting of this type on a productive track.

My email is attached to the post and I’m fairly certain you two know how to find me.

Ed Peterson

3 COMMENTS

  1. Ed, This is a thoughtful discussion of the need to think carefully about public safety. Where we spend our tax dollars is always filled with choices and prioritizations. Council has a difficult job to allocate the current city revenues. They did add some budget for police for this year. They also included some budget for some “green” things and even $250,000 for the idea of homelessness.

    If we want to increase police presence by just one officer for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, we need to higher 3 people. Actually 2.8 but I rounded to 3. The added or relocated budget would have to be about $250-300,000 for those new people. The question then becomes is one added police person for 16 hours a day enough? The list presented above looks like it would take more than 16 added hours a day. Put in another way, in order to increase the budget by $300k per year the tax for the average homeowner would be $25-30 per yr.

    I think the list above has some great ideas for us to consider and for us all to contemplate how we want to pay for it. Good Government Costs Money, Better Government Costs More.




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  2. Thank you Darrol for the thoughtful reply and private email. You deserve to be honored just for your thoughtful and carful steps to ensure Edmonds remains what it is, while considering change.

    As we talked, I will be meeting with Chief Al regarding my letter to the editor.

    Before we begin to solution design the cost of additional officers vs. the value relationship, how about if we figure out how the embarrassing scenario of a failing SERS system is now in our lap?

    Coincidentally, this is just in time with a school levee vote and the announcement of our dramatic property tax increases.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist. If Big Foot existed, someone would have killed one by now for examination

    A reasonable person cannot explain why all of these money requests are coming after the state budget passed and school’s are now fully funded. Now, it is a request for money without current justification nor accountability.

    Public safety is and always should be #1. There are no schools, merchants or private property protection without our brave servants.

    Ed




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  3. Hi Ed, Looking forward to your email with a rundown of the radio system and public safety. I will be interested in what you learn, and I will share what I learned when I talked with the Chief.
    On the school levy issue, I will also give you some more data when we exchange email but it is important to clear up a few misconception about school funding.
    1. The original court case did several things but with the two most important ones were a. We were not giving our kids the same basic education in all of our 300 districts and b. Most local districts gave kids more than a basic education by using local levies. Edmonds paid for about 30% of our total bill out of local levies and gave our kids more than a basic education as defined by the law. The current finance model will drop that percent to well under 20%.
    2. The state defines basic education in a way that leaves out several things most districts are already doing for their kids. Some examples from HB2242 are: Extracurricular activities like sports and clubs; extended school hours, days, or year; courses offered below the minimum required by the state; early learning programs; and other programs approved by the State Schools office.
    3. To pay for 2 the state will allow for local “enrichment levies”. There are two limiting factors to these levies: a. $1.50/1000 of assessed values. b. $2500/kid enrolled. The must collect the lower amount based on these formulae. For Edmonds the current assessed value is $28.3B which would generate $42.5m. If the assessed value goes up as anticipated by 15% then the assessed value would grow to $32.5B producing $48.8m. Based on the current kid count forecast at 20,461 and using $2500/kid that would produce $51.2m. So depending on if the assess values go up or down or the final number of kids enrolled the enrichment levy would likely be $42.5 to $51.2m. This levy limits the amount for 2019 to $49m and that is all that can be collected and as shown it could be less.
    4. Today most districts, including ESD provide programs that are beyond the definition of basic. Since the state will only fund basic if we want to continue these programs locally we need funding. Without funding these programs would be eliminated because the state is simply not funding for things beyond the definition of basic.

    The bottom line is the state will not be funding all that we do for the kids today they will only be funding what they call basic. We are responsible for our own enrichment programs just as we are today. Without funding we will have to cut our enrichment programs totally for they will not be funded by the state. I could offer thoughts on what to do with any extra funds that may happen as a result of the collecting more than needed to further enhance education but then that would be offering opinions vs facts and would generate a bunch of thumbs down indicators. I will put those thoughts in an email directly to you.




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