Determined Stern says she aims to unite city government

Edmonds City Council candidate Darlene Stern speaks to supporters at her campaign kickoff at Arista Wine Cellars.

While giving her first-ever political speech, Edmonds City Council candidate Darlene Stern admitted Thursday night that she is “not a political animal.” But the escrow company manager and widow of late Edmonds Police Chief David Stern told supporters gathered for her campaign kickoff that “I’m interested in accomplishing this job and I’m determined to do it.”

“Somebody has to restore common sense to the city council,” said Stern, who is running against incumbent Lora Petso for Position 7. “I decided I want to step into that arena and make a difference and that together with the community we can make this happen.”

Stern with Dave Earling.

Stern was critical of past council actions that prioritized issues like requiring leashes for cats and banning plastic bags, when “we have greater issues to be dealing with first. I would work to unite the city government, the neighborhoods the business sector and all of our civic groups into a civic-minded effort to not only preserve but improve our city, and I think those two elements can work together,” she said.

Elected officials and other city council and mayoral candidates were on hand to show their support of Stern, including Council candidates Frank Yamamoto and Bob Wilcox,  Edmonds mayoral candidate Dave Earling and Edmonds Port Commission Vice President Bruce Faires.

“The contrast between this candidate and her opponent is stark,” Faires said. “I’m absolutely convinced that Darlene can be part of figuring out how to make the right decisions that are consistent with our community values, consistent with our financial needs and prepare our community for the future.”

Ruth Arista introduces Stern to the crowd.

Added Earling: “Just with picking up a few seats on the council we can have a dramatic shift in attitude and tone to our city government.”

20 Replies to “Determined Stern says she aims to unite city government”

  1. I found the cat-leash and plastic bag references amusing because her opponent was not on the council when those ordinances were passed. No need to comment further about that.

    I read this article twice, but couldn’t find anything that tells me what she would do if elected. In desperation, I went to her website and found her mission statement:

    Her mission at the City Council will be to prioritize common sense and the needs of the citizens of Edmonds over politics and special interests by maintaining a keen focus on restoring vitality and stability to the economy of Edmonds while maintaining excellent levels of service from our essential services.

    A little better than what you would get out of the Automatic Mission Statement Generator but it doesn’t make much sense to me.

    I wasn’t at the event, so in the spirit of common sense, could somebody tell me in plain English what she plans to do and how she plans to do it? Hint: if you use the words common sense, unite or politics you have not understood what I’m asking.


  2. Joe – I’ll be interviewing Ms. Stern live via ustream at 7 p.m. Monday, July 11 so I’ll ask your question. If anyone has others, let me know.


  3. I’ve been learning more about the candidates from your interviews than all other information sources combined. I think for the first time ever, I’m going to be able to make informed choices in a City Council election.


  4. Joe:

    Obviously you cannot learn a lot about a candidate from a few campaign kick-off comments. You, of course, are right to put more weight on Teresa’s upcoming interview. I have already decided to fully support Ms.Stern after having met with her some weeks ago.

    I believe that her focus on common sense is appropriate. Here’s a couple of examples of where common sense was not used by her opponent – Ms. Petso.
    1) Council members are assigned to be members of a few different committees. One of the committees that Ms. Petso is assigned to is “City-Wide Parking”. I am also a member of that committee, and to the disappointment of other committee members, Ms. Petso has not attended a single monthly meeting this year. That’s 6 meetings that she’s missed. Isn’t it common sense that when you are assigned to a committee you are expected to attend the meetings of that committee?
    2) A few years ago city council dealt with the issue of buying the Old Woodway Elementary School site in order to place a park on the property. It was known at the outset that the city only had the resources to buy one-half of the property – 5 1/2 acres. But that still would provide a park that was larger than what was there. While knowing all of those facts, including that the city did not have an additional $4M to $5M for an even larger park, Ms. Petso continued to lead a failed effort to cause the city to buy the full 11 acres. Isn’t it common sense that you don’t spend money that you don’t have?


  5. Ron W asks: Isn’t it common sense that you don’t spend money that you don’t have?

    Thank you for providing a great example of why the Common Sense campaign slogan is so insulting.

    First of all, if I wasn’t willing to spend money I don’t have, I wouldn’t be able to own a house. Most businesses would never get off the ground if they weren’t able to spend money they don’t have. Much (if not most) economic growth comes from spending money we don’t have.

    Secondly, if I wanted to see half of the Woodway Elementary property developed into a park and somebody else thought there should be no park, or there should be a smaller one, I might well start out proposing that it all be developed into a park so that the eventual compromise is a reasonable one. Those who start a negotiation with a completely reasonable position are unlikely to get what they want. The outcome of the park negotiation was a great one, and Ms. Petso has every right to be proud of having been a part of it.

    Third, the common sense phrase is just a thinly disguised attempt to insult her opponent. It’s negative campaigning. Ms. Stern is trying to tell us that her opponent lacks it. It’s negative because it tells us exactly nothing about Ms. Stern. Negative campaigning works on a lot of people. It doesn’t work on me.

    So to answer your question: No it isn’t common sense.

    My question was what does Ms. Stern plan to do and how does she plan to do it? Your response to it was to attempt to put down her opponent. Despite having met with Ms. Stern, you have added provided no insight into why I should vote for her. Your support of Ms. Stern appears to be driven by your dislike of her opponent. If Ms. Stern wants my vote, she’s going to have to earn it. That’s all I’m asking her to do.


  6. Ditto teresa, Great job, the interviews have been well done and the internet connection has been for Darlene, I am w Ron W on this one..she is running against an “appointed” council member and to use Ron B’s terminology appointed by the club house folks, she is missing in action at numerous committee meetings she is on, she filed a law suit that cost the city some major dinero..I look at Ms Stern as being from the same ilk as Joan Bloom, someone who will serve the city with dignity and will put us citizens first..Best of luck Darlene…


  7. Mr. Burdett,

    You haven’t provided any information why we should vote for Ms. Stern, just why we shouldn’t vote for Ms. Petso. Like Mr. Morgan, negative campaigning doesn’t work on me.

    On a different note, it’s curious that you compare Darlene Stern to Joan Bloom. Ms. Bloom has provided a very specific campaign statement (, whereas Ms. Stern’s statement ( is incredibly vague. I’m sure both candidates genuinely want the best for Edmonds and “will serve the city with dignity,” but I simply can’t tell what Ms. Stern would do if elected.

    Hypothetically, if both women were running against each other for the same position and I needed to fill out a ballot tomorrow, I would vote for Ms. Bloom because I feel confident that I know what I can expect from her. I don’t know what to expect from Ms. Stern, and until I do, I won’t vote for her. It is for this reason that I look forward to watching Teresa’s interviews with all the candidates—I’m very interested in what they have to say. I would much rather base my vote on the candidates’ plans for the Council and for Edmonds than whether or not they have plans.


  8. If you want to know what common sense means, ask Darlene, and look at her life-log accomplishments. She is one of the most rational, literate, and street-wise folks I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She is very approachable, and easy to speak with. She speaks her mind with poise and grace and would NEVER resort to negative mud-slinging. She sees a job that needs doing, sits down and examines it from all angles to determine the best way to approach and tackle it, and gets to getting it done. I’ve never known anyone like her before, and would bet there isn’t another like her to be found. If you wish to have goals that make sense accomplished, Darlene is the person who will see that it happens. I’ve personally seen her work her miracles in more ways than you will ever be able to imagine. She is definitely the person for the job – and you can take that to the bank!


  9. Ron B i can’t speak for anyone else but myself bu it has been my observation ever since Ron W got voted out and he did get voted out he hasn’t been happy with anything that has happened with city council and has used this blog to complain about it. Some of his complaints might have some merit some may not but it is real easy to sit in the stands and complain I see it every night. As far as are last mayor goes Hey he quit you can say what you want about him but he quit Ive never met him so I have no idea what he is like but he sure was there a long time I think there should be term limits on the mayors job myself. But facts are facts and he walked away, was it because he got a better offer maybe maybe not he just might not have liked working with the council. I’ve always figured that if you walk away from something you should just stay away. period…………………


  10. Mike, I liked the last word. I almost fell off my chair laughing. Glad to see you have a good sense of humor! Touché.


  11. Mike Mc.:

    Thru my continuing involvement with the city I continue to learn many Facts; I strive to stick to Facts on this site. There are columnists with different newspapers who I’ve stopped reading. Perhaps you should stop reading my posts, or is your message really politically based.


  12. Fact based or politically based?

    First a few facts:

    Aug 2009: Ron W lost a primary election to Lora Petso, ending his term on City Council.
    Jan 2010: Ron W lost a City Council appointment to Diane Buckshnis.
    July 2010: Ron W lost the Edmonds Mayor appointment to Mike Cooper.

    Moving on to the politics:

    The people in city government who have consistently received Ron W’s criticism: Petso, Buckshnis & Cooper.


  13. You appear to be choosing only those facts which denigrate the people I named. I am not calling into question your truthfulness, only your objectivity. I think your objective is generally to persuade, rather than to enlighten.

    I don’t suggest there’s anything wrong with persuasion or a failure to be objective – we all fail that to some degree. I just think it’s important to know people’s biases.


  14. I’d like to also add that one can be completely truthful and sincere, yet wrong, as I explained in #6 above. I want to be clear that I am not challenging your integrity. I have always respected you for that and I still do.


  15. @Grey Larson..I trully apologize if you took my reasons for not voting for Ms Petso as negative campaigning..I just stated why I am not voting for her..truthful facts..I have met with Ms Stern and am supporting her for the above mentioned reasons and for her soon to be discussed vision for the council and this city. She is not running against Joan Bloom so I guess your hypothetical vote will not effect her. But would love to hear your reasons for supporting Ms. didn’t post her campaign mission only Joans.


  16. Mr. Burdett,

    I’m supporting neither Ms. Petso nor Ms. Stern right now. Admittedly, I wasn’t as clear about this as I could (or should) have been. I was frustrated that Ms. Stern has yet to share what she would do if elected. I wasn’t trying to state that either candidate would make a better council member. Ms. Petso’s website similarly explains little about her views. Unfortunately, I have not met either candidate so I must depend on other sources of information (like their websites) to determine their campaign statements.

    For some reason the video interviews aren’t working for me right now. Hopefully I can get that figured out so I can watch both Ms. Petso and Ms. Stern to learn more about what they want for Edmonds.


  17. Mr.Larson:

    The General Election is still 4 months away so you’ll have lots of time to make your decision. Remember that there will also be candidates’ forums that you can attend. I’m confident that you’ll conclude that Ms. Stern is the right selection.


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