Bloom stays true to grass roots, with campaign-sign recycling

Volunteers Rebecca Wolfe and Faye May recycle campaign signs.

Edmonds City Councilmember Steve Bernheim, who is supporting Joan Bloom for City Council, sent us this photo of volunteers recycling Bernheim’s campaign signs (he’s not running for re-election) for Bloom’s campaign.

“We are painting out Steve’s name, and stenciling or hand-painting, whichever works best, my name in,” Bloom said. “That is being done next Tuesday.” A sign decorating/fundraising party will follow on Friday, Aug. 26 from 5-8 p.m. at ArtWorks. “We’ll decorate the signs with flowers, to match Bloom,” she said.

“A creative campaign committee is a necessity when one is running a grass-roots, low-cost campaign,” Bloom added. “And I love the idea that we are re-using other signs, to reduce waste.”

In his email to My Edmonds News announcing the recycling effort, Bernheim also stated the following about Bloom’s opponent: “DJ Wilson, who bought yard signs for his 2007 campaign, has also spent more than $3,800 for yard signs in 2011.”

So we asked Wilson, the incumbent running for his second term, about that. Did he actually buy all new yard signs, because maybe he re-used some of his old ones, too? We didn’t get an answer to that question. But Wilson did suggest that Bernheim’s donation of the signs “looks like an illegal in-kind campaign contribution, actually. Signs cost about $5 per placard. So, if Steve gives more than 100 of them, that in-kind gift will exceed our campaign finance limits.” (Edmonds does have a campaign donation limit of $500 for local races.)

Next, we asked Bernheim about Wilson’s suggestion that perhaps he was running afoul of campaign contribution laws. “DJ Wilson accusing Joan Bloom of illegal campaign finance violations?” Bernheim responded in an email. “Joan paid me 10 dollars for the 52 campaign signs I had left over from 2007. I was going to throw them away until Joan offered to recycle them for the benefit of the entire community.

“Enough is enough, I hope all will agree,” Bernheim added. “Everybody except DJ Wilson knows that the fair market value of Steve Bernheim for Council yard signs is zero. Let the voters decide. Let the Public Disclosure Commission decide. But for heaven’s sake, please, don’t let DJ Wilson decide … any more!”

42 Replies to “Bloom stays true to grass roots, with campaign-sign recycling”

  1. If you’d like to be invited to the Joan’s August 26th sign-painting/fundraiser party at Artworks (201 2nd Avenue, S., Edmonds), just email Joan Bloom at: [email protected]. This is a Friday. Hope to see you there!


  2. DJ, I’m going to be generous by not questioning your ethics on this. That leaves two possibilities: either you’re not smart enough to realize that used campaign signs are not worth $5 each, or you’re not smart enough to realize that nobody is going to buy that argument. And either way, you’re not smart enough to know when to shut up and not smart enough to represent me on the City Council.

    I’ve tried to remain objective about this race and I’ve even defended you against your attackers, but this decides it for me. Joan Bloom is getting my vote.


  3. My previous message may have left some with the impression that I’m voting for Joan because of this stunt by DJ. But those antics are just the reason I’m not voting for him. She deserves a bit of clarification.

    Joan is quite opinionated, yet always finds a way to express those opinions with respect for those who disagree. She’s smart. Her answer to my question last month about Harbor Square development was deeply thoughtful. No sound bites. I’m still thinking about the implications of her answer. She has repeatedly shown that she listens well and incorporates the good ideas of others into her own thinking.

    Her personal frugality demonstrated by reusing old campaign signs is a quality we need in City Council. Joan is the kind of person who will figure out how to do more with what Edmonds already has.

    Joan’s platform makes it very clear what she will do when elected. No other candidate this year has come close to her openness and clarity about what she will do.

    You don’t need to have a personal relationship with Joan (I don’t) or trust an endorsement from someone who does. Everything you need to know is readily available online. She lives her life in a way that reflects her strong belief in open government.


  4. I certainly plan on attending Joan’s Campaign Event. Her opponent is the most ineffective member on the City Council.

    It doesn’t brother him that City loses over 10% of the water purchased for the Alderwood Water District. It doesn’t brother him that City paid the Hearing Examiner $3600 month when there were no hearings. It didn’t brother him that the Fire District One collected over 1 million dollars in taxes from the Esperance residents and paid the City $295,000 to provide their Fire and EMS service.

    On March 24, 2009, DJ Wilson made the motion to approve a resolution in support of program budget cuts including closing Yost Pool, eliminating the police DARE program, funding the flower program with trust funds,cutting police and fire night out program and defunding the South Snohomish County. His motion failed for a lack of a second.

    Councilmember Wilson responded “if not this resolution, then what?” Let me suggest, maybe someone other than you representing the Youth and Seniors of our community.


  5. Joe:

    I do not at all question Joan’s sincerity; however candidates often make promises they find out later they’re unable to deliver on.

    Regarding Joan’s frugality; a good indicator but no guarantee of anything. For 12 years I had a boss who in his personal life had the best of everything – premium homes, cars, clothes, vacations, etc. But when it came to spending the corporations funds he was a miser. I had an other boss who was just the opposite. He was very frugal with his personal spending, but very free with the company’s money.


  6. Finis:

    Like the saying goes, you can have your own opinions but not your own facts. The record shows that DJ Wilson probably was the MOST EFFECTIVE council member during his time on the council. He established the original levy review committee. He established the current Economic Development Committee. He originated, and is spearheading, the idea of the city being self-insured for health benefits. No doubt there’s more.

    DJ is by no means perfect; he’s made some mistakes. I’ve had some quibbles with him. When you’re actively doing things you often make mistakes. After I assess the good and the bad of DJ, he ends up getting my vote.


  7. Ron W:

    Re #6: I have to agree that past behavior is no guarantee of anything. Here’s an example from my life: just a few weeks ago I defended a city council member and said that he was running a clean campaign. And then yesterday I learned that he made an untrue, baseless ethics and legal accusation of his opponent. I sure feel stupid.

    Re #7: You might want to dust off your dictionary to better understand the difference between fact and opinion. Calling someone either the most effective or most ineffective council member is opinion. Unproven and unprovable.


  8. When I choose whom to support in any election, I look to see if we agree on important issues. One of the imortant issues in this election is transportation funding. In the past, the City has not spent sufficient money to maintain our streets. Now, the City does not have sufficient money to maintain our streets and the streets are getting worse and will cost more to fix.

    I served my first term on the Citizen Advisory Transportation Committee with DJ and my second term with Joan. I know that they are both fully aware of the city’s prdicament: we can’t afford to fix our streets and we can’t afford not to fix our streets, because it will cost more to replace or repair a street than to maintain the overlay the “top” of the street. I am certain that they both are fully informed on this important issue.

    Yet, DJ led the opposition to the proposed $40 car tab increase in the last election – he is taking credit in his campaign literature. $40 would have provided $1 million every single year for Edmonds street overlays. He stated a preference for a levy.

    Now, DJ is leading the opposition to the proposed $1 million levy for street overlays. He state a preference for a permanent levy.

    DJ has not offered solutions.

    Edmonds has a problem: We do not have enough money for basic street maintenance. The majority of the Edmonds City Council voted to present their best ideas solutions on the ballot, for the voters to decide.

    I will be voting yes for the Transportation levy and voting to elect Joan Bloom to the City Council. Please join me.


  9. Kristiana – no spell check function but most people just note they had a few typos. It happens to everyone – no worries.


  10. Kristiana, if you download Safari or Firefox, they both have built in spell checkers that will work in My Edmonds News.

    I am apologize that neither has a grammar checker 🙂

    I voted against the car tab increase, but I will be voting for Joan and the Transportation Levy.


  11. Joe, Thank you for the spell check tips. I am glad to hear that you will be supporting Joan and the Transportation levy.


  12. Joe,

    Thanks so much for your comments, and for your endorsement. I have always appreciated your thoughtful, even handed and civil words on myedmondsnews, and see your endorsement as high praise for my efforts to run a transparent, low cost campaign. I hope I have the opportunity to meet you one day.


  13. Joan, thanks for your kind words. If my words have any effect, I hope it is to inspire people to learn more about you and Councilmember Wilson. You have both done a good job of articulating your views, and you have both done a lot of work that is documented in the public record, so there’s no excuse for voters to make an uninformed decision.


  14. Can’t wait to see everybody at the Friday evening sign-making/fundraiser party. The refreshments, beverages, music, and painting of signs will be a unique way to do our part as citizens to “Reuse, recycle, reduce” in Edmonds. Truly “grassroots” politics.


  15. Just out of curiosity (and, please do not read anything more into this other than curiosity), why does this campaign need to raise money. The “cost” of signs are minimal. paint, etc can be donated. the only other costs would include mailing and robo-calls. I would expect a “green” grass roots campaign would not be sending out mailings because they are not green. That leaves robo-calls? Maybe news-paper adds? What other costs are there?


  16. Ron:

    The difference between you and me is; I base my opinions on facts and you ignore the facts.

    DJ Wilson is politically isolated, rarely getting a second or even much consideration of his proposals. Just read the August 2, 2011 meeting minutes and council action on DJ Wilson’ s resolution for a Diversity Commission. I have no problem with a Diversity Commission what I have a problem with is Mr. Wilson’s grandstanding and bloviating.

    Then read his comments about Yost Pool. DJ Wilson is telling everyone to use Yost Pool before the upcoming Budget Discussion. Is he threatening to close Yost Pool again?

    Here’s the link Ron enjoy:



  17. Here’s what DJ Wilson said:

    “Councilmember Wilson relayed there has been a shortage of participation at Yost Pool this summer. His children attend swim classes daily but if not enough people go to family and/or recreation swim time, it will be part of the budget conversation. He encouraged the public to swim at Yost Pool. He also reminded citizens of the outdoor movies at Frances Anderson Center on Friday evenings. This Friday’s feature is
    Ghost Busters”

    Does that statement really sound like someone who wants to shutdown Yost Pool?


  18. Priya, while I share your curiosity about how Joan (and all the other candidates) are spending money, it seems unwise for any candidate to reveal their strategies at that level of detail. Your use of quotes around green implies Joan has said she is running a green campaign. I was unable to find any place she said that.

    One place she is spending money is here on My Edmonds News for her ad. I always like it when people in Edmonds buy local.


  19. Joe, I noticed the advertisement after I wrote my comment. Frankly, I never look at advertisements so, they are a waste of money for people like me. However, re running a green campaign, there was much to do about the yard signs and grass roots campaign, I just assumed it was a green campaign. My mistake.

    Having run a campaign, I know that my major costs were mailers, signs and advertising. I received voter lists for free from my endorsers. I can pretty much figure out where the money is going. And, btw, if you are interested, you can also look at the PDC filings.


  20. I don’t think I’m influenced by signs, ads, flyers or robocalls. Actually, robocalls are a negative for me because they indicate the candidate has little respect for my privacy. And I do tend to be wary of heavily funded campaigns and I sometimes look at their pdc filings. But I understand that most voters are not as diligent as I am, especially in local elections, so successful candidates have to spend money on all that stuff.

    I am also not influenced by endorsements. My curiosity sometimes causes me to read through the endorsements. Inevitably, each candidate is supported by people I admire and also by people I find less than admirable. Sometimes people I greatly admire have different priorities than mine.

    Lastly, I really dislike negative campaigning. Priya, I voted for you in 2009 in no small part because of your opponent’s negative campaigning.

    My strategy for deciding is quite simple: I look at what candidates say they want to do and I look for evidence that indicates whether they can and will do those things. I vote for the candidate most willing and able to do the things I think should be done.


  21. Last night Joan Bloom spoke in support of proceeding immediately with completing the Old Milltown park. That means that the city will have to come up with $110,000 from REET funds. Council members Petso, Plunkett, Fraley-Monillas, and Berheim subsequently voted the required authorization. What wasn’t communicated until later in the meeting is that the city might have to come up with an addtional $700,000 for the Haines Wharf park – money the city doesn’t have.

    So much for Joan’s personal frugality being a guide to her future behavior on city council – should she be elected.


  22. This is disappointing. I’d appreciate an explanation from Joan.

    There’s no doubt that north half of the park is an eyesore. I would rather have seen a less expensive solution. Park staff could have cleaned it up and put in beauty bark or temporary plantings. A scout troop could have taken on the project. If the Business Improvement District forms, they could do something more sophisticated with the park.

    Why did DJ vote against it? Still not kid-friendly enough?


  23. Joe:

    Your solution precisely matches what I proposed. Strom was the only vote against proceeding immediately. DJ did not call in until the Haines Wharf park item.


  24. Ron W, you may recall when you proposed that simpler solution I commented “Ron W, I agree with everything you said.”

    However, using a scout troop or the BID was not part of your proposal. Since the plan is to build a small stage, that would be a perfect Eagle Scout project. The entrance gate to the dog park shows how great a project like that can turn out. A citizen-built park amenity conveys a stronger sense of community than something the city builds. It’s not just about saving money.

    I do like the idea of putting a small stage there. It might bring more live music downtown, even if it’s just volunteer performers holding out the hat.


  25. Joe:

    I agree with what you’ve said in #26. Most citizens probably do not realize that the city owns only 100 feet along 5th Ave. Most, if not all, of the area north of the graveled area belongs to the bank. They plan to use it as an outside seating area for a restaurant that hopefully someday will be located in the adjacent area of OMT.


  26. Ron W,

    You obviously didn’t listen closely to my comments. First of all, 40,000 has already been allocated for the park by council. Second, the Floretum Garden Club has raised $10,000 to put towards the project. That leaves $70,000 that is needed for the project. The three options presented by Carrie Hite were to 1) do nothing, 2) apply for grants and wait until the money is obtained, which would mean doing the project in the spring of 2012, or 3) allocate REET funds to the project, begin in the fall, and apply for grants to reimburse the REET funds.

    I spoke in favor of option 2, not option 3.


  27. Joan:

    I apologize; my mistake. Obviously not intentional since there’s a tape for everyone to watch to learn the truth. Too bad that the council did not listen to you or I. As you know, my suggestion was option 1) – do nothing, other than staff cleaning it up to get it open.


  28. Ron W,

    To clarify where I stand on the Old Milltown Courtyard issue, I feel compelled to state that my second choice would not have been to “do nothing”.

    The Old Milltown courtyard was once featured in advertisements of Edmonds. It was used by residents and visitors to Edmonds, and community events were staged, or spilled over, in the courtyard. As I said at council meeting, I have fond memories of being there with my children when they were young. I look forward to the eventual completion of the project, and believe that the cost will more than be recouped by the stimulation to economic development that will result.

    There is a big difference between overspending and strategic investment.


    Your ideas about the use of Scout troops to build a stage are interesting and creative. Perhaps future projects could utilize citizen volunteers.

    ArtWorks, where my sign painting event is occurring tonight from 5-8 PM, has a little pocket park much in need of refurbishment. It would be a perfect spot to enlist volunteer assistance. An Agile Design approach indeed! See article on EdmondsForum. com on agile design:


  29. I admit that I hadn’t fully considered the economic value of the Old Milltown park. The gutting and abandonment of the rest of Old Milltown destroyed much of what was once the Edmonds equivalent of Pioneer Square. Despite that, at least the charming row of shops that are left serve as an icon of Old Edmonds. Making this a picturesque photo opportunity makes a lot of sense.

    Are the plans for the park completed and available somewhere? I’d be interested in seeing exactly what will be done.


  30. Thank you Teresa – it was quite helpful to see that document. Besides the strategic/economic importance of this park, its small size presents problems that merit a professional design and installation. I like the way the design uses strategically placed raised gardens and walkways to create many conversation areas without appearing cramped.

    I now agree with Joan that option 2 was the right balance of frugality and moving forward. As Priya said elsewhere, the decision to spend money now is going to make it more difficult to get any levies passed.


  31. As far as levies are concerned, it is up to the staff, council and citizens to help us decide the worthiness of each levy. We need to look at the long range effect of each levy. I think well informed citizens make good choices. I am hopeful that the media will help in that direction.
    I think going ahead with Old Mill Town is a good decision. Using volunteers to build the Artworks Park is also a good idea. Its location makes using volunteers more viable.


  32. I don’t question the worthiness of the levies. All three areas covered by the levies need money. I don’t think there’s any serious doubt about that.

    The current lack of money is the only reason the city has become as frugal as it is. I think that’s a good thing. I want to see more transparency, accountability and frugality before I say yes to more money.

    My attitude could be likened to a parent with an unruly teenager. I love him dearly and I want to keep him safe, but he has a lesson to learn. Tough love. If you’re in city government, it sucks to be you right now. We’ll all get through this, but it’s not going to be over this year.


  33. I agree about transparency, accountability and frugality. It’s time that we match our expenses with our revenues. I’d like more information on how we come up with union agreements. Especially since personnel costs of police etc. are a HUGE part of our budget. Why can’t we match salaries to the ups and downs in revenue? Now that’s something I’d like to see.


  34. Joan:

    Regarding #30. Pardon me if I’m skeptical about the Old Milltown park being a strategic investment for our city that will cause the cost to be recouped by the resulting economic stimulation.

    The city is now on the hook for as much as $110,000. The city receives 0.85% of the 9.5% sales tax that’s levied. That means to recoup the investment will require incremental sales, subject to sales tax, amounting to $12,941,176.


  35. I thought that Joan’s recommendation was that we not spend the extra $70,000 that council voted to spend. The city would just spend the $40,000 already allocated when grants are found.

    That still requires $4.7 million in sales to pay for it. But if you spread that out over 20 years, it’s something like $236K per year. That sounds achievable considering it might get the nearby vacancies filled quicker.

    I imagine there are other tax benefits to getting those buildings occupied, but somebody with more financial knowledge than me will have to figure that out. Does the city get any portion of the B&O tax?

    By the way, the city gets 0.85% of sales, not 0.85% of the tax. I know that’s what you meant, because you did the math under the correct assumption.

    I appreciate your bringing this up, Ron because you made an excellent point that it take a lot of sales revenue to generate any significant return to the city. We need to do this kind of math with all the proposals to spend money to lure development.


  36. I get in so much trouble speaking for myself that I can’t imagine trying to speak for anyone else. As to whether Joan Bloom would ever want me (or anyone else) for a spokesperson, here’s what she said in a comment to me 3 months ago:

    ” All I can say is, no one speaks for me but me.”


  37. Joe The sales tax rate is .03% city , .065% state total .095% Using your numbers the city would get 141000 over 20 years 7,050 a year


  38. Sooner or later, one of us will get this right. (This is why no one wants me to speak for them.) According to this table the local portion of the sales tax is 3%. I believe sound transit keeps .9 %, leaving Edmonds with 2.1%.

    So to recoup $40K, Edmonds would need $1.9 million in additional sales. $40K is about 2.1% of $1.9 million.

    That’s about $95K per year for 20 years.


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