Letter to the editor: Darlene Stern up to challenge of replacing Lora Petso on Council

To the Editor:

I am so happy that Darlene Stern has taken up the challenge of replacing Lora Petso on the City Council. I well remember eight years ago when my good friend Peggy Pritchard Olson, after years of frustration with Lora, decided that she herself was the right person to do the job. Peggy often spoke about how Lora did not understand what a City Council member is supposed to do, citing often her annual NO vote on the budget because it always contained a couple of things that she did not like. Peggy liked to remind us that a councilmember participates in give and take to get the best budget possible, although it might not be 100 percent to your liking. While Peggy will be hard to replace, we have found the right person in Darlene Stern. I think Peggy is up there cheering Darlene on.

Marianne Zagorski

26 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Darlene Stern up to challenge of replacing Lora Petso on Council”

  1. Marianne’s comparison to Peggy Pritchard Olson is right on the money! Peggy did much more than just attend council meetings. She always attended the meetings of the various committees that she was assigned to, lobbied the legislature on behalf of our city, and participated in other civic functions – like at the openings of new businesses, and awards functions for police, fire, and other city staff, etc.

    I have met with Darlene several times and I know that she will operate similarly; she will have no other position eroding the time that needs to be devoted to being the kind of council member our citizens want and deserve. I also have learned from meeting with Darlene over the past few months that she’s very quickly getting up to speed; she knows the questions to ask and she understands the answers.

    You’ll learn what Marianne and I, along with many others in our community, already know about Darlene when she knocks on your door or at the candidates’ forums. Give her a listen!


  2. Ms. Zagorski, I think it is ironic that you criticize Lora Petso for negativity in a letter that says nothing positive about any candidate.

    Peggy Pritchard Olson was a wonderful person we can all admire. I am truly sorry you lost a good friend. Can’t we let her soul rest in peace instead of dragging her into this election?

    I don’t agree with everything Lora Petso has done, but I admire her for taking clear principled stands on issues. Even when her views are a bit extreme, she serves to bring the council to a reasonable compromise. If you think the Council is going to suddenly pass crazy laws because Ms. Petso says they should, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Can Darlene Stern and her supporters please tell me why I should vote for her? It is so destructive to only hear why we should vote against her opponent.


  3. Joe . I find it very tiring to have you make the same comments when ever some one makes a comment about a canidate that you are not the cheer leader for. Maybe you should write out the guide lines for comments on canidates for or against. Maybe we would get more people making comments if they didnt feel they would be getting critized. Some people just like to express there opinoins from there gut and heart. I am not defending Ms Zagorski letter as she is quit capable of expressing her own opinions. Just an obsevation


  4. Don, I can accept that you find my comments tiring. But who am a cheerleader for? I’ve only decided how I’ll vote in one race, and even in that one I vigorously defended the guy I’m not going to vote for when he was the subject of personal attacks.

    As to encouraging more comments I couldn’t agree more. I’d just like to see more positive comments about the candidates. All of them.


  5. Based on the past civic record and knowledge of both ladies, which one is likely to serve the citizens of Edmonds the best?

    I suggest the record strongly supports Lora Petso and I will be voting for her.


  6. I think that using a deceased person’s name to promote someone in the political arena is tacky beyond words! Unfortunately this is not the first time that this is done since Ms Olson’s death.
    I am extremely concerned that Edmond’s City Council and the mayor’s office could become an extension of the Chamber of Commerce.We already have MR. Peterson. Four more, Not a good thing! Edmonds need people of different ideas and from different walks of life to truly represent its citizens. What have Mr. Earling, Mr. Wilcox, Ms Stern given of themselves to Edmonds? After almost 10 years of living in Edmonds I knew nothing of Mr. Earling, knew the Wilcox name because of the sign downtown on his contracting business, knew nothing about Ms Stern other that she was the widow of the Police Chief. Hardly any qualifiers for leading the city.
    Lora Petso, Joan Bloom and Diane Buckshnis have been involved and given much to the community. Without Diane we would not have a dog park and we would not talk about finances of the city and still would be in the dark about how our tax money is spent, among many other accomplishments. Without Lora Petso we would not have an advocate for parks and a fiscally conservative voice on the council and without Joan Bloom we will not have a watch dog for land use rules applications, a clear voice for land conservation and a very calm and civil presence. Her opponent DJ Wilson’s honor and dignity are compromised in my opinion since he publicly called other council members “jerks” and took his 88 year old neighbor’s land using the odious and now much changed “Adverse Possession” law. (Superior Court case #08-2-07367-8)
    Petso, Buckshnis and Bloom, I am sure, will be much maligned in the coming weeks by their opponents, especially by the self promoted “financial oracle” Ron Wambolt. These ladies have volunteered endless hours for all of us and Edmonds need them to continue their good work. They are honorable and hard working people who are sensible in looking at intelligent development in the entire city, not just the bowl, care and protect Edmonds’ senior population and who simply just selflessly care and give of themselves for the betterment of all Edmonds’ citizen’s quality of life .
    Please join us in voting for Joan Bloom, Diane Buckshnis and Lora Petso so Edmonds can truly go forward.
    Betty Larman


  7. Betty,
    I am not joining you in voting with you for any of these three. Besides I can’t vote in Pittsburgh.
    You and others keep bringing up the DJ case. He did not take his neighbors property. He paid for it above the fair market value. The courts saw in his favor and even awarded him attorney’s fees. So let me know what he did wrong?
    Bob Wilcox has been well established in the city longer than 10 years. Raised in the area all his life, educated in the Edmonds school district, raised his family here, served his country in the military and ran his business here. I have personally known him and his family for over 50 years.

    I have learned in all my years that it is better to join 1 or 2 organizations and work hard at those few, not join many and do just enough to get your name in the forefront. I would rather have someone work hard behind the scene and not seek recognition.

    Darlene Stern is qualified to run for city council. It is obvious you don’t know her and don’t have any intentions of getting to know her.

    I have met all 6 and I know who I will vote for and they are not your candidates. I can do it with a clear conscience since I live here.


  8. Paul,
    I appreciate your thoughts. I guess I did not have the occasion to meet the other candidates that you know so much about. As I stated I know personally those I support and I am very impressed by them and think they would be great for Edmonds. I actually need to apologize for stating that the Chamber is endorsing candidates. I am told they are not endorsing anyone in this election. I guess Natalie Shippen and I are wrong and I do apologize for my statement which is not factual. Obviously not everyone can be lumped together in any organization anyway. BTW, I think you might feel different if someone took your grandmother’s land by adverse possession in the way this was done to Irma. I wish that you would talk with her, I did, which is why I feel so strongly about this whole very sad affair. Then you could form a true opinion. I guess I am an idealist. Edmonds has the potential to be a jewel of a city where everyone could and would want to go to live or to play. It has so much potential and so much irreparable harm can be done to it, so fast, I just think of Old Milltown….


  9. Betty, Do you really want to go back to Old Milltown and the lawsuits and who won and what it could have been if developed as origionally proposed and built without all the delays. It would have had a much better out come. Why dont we just move on and work to solve the issues that present them selves now. Maybe you should get to know all the canidates and open your mind to good but maybe different ideas and we all work together for the common good


  10. Edmonds is a jewel of a city and many people come here to visit and participate in activities around the city. We have so much more to offer people than most cities. We need people in council who aren’t one issue wonders. Darlene will be one of those and will Bob.


  11. Mr. Anderson states: “He (referring to DJ) did not take his neighbor’s property”. That is a flatly false statement. The record is quite clear on that point.

    DJ sued the elderly widow for about 15% of her property under this state’s “adverse possesion” law. DJ won that part of the case.

    This odious law should be repealed to prevent similiar abuse of elderly citizens with limited capabilities.

    With the help of a friendly to DJ rulings by a judge and an arbitrator DJ won the case. DJ’s primary witness recanted a questionable startement prepared by DJ and signed by the witness but this was ignored.

    DJ would like to divert attention from this point by continuing to point out that after a big chunk of her property was all ready taken she reluctantly agreed to a sale. DJ’s point that the price was fair is also arguable but far from the real issue.

    DJ clearly violated the 9th commandment :”Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. And also add to that the 10th Commandment: “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s house.”

    DJ simply does not belong on our City Council.


  12. Betty and Ray: You’re wrong. You’ve been corrected repeatedly. You know you’re wrong. There is a legal definition of stating something false over and over when you know something to be false.

    Again, Ms. Sutherland agreed to sell her land to us. We agreed to buy it. We signed a contract – in the presence of her attorney. We agreed to pay $40,000 more than the parcel was appraised for – in this economy. You can accuse us of being stupid, but not of having stolen anything.

    The only decisions ever handed down by a judge or arbiter were as a result of Ms. Sutherland being unwilling to close on the signed contract, and her action to take the matter to arbitration. The arbiter, with whom I have no relationship, found in our favor on three counts.

    She then appealed that decision to Superior Court. The Superior Court judge, a Republican who I actively opposed during his election campaign, found in our favor on all three decisions. One decision was to award attorney’s fees to us due to the claims made by Ms. Sutherland to have been found completely without merit.

    Ray & Betty: you have chosen to believe false statements. Believing them does not make them any less false.


  13. Moreover, Betty and Ray, as I have said to you both before, I would be happy to get together with you – again – to clear up any misunderstandings you may continue to have. Bring your friends. Bring anyone you want. But I’d appreciate you at a minimum sticking to the facts of this matter. And, if sitting down with me again – and any legal mind you want to bring to the table – will help, I’m happy to do that.


  14. “at a minimum sticking to the facts of this matter”
    “Adverse possession law:
    A method of gaining legal title to real property by the actual, open, hostile, and continuous possession of it to the exclusion of its true owner for the period prescribed by state law. Personal Property may also be acquired by adverse possession.”
    There was no “continuous possession, (7 years in the state of WA)” and plenty of hostility as you read the case and talk with Irma and Mr. Hatton, DJ’s property previous owner.
    That is the reality of this sad case.I think DJ needs to read again the record (Superior Court case #08-2-07367-8). This elderly 88 at the time and now 92 year old lady, mourning the loss of her husband, did not not want to sell the land she had kept (and paid taxes on for years) for her grandson to move back to the NW and build a house for them on that property.That is the reality.
    There is no amount of coffee in this world to change my mind and make DJ Wilson an honorable man in my eyes. Thankfully the “Adverse possession law” has been changed since that case so no one especially the elderly can ever be abused in such a way.
    See B. W. comment below.

    to Elisabeth Larman

    date Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    subject RE: Adverse Possession law HB 1026

    mailed-by leg.wa.gov

    I just read this case on my lunch hour. Unbelievable! I sure understand better why passing this legislation was important to Rep. Blake. We have had lots of complaints about this issue. I couldn’t believe that she even had to pay the attorney fees. What a slap in the face. I find it so disheartening that there are people out there that use these laws to take advantage of people, especially the elderly. I also don’t understand how you can admit that you had someone fraudulently sign something, and you don’t get in trouble for that. It seems like perjury to me.
    I see that the bill was passed almost unanimously. That should tell you something.
    I sure learned something today. Interesting reading. That is the fascinating part of this job, but can also be very depressing.
    Thanks for your caring,
    B. W.


  15. One unfamiliar with this case and wishing to know the full simple truth has two options,with only one of which is true and factual. And that is simply to study the court record of Sno Cty case #08-2-07367-8. The second option is to blindly believe DJ confusing explanations without studying the complete happening laid out in the case itself.

    So which option would a normal reasonable and logical person choose?


  16. While I am far from a DJ Wikson apologist, I laughed when I saw Ray ask what a normal, reasonable and logical person would choose. With his continued statement of fallacies he hopes to make things truth via repetition, not so much reasonable or logical thought.


  17. Please confine your comments to the issues of the original story. The cognitive dissonance brought on by the multiple rants above (which have been repeated in their entirety in the comments of dozens of other stories) is maddening.

    My take, for the record, is that while Ms. Petso clearly has more experience (in years) as a legislator than Ms. Stern, her performance as a legislator, and as a representative of people, has proven her unworthy of election. She wasn’t elected at her last election for a host of reasons, all of which are abundantly clear to anyone who has followed her performances at City Council sessions since her appointment.

    Ms. Stern has a record of achieving results without alienating people or resorting to hyperbole; this has not been an argued point. While this record was not achieved in a legislative capacity, it is clearly a step in the right direction. However, I wish to hear more from Ms. Stern; specifically about plans for the future, before endorsing. I eagerly look forward to the opportunity to hear her at future candidate forums and debates, and for more summaries here!


  18. I’m not really sure why Mr. Wilson has been pulled into this. This letter had nothing to do with him. However, I am done with the illogical attacks on Mr. Wilson.

    YES! I support DJ Wilson. However, it is not for the reasons you think. DJ and I clash and disagree on issues or votes he has taken. He has gotten emails from me where the only comment was: WTF?!. However, I am mature enough to understand that reasonable minds disagree.

    I support DJ Wilson because he cares. He listens and he values everyone’s opinion. He may not always do what you want but, that is okay. He does what, in his heart, he believes is the best way to move us forward. And, I know that he makes those decisions after seriously considering all options. In my opinion, that is the definition of a great representative. I cannot make this comment about anyone else currently on the counsel.

    With regard to his legal battles, anyone who cares to look at the record will see the truth and not the spin that have been posted here. I have been practicing law for 14 years. I have reviewed the documents that have been spun here. The bottom line is that Mr. Wilson won at every level and was awarded attorney fees.

    We aren’t in High School anymore.


  19. Well said, Priya. I’m not supporting DJ this year, but I can’t really disagree with anything you said. I’ll add to your comments that DJ is also better than anyone else on council for explaining his thinking. He gets criticized for being long-winded, but I think that’s unfair and I appreciate the level of detail he provides.

    I was bothered by the personal attacks against Ms. Larman, but because she continues her personal attacks against DJ, I’m not going to defend her.


  20. Regarding the election at hand, I first met Darlene Stern when she came on the Board of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, at a time when I too was a Board member. I believe that her husband was President. Although I like Darlene as a person, I am not sure that she is a “tough chick”. I know that Laura is a “tough chick”. I have not made up my mid about this race yet.

    I also have concerns about the Chamber’s “slate of candidates”. However, because of the negative campaigning on Ms. Buckshinis’ end and a long discussion with Mr. Wilcox, I have decided to vote for Mr. Wilcox. Frank is running, effectively, unopposed.

    Generally, I agree with Ms. Larman that we don’t need the Chamber running the town. I know that before I left the Board, there was a real push to support Chamber related candidates, if you were part of the “boys club”. Mr. Peterson was part of that club. I was never part of that club It is hard to be a outspoken, woman and be accepted into that network..

    When reviewing Mr. Claiborne’s interview on MEN.com, it was clear to me, in his role as the Chamber’s President he was in violation of the 501(c)(3) requirements. Now, I’m no expert in the matter and I could be wrong but, I’m pretty sure that 501(c)(3)s cannot endorse candidates.

    Ramblings and thoughts of a Gad Fly.


  21. I think I finally understand the situation with Ms. Sutherland and the Wilsons. She entered into a fair contract with the Wilsons. At some point she changed her mind and wanted the contract cancelled. The Wilsons had already made plans based on her promises were legitimately not willing to cancel the contract.

    When a person makes an agreement (a contract or a set of mutual promises) with another person, they are bound by honor and law to fulfill that agreement. Morality and the law allow for some valid reasons for being allowed to cancel an agreement, but it is clear that this case was thoroughly reviewed and none of those reasons were present. The agreement was fair and not coerced in any way.

    Ms. Sutherland may have had good reasons to wish she had never promised to sell her property. But she had both a moral and a legal obligation to keep her promises. We’ve all made promises we wish we had never made. But a civil society expects us to keep them.

    We can all have empathy for Ms. Sutherland’s regrets without relieving her of the duty to fulfill her obligations. I wish her the best of luck in moving on with her life and wish her the continued support of friends and family.


  22. Gadflies generally know what they are talking about. The Chamber is NOT a 501(c)(3). Never has been, never will be.

    We have several outspoken women on the Board of the Chamber, they have been more than accepted. They were actively recruited to be on the Board as Priya was before she quit before her term was over.

    Darlene has been on the board for almost three years; he husband died over four years ago so he could not have been President at the time.

    I am not advocating the ‘Chamber run the town’ but maybe that would be a good thing. We get along on the Board (hint hint City Council) & we have a balanced budget and a cash surplus!

    BTW – the President of the Chamber’s name is spelled Clyborne.

    Chris Fleck
    Chamber Treasurer


  23. Chris,

    Thank you for clearing up the 501(c)(3) issue. Perhaps you can tell us how the chamber is incorporated. Clearly, I am wrong. You mis-read my statement above. I stated that I believe that Mr. Stern was President in the past. I did not mean that as at the time Ms. Stern joined.

    And, Chris, the Chamber Board does not get along. in fact, on at least on one occasion, you went around the Board to create a public outcry on the vote that was taken as a Board and that you lost. I don’t call that getting along. I can probably pull out some other bits and pieces, if you want to air that in public.
    Finally, Chris, I am sure that you feel that the Board got along fine and all felt welcome. I did not. I felt like the outsider even though I took on more responsibility than many long term Board members.

    Personally, I think Ms. Larman is on point on this. We should have representation from all walks of Edmonds. Not Just Downtown Merchants.


  24. I can’t write a sentence to save my life today. The above should read:

    in fact, on at least on one occasion, you went around the Board to create a public outcry on a vote that was taken as a Board and that you lost. I don’t call that getting along. I can probably pull out some other bits and pieces, if you want to air this stuff public.


  25. Priya, I am tired of the same old garbage about the chamber and downtown merchants. I am a chamber member and downtown merchant. I do not attend there meetings and am not active on any committees. I support all there fund raisiers and promote all there community activities. Quit lumbing all downtown merchants in one basket. We are hard working residents and non residents of Edmonds who want to see our businesses and Edmonds succeed. You dont have to be a downtown merchant to belong to the chamber.


  26. @Don, I know, am a Chamber member too. I’m not sure what you are trying to say. In any case, I agree with all you have said.

    All I am saying is that I think we should have representation that comprises all of Edmonds. If it were up to me, I’d regulate Council members so that there is one representative from each neighborhood of Edmonds; So, that all of our concerns are addressed. For example, I think those who live in the Five Corners/Westgate area, my old neighborhood, have different concerns than people who live in the downtown corridor, my new neighborhood. Although we have some basic things in common, my needs from the City are different now that I live downtown.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *