To the editor: Much more to Bob Wilcox than his knowledge of construction

Diane Buckshnis has made an interesting attack against Bob Wilcox in her mailer to voters in the last few days. She says that “Bob Wilcox is All About Construction”. This causes me to wonder how she would have defined the late John Beck, one of the former owners of Beck’s Funeral Home and a highly respected politician. To follow thru on her logic, I expect that she would have said: “John Beck is All About Burying People”. Those of us who knew John know how untrue that would have been. Just like those who know Bob Wilcox know that he will offer much more than his knowledge of construction.

Ms. Buckshnis goes on to say: “But what might this mean to Your neighborhood?” I suspect, Ms. Buckshnis, that it means the same as you have stated about yourself: “NO Taller Downtown or Waterfront Buildings.” This is one issue that the two of you agree on.

After voters compare the mail piece from Bob Wilcox with the “hit piece” from Diane Buckshnis, no doubt it will be reaffirmed for them that Bob Wilcox is the right choice.

Ron Wambolt

  1. Actually, Mr. Wambolt…

    Mr. Wilcox has NEVER said, “No taller downtown or waterfront buildings.” What he has said repeatedly is, “No tall buildings in our downtown retail core.” Note that he never says, “No taller buildings…” And the downtown retail core (per the comprehensive plan) only represents street front along Main and 5th, extending a couple blocks from the fountain. The waterfront, Antique Mall area, etc. is not included in the retail core. This is the same semantic wiggle room that YOU claimed to have used when you first ran for council, only to become the most outspoken advocate for taller buildings as well as the most outspoken advocate for Mr. Wilcox.

    Here are some more facts for you…

    The contributions to Mr. Wilcox campaign from the Master Builders Association alone (including cash) represent over 10% of his total contributions. Did you know that over twice as many chose to donate to Diane Buckshnis’s campaign than Mr. Wilcox? And that well over 90% of donations to Diane Buckshnis’s campaign come from Edmonds residents; while Mr. Wilcox has less than 70% contributions from Edmonds residents, excluding the $1,600 independent expenditure from the Master Builders Association.

    Voters may especially be interested in the source and the perspectives of those that support Mr. Wilcox because –as he admitted at the ACE/Senior Center Forum (and was reported in My Edmonds News)– he has NEVER taken a public position on any issue facing Edmonds prior to this campaign.

    Diane Buckshnis’s record, and her support in this campaign, reflect her commitment to the Edmonds community; NOT special or outside interests.

  2. @ Rich
    Ron W. isn’t the most outspoken person for Mr Wilcox but he might be on this forum. I see you are speaking for Bob again. Do you know him personally

    I know you are Diane’s past campaign manger when she lost in 2009. In that campiagn she claimed that there was 2 mil missing from the city. Mr Hines tried many times to explain it wasn’t missing. She finally figured it out when Mr Tarte told her the same thing. Then she couldn’t figure out where the $400.000 in REET money went to. Never came in and the budget was adjusted. Does she really understand budgets and finnace?

    There is an e-mail that Diane wrote and sent that states she supports higher buildings in the downtown area. The problem I see is she flip flops so much I don’t know where she stands.

    @ Ron B.
    Bob was friends with Mr Beck. Maybe it’s okay for Mr Wambolt to use this analogy.

    I’ve known Bob for over 50 years, maybe because he has lived in the area that long. Is that a minus too as some have writen. He has been active in the community for many more years than Diane. In that same time he has run a successful business. He is straight forward and honest. With Bob on the council things will get done.

  3. I keep hoping we will learn something about what Mr. Wilcox will do if elected. Here’s the complete list of what we have so far from this article and conversation:

    “…he will offer much more than his knowledge of construction.”

    “…things will get done.”

    Do you people honestly think that’s going to make me want to vote for him? Bob Wilcox scares me.

  4. I’ve all ready voted for Ms. Buckshnis. And this letter doesn’t exactly lead me to want to change my vote.

    This letter is way off track logically with its bizarre comparison.

  5. Perhaps, just perhaps …electing a person with Bob’s experience will help the City to avoid results like we are experiencing with the Haines Wharf Park and Walkway project. And if someone wants to defend the current council and Ms. Buckshnis , give it a try. Blame the Mayor or Mayors, but I am willing to bet every month of the project the council approved invoices for the construction of the project, but no one…not even the purported watchdog bank examiner, Ms. Buckshnis was keeping track of the total or thought to ask someone to do it for them.

  6. Here is what I know about Bob Wilcox: I know that Bob Wilcox and I don’t agree on everything. However, I know that he can have a discussion with me and state his position and make me feel part of the Edmonds Community.

    Here is what I know about Buckshnis: I know that we don’t agree on everything. However, I know I can count on her to dismiss me as part of the Edmonds Community because I don’t think like her or her circle of friends. I know that I want the people I vote for to represent me — not the “in” crowd. I graduated from high school 26 years ago. I’m done dealing with the “In” Crowd.

  7. Interesting that you should bring up Haines Wharf. I don’t see how this fiasco has anything to do with Ms. Buckshnis. You can argue it never should have been approved, but the approval happened before she was on the Council. Mayor Haakenson put a lot of effort into fighting the Council’s efforts to find out what was going on, so I can’t fault the Council when the project was underway. And if anything that Precision Earthworks claims is true, the execution of this project was a major failure by Mayor Haakenson.

    But getting back to Mr. Wilcox, I have a question. Since Bob Wilcox was a good friend of Gary Haakenson, why didn’t he help out when this project was in trouble? Why didn’t he serve on a committee or come to City Council meetings to lend his expertise?

  8. Joe:

    I don’t think anyone knew that the project was in trouble until recently. But, in any case, why would a private citizen who is not part of a construction contract randomly offer assistance without being affirmatively asked for assistance. This would be like me offering my services for free to the City because they were infringing on a patent, for example. I don’t understand your logic here.

    Additionally, you seem to make a deal about Mr. Wilcox not participating in City Politics. Please note that until recently, Mr. Wilcox ran a business and volunteered his time in other places; while Ms. Buckshnis has been retired for much longer. And, as far as I can tell, she only started volunteering in 2008 or 2009 with the City. What did she do while she was working? Did she participate in community activities? I know that in order to balance my work, home, and community services, I have left off my plate a great deal. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care. it means that I have a limited amount of time. Similarly, Mr. Wilcox has a long record of community service. just because it wasn’t with City government doesn’t mean that he didn’t care.

  9. Speaking of Haines Wharf, for those of you who may have missed it, the Precision Earthworks claim for over $951,000 is available on line. To find the Precision Earthworks Claim, go to the City of Edmonds Homepage.

    Then do the following:

    1. Under the City Government tab, click on City Council.
    2. At the City Council page, click on Council Agenda.
    3. Change the month to November, 2011.
    4. Click on the blue November 1, 2011 next to City Council Meeting.
    5. Scroll down to item E., and click on the blue link to : Precision Claim for Equitable Adjustment . The 6 page PDF will be available to read.

    When reading Precision Earthworks claim letter, please realize that you need to hear the City’s side of the story also. I hope others will join me in requesting the City provide its side of the story in great detail soon so we will all have a better idea of what took place.

  10. Mr Morgan..There is the approval process and then execution of that approval and finally the oversight.. Approval is a Council action. Execution is a function of the Mayors. And oversight is the function of the Council. I can’t give her a “pass” on this issue, especially when she purports to be a financial examiner. Apparently you are not bothered by it.

  11. Mike, we agree about the elements of approval, execution and oversight. I think the Haines Wharf failure is 95% due to mistakes in approval and execution. Oversight is absolutely the responsibility of Council. But because the project was underway when she took office and Haakenson was clearly stonewalling, I am not bothered by the fact that Ms. Buckshnis was no better at preventing this tragedy than anyone else.

  12. Priya, if we are talking about citizen Wilcox, I admire his service and it is clear he cares about many things. He has given much more than most of us have. I have no problem with the choices he made.

    But I am talking about candidate Wilcox. I want to understand what he will do if elected. If he had directed some of his efforts toward the problems of city government, I might know enough to give him my support. Haines Wharf is not his fault and I don’t hold him responsible for it in any way. But his lack of interest in government until he decided to run for Council is a big problem for me. He is responsible for that.

  13. Ron W, you have misstated my position. I just don’t think Haines Wharf was her fault. Let me ask you this: what should she have done and why was she more responsible than the other 6 members of Council for doing it?

  14. Joe,

    Diane did not participate in government until she decided to run either. In fact, she says that over and over in her speeches. She became interested in government only after the bank defaults in 2008. And, if you look at her record, she really did not show up at council until early 2009.

  15. Priya, that’s a good point. Everybody has to start somewhere. The reason I have a problem with it in the case of Bob Wilcox is that he won’t take a position on any issues. If he had experience in government, I would at least have that history to judge him on. But he gives me nothing.

  16. Joe:

    When Ms. Buckshnis determined there was a problem with the Haines Wharf project she should have asked the council president, Steve Bernheim in 2010, to place a review of the project on the council agenda. Had Steve failed to oblige her, which is unlikely, she could have introduced a motion to have council do the review. She was more responsible than the others because she knew about a problem and did nothing but often moan about it.

  17. Joe Morgan in responce to your comment #10 get real. When haines warf was going on Mr wilcox was running his own business You ever run a multimillion dollar construction company before Im sure there were more important things going on in his life. Besides I believe I was the first one to question anything about the cost overruns at haines wharf and that was at a council meeting about a year ago, if you recall at the last council meeting there were some comments about this haines wharf talk about there being alternative motives going on by some of the council members . I believe there might be some truth in that comment,

  18. We’ve drifted pretty far off topic – my fault as much as anyone’s. I just hope we someday have a clearer picture of the entire Haines Wharf story. I suspect there are many more lessons to be learned.

  19. Mr. Wambolt (re: 16),

    Your conflict of interest analogy is absurd. By this notion, endorsements by Edmonds police and fire unions would also be a conflict of interest. You have openly supported D.J. Wilson, who is also endorsed by SEIU. Do you ascribe the same conflict of interest to him?

    But -most importantly- as is often the case with you… you’ve missed the point. Endorsements (especially by special interests) can take on more significance with voters when the candidate has taken limited public positions on issues outside of “campaign speak”. Not only has Mr. Wilcox never provided testimony before council or letters to the editor regarding issues facing Edmonds. He’s never participated and taken public positions in any citizen committee, commission, or board that supports our governmental process before running for council. Please don’t take me wrongly. I’m sure Mr. Wilcox is a nice man, as he has many friends in Edmonds. And I have nothing personal against him. I simply have an expectation that candidates asking to represent our community be a known quantity on issues, not just a friend. And “actions speak louder than words” … especially those taken prior to a formal campaign.

    I presume Councilmember Buckshnis is proud of her endoresement from SEIU which, I believe, represents workers at Edmonds largest employer (Edmonds Swedish Hospital). And I also presume Councilmember Buckshnis is equally proud of her endorsements from the Sierra Club, the Cascade Bicycle Club, and the Herald; as these organizations reflect her record and recognition of her campaign messages. Finally, I presume Councilmember Buckshnis is proud of her endorsements from a diverse group of community leaders; both elected officials and community advocates that also reflect the positions she’s taken as a citizen, council candidate, and councilmember.

  20. Mr. Senderoff:
    I have often said that I know of no situation in which a contribution to any council member has ever influenced a vote. I expect that if Ms. Buckshnis is elected that her SEIU contribution will also have no affect on her voting. However, my preference is that council candidates, because of the “Appearance of Fairness Doctrine” should not take contributions from unions that have city employees as members.

  21. Rich, I find fault with your second paragraph were you insinuate there there should be qualifications for running for office in Edmonds. It is my opinion there should be none. If there was, one of them should be once you lose an election dont get your self appointed to a vacant position after the voters have clearly said no. That is just politics and a slap in the face to voters who expressed there opinion with there votes. I too have no doubts both canidates are good people and I appreciate Diane voluntiering for good causes but that doesnt make you any more qualified for office. In here first campaign she campaigned on issues that were proven to be incorrect( see Pauls #4 comment) . Good luck to both of them and let the voters decide.

  22. Ron W., you stated that because of the “Appearance of Fairness Doctrine”, candidates should not take contributions from unions. You must be aware that this doctrine does not mention unions, or any other specific interest group. There are many possible conflicts of interest. For example, Bob Wilcox has received a sizable contribution from a downtown view property owner. Does this create a conflict of interest if a downtown building heights vote comes up? Bob Wilcox has received support from the Affordable Housing Council. Does this create a conflict of interest if an affordable housing project comes up for a vote?

    My point is that if we disallowed all contributions with a potential conflict of interest, candidates would have no money at all. No candidate is squeaky clean when it comes to contributions. All we can argue about is how dirty they are.

  23. Don, I don’t think Rich insinuated anything about qualifications to be a candidate. His view, like mine, is that he’s not likely to support a candidate who doesn’t express views on issues. Voting for such a candidate is like writing a blank check.

  24. Joe, What is great is that we all have different interputaions of what is written as it should be.
    I didnt express my point very well so here goes another try. Diane in her failed previous campaign expressed a lot of opinions and came to council meeting and expressed her thoughts and that got her defeited. Speculating on what motivates or influiences a voter is a time honored tradition.

  25. Joe:

    The groups that have supported Bob Wilcox may never have an issue before city council. It is a certainty that compensation for SEIU workers will be dealt with my council members.

  26. Mr. Wambolt,

    Your logic regarding SEIU workers is nonsensical. Are you saying that candidates supported by the police and fire unions have a conflict of interest too? And you will no longer support those candidates endorsed by them?

    It’s really amazing how you find bits and pieces of illogic to fit or support whatever position you take on candidates and issues. But, of course, it’s your right to do so.

  27. Mr. Senderoff:

    I never at any time said that I would not support candidates supported by any unions. You are the person who introduced campaign contributions into this issue. I’m finished with this.

  28. I am not sure who I am voting for but when Bob wilcox was interviewed by this newspaper he stated that the underlying thing was that we are dealing with a city that has no money, Finally finally I heard words from somebody that made some sense,If everybody took the approach that the city did not have any money there probably would’nt even be a levy on the ballot. At least he isn’t afraid to get in there and do the dirty work. This city spends more time and wastes more money on things that are just stupid. They will be talking about building heights 5 corners and ferndale village five years from, Oh ya I noticed somebody is in the skippers property now, who cares where the canadites get there money the more the merrier at least somebodys spending some money

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