We have a new Edmonds City Council and a new mayor. Where will you lead Edmonds in the months and years to come?
My fear is that the preponderance of members now owning downtown businesses or with Chamber of Commerce ties will only lead to more of the same – the enrichment of the Downtown/Bowl at the expense of all of the other neighborhoods and taxpayers outside of that zone.
It was shocking to me, for example, to see the minor, cosmetic surface needs of the downtown Caspers Street ranked as of higher need in Prop 2 proposals emanating from City Offices than the many street tracts in North Edmonds that are in far, far more disrepair than are the streets of that downtown area. If the discrimination we experience needed illustration, I cannot think of anything more powerful than the City’s own pre-election statements about its road needs. I recently saw more road improvements being made to the relatively intact Dayton Street, west of the ferry tollbooths, while we in the north continue to sink into the potholes and degraded road surface caused by City-permitted construction on the north end of 75th, between Meadowdale Beach Road and North Meadowdale Beach Road. I know other, out-of-bowl residents could add their own examples of the discrimination that exists in City resource allocation decisions, from road maintenance to storm recovery, to safety barriers.
In the campaign, all of the candidates waved the flag and embraced a multi-neighborhood approach to Edmonds, but only in terms of business development at Four Corners, Perrinville and Firdale, in addition to the usual Bowl/downtown priorities. A sustainable neighborhood policy involves more than business development, it involves a sustainable and sustained infrastructure in those neighborhoods. I worry that the “Business First” predilection of our incoming Council membership does not bode well for equitable neighborhood resource support. To date, the City has demonstrably failed in creating an equitable neighborhood-based approach to the allocation of City resources. Will this new administration reverse that practice, or will it be ‘more of the same?’ Time, not rhetoric, will be the judge.
So, what will all of you small business owners and Chamber of Commerce devotees do, now that you are seated? Will you bring each neighborhood up to a common standard of sustainability and common standard of infrastructure support, or will you continue to perpetuate the imbalance of resource allocation to those areas where you personally reside and operate your businesses? Will you represent all of Edmonds, or will you continue to be a body that abuses its authority by elevating one section of the City, and self-interest, over the good for the whole? I know where I think your actions will tilt, but only time will tell if you are in public service for your narrow self-interest, or if you will begin to elevate the vision of the Edmonds City Council and Mayor’s office to pursue a more inclusive goal for the larger neighborhood tax base that comprises the City of Edmonds? Time will tell. You will be judged not by your rhetoric, but by your actions.
Peter Hodges, Ed.D.