As angry Bloom leaves meeting, Council punts Harbor Square issue to next week

When in doubt, delay.

That could be the new mantra for the Edmonds City Council, at least when it comes to deciding what to do with a proposal regarding the aging Harbor Square Business Complex. After listening to a third round of public testimony Tuesday night, the council voted 6-1 to defer a decision on whether to incorporate the Master Plan for the Port of Edmonds-owned complex into the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Immediately after the vote to wait until next week to discuss further, the most vocal opponent of the idea — Councilmember Joan Bloom — stormed out of the meeting.

An at-times heated Council debate included pointed exchanges between Bloom and Port Executive Director Bob McChesney. Bloom accused the Port of conducting a “seriously inadequate” feasibility study that didn’t include costs for significant items such as earthquake safety and parking. McChesney noted that those types of details would be addressed later, adding that “the feasibility study is not what we are asking the council to approve.”

Public testimony was offered by more than a dozen citizens — some of them repeat visitors from earlier hearings — who addressed what they liked or didn’t like about the idea — with recurring worry expressed about height limits, possible environmental impacts on the nearby Edmonds Marsh, perennial flooding and soil stability.

While not a proposal for an actual project on the current Harbor Square site, council incorporation of the master plan into the city’s plan is a necessary first step toward redeveloping the 14.62-acre complex. One possible result could be the inclusion of buildings heights of three to five stories, up to a maximum of 55 feet.

After citizens had their say, Council President Lora Petso made a motion that the master plan incorporation, which the Edmonds Planning Board had recommended for council approval, be scrapped in order to force the Port to go back to the drawing board for a new approach. McChesney was asked by Bloom and Petso whether the Port would be willing to look at other ideas, including a compromise on the five-story height limit.

Citing three years of public input and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the plan, McChesney said that “from the Port’s point of view, we’re done. We think we’ve done our job. We think we’ve done it responsibly, we think we’ve involved the public.”

When pressed by Bloom about whether the port would continue to work with the city if the plan was rejected, McChesney added: “Of course we always want to work with the city. It’s hard for us to comprehend that any additional fine-tuning will improve the plan that we are presenting.”

Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis and Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, while not rejecting the proposal outright, expressed concern that the Port proposal didn’t provide any alternatives to the three- to five-story height limit and that the Port appeared to be unwilling to compromise on the plan.

That prompted supporting Councilmembers Strom Peterson and Frank Yamamoto to vent their frustration over the opposition surfacing following three years of work on the concept. A vote against the master plan incorporation “would throw a lot of good work out the window,” Peterson said.

Meanwhile, Councilmember Kristiana Johnson tried to strike a conciliatory tone, stating that she believed the process could be moved ahead and that the port and city could work together “to achieve common goals.”

When it appeared that a vote appeared imminent on Petso’s motion to reject the proposal, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling stated he was stunned that the council would not even attempt to propose amendments to Petso’s motion. That led to further discussion about options and the need for more time, followed by a 6-1 vote on a proposal by Fraley-Monillas to carry the discussion over to the Feb. 5 council meeting.

Immediately after, a visibly angry Bloom — the only “no” vote — hurriedly left the dais and headed out the door.

The only other action the council took was a 4-0 “yes” vote (Councilmembers Petso and Johnson abstaining) to add gun control the City of Edmonds state legislative agenda, which was immediately followed by a 5-0 vote (Petso abstaining) to support legislation for additional mental health services.



  1. Ms bloom had clearly done her homework. She pointed out numerous omissions in the plan presented by the Port such as its failure to address the problem of erecting multistory buildings on land with very high liquefaction potential. Given more time she could have pointed the City’s enormous liability if it approves the construction and later deaths and injuries result from building collapse due to earthquake. Ms Bloom also reported that the Port plan diodes not deal with the major drainage problem in the area. She could ave gone on to identify the very high financial burden on the Cith to pay for the huge infrastructure developments that would be necessary if the site is to become build able. I was extremely disappointed that rather than supporting Ms Bloom’s efforts to obtain answers to these and other vital questions Mr Peterson inexplicably apologized to the Port for raising these concerns and Mr Yamamoto repeated his unquestioning support of the project three times.

    The proposed chage to the Comprehensive Plan calls for “mixed-use URBAN development”. I cannot imagine that the citizens of Edmonds want to urbanize our waterfront treasure with high density residential construction. If the Council adopts the proposal it will be obligated to revise the Code and in so doing will open the door to over-building throughout the City. The character of Edmonds should not be changed so the Port can make more money. This proposal is therefore a developers’ Trojan Horse that must be rejected

    Last night the Post essentially said “my way or no way” and several Council members took the bait. The Port wants to develop this land and it is absurd to think that it would shoot itself in the foot by refusing to work on better proposals. Some Council members also bemoaned giving up on a proposal that has been in the works for 3 years. But given the fact that so many vital questions are unanswered after so much time suggests that there are no good answers. At its next meeting I hope that rather than caving to the Port’s intimidation and the developers’ urging, it will reject this proposal and call for other iniatives that will enhance public access and use of our beautiful waterfront in ways that are more consistent with the values shared by most Edmonds residents.

    So I too left the meeting very disappointed that the Council did not meet its responsibility to represent the interests of the electorate. I profoundly hope that it will do so when this proposal resurfaces next Tuesday. As a community we have so many better ideas!

  2. If anybody else was proposing this plan they would have been turned down a long time ago why is the port getting vip treatment, It doesn’t matter how much the work the port has put in this plan that makes no differance, there probably a lot of flaws in the plan, Its already a mess down there they need a drainage system and traffic lights with left turns at the least before they start building anything and tell the ferry to do something with that sign no right turn to the ferry because when there isn’t a line nobody uses it. I did’nt go to the meeting but am glad ms bloom walked out at least somebody is ready to stand up to the plate council you have had a month how much time do you need.

  3. The statement that three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the plan, is an intimidation tactic to encourage council and public to give in. What that statement does not infer is the hundreds of thousands more+ that will be spent in the end. A plan like that deserves all the attention that Bloom et al have given it, and more. McChesney said that “from the Port’s point of view, we’re done. We think we’ve done our job. We think we’ve done it responsibly, we think we’ve involved the public.” What they have not done is to work with the city on a plan that interests the general public. To ‘work with’ does not mean to make a proposal and bully it into action. Nor does it mean to not do one’s homework on probable costs and hazards. Laying the responsibility back in to the hands of the council, as Mayor Earling did when he “stated he was stunned that the council would not even attempt to propose amendments to Petso’s motion,” is reprehensible, when council members such as Bloom have already voiced the information needed before the city should move ahead. If said information is not provided, why should city residents trust the go ahead?

  4. Mayor Earling has in my opinion has performed his new duties as the elected head city administrator in an outstanding manner. He has been very careful to avoid interfering or injecting his propensity for higher building heights in the legislative process, that is until last night.

    His emotional arm waving frenzy resulting in the Council delaying an important decision unnecessarily was certainly not in the best interests of all concerned.

    In his campaign brochure under “Protecting Our Quality of Life” Mr. Earling stated: “Supports a comprehensive economic development plan that maintains current building height laws”. Looks like the Mayor has now renounced that vote appealing pledge which is a bit disappointing.

    The Council should shake off the mayor’s interference and proceed with an up or down vote quickly. Its time for a decision.

    As for the Port of Edmonds, should they not be involved in marine matters while leaving the land stuff to the Council and the majority of citizens?

  5. Mayor Earling sought permission to comment from Council President Petso. He made no comments prior to receiving that permission.

  6. I just want the council to remember if they approve this plan it will forever change edmonds as we see it today, When developers come to the council for larger buildings this will be what they look back on and this will be where it all started, I know this isn;t law and everycase is looked upon its own merits but that only goes so far,

  7. As a citizen in the audience last night, I stood up and left the meeting the minute Mayor Earling started speaking instead of calling for a vote– I simply didn’t have the heart to watch the Legislative process take a curve in the road.

    I respect his right to have an opinion as a citizen, but I think he may have chosen a poor time to intervene. There was a very critical vote pending and I truly wonder how it would have turned out. It looked to me like it was going to be very close, one way or the other.

    Even if this type of Mayoral intervention is legal and/or okay under Robert’s Rules, it seems to be an inconsistent Mayoral action. How often is this type of pre-vote Mayoral intervention done after motions have been made, seconded and discussed in detail by City Council? Inconsistent City actions often result in citizen confusion and emotion. Inconsistent actions also bring up many questions and can lead to assorted problems.

    It is easy to critique from the easy seat in the audience. I do not envy the challenging job Mayor Earling has and I greatly appreciate that he has the drive and desire to take this difficult task on. I believe this is another reminder that it would be a great time to clarify in detail the roles of all members of our City Government. Perhaps this topic will receive significant attention at this week’s City Council Retreat. I hope so.

  8. The Port is asking the City for approval to continue the process of planning for future development of a specific site. Most of the studies requested by speakers at the hearings will be performed and paid for by the developer if the project reaches that stage. The specifics of any development, including building height, will be part of future reviews by the City Council.

    As an example, many of us are curious about the value of our homes. We look at the tax statement for the assessed valuation and check to see what the neighbor’s house sold for, but we don’t actually have an appraisal done, spend money that is, until our house is sold. The fee is usually paid by the purchaser.

    It is the same with development. Once a preliminary project is agreed to, various studies are done to determine the project’s feasibility. For Harbor Square those studies would include soils tests, financial feasibility, traffic impacts, environmental mitigations and a host of other state, federal and city requirements amounting to many, many, many thousands of dollars. Most of the studies would be paid for by the developer.

    It is not appropriate for the Port to spend tax payers’ money to undertake those studies when there is no approval to even begin project planning.

  9. see the book – SONS OF THE PROFITS OR There’s No Business Like Grow Business The Seattle Story 1851-1901, by William C. Speidel, copyright 1967

    An Establishment is …

    “For the benefit of those who are not quite sure of what I mean by an Establishment, let us define the term.

    “It’s the power structure of the community … the top ten men in the human pecking system.

    “It holds no regular meetings. It elects no officers. It has no constitution and by-laws. There isn’t even a membership list. It’s the elite corps of the Sons of the Profits. It is necessary to be one of the Sons to belong, but no Son is admitted solely on the basis of his ability to make money. The membership changes from decade to decade … sometimes from year to year. Individual members have their own side projects, but these mustn’t be confused with those of the main body, which precipitate on call out of community activity.

    “In a way, it’s like a river – sort of a fluid force that gives a little here and takes a little there. You can’t describe any part of it any more than a blind man touching one part of an elephant can describe the whole animal. It’s the collective judgment of the most powerful men in the community at a time when they are willing to back their decisions with their dollars.

    “Like the “boss,” the Establishment may not always be right – but it’s always the Establishment.

    “And where it wants the city to go – there the city goes.”

    it’s actually a very “interesting” strategy … saying this is just a proposal, doesn’t mean anything and can be readily amended… LMAO

  10. Port Executive,

    Have you ever looked at the long trend in hight limits in Edmond’s? Looks to me the citizens of Edmond’s like the feel of this town. People don’t seem to groove on the 5 story thing!

    Peter Gibson
    Senior Research Analyst for the Citizens of Edmonds

  11. The plan of the Port of Edmonds does not seem to be in the best interests of the citizens of Edmonds and what they have said they have wanted over and over (through many, many years)

    ……Here is a quote from one of the brochures for Edmonds,

    “Edmonds, A VILLAGE In Bloom on the Sound……Breathtaking views and SMALL TOWN ambience welcome you to this friendly community NESTLED on the shores of Puget Sound”…….(“small town ambience” seems key here)
    “One of Washington’s picturesque WATERFRONT communities..”
    “Walk along scenic waterfront parks with picnic areas, interpretive information, artwork by Northwest artists, and access to the sandy beaches of Puget Sound”
    THIS does not sound like a description of a small town with huge development buildings…..If the people of Edmonds wanted THIS, they could just move to Seattle, Kirkland, etc.
    *** Also, last summer I was shocked to see that the Port of Edmonds had removed two Heron nests with the eggs still in them and the parents still tending the nests. Everyday, many of us walkers (this was right in front of the Port building) were watching new wild-life unfold right in front of our eyes, and these nests with the eggs were removed (which I think for a starter is illegal, with the eggs already in the nest). It was horrible hearing the grieving herons shortly after this……These nests were in an area that would not have harmed anything.
    I have to say, I question the Port telling the citizens of this city now, that they know what is in the best interest of Edmonds and its environment. Clearly there seems to be a disconnect here.
    Let’s not have what makes Edmonds special go away……there is no turning back once implemented

  12. Ken:

    I am glad that the Mayor did ask to speak when he did, as otherwise the motion to deny the action requested by the Port surely would have passed -likely 5 to 2, or perhaps 4 to 3. His comments created more discussion resulting in additional council members concluding that it would be wiser to continue deliberating the proposal rather than killing it outright. I have attended every council meeting since Dave Earling became mayor at the end of November 2011; I do not recall him ever previously seeking to comment. Hopefully councilmembers will be better prepared next week to introduce amendments to the Port’s proposal when deliberations resume on February 5th.

    I find it amazing that it doesn’t seem to bother anyone that Councilmember Bloom left the meeting, while business was still being conducted, because things didn’t go her way.

  13. ken Why should it maybe she doesn’t want to be part of a disfunctional council and as far as that goes to all council members I will pay attention on how you vote if you vote for the port you lost my vote in reelection

  14. Hi Ron. Just returned home from watching the movie “Lincoln”. Couldn’t help but notice the conflict between the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch of Government portrayed in that great movie. Must be fairly common!

    I’m watching the video replay of last night’s City Council meeting on the City’s website. Instead of calling for a vote on City Council President Petso’s motion which had been seconded and discussed in much detail, Mayor Earling requests permission to comment BEFORE he calls the question. City Council President Petso asks City Attorney Taraday if this is okay. Mr. Taraday seemed to indicate that he is unaware of anything from the 1974 law that would not allow the Mayor to comment. So, Mayor Earling comments.

    Then towards the end – it really gets confusing. Mayor Earling concludes his comments and states that he’ll put it back to the Council. Ms. Petso immediately makes a motion to “call the question”. Mayor Earling indicates that Ms. Petso has moved to call the question on the original motion which is to cease the process on this comprehensive plan amendment. Mayor Earling does not ask for a second to Ms. Petso’s motion to call the question– maybe one wasn’t needed? A quick vote is conducted on something that may or may not have been the original motion. It goes down 5-2. (much different outcome than passing -“likely 5 to 2, or perhaps 4 to 3.”)

    However, afterwards, there seems to be an obvious misunderstanding of what had just been voted on. The City Attorney states there is still a motion on the floor and the Mayor counters by saying the motion was just defeated.

    I’m too tired to give this much more thought tonight – but I simply don’t understand what took place last night. Furthermore, is there supposed to be a revote immediately after a vote when it is obvious that the City officials are confused about what the City Council just voted on? Any help or thoughts would be appreciated.

  15. I just watched the council meeting Joan Bloom is right the council passes what the port wants there done there is no recourse, not only that the port hasn’nt done any real studies they don’t even know if a 35 foot buildings would work on that property the only Ron w how do you know it doesn’t pencil when Joan bloom asked that guy anything about numbers he didnt have a clue . Im not even sure you can even put a 55 foot building on that property its on a swamp. The only thing the port knows is that if they can get 55 feet they can get a lot of money for that property and they will sell it. Storm Peterson says a lot of money and time go to waste Who’s and Who’s time the ports so they can get fat and did anybody say they had to do this no don’t feel sorry fof those guys there trying to get fat the port act like the public owes them something we don’t owe the port anything Joan Bloom was right on you vote yes your done it will be all law suits so the two guys on the council better think twice before they vote for this thing. I thought the port was very arrogant at best and in my opinion they suck

  16. Ron @ #12…I too am disappointed that a Councilmember would walk out as they are voted in to ‘stick it out’ regardless the issue, discussion or personal feelings. Come back Joan…

  17. I continue to marvel at the “take” the worthy opposition to the Port’s proposal to amend the Comprehensive Plan to allow redevelopment of Harbor Square has on what is possible and what has transpired. The Port has been painted as a “bully” or having received “VIP” treatment from the City, when all the Port has done is professionally presented a well thought-out, publically vetted vision of the future for the public’s and City’s consideration. The project as currently conceived and presented has been called unconstructable and unsafe to human health and the environment, when it is neither. Same-scale mixed-use projects have been successfully developed or are being planned for development under similar environmental conditions on soils considered subject to liquefaction, close to sensitive shoreline environments, at former industrial sites (with appropriate cleanup and mitigation), and, yes, even in the dreaded potential tsunami zone throughout Puget Sound, including Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton, Everett, Olympia, Bellingham and other nearby cities. Conditions like flooding, proximity to the marsh, and other factors are proffered up as additional reasons not to improve the obsolete buildings at the existing Harbor Square, when new development could and would bring new amenities to the area. These amenities could include increased protection of and access to the marsh, flood control, other needed infrastructure, and improved waterfront access as part of impact mitigation. All of this will be considered and implemented at the time a real development and feasibility plan is presented for Harbor Square in the future. We have heard those opposed to the project question why anybody would buy a condominium or shop at an improved Harbor Square, so close to the noise of the passing trains. Well, I would, and so would many others. If you ask the thousands of people who live along the railroad in Edmonds and other cities why they endure the railroad noise, they will tell you that they like to be close to the beach and enjoy the sea and mountain vistas we all value so much. And these views will not be unduly impeded by an improved Harbor Square, no matter how many continue to contend that they will be. Many other existing structures in the bowl area impact views more than the new Harbor Square will at full build-out, because they are on higher ground elevations east of the proposed improvements. Don’t think so? Walk along the streets between Sunset and 5th. Finally, and most frustratingly to many of us who have lived in Edmonds for decades, some in opposition seek to speak for “most of Edmonds”. I wonder if that’s true. I and many of my long-term neighbors realize that our City’s future and livability is not secured simply by more murals, specialty shops, and the hope that some of the now-empty stores and offices will someday find an occupant. We need to attract vibrant new uses to the downtown and waterfront area. We need to attract people to our community to live, shop, be entertained, and increase the vitality and tax base we need to thrive, or even survive, as a community. Edmonds will change, and a New Harbor Square represents responsible change. I for one am not holding our Council members to campaign promises made 1 to 3 years ago. I would hold them to a higher standard—acting on what’s best for our City based on reasoned, intelligent consideration of new information and the prospect of a better community.

  18. Ron wombolt did’nt you tell me some time ago that if you lived in the “port district” you payed taxes too the Port making yourself a shareholder and owning part of the Port of Edmonds. I believe thats what you stated in this form a couple 3 weeks ago. At anyrate if that is true and there are councilmembers living in the port district wouldnt that make them shareholders also. I believe the answer to that question is yes? That being said if a councilmember lives in the port district and as you said are a shareholder” now would’nt that be a conflict of interest if they voted on a port matter, Just asking

  19. Steve Johnston :

    I haven’t seen anything written by you before now, but I hope that you’ll remain involved because you’ve summed up the Harbor Square issue beautifully – and factually!

  20. Michael:

    The city attorney would have to rule on any conflict of interest charge. My guess is that a councilmember would be determined not to have a conflict in dealing with Port matters since historically they have always participated. I think that it’s not a problem because taxpayers as a group own the Port, not individual taxpayers.

  21. Steve Johnson, I totally agree with your comments. My wife and I have many long time Edmonds residence who shop with us and want to see changes to Edmonds to insure it s charm remains alive. I question if some council members are voting what is best for are city or just there personal opinion

  22. Thank you for stating so well the option before the Council. I sincerely hope that the Council looks beyond the speakers, primarily senior citizens, and recognizes that they represent only a small faction of the citizens of the city. This project is for the next generation, not for those of us who will no longer be living in our current houses when this project is completed!

  23. The article would have been far more of a service to readers if it pointed more to the issues than to the soap opera. Thanks to those commenting, especially #1 and #4, for filling in some of the gap.

  24. I’m repulsed for two reasons by the suggestion that the Council should ignore speakers (#23) because there are few of them and they are apt to be senior citizens who don’t count!

    Excuse me, but:

    1. The entire thought is simply not factual.
    2. Whenever I hear or read such divisive nonsense based on age, race, ethnicity, sex, etc. my hackles go into alert mode.

    ALL citizens should be (and are) encouraged to speak their opinions at Council freely. Our city belongs to ALL of us.

  25. Well the issue is pretty clear the port put a deal on the table and its a take it or leave it deal they want to be able to put 45 and 55 foot buildings down there. They also said they did’nt want the proposal changed so its pretty simple just vote on the thing and be done with it, the mayor got his two bits in and he wanted the council to amend the proposal but the port doesn’t want that You all have had plenty of time just vote and be done don’t buy into this vision thats a bunch of bs just vote and be done

  26. Oh ya while Im on the subject of vision the port has a vision a whole bunch of money when they sell the property to a developer who could be able to put 55 foot and 45 foot buildings down there thats where the vision part of this whole thing comes in

  27. Mr. Martin, I am a senior citizen and we should not be ignored. We should be recognized as only one of many factions of Edmonds’ population.

  28. Ms. Dewhirst, I too am a senior. In 1980, my wife and I purchased a home in the Edmonds Bowl. Mayor Earling was our Real Estate Agent.

    It is hard to express my appreciation for having such a strong group of past elected city officials that over the past 32 years that have repeatedly rebuked a code changed to the present 25 foot building height in Edmonds. The Councilmembers Ray Gould, Katie Allen, Larry Naughten, John Nordquist, Mary Goetz, Joanne Jaech, and Bill Kasper adopted the original 1980 Comprehensive Plan and Community Development Code executing the citizen’s vision of the future Edmonds. The Edmonds Community Development Code has served us well.

    In the July 27, 2011 Edmonds Beacon, Candidate Dave Earling made the following preemptive campaign promise “… the usual characters will trot out the same tired issue of building heights at some point in this election, even though the issue has long been settled.” Furthermore, Candidate Dave Earling promised, “A real economic development plan – that maintains the status quo on building heights…”

    Mayor Earling’s direct interference at the January 29 Council meeting for the sole purpose of savaging the Port’s Master Plan, adopting Comprehensive Plan language favoring a 55’ building height breaks his campaign promise. It is sad the citizens of Edmonds have to suffer from such political shenanigans. Dave Earling you have made your promises to us the voters hard to believe!

  29. Finis:

    Here are the minutes of the meeting that show Mayor Earling’s comments; he made no mention of support for any of the specific elements of the Port’s proposal.

    “Mayor Earling requested an opportunity to make comments. Mr. Taraday advised Resolution 292 does not address the mayor speaking to a motion. It was the consensus of the Council to allow Mayor Earling to provide comment.
    Mayor Earling acknowledged it was the Council’s choice whether to deny the Harbor Square Master Plan. Whether each Councilmember liked the proposal, it has been in process for three years. The Port has spent a couple hundred thousand dollars to get to this point. He was stunned the Council did not want to take the opportunity to make amendments to the Master Plan and allow the Port to respond. He felt it was
    naïve to turn the Master Plan down. The City has nothing if the Master Plan is denied without the opportunity for amendments or further discussion. He was unsure what the Port would do if the Council denied the Master Plan but anticipated at least for a period of time they would not want to go through the process again. He was stunned the Council had not discussed a compromise or proposed any amendments
    for the Port’s consideration.”

  30. Thats a good point Finis, One of the questions that somebody should ask the port what are they doing signing a 29 year lease with the club and they trying to change the building height and develop the property. If there going to develop the property why would they lease the property so long and the owner of the club just put about a million bucks in it. Something just doesn’t seem right about this whole thing

  31. The most likely scenario is that it will remain where it is. Another, less likely, alternative is that it will be repositioned at Harbor Square if a higher and better use is found for its current location..

  32. There is no public hearing for this item next week, and audience comments are scheduled for after council has dealt with the Harbor Square agenda item.

  33. Change is inevitable. How we manage and accept change is an entirely different matter. Steve Johnston is right on. Murals, novelty shops, and empty buildings will not be sufficient to financially sustain Edmonds. Further discussion is necessary and to flat out kill the opportunity to continue exploring is not the right move…unless of course we just want to build a wall around Edmonds and keep change and progress out.

  34. The draft City Council Meeting Minutes for January 29th, indicate that very late in the Meeting the City Council voted 5-2 to extend the Harbor Square discussion 20 additional minutes. The Minutes fail to reflect that the Mayor stated something about putting it back to Council and that there are three possible ways of getting out of our situation. Instead, the Minutes simply state that:

    “Council President Petso called the question.”

    I believe that Ms. Petso made a MOTION to call the question. Perhaps she felt her motion was necessary because Mayor Earling had asked to comment BEFORE calling for a vote on her original motion, a motion that had been seconded and discussed by all 7 Council Members over a 27 minute time period.

    Mayor Earling appears to have failed to see if there was a second to Ms. Petso’s motion to call the question. Maybe such wasn’t necessary…who knows? Sadly, the Meeting minutes do not include any of Mayor Earling’s words that followed Ms. Petso’s motion to call the question. Instead, the Meeting Minutes only state the following:

    Action on Main Motion #1


    I believe the minutes are making a BIG ASSUMPTION that this 2-5 vote related to an Action on the Main Motion. I don’t see where the Council ever reached a consensus that Ms. Petso’s original Main Motion had been voted on.

    Next, after this 2-5 vote, there appeared to be much confusion over what had just taken place. Several Council Members spoke, the City Attorney spoke and the Mayor spoke. NONE of these critical comments are included in the draft minutes – just a BIG BLANK. The minutes simply jump right to:

    Main Motion #2


    Action on Main Motion #2


    This mess calls for a VERBATIM TRANSCRIPT of what took place at the end of the meeting. The City Council and the citizens have a right to know whether or not Ms. Petso’s original Main Motion is still on the table.

  35. Ken council member Petso made a motion to throw the whole thing out it got turned down 5 to 2 they haven’t accepted the ports plan yet and they haven’t thrown it out there going to vote on the ports plan next week its all right there in the minutes

  36. Hi Michael – I disagree somewhat – I think Ms. Petso’s Main Motion has yet to be voted upon.

    Following is Ms. Petso’s Main Motion:


    I think what was voted down was Ms. Petso’s CALL FOR THE QUESTION. MRSC states the following regarding this topic:

    Previous question or close debate. Used to bring the body to an immediate vote. It closes debate and stops further amendment. Contrary to some misconceptions, the majority decides when enough discussion has occurred, not the moderator. The formal motion is to “call for the question” or “call for the previous question,” or simply, “I move to close debate.” The motion requires a second, is not debatable and requires a two-thirds majority.

    I think what happened was Ms. Petso’s call for the question failed, so the council is likely back to debating her original motion.

    Hopefully this will be clarified soon

  37. Following is related information sent me – not sure where it was found, but it does seem consistent with what is on MRSC’s website:


    This is more a matter of parliamentary procedure than of correct English, but people are generally confused about what “calling the question” means. They often suppose that it means simply “let’s vote!” and some even imagine that it is necessary to call for the question before a vote may be taken. You even see deferential meeting chairs pleading, “Would someone like to call for the question?”

    But “calling the question” when done properly should be a rare occurrence. If debate has dragged on longer than you feel is really warranted, you can “call the question,” at which time the chair has to immediately ask those assembled to vote to determine whether or not debate should be cut off or continue. The motion to call the question is itself not debatable. If two-thirds of those voting agree that the discussion should have died some time ago, they will support the call. Then, AND ONLY THEN, will the vote be taken on the question itself.

    The above is also very consistent with the Legal advice provided by the City Attorney after the 5-2 vote. I think the Main Motion has yet to be voted on.

  38. ken I just went back and read through the minutes on page 20 after the mayor talked they voted on petsos motion #1 it failed 2 to 5 and then they voted on motion #2 to continue next week that passed 6-1, they voted on the motions after the mayor did his his talk. If you go back to page 20 it explains it. The whole meeting was pretty much out of order the mayor is doing things he isn’t even sure he can legally do and asking the city attorney , and all of this is happening while there is a motion on the table Not only that according to Joan Bloom there were changes to the proposal that they the council did’nt even know about If Im on the council and am voting on something like this I surely don’t want to find changes on it the night of the meeting

  39. Thanks for your interest in this Michael. I believe the minutes are incorrect and incomplete related to this portion of the meeting. The nice thing is citizens can watch a video of the meeting on the City’s website. Following is a link:

    You will need to find Item 5 (Part 3 of 3) – Continued Public Hearing and potential action on the Planning Board Recommendation to approve the Port of Edmonds request to incorporate the Port ……

    If you click on this, a 73 minute section of the meeting will pop open. Fast forward to about the 69 minute mark. At about 69:30, Mayor Earling states something like: “so, I put it back to the Council ….if there is other ways we can deal with it, I am open to that too, but there’s three possibilities of getting out of our situation.” Ms. Petso immediately states: “I’ll move that we call the question.”

    The more I think about this, the more I believe Ms. Petso’s original motion is still on the floor and needs to be voted on, subject to further Council discussion on the original motion. I could be wrong, but that is how I see it.

  40. KEN your right petso’s motion wasn’t voted on it was voted to continue and table or something but the attorney corrected everybody petsos motion is still alive the minutes are wrong

  41. I think so Micheal. Shortly after the 2-5 roll call vote on the “calling of the question”, Councilmember Fraley- Monillas inquired as to what motion is necessary to amend the comp plan amendment. At about the 71 minute mark, City Attorney Taraday responds to her by stating that there still is a motion on the floor as he understands it. Mayor Earling states that “it was just defeated.”

    City Attorney Taraday states that he thought they had just voted on the calling of the question. Mr. Taraday continues by stating that wasn’t the vote on the motion, that was the vote on the calling of the question.

    Mayor Earling states okay then, so now we need a vote on the motion itself. Mr. Taraday corrects Mayor Earling by saying … well, but the vote to call the question failed, so now you are continuing debate.

    I am very CONCERNED that the draft meeting minutes contain NONE of this discussion, but instead indicate that the 2-5 vote related to “Action on Main Motion #1”. I think this is incorrect. I also think Mr. Taraday’s advice was correct.

    Hopefully the Meeting minutes will be corrected and all of this will be clarified shortly. I believe the main motion still is still alive and Council will resume the Meeting Tuesday night by continuing debate under the Main Motion.

  42. Another intriguing part of the January 29, 2013 City Council Meeting is documented in the draft Meeting Minutes as follows:

    “If the Council decided to make amendments to the Master Plan, Councilmember Yamamoto asked Councilmembers to state the specific things did they not like about the ordinance. The Council could then make and vote on those amendments. Mayor Earling advised the motion before the Council was to cease discussion on the proposal. Unless the Council voted the motion down, amendments could not be made.”

    Mayor Earling’s advice to Councilmember Yamamoto is very worthy of discussion.

    What types of amendments to Main Motions are allowed? Do Amendments have to be “friendly amendments”? What role does the Maker of the Main Motion have when an amendment is proposed? Does the Maker of the Main Motion’s role change if the Main Motion is restated by the Chair of the meeting, the Mayor? What happens if the Chair does not restate the Main Motion before an Amendment is proposed?

    Lots of issues here…issues much larger than just Harbor Square. As a citizen, I’d like clarification and clear answers. Procedures and policies related to Main Motions and Amendments need to be well understood and consistently applied.

  43. ken they can amend but the guy from the port wants a vote on the proposed he gave them i say vote it down and let them start over he doesn’t want it changed when he was asked about changes if he had said we will ok at that one thing but he said he likes the proposal he gave so there you go its hardball now

  44. After the last meeting the council should be very aware with the public message on height limits. It is staying the same as it has for the last 20+ years. Edmond’s does not want taller buildings. I really don’t know how any citizen could make it more clear. Why wont the port respect that?

  45. actually – there is an alternative…

    popping up around the country are – local currencies. they are formats of barter; you get credits instead – no interest paid!

    one of the oldest, though i just heard its popularity has gone down without paid staff… is Ithaca hours,

    there are 2 local systems, and, and i heard about one on the east side

    they COULD actually be used in the city; take the pressure off of taxes.

    ever think about it – needs go unmet, really, because of the people that “own”/control the official money? and everyone is caught in the trap!

    i wonder how much the city could actually accomplish using a local currency???

  46. Does anybody know if input to City Councilmembers is allowed after a Legislative Public Hearing is closed and the City Council has started deliberation on the matter before them? What about if a main motion has been made and seconded?

    I imagine if a member of the public tried to intervene after a Legislative Public Hearing is closed, he would not be allowed to do so.

    Furthermore, I wonder how this is controlled when a Closed Public Hearing is continued to a future City Council Meeting. How can the City Council continue a Closed Public Hearing a week later without reopening the Public Hearing? To not do so, gives those members of the public who are successful contacting a City Councilmember between City Council Meetings a chance to have their voice heard while other members of the public are not heard.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  47. Regarding my post #7 above, I think much further discussion is required. Mayor Earling and the City Council need to address what took place the evening of January 29th and its impact on the Legislative Process.

    City Council President Lora Petso moved, seconded by Councilmember Joan Bloom that the City Council DENY the Harbor Square Master Plan.

    Approximately 27 minutes of City Council discussion followed. All seven (7) City Councilmembers participated in the discussion. The last Councilmember to speak was Councilmember Kristiana Johnson. After Ms. Johnson concluded, the Chair of the meeting, Mayor Earling clearly asked: “Other comments?” as he looked up and down the Council bench.

    As no additional comments were forthcoming, the meeting was at a critical point.

    Resolution No. 292, a Resolution of the City of Edmonds, Washington , adopted Rules of Procedure for Conduct of City Council Meetings effective February 5, 1974. Under A. General Rules of Procedure, is the following:

    12. Putting the question. When the debate appears to have closed, the Chair WILL ask “Are you ready for the question?”

    If no one asks for the floor he SHALL put the question to vote, making it clear what the question is.

    This is not what took place the evening of January 29, 2013.

    Instead of Putting the question to vote per Resolution No. 292, Mayor Earling stated:

    If I may, I’d like to make a couple of comments, if that’s okay Council President?

    Council President Petso responded:

    Are we ready to call the question? Or did you want to make your comments prior…….

    Ms. Petso’s last couple of words are hard to hear because Mayor Earling stated the following before she could finish what she was saying:

    I guess I’d like to make comments prior to a question being called, . . . if I may.

    Council President Petso responded with:

    I think that that’s going to require . . . Jeff, help me out, we’re not under Robert’s Rules yet right? . . . so I don’t need to . . .because the chair doesn’t usually participate . . .

    City Attorney Taraday responded that he didn’t know if there was anything in the Resolution from 1974 that addresses whether the Mayor can speak . . .

    Ms. Petso then asks if Council would like to give the Mayor a head nod(??) then . . .

    And as quickly as that, the Legislative process had taken a curve in the road, a curve that I don’t believe is consistent with Resolution No. 292.

    Resolution No. 292 clearly states that when the debate appears to have closed, the Chair WILL ask “Are you ready for the question?” If no one asks for the floor he SHALL put the question to vote, making it clear what the question is.

    Even after Ms. Petso’s first response to Mayor Earling’s request was . . . “Are we ready to call the question?” – the question was not called and put to vote.

    I believe there is a reasonable chance that Mayor Earling’s intervention into the Legislative Process impacted the City Council’s vote. At a minimum, it ended up providing those with access to City Councilmembers another week to lobby Councilmembers for their vote.

    As I discussed in my post #58 above, I’m not sure this is fair and proper because the PUBLIC HEARING had been CLOSED on January 29th and was not REOPENED the evening of February 5, 2013.

    I think the Mayor and City Council need to address this issue immediately, before taxpayer money is used to pay staff and the City Attorney to start working on Harbor Square issues.

    I present the discussion above because I am very weary of Legislative Process issues in this City.

    I’ll email Teresa a copy of Resolution No. 292 and ask her to post a link to it.

  48. Ken,

    re: #59

    what happened is done! move on!

    regardless of what steps may be taken to “prevent” a similar situation . . . from my personal experience . . .

    laws are WORTHLESS!

    all that matters is what is enforced, or not. if you don’t have the power to enforce or not . . . forget it!

    re: #58

    the port’s plan was sent to city staff to come up with “the appropriate” amendments, based on public (and other) input.

    first, it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

    second, whatever they come up with will be subject to public input later, why wait?

  49. Hey Ken I don’t understand the councils and mayors thinking on this, that is the harbor square issue, but thats ok and thats a whole other subject Im pretty sure petsos motion would have failed weather the mayor said anything or not the Frank and storms mind were made up before the mayor said anything I don’t know about the two women if anything I think lora might have picked up a vote, Hopefully they don’t spend too much time or money on this thing after all it is the Ports property , Im not going to beat up the mayor too much because he is doing a good job and runs a good meeting, Im pretty certain he won’t be speaking before a vote anymore. I think everybody that drives by there or spends time there should vision what that property would be good for something to think about what do you want down there?

  50. I had a typo in the last post I meant frank and storm mind were made up before the mayor said anything not the frank and frank I never use your last name because I always forget how to spell it , I don’t spell too good and I dont see too good either so some of these post are a little sloppy

  51. Victor and Michael – thank you both for your comments. Victor, your comments that laws are worthless and all that matters is what is enforced or not – are very thought provoking. I will give your comments much more thought.

    To be clear, I would have had no problem whatsoever had the Council voted down Ms. Petso’s main motion without the Mayor’s intervention. As a citizen, I would have respected that decision had it been lawful and made in a “pure” legislative process.

    In this case, it is the legislative process I am concerned with. I believe the Mayor had a clear duty to put the question to vote. Even after Ms. Petso asked if we are ready to call the question – Mayor Earling pushed forward with his request to make comments prior to the question being called. Ms. Petso continued to struggle with the Mayor’s request, commenting that the chair doesn’t usually participate and looking to the City Attorney for help.

    The Mayor made his comments and now we will never know how that vote would have turned out. Ron posted some related thoughts in Post #12 above. There is no way to know if Ron is right or not related to how that vote would have turned out.

    The point is, I believe the legislative process was interfered with by the Mayor and his interference may have changed a very important vote. I am not focused on which vote was right or wrong – I am focused on the legislative process and the distinct responsibilities of the different branches of our City government.

    Complicating matters is the fact that much confusion followed the Mayor’s intervention during the last 20 minutes or so of the related discussion during the January 29th City Council Meeting. That confusion resulted in the need for City Attorney Taraday to have to explain to the City Council at the start of the February 5th meeting that the Council’s 5-2 vote on January 29th related to “Council President Petso’s motion to call the question. A motion to call the question must be seconded and voted on and requires a majority plus one to pass. The purpose of that motion is to end debate. By defeating the motion to call the question, the Council voted not to end debate on the motion on the floor (to deny the Harbor Square Master Plan Comprehensive Plan amendment). The Council can now continue speaking to the motion.”

    The quotation directly above is taken from the draft City Council Meeting Minutes for February 5, 2013. One point related to this, is that the Mayor never asked for a second to Ms. Petso’s motion to call the question. The related 5-2 vote was conducted without obtaining a second to Ms. Petso’s motion.

  52. I would greatly appreciate additional citizen discussion related to my post #58 above.

    To repeat, does anybody know if input to City Councilmembers is allowed after a Legislative Public Hearing is closed and the City Council has started deliberation on the matter before them? What about if a main motion has been made and seconded?

    I imagine if anybody tried to intervene from the audience after the Legislative Public Hearing was closed during the January 29th meeting, the person would have been ruled out of order and possibly been asked to leave the City Council Meeting.

    As the Public Hearing was not reopened on February 5th, I wonder how citizen comments, port comments, etc. were kept at bay between January 29th and February 5th.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  53. To clarify, when I stated “Legislative Public Hearing” or simply “Public Hearing” in posts #58 and #65 above, it would have been more correct to state “public participation portion of the Legislative Public Hearing”.

  54. ken comment 65 Im not certain if the public hearing was reopened feb 5 but Joan Bloom changed the order of business so people could make comments before the vote on Harbor square I know it wasn’t advertised but anybody who was really interested probably would have been at that meeting I was going to go but didnt make it I rarely go to the meetings at anyrate people again had a chance to speak before the vote on feb 5 and thats all that really matters, hears the deal we got what we got nothing that happened at those meetings after the first meeting was going to change anybodys mind on the council, the mayor did’nt change anything the same people spoke over and over again it got to be a broken record, this thing should have been done a month ago. Oh ya and fyi I was just as guilty as everybody else I spoke over and over again saying the same thing

  55. Ken:
    Re: #58 and #65, as far as I know anybody can provide comments to councilmembers at anytime when the matter before the council is legislative – which the Harbor Square proposal from the Port is. Of course, as you have said, when the comment period at a council meeting has ended the audience is not allowed to offer any comments at the meeting. But comments could be offered to councilmembers outside of the meeting.

    The restrictions as to what councilmembers can listen to only apply to quasi-judicial matters before the council.

  56. Ron – If the HS issue is not on the agenda for a particular meeting, can’t the subject be addressed during the general open comment portion of the meeting?

  57. Thanks for your comments Michael, Ron and John. I found the following on the City’s old website a short time ago:

    After the last person has spoken, the Hearing is closed. The Council then discusses the issue and will often make a decision at that time. The audience may NOT comment during the Council’s deliberation, unless a Councilmember requests more information from a citizen.

    In my opinion, the rules get confusing and possibly unfair when a Legislative Public Hearing is not decided the same evening that the public participation portion of the Public Hearing is closed. When the related legislative deliberation is continued to a future City Council Meeting, I don’t believe all citizens have equal access to their councilmembers. Why should some people be afforded an opportunity to be heard when others might not have an equal chance?

    This is a tough, sticky issue. My opinion is that the best way to handle it may be for the City Council to reopen public participation at the future City Council Meeting where legislative deliberation will be continued.

    This type of policy might also reduce the number of times deliberation is continued to a future meeting.

    Just thinking out loud. Please let me know if you have any additional thoughts or comments.

  58. John:

    Yes. For additional clarification I should have said that citizens can continue to provide their thoughts at future meetings during the Audience Comments portion of the meetings.

  59. Ken; Comment #59. Right on! Seems like some people need to take more pride in their job, and research the laws they are supposed to follow! We all pay them!! They might as well show us they are competent in their positions..

  60. Thank you for your interest in this situation Peter. The more I think about what happened the evening of January 29th, the more concerned and disappointed I am.

    The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) publishes a Mayor’s Handbook to help Mayors perform their very difficult jobs. Chapter 8 of the Handbook is devoted to the topic of Chairing Council Meetings. Following are a few points drawn from the Handbook:

    1. Mayors should remember that the City Council Meeting is the Council’s Meeting, not the Mayor’s meeting.

    2. Trust requires that the chairperson (Mayor) not use the powers of the chair unfairly to win a point or argument.

    3. The Mayor apparently has the option of relinquishing the Chair to the Mayor Pro Tem if the Mayor decides to become actively involved in the debate.

    As I said in Post #59, after 27 minutes of deliberation that involved all 7 Councilmembers, there were no more comments pending. I strongly believe that it was time for the Mayor to put Council President Petso’s motion to deny the Harbor Square Master Plan to vote.

    Mayor Earling did not do so. Instead, he asked if he could make a couple of comments. Ms. Petso was clearly concerned that the Chair should not participate, and she looked to the City Attorney for help.

    Mayor Earling did not relinquish the Chair to the Mayor Pro Tem when he decided to take a very active role in the debate. He retained the Chair as he commenced his comments, comments that would be accompanied by a profane statement implying the Council could make amendments and hand it back to the Port and then it would be in the Port’s court. Mayor Earling also stated “So just to turn it down across the board is naive”. He appeared to pause for emphasis after stating the word “naive”.

    After Mayor Earling concluded his comments, confusion took over as he continued to Chair the meeting. A vote was taken that was obviously misunderstood. A full week later, on February 5th, the City Attorney had to explain to the City Council and citizens what exactly the City Council had voted on during the January 29th meeting.

    I believe the process related to Harbor Square has been permanently impacted. We will never know how the vote on Ms. Petso’s motion would have turned out without the Mayor’s intervention. Possibly making it worse is the fact that amendments have yet to be made to put it back in the Port’s court. It appears that taxpayer money will now be spent for staff and the City Attorney to prepare something for the City Council to consider on March 19th. Will all citizens have equal access to City Staff during this process, between now and March 19th? How will this be controlled?

    How did this happen at such a critical point in a lengthy legislative process? As I said in Post #64 . . .to be clear, I would have had no problem whatsoever had the Council voted down Ms. Petso’s main motion without the Mayor’s intervention. As a citizen, I would have respected that decision had it been lawful and made in a “pure” legislative process.

    Sadly, I find it very difficult to respect and trust what took place and I am concerned about what lies ahead.

  61. Rules of order are about fundemental fairness, whatever those rules. The Mayor may have been out of order. But the assumption that his comments, after the time that all members of the council had been involved in deliberations, changed the vote of any of the Council members assumes the Council members were/are easily swayed on an issue they have been considering for a very long time and with much public discussion. I have to believe that although it was a bit confusing, the Council members voted fairly and according to their own view of the issues. Not liking the result doesn’t mean it was an unjust or unfair result. I doubt that the Council members were unduly influenced by the mayor making a point that had already been made in public comment and in their own deliberations. At worst, the Mayor was technically out of order, although he did ask to speak and was allowed by the Council to do so.

  62. Thanks for your reply Diane. I always respect your thoughts and consider them in full.

    Please know that I am truly discussing the Legislative Process here. I believe we will never know how the vote would have gone if it had been conducted prior to Mayor Earling’s comments on January 29th instead of 7 days later on February 5th.

    This has nothing to do with whether I like the result of the vote or not. I strongly believe I would have made the same argument had Ms. Petso’s motion been to approve the Harbor Square Master Plan and the Mayor had entered the debate and proclaimed to the City Council that it would be naïve to do so.

  63. @74 Diane T – Thank you for this comment. This is not the first time the Council has been confused on a vote (cat containment ordinance comes to mind) and until we establish Roberts Rules, we might have more legislative issues like this in the future. Having said that, my largest concern was the fact that some of us still wanted to deliberate and yet, Council President called the question. Many citizens needed to more fully understand the process of the difference between a total reject and that of an amendment. It is now OUR vision, so please continue to state your ideas. I have heard from many and your voices are being heard.

  64. @74 Diane T & @76 Diane B
    With all due respect, I think both of you are revisionist. See the 1/29/13 Council Meeting Minutes @ page 18 (last paragraph).

    “Councilmember Buckshnis agreed this was the cleanest way for the Port to start over.”

    Ms. Buckshnis, your comments were made prior to Mayor Earling taking the floor of the Council discussion. Ms. Buckshnis, you were speaking to Council President Petso’s motion to deny the Harbor Square Master Plan. I’ve watched the Council Meeting on Channel 21. The minutes are accurate. I’m not confused, unless Ms. Buckshnis has some passable explanation.

  65. I appreciate the Mayor’s comments as it gave the Council members a moment to reflect on their vote. If Council had voted to deny the Harbor Square application, no development would occur on the property for the foreseeable future. By reminding the members that they had the option and ability to amend the proposal, the Mayor provided Council the opportunity to put off a final vote while they considered amendments to the application.

    The bottom line is that it will take economic feasibility for a developer to undertake the massive task of redeveloping Harbor Square. The Port owns the property but the private sector developer will bear the financial burden of studies, mitigations and construction and requires a return on the investment for any project to get off the ground.

    I do not believe it is in the City’s best interest to close off opportunities for economic development.

    The members of the City Council need to keep in mind that they are making decisions that affect the future. I urge them to consider the greatest good for the greatest number, not just the most vocal.

  66. here we go – again . . .

    we need to give many incentives so that a private person will be able to make profits off of a piece of – sensitive??? – land…

    forget about the liabilities paid by taxpayers…

    so – it is assumed that government employees are so f@#$ing idiots – they can’t do the work themselves – and let the city taxpayers use the profits to reducer taxes!

    but then, the real purpose of government is to contain and control the masses to serve their masters! the few that take from the many!

    as with the purpose of the downturn of “the” economy is – to serve the few . . .

  67. Ms. Dewhirst, you state that you appreciate Mayor Earling’s Legislative Intervention as it gave the Council members a moment to reflect on their vote. After many hours spent over several City Council meetings, did the City Council really need to hear the Mayor’s strong opinions so they could take another moment to reflect on their vote? Is it the Mayor’s job to decide when to try and influence the City Council’s vote and when not to? If so, how can any Mayor fairly determine when to intervene in the Legislative Process versus when he should simply put motions to vote?

    As I’ve said before, I’d make the same point had the motion on the floor been to approve the Harbor Square Master Plan, and the Mayor intervened to try and talk the City Council into NOT voting to do so.

  68. I’m still waiting for Councilmember Buckshnis response. What did she mean? When she stated;

    “This may be the cleanest way for the Port to start over.”

    Before Mayor Earling stopped chairing the meeting a took the floor of debate!

  69. In reading all 82 posts above, it is apparent to me that Councilmember Diane Bucksnis has the “pulse” of this whole Harbor Square revitalization project. She stated”This may be the cleanest way for the Port to start over”! How cool is that statement? Mr. Reidy, your 13 posts on this subject tells me that you are deeply passionate on the future of Edmonds growth. I appreciate the fact that you take time to attend Council meetings, you do your homework about local and state legislative process, you commit to challanging the City Council members on how to best legislate our City. You may not agree with the Mayor’s “management style” when it comes to Council protocol. One thing about Mayor Dave Earling , and it’s obvious to me that you don’t get it- is that If the Mayor could snap his fingers and have the City and the Port work hand-in-hand without any outside B.S. or interference, then there wouldn’t be anyneed for your posts above which are tantamount to accusations that the Mayor is incompetent as well as self-motivated for his own interests. As you know, there is a “double-check” safeguard in place in any City government. The safeguard is that the Mayor makes sure the City Council legislates responsibly and fairly. The City Council makes sure that all citizens are being represented fairly and they make sure that the Mayor is both democratic and fair. Now why would I say all this? Like it or not Edmonds has a Mayor and a City Council. All of these folks are trying their very best to make great decisions that will endure for generations to come. The Mayor ran on a platform that was to be transparent, working with the City Council to improve relations with Government and Citizenry alike. Mr. Reidy, alls I can say to you is that if you don’t like the Mayor or his way of doing things then you are free to run for Mayor in the next election. This doesn’t mean that you need to quit “posting” it simply means that Mr. Dave Earling “chose” to do something or at least make an attempt to repair a sinking ship. Again, as for Diane Bucksnis, I think you are spot on! Maybe it is time to take a deep breath and look at things from a new perspective. Keep postin’!

  70. #83: You appear to know a lot that ain’t so about how Edmonds city government works. There’s no “double-check” safeguard, and the Mayor can’t snap his fingers and bypass the legislative branch.

  71. Gary, Ron,

    my personal experience shows – laws are pretty much – worthless! nothing but words recorded somewhere, for “safe keeping”

    what truly matters is – the ability to enforce!

    what is enforced is – the law

    and, almost always is – The Establishment!

    Rare is the time when The Establishment’s will is not obeyed!

  72. Mr. Smith (Comment #82) . . . I’m sorry, but I don’t track your Councilmember Buckshnis comments at all. You state: “Again, as for Diane Bucksnis, I think you are spot on!” Please provide me the post number above where I make any comments that are “spot on” about Ms. Buckshnis. I think the only time her name is included in one of my posts is in my Comment # 42 where her name is mentioned only because she voted on a motion and seconded a motion as documented in the City Council Meeting minutes. I don’t see where I mentioned Ms. Buckshnis in any fashion in any of my other posts, so how could I be “spot on” about her?

    I’m also don’t follow your Mayor Earling “snap his fingers” comments. In any regards, please rest assured that I respect Mayor Earling in many ways and I truly appreciate that he has the drive and desire to take on the difficult task of being Mayor.

  73. One more point Mr. Smith . . . your statement that Mayor Earling “chose” to do something or at least make an attempt to repair a sinking ship relates directly to my concern over the Mayor intervening so late in the Legislative Process. The Mayor had many opportunities to have his voice heard, including the Recommendation attached to the January 29th Harbor Square Agenda item. It was very late in the process. Approximately 27 minutes of City Council discussion had taken place related to Ms. Petso’s main motion. All seven (7) City Council members participated in the discussion and no other comments were pending. I strongly believe it was the Mayor’s job to put the question on the floor to vote at that critical point in time. The City Council had the Legislative responsibility to determine whether or not the motion on the floor was a “sinking ship” or the best action our City could take. I believe we elect our City Council to make those Legislative decisions, and any Mayoral intervention right before a critical vote is very problematic.

    I’ll ask you the same questions I asked Ms. Dewhirst in Comment #81 above: Is it the Mayor’s job to decide when to try and influence the City Council’s vote and when not to? If so, how can any Mayor fairly determine when to intervene in the Legislative Process versus when he should simply put motions to vote?

  74. Mr. Reidy,
    I commend you for articulating the facts as you saw them. I believe that I struck a nerve with my interpretation of what you saw and what I didn’t see and I based my assumption on a blog rather than being in person. But, make no mistake, you are exactly what the City of Edmonds City Council needs. Someone needs to acurately report how the CC is doing. Someone needs to make sure the Mayor adhere’s to a strict Legislative code of conduct. I know that your heart is in the right place. I did not mean to offend you if I did so. What I really enjoy is good ol’ Democratic discussions. How else will the truth be reported? I hope that you accept my apology and I will temper my responses in the future to make sure that you are always right!

  75. Hi Mr. Smith . . . no nerve struck and certainly no need for any apologies. Please trust me, I know very well that I am not always right.

    I’d be happy to discuss the Democratic process in more detail if you or others would like to, specifically related to the roles and responsibilities of the Mayor and City Council. I have offered several related questions in the posts above.

    I believe it is critical that our Mayor and City Council establish a positive working relationship. I believe a huge part of this relationship is based on a knowledge and respect of the clear separation of power between the Executive and Legislative branches of municipal government.

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