Edmonds City Council makes quick appointment: Michael Nelson, Planning Board member

New Edmonds City Councilmember Michael Nelson is sworn in by Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling Tuesday night.
New Edmonds City Councilmember Michael Nelson is sworn in by Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling Tuesday night.

History didn’t repeat itself Tuesday night as the Edmonds City Council made quick work of its appointment to fill the Position 2 council seat vacated by Strom Peterson, who was elected to the Washington State Legislature. Michael J. Nelson, a member of the City’s Planning board and co-chair of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee, was appointed on the fourth ballot.

The last time the council filled a vacant seat, a year ago, it took 59 ballots before settling on Councilmember Tom Mesaros.

Nelson, who was appointed on the day before his 40th birthday, serves as Executive Director of Service Employees International Union, Washington State Council. He and wife Erica Shelley Nelson live with their two children in the Westgate neighborhood.

“I sought this appointment because as a father of two young children, I will bring a fresh perspective and will examine our city’s challenges through their eyes,” Nelson said in a written statement issued after his appointment. “Like any parent, I want only what is best for them; safe streets and neighborhoods, clean parks and playgrounds, stellar schools, access to the best police and fire services, a thriving downtown and growing business districts.

“There are many challenges and opportunities that face our city and I am ready to roll up my sleeves tonight to begin working closely with our citizens, our council and our mayor,” he added.

A native of Northern California, Nelson graduated from Gonzaga University Law School, and spent two and a half years as a deputy sheriff in Marin County, Calif.

“In the coming weeks, I am very excited to begin a dialogue and hold regular meetings with our citizens, business leaders and non-profit organizations, to continue to learn more about the ways we can grow as a community and sustain our economy while maintaining the charm and character we all love in Edmonds,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s appointment is valid through the November 2015 election so he will have to run for election to his seat — one of five Edmonds City Council positions up for election this fall. He already filed with the State Public Disclosure Commission — on Feb. 19  —  of his intent to run for City Council.

Nelson was one of 10 applicants from what many observers agreed was a very strong pool of qualified candidates. He was initially nominated by Councilmember Tom Mesaros but didn’t receive four votes until the fourth round of voting, when Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis, Lora Petso and Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas joined Mesaros in supporting him. Applicant Mario Brown got three initial votes of support from Councilmembers Joan Bloom, Petso and Fraley-Monillas in the first round and continued to receive support from Bloom through all four rounds. Councilmember Kristiana Johnson voted for applicant Neil Tibbott, who serves with Nelson on the Planning Board, during all four rounds.

Like Nelson, two other applicants — Snohomish County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Adam Cornell and retired Qwest executive David Teitzel — have also filed with the PDC that they intend to run for city council, although it hasn’t been announced which position they are running for. Edmonds municipal positions on the ballot this year include seats held by Councilmembers Mesaros, Petso, Bloom and Buckshnis, plus the Edmonds mayor, currently Dave Earling. None of the incumbents has formally announced yet whether they plan to seek another term.



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