Bloom leaves meeting after council bypasses discussion on Code of Ethics revisions, OKs original draft

Joan Bloom
Joan Bloom
Adrienne Fraley-Monillas
Adrienne Fraley-Monillas

Approximately 45 minutes was allocated on the Edmonds City Council agenda Tuesday night to discuss a City Code of Ethics — an idea that has been before the council in one form or another since 2012. In the end, the process took under 11 minutes, but not everyone was happy about the result, including Councilmember Joan Bloom, who gathered her belongings and left the council chambers after a revised code of ethics she had hoped to review was ignored, and an earlier version was approved by a 5-1 vote. (Councilmember Diane Buckshnis was absent due to family commitments.)

The last time an ethics code was discussed — at the April 14, 2015 council meeting-– Bloom made it clear that she wasn’t satisfied with the proposed code drafted late last year by Councilmembers Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Strom Peterson, calling it a “watered-down version” of the model she preferred from the City of Shoreline. (Peterson has since left the council for the State Legislature.) At that April 14 meeting, councilmembers agreed to have her work on a revised draft, and Buckshnis volunteered to assist her. That draft was listed on Tuesday’s council agenda as Attachment 16, Options A, B, C, and D. You can see that version here.

But when the council reached that agenda item Tuesday night, Fraley-Monillas made a motion to approve Attachment 13, which was essentially the ethics code that she and Peterson had created in the first place.

“I am just shocked by that personally,” Bloom responded after Fraley-Monillas introduced her motion. Bloom then requested instead that the council have a chance to review the “much stronger” version she and Buckshnis had worked on.

Fraley-Monillas said that she had received an email from Buckshnis stating in part that “just because my name’s on the agenda memo and I assisted Ms. Bloom in in trying to add more data and pattern it after the Shoreline Code of Ethics, I’ve always been of the opinion to start small, and I’ve like what both Mr. Peterson and Ms. Monillas put forth. So let’s march on.”

Councilmember Lora Petso then appealed to the council chair — a role filled by Mayor Dave Earling — to rule that the motion made by Fraley-Monillas was “not germaine” to the agenda item because it referred to attachment 13 rather than attachment 16. Earling disagreed, so Petso moved — and Bloom seconded — a motion to overturn the chair’s ruling. That motion was defeated by a vote of 2-4 (Petso and Bloom voting for).

Fraley-Monillas then said, “I reject (Attachment) number 16, which is why I put forth number 13. If you don’t like number 13, I respect that as a councilmember and you are welcome to vote against it. And if it’s voted down, then you can move back up to number 16 if you wish. But I don’t believe that number 16 is in the best interest of the city or the citizens.”

“This is appalling to me,” a visibly upset Bloom said. “You are not giving us an opportunity to discuss this and you want us to vote on what we have talked about in the past and I requested that we not go forward with, and that we be more inclusive in our Code of Ethics.”

After a 5-1 vote to support Attachment 13, Bloom left the room and did not return for the remainder of the meeting.

Later in the evening, the council also had a lengthy discussion about how best to support the city’s various boards and commissions. City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite noted that she and Development Director Shane Hope had worked with Councilmembers Bloom, Buckshnis and Fraley-Monillas to compile a spreadsheet identifying all the city’s boards and commissions, staff time allocation, cost and other logistics. Of particular concern has been staffing for the Tree Board, which doesn’t have regularly dedicated staff support, and the newly-formed Diversity Commission, which hasn’t been able to get up and running yet because there is no staff available to support it.

While it has been proposed that contract staff be hired to assist, Councilmember Kristiana Johnson said she would prefer that existing city staff handle those duties because of the valuable “institutional knowledge” they bring — even if it means adjusting their work priorities. Councilmember Tom Mesaros asked Mayor Dave Earling to work with staff to research what might be possible with existing staff, and to come back to the council with ideas at an upcoming study session.

In other action, the council:

– held a public hearing on an interim ordinance that would prevent property developers from submitting more than one development application for the same property. This is a followup to the emergency ordinance on the same topic that was approved by the council March 17. Councilmembers were told that the public hearing was supposed to be held within 60 days but that Tuesday’s hearing was held on day 77. City Planner Kernen Lien described the late hearing as “an oversight” that city staff is looking into and “something that we will ensure doesn’t happen again.” The city’s attorney was consulted and staff were told that the oversight had “no substantive affect on the timeline and will not affect the validity of the ordinance,” Lien said.

The ordinance was approved with five yes votes and an abstention by Bloom, who said she was concerned that it wasn’t brought to the council during the 60-day deadline. “I don’t think we did this right and I don’t feel right in supporting it,” she said. Fraley-Monillas said that while errors were made, the city is following up to address them. “Seeing that it serves no purposed to vote against, I’m going to vote for it,” she said.

"Two Workmen" has been hanging in the City Council Chambers but will be loaned to the new Cascadia Art Museum.
Guy Anderson’s “Two Workmen,” which has been hanging in the City Council Chambers, will be loaned to the new Cascadia Art Museum.

– agreed to a year loan for the city-owned painting “Two Workmen,” done in 1960 by Pacific Northwest artist (and former Edmonds resident) Guy Anderson, to the Cascadia Art Museum, which is scheduled to open at Salish Crossing in September. According to City Arts and Culture Manager Frances Chapin, the work now located in the city council chambers “is one of the significant paintings in the city’s public art collection.” The painting has been located in the council chambers because of the need for security coupled with a desire for public visibility. Having the painting temporarily in the museum “will be an opportunity to show this painting to a much broader audience,” Chapin said.

2014-15 student representative xxx with Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas.
Council student representative Noushyar Eslami with Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas.

– presented a resolution and plaque to council student representative Noushyar Eslami, who is graduating this year from Edmonds-Woodway High School. Eslami plans to study chemical engineering this fall at the University of Washington.

– heard a proclamation from Mayor Dave Earling regarding Music4Life Month. The program encourages people to donate their no-longer-used musical instruments for use by student musicians who otherwise would not be able to afford them.

Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan pins a badge on new Corporal Mark Froland.
Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan pins a badge on newly promoted Corporal Mark Froland.

– observed an Oath of Office Ceremony for Edmonds police officer Mark Froland’s promotion to the rank of corporal. Corporal Froland, who is an Edmonds native and was accompanied during the ceremony by his wife Brenda and their three daughters, will work in the detective unit.

– heard the March 2015 Quarterly Financial Report from Finance Director Scott James.

– received an update on the city’s Public Defender Services and made recommendations for contract amendments in order to comply with a new state and federal court rulings regarding public defender case load. The city signed a contract with the city’s long-time public defender, Feldman and Lee, P.S., for 2015, and plans to hire a contract staff person to ensure compliance with the court rulings. In addition, the city will engage in a competitive bid process to secure public defense services for 2016 and beyond.

 

 

 

 

47 Replies to “Bloom leaves meeting after council bypasses discussion on Code of Ethics revisions, OKs original draft”

  1. What I believe took place last night was an effort to weaken the quality of government by displaying a willingness to break a State Law.

    RCW 36.70A.390 includes a statement that in these situations a City SHALL hold a public hearing within at least sixty days of adoption. Shall is mandatory – but I guess our City government believes they don’t always have to do what is mandatory.

    Imagine a citizen files a Land Use Petition Act (LUPA) appeal 26 days after the City of Edmonds makes a final land use decision. State law, RCW 36.70C.040(3) requires a LUPA appeal to be served within 21 days of a “final” land use decision. Imagine the citizen does so on day 26 and then argues that his tardy act has “no substantive effect” and his appeal is valid because 26 days is not substantively different than 21 days. I think the City of Edmonds would argue to a Judge that the appeal was too late. I think a Judge would promptly rule against the citizen appellant.

    I find it truly amazing how this City tries to justify its conduct instead of simply following the law.

    On the same night Council finally passes a Code of Ethics after years of consideration, a clear violation of a State law takes place in Open Council Session.

    How is this act of the City Council fair in fact and also in appearance?

    Please note the item scratched from the new Code of Ethics attachment 13 by Council President Fraley- Monillas:

    We shall: “Follow Washington statutes, city ordinances or regulations in the course of performing duties.”

    Why the big red line through that critical part of a Code of Ethics? If attachment 13 was a “watered-down version” on April 14, 2015 – it was even more watered down after Council President Fraley- Monillas took her action on April 30, 2015.

    Council President Fraiey-Monillas stated last night right before her vote on the 77th day that:

    “Seeing that it serves no purpose to vote against, I’m going to vote for it.”

    The purpose of voting against it would have been because the motion clearly violated State law. I believe State laws should be followed and respected.

    I also wish our new Code of Ethics stated that “We shall follow Washington statutes, city ordinances or regulations in the course of performing duties.”

    Last night’s conduct tells me that the requirement to follow laws needs to be in our Code of Ethics.

    Ignored

  2. There is an obvious reason this government does NOT want a strong Code of Ethics so they can continue to break laws, including staff, which isnt even a part of the Code of Ethics. …….no accountability to ANYONE……..Staff does not have a Code of Ethics…..doesnt take a brain surgeon to figure that one out……What you see is what you get.

    ….I would like Ms Monilles to show us where that supposed Code of Ethics is that the staff has…..I have not found one and it is simply not true…….but hey, big deal, huh…..ETHICS and conduct are not the same and certain people do not even follow the conduct rules…..

    Those who dont learn from history are destined to repeat it…..Ive been around long enough to remember “tricky” days of the past and that was a shamefull time in our history

    Edmonds does not want to have a reputation as an unethical town and this is the reputation I have heard people say that goes way back……This does not encourage growth as young people are for the greater good and that which is good….. I have met families that have moved away becauses of unethical behavior in our town.

    Could a few good people please step forward here……We can be more than this business as usual……..I encourage all to watch the video of last nights City Council meeting and be a part of moving our city in a different, transparent and honest direction..Its about something good bigger than our individual selves

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  3. Councilmember Bloom still does not seem to realize that she can get whatever she wants if she’s able to come up with four votes.

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  4. The problem last night was that the item on the agenda ( which the Council previously agreed to have Ms Bloom work on with Ms Buckshnis) didn’t even get discussed and voted down. There may not have been 4 votes to support it, but that agenda item was not even presented for a vote. Had Council wanted to adopt the previous version, why didn’t they just do it when it was presented? She was “sandbagged”. Four votes against it would have done it. Then presenting the other motion. Four votes and done. It was an odd thing to see.

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  5. I totally agree with Mr. Talmadge. Why would they agree to have Ms. Bloom work on something that in the end did not even get discussed or voted on, and it was on the agenda? This just doesn’t seem right but then I do not understand the working of city govt.

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  6. Councilmembers had all of the relevant material, going back to 2012, to review prior to the meeting. A majority obviously concluded after digesting that material that there was no need to waste time discussing an option that they were not interested in. I’ve set through numerous council meetings during which considerable time was spent in needless discussions. In my opinion they did the right thing this time with this issue. And what they have adopted is not cast in stone. If it is determined that modifications to the policy are needed, four votes can get that done.

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  7. It really doesnt matter which ethics policy they decide on without having a enforcement and complaint policy that is open to the public and not done in executive session. I hope it doesnt take 3 years to get this done but who knows.

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    1. Don – I greatly respect your multi-year effort as a citizen related to this matter.

      As such, it is very disappointing that your following two public comments were not included in the June 2, 2015 City Council Agenda Packet so that all Council Members could be aware of your comments:

      July 8, 2014 PSP Committee minutes:

      Don Hall, Edmonds, spoke in support of adopting a Code of Ethics. He pointed out enforcement is an important component. A brief discussion followed regarding how violations are handled. Councilmember Fraley-Monillas offered to inquire how Shoreline handles violations.

      September 16, 2014 City Council Minutes:

      Don Hall, Edmonds, referred to the minutes of the Public Safety and Personnel Committee meeting, commenting it was great to see that a code of ethics was getting close to reality. The minutes reflect Councilmember Fraley-Monillas’ suggestion that enforcement be a separate policy. He agreed it probably should be, but if they are not passed together there is no reason to have a code of ethics because without a policy and procedure to address potential violations and a public process to resolve complaints, a code of ethics is only a piece of paper that means nothing. He feared if the code of ethics and enforcement policy were not adopted together, it would take another 2½ years to adopt an enforcement policy.

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      1. Sorry Don – just found another comment not included in June 2nd Agenda Packet….this from the December 9, 2014 City Council Minutes:

        Don Hall, Edmonds, referred to the code of ethics for elected officials on tonight’s agenda, relaying it does not include an enforcement policy, ethics board, ethics officer or mechanism to file complaint. He recalled the at July 8, 2014 Public Safety & Personnel Committee meeting, Councilmember FraleyMonillas expressed reluctant to have an enforcement policy and if there was one, that it might be handled in executive session, a concept he disagreed with. The August 27, 2013 minutes state Councilmember Petso feared someone who did not agree with an official’s position on an issue could file an ethics complaints and that she was unlikely to support a code of ethics that included a complaint process, ethics officer and enforcement. He questioned why waste the Council’s or the public’s time with a code of ethics that did not contain an enforcement policy, complaint procedure and would not done in the open. He referred to Bainbridge Island’s code of ethics that includes an ethics board and an easy to understand complaint form. Some cities use contracted ethics officers on a complaint driven basis.

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        1. Thanks Ken for your comments. Citizens should go to council meetings and bring the ethics policy up and enforcement of it under audience comments if they dont like what the council did.
          I would like to see the council go back to committee meeting there was a feeling that you could communicate with the committee members on specific subjects the committee was addressing.

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        2. Good point Don. I hope more citizens will let the Council know how they feel about the Code of Ethics and how it should be enforced.

          Regarding Committees, I believe it will be discussed by Council during the June 23rd Council Meeting.

          I believe Council Presidents have been violating the Code since last September as Council never adopted an Ordinance to change the following requirements:

          1.02.031 Council president.

          B. In addition to any other duties assigned by the city council, the council president shall have the following responsibilities: 1. Make assignments to all council committees, schedule committee hearings, and otherwise supervise the committee system; …

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  8. As of January 13, 2015, the Public Safety & Personnel Committee version of the proposed Code of Ethics still applied to “the conduct of elected and appointed officials, and employees”. The last two Council Members to sit on that Committee were Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Strom Peterson As Mr. Peterson’s last day on Council was January 6, 2015 – I think that it reasonable to consider this version the only Public Safety & Personnel Committee Meeting version that should ever have been considered by the City Council for approval. I believe that any changes to this proposed Code of Ethics by a sole council member acting on her own would have been very improper…unless Council agreed by consensus to allow more work to be done by a sole Council Member on a proposed Code of Ethics.

    But the changes were a coming……

    On February 12, 2015, a proposed Code of Ethics document was prepared which applied to only appointed citizen volunteers serving in an official capacity (i.e. Boards and Commissions). This version of the Code of Ethics eliminated elected officials and city employees from the document. Why would this ever happen?

    I would really like to know the motivation behind these alarming changes.

    The document that applied only to appointed citizen volunteers serving in an official capacity was attached to The February 24, 2015 City Council Agenda for discussion.
    Council President Fraley-Monillas distributed this version on the evening of February 24, 2015 – but it never was discussed because, due to the late hour, this item was postponed to a future meeting.

    This document was labeled Attachment 13 in the bottom right hand corner.

    The next time Attachment 13 showed up on the Council Agenda was on April 14, 2015. This time the document added back in elected officials, but still excluded City employees.
    The April 14, 2015 City Council meeting minutes document extensive discussion of Attachment 13. The April 14, 2015 meeting minutes start as follows:

    “Mayor Pro Tem Fraley-Monillas referred to Attachment 13, the last code of ethics the Council discussed, advising it incorporated the edits offered by Councilmember Buckshnis.”

    A couple of issues here:

    1 – The Council had never discussed the version of Attachment 13 attached to the April 14, 2015; and

    2 – When was it decided that Council Member Buckshnis could edit the proposed Code of Ethics?

    The April 14, 2015 Edmonds City Council meeting Minutes also document the following:
    “Mayor Pro Tem Fraley-Monillas advised Attachment 13, Edmonds Code of Ethics, was the document the Public Safety & Personnel Committee produced for Council review. “

    This is simply not true as proven by the document attached to the January 13, 2015 City Council Agenda that applied to “the conduct of elected and appointed officials, and employees”.

    The related April 14, 2015 City Council meeting Minutes document the following:

    Mayor Pro Tem Fraley-Monillas observed she has heard two recommendations, 1) bring back Attachment 13 back next week for potential amendment, and 2) provide Councilmember Bloom an opportunity to provide a new draft next week. Councilmember Bloom said she could not have her version ready by next week. Councilmember Buckshnis offered to work with Councilmember Bloom. It was the consensus of the Council to schedule this on a future agenda to allow Councilmembers Buckshnis and Bloom time to develop another draft.

    As a citizen, I would have been fine if the June 2, 2015 Code of Ethics Agenda item would have read:

    Discussion and potential action regarding 2 draft code of ethics, Attachment 13 and Attachment 16(Review of Options A,B,C and D.)

    It did not. The Subject Title for this June 2, 2015 Agenda item was:

    Discussion and potential action regarding draft code of ethics, Attachment 16. Review of Options A,B,C and D.

    There was no mention that Attachment 13 would be discussed. There was no mention that there would be potential action on Attachment 13.

    The related Agenda item Narrative stated the following:

    Discussion regarding a Code of Ethics has been ongoing since 2012. A Code of Ethics document has been placed on this agenda for discussion.

    The word “document” was singular. The Agenda item did not call for discussion of more than one document.

    Even if it had called for discussion of two alternative documents, I believe Attachment 13 should not have been changed once again after the April 14, 2015 City Council Meeting. Incredibly, on April 30, 2015, Council President Fraley-Monillas removed the last bullet point from Attachment 13. I believe this should not have been done in this fashion. Had Council wanted to do this, a motion to amend Attachment 13 should not have been required in Open Council Session.

    I find the above very disappointing.

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    1. Couple of corrections to the above:
      First Correction:
      1 – The Council had never discussed the version of Attachment 13 attached to the April 14, 2015; and
      Should be:
      1 – The Council had never discussed the version of Attachment 13 attached to the April 14, 2015 City Council Agenda; and
      Second Correction:
      Had Council wanted to do this, a motion to amend Attachment 13 should not have been required in Open Council Session.
      Should be:
      Had Council wanted to do this, a motion to amend Attachment 13 should have been required in Open Council Session.

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  9. Yes, Ken, thank YOU for all of the pertinent and important information.

    We have officials here that think they can run our government any way they personally feel will work for THEM. This is not how government legally works…….There are common standards, laws, constitutions, ETHICS and procedures that are legally required for running a government.

    Everything starts at the top and this is clear here. We need to clean house, insist our government follow all of the above common standards or we get rid of those that choose to operate illegally and unethically…….

    This is a reflection on our city!

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  10. Noushyar Eslami is such a roll model for our youth….Congratulations! I remember when we were reviewing Westgate and I was sitting next to Noushayar and he was on Spring Break and he was still sitting at the Council Meeting at 11PM. I asked him why he was still there and he said that politics is more interesting that TV! What a rock star you are! Cheers and the best to you and I wish I could have been there to thank you for your professional and wonderful calm demeanor. Happy Trails!

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  11. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tere. I took hours this morning to research the history of what took place between January 13, 2015 and June 2, 2015. I invite those interested to read my findings posted above and then go and watch the 9 minute 21 second long video of the related item from Tuesday night.

    I am having a hard time trusting the conduct of the four Council Members who voted against the related appeal of the Mayor’s ruling on Ms. Petso’s request for a Point of Order. I hope Council President Fraley-Monillas as well as Council Members Kristiana Johnson, Thomas Mesaros and Michael Nelson will voluntarily represent why they voted against that appeal of the Mayor’s bizarre ruling.

    The Agenda item clearly did not make any mention that Attachment 13 would be discussed and/or considered for action. Council Member Petso clearly stated that she did not study Attachment 13. Why weren’t these very important facts respected by Mayor Earling and the band of four Council Members?

    I request that the four Council Members also make a public representation as to how they knew to study Attachment 13 and be ready to vote on such when Council Members Petso and Bloom obviously had no idea that Attachment 13 was going to be discussed and/or considered for action.

    How does this happen?

    As Attachment 13 was not germane to the Agenda item subject title, I believe that discussion and potential action on Attachment 16 and its four options should have been all that took place. 45 minutes had been set aside for the discussion and potential action.

    The fact that a motion was made to adopt Attachment 13 -15 to 30 seconds after the Agenda item was introduced by Mayor Earling is amazing. Council Member Kristiana Johnson seconded the motion. Why would she do so when she had to know the Agenda Item was to discuss and take potential action on Attachment 16.

    What is the story behind this conduct?

    If they wanted to approve what the Public Safety & Personnel Committee had proposed – why didn’t they approve such a week or so after discussing such back on January 13, 2015? At least back at that time, the Committee’s proposal still included City staff/employees and required that those covered under the Code of Ethics shall not knowingly violate any Washington statutes, city ordinances or regulations in the course of performing duties.

    The January 13, 2015 City Council Meeting Minutes include the following:

    “She (Council President Fraley-Monillas) agreed the code of conduct was far different than a code of ethics.”

    If so, why would Ms. Fraley-Monillas argue on June 2, 2015 that “And I do disagree that staff not be placed into this one because we have a personnel policy that addresses the Code of Ethics for them”?

    Say what?

    Again, on the same night that Council knowingly violates a state law – RCW 36.70A.390 – this is how they adopt a Code of Ethics – I find this beyond disappointing.

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  12. As a citizen of Edmonds for 26 years I find the whole Code of Ethics situation distressing and I have lost faith in this City Council. This may sound very simplistic but should it really be taking this long for the Council to adopt a Code of Ethics for the governing of the city? The Council needs to do the right thing, stop squabbling and get this done! I personally think that this is one of the most contentious groups of people to sit on the council in many years. Like a bunch of children out of control maybe they need a time out and the adults to take over and craft a sound and fair Code of Ethics for the City.

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  13. I resent those that refer to “politics” to diminish the extent of what unfolded Tuesday night……This is about running an ethical and law-abiding government…………..THIS has NOTHING to do with politics……really!

    .In life, there are ethical people and unethical people……Not about “politics”……we have both in all parties. Do we want anybody unethical running our government and representing us?….. It is of importance that we have a law abiding and ethical government, period

    Crossing out and deleting the reference to following our laws is simply unbelievable!

    Maybe we need more people in our government not connected to so many other entities…….hard to be totally objective or know exactly where loyalties are…..We don’t need that in our government or any government…We need people that people in rules, regulations, laws, etc. period.

    Again, I say WHY wouldn’t the people in our government want a total Code of Ethics with backup for those that choose to break laws or be unethical? This is a very simple thing. We need to know we can Trust the people that are supposed to represent us and they are expected to have ethical and law abiding behavior…..

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  14. The stench from something which has been smelling in Edmonds is getting much worse, and I will state again, it is not from a low tide. I can not fathom the complexity and depth of political actions, but what I have been witness to for at least the past year (I am a very late bloomer) in MY EDMONDS is just too appalling. Many of these folks are asking for our votes soon, and I hope the ballot box will send a message…….disgusting actions, to say the least.

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  15. Does anyone else have anything to say. I say vote them all out or hire another advisor to get the children to agree.

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  16. I think what the average citizen may not understand is that City Administration and elected officials are willing to break State and/or City laws. There is a void of leadership that is willing to make sure that all laws and ordinances are faithfully enforced and that law and order is maintained in the city.

    They just openly violated a State law last Tuesday. The draft meeting minutes for the June 2, 2015 City Council meeting document the background information for emergency, Interim Ordinance 3992:

    -Passed by City Council on March 17, 2015 as an emergency ordinance
    -RCW 36.70A.390 REQUIRES a public hearing within 60 days and adoption of Findings of Fact
    -Due to an oversight, 77 days have elapsed since March 17.

    I believe an ethical, law abiding City acknowledges that they can no longer meet the requirements of State law, RCW 36.70A.390 and that the City will now have to pursue a different course of action.

    But not the City of Edmonds. The City of Edmonds tries to justify it as an oversight and says they have taken steps to ensure that it does not happen again. That is good for next time, but the City did fail to hold the public hearing within 60 days and the City should have the integrity to follow the law.

    This has been a main concern of mine for years. Where is the leadership that is willing to step forward and simply require that the City follow all laws and ordinances?

    I just happened to notice this when I was reviewing the related Agenda item last Tuesday. I was reviewing the item because I had large doubts about the need for this to be an “emergency” ordinance in the first place. I provided information that proved the City knew about these types of situations years ago-so why would it all of a sudden be an “emergency” now?. At 12:01 PM on June 2nd, I sent the following email to all 7 members of the City Council:

    Furthermore, you have missed the 60 day window required by RCW 36.70A.390.

    RCW 36.70A.390 requires the City Council to hold a public hearing on the interim ordinance within sixty days of adoption.

    You had until May 16, 2015 to have the required Public Hearing.

    Amazing.

    Ken

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  17. I think most citizens aren’t aware of the City’s willingness to violate laws until they are directly impacted by such. Following is the State Law the City chose to violate that made me aware of what the City of Edmonds is willing to do:

    Portion of RCW 35.79.030:

    “The ordinance may provide that the city retain an easement or the right to exercise and grant easements in respect to the vacated land for the construction, repair, and maintenance of public utilities and services.”

    In my case, the City retained an easement on my property during a street vacation process despite the fact that the City had no need to construct, repair or maintain anything on my fee title property.

    The City actually argued that they could retain an easement on my property solely for the purpose of issuing a right of way permit to a private developer to use my property.

    This is why I have so much passion for these issues. I believe, as citizens, we should bond together and support each other when the City chooses to break laws.

    I do not trust the integrity behind the claim that there was a need for an “emergency” ordinance. I also think there should be accountability related to the choice to hold the public hearing on day 77 when all knew State law required this to be done within 60 days.

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  18. Ron Wambolt – you made comments above about Councilmembers having the ability to get whatever they want if they are able to come up with four votes. You are a former Councilmember. As you brought this topic up – please expand on the discussion of the process of seeking those four votes.

    Is the process open and transparent? How much discussion and decision making takes place outside of an open and transparent public meeting? How much do Mayors get involved in the effort to “rally votes” outside of open and transparent public meetings?

    I know that per Cathcart v. Anderson, 85 Wn.2d 102 (1975) – the purpose of the Open Public Meetings Act is to permit the public to observe all steps in the making of government decisions.

    Yes – that is right…. “all steps”.

    I don’t feel that this is what the City of Edmonds does. For example, Councilmembers Kristiana Johnson, Thomas Mesaros and Michael Nelson did not participate in the discussion related to the Code of Ethics last week. Council President Fraley-Monillas sure appeared to have come up with her four votes. As a member of the public, I don’t feel I was allowed to see all steps in the making of the Council decision and I have no idea why Councilmembers Johnson, Mesaros and Nelson voted for Attachment 13.

    Attachment 16 was never even discussed as the Agenda indicated it would be. Without discussion in an open and transparent public meeting, how is the public to know why the 4 Council Members all of a sudden preferred Attachment 13?

    The action by the four Councilmembers may be invalid. Failure to provide public notice of an item which is to be considered at a public meeting may invalidate action taken at that meeting. The notice given must fairly apprise the public of the action to be taken at the meeting.

    In this case, it wasn’t just the public that was not notified that there was potential for action on Attachment 13 – 2 Councilmembers didn’t even know.

    I believe this was very poor behavior which leads to even greater distrust in our City Government. That this behavior was exhibited during the adoption of a long overdue Code of Ethics is simply too much. Why does this stuff happen in Edmonds?

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    1. I do not have much more to say about this issue except to suggest that if all four councilmembers who voted in the majority had stated the reasons for why they were voting the way they did, perhaps citizens would have a clearer understanding of the action that was taken. I believe that councilmembers should routinely state the reasons for their votes, including when they abstain from voting we should be told why they’ve chosen to do that.

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  19. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to SEE what at least 4 members think of actually having a Code of Ethics that requires that ALL follow the LAW. Obviously, our Mayor at the top (I guess a “Chair”) doesn’t give a ratZ you know what either, in my opinion. .. Isn’t our Mayor t he denoted “Chair” of the Council? I don’t get it……Nobody believes they should have to be ethical AND follow laws?…………….let’s just draw a line through that part. Am I missing something here…….I’m reminded of the Muppets in the woods and them singing, “There’s something happening here , and what it is ain’t exactly clear”………..Perhaps I’ve missed something here….It isn’t clear

    There is absolutely nothing transparent about this to me…….To me, it looks like government in secret and behind closed doors, not open to the public….The public is left with so many unanswered questions…..That isn’t transparency

    Makes one certainly wonder what ALL is done behind closed doors…….out of the public’s eye

    I still say everything starts at the top, so somewhere up there………I believe this may answer your question, Ken……Why does this happen?

    I don’t think this represents our law abiding citizens…..I’m not sure who it represents….again, not clear to me, hence distrust

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  20. After listening to the tape of the meeting the vote was 5 to 1. As long as there is not a quorum or rolling quorum then individual council members can discuss the agenda. You could do a public records request and see if there were any improprieties.before making assumptions and aqusations

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  21. The Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) contains a powerful public policy statement:

    “The legislature finds and declares that all public commissions, boards, councils, committees, subcommittees, departments, divisions, offices, and all other public agencies of this state and subdivisions thereof exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of this chapter that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.”

    I believe that actions taken outside of open and transparent public meetings to get “four votes” and the related lack of public deliberations causes distrust in City of Edmonds government.

    I believe that there should have been public discussion of Attachment 16 last Tuesday and public deliberations on Attachment 16 should have taken place before voting.

    That is, after all, what the Agenda represented was supposed to happen.

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  22. I was at the meeting and do not need to do an FOIA request, of which I have done many with the City of Edmonds…….You either have transparency or you don’t………Pretty obvious to me when something is not transparent in regards to government. Leaving out public deliberations was rather obvious…….actions taken outside of public deliberations….A no brainer

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  23. Don, I understand and appreciate that you support the concept of a Code of Ethics and procedures for enforcement of such. I also believe you are a strong proponent of Open and Transparent government.

    The Open Public Meetings Act calls for deliberations to be conducted openly. On June 2, 2015 – the City Council had 45 minutes set aside for the:

    Discussion and potential action regarding draft code of ethics, Attachment 16. Review of Options A,B,C and D.

    Instead of doing what Council President Fraley-Monillas placed on her own Agenda, she immediately made a motion to do something that was not on the Agenda. This is so very wrong.

    I fear that deliberations about the Code of Ethics took place outside of the public meeting and that discussions were conducted privately.

    If any Council Member did not like parts of Attachment 16, they could have brought up the individual point and made a motion to amend it. Had they done so in an Open Public Meeting, the citizens would have been able to listen to the public deliberations and the citizens would know why certain Council members opposed things such as requiring that Washington statutes, city ordinances or regulations are followed in the course of performing duties.

    I believe that had deliberations taken place openly, it would have been hard for any Council member to argue that Attachment 13, the version Ms. Fraley-Monillas modified at least twice on her own, was better for our 40,000 citizens than an openly deliberated Attachment 16 would have been.

    This conduct on June 2nd was a very dark day for our City. When you combine the Ethics Code mess with the willful violation of RCW 36.70A.390 on the same evening, one has to wonder how our elected officials justify their conduct.

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  24. I planned to attend this meeting to urge the Council to vote for a much stronger Code of Ethics than the one previously presented. In fact, my recommendation is that a professional skilled code writing expert be hired to write it, with wording that allows citizens a forum to be heard and sanctions meted out when government officials cross the line. I strongly believe tax paying citizens should not have to resort to hiring attorneys to seek judgments against City officials for wrongdoing (e.g. Debi Humann). This, “Solution” has actually been suggested by certain Council members and Mayors. I would be happy to name those individuals along with shown evidence of wrongdoing, to this newsletter or individuals should that statement be maligned as hearsay.

    It was only this afternoon that I was able to view the June 2, 2015 meeting online. I sit here in utter disbelief stunned, shocked, appalled and yes, angry. What I witnessed instead, is the Mayor himself and five Council members who clearly do not want a document in writing that would hold themselves to a higher standard. Shame on every one of them.

    Should it be necessary for The Edmonds Beacon to write an article on the Council’s ethics debacle such as they did on the tree code – – before the citizens band together and force our “Leaders” to listen to us (e.g. Planning Board Meeting May 27)?

    I became more passionate about this subject nearly a year ago when I stood at the little card table on Sunset Avenue. I was there off and on for several weeks watching people sign the petition against that change and listening/talking to each other. Some expressed rage about that issue, as well as their own and shared how they had experienced wrongdoing done to them personally by our City’s governing body. Something is terribly wrong when so many have stories to tell about being badly treated by those in charge of our beautiful little City . . . phrases like, “Bully pulpit – – You can’t fight City Hall – – If you only knew what went on behind closed doors – – Arrogant with their own agenda – – We need to vote them all out” etc.

    I am only sorry we don’t have candidates running that would enable us to vote them out. I understand why we don’t have more willing to challenge these Council positions because in order to do a good job, the job needs to be full-time with full-time pay. If Council members are to legislate all that needs legislating in our City and be fully informed about those issues, they need to have both the time and intellect to study and understand both the issues and their consequences, and vote appropriately as to what truly is in the best interest of the citizens.

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    1. Just a clarification that we aren’t the Edmonds Beacon, in case that’s what you meant. But we did write an article about the tree code.

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      1. To further clarify, some participants at the Planning Board meeting stated they did not know about the issue until they read it in The Edmonds Beacon and that is why I mentioned it. I’m sorry they did not see it in My Edmonds News. No offense intended as I do read MEN whenever I can and thank you for your contribution as I think it is valuable.

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  25. and remember,

    “politicians like diapers should be changed often and for the same reason”

    I long for the day when all those in our government take their oath of office seriously and be true representatives of the will of the people……all the people

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  26. The sad part of this is that the reason we have current City Council members running unopposed for re-election is that sincere, hardworking, caring citizens no longer want to run against career politicians who will do “whatever it takes” to get elected. A few years ago my good friend ran for this City Council. He is the most ethical, moral, straight up person i know and would have been an refreshing addition to the Council, but was showered with innuendo and false accusations not only his opponent, but from some of the same folks who comment on this site, who did not know him, because he worked in the Construction Industry. He said “NEVER AGAIN”. . . So sometimes you get what you ask for.

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    1. I remember well the November 4, 2011 Coffee with Harry. I left that very disturbing forum knowing without a doubt that there was one candidate that I absolutely had to vote for. I voted for your friend and I believe to this day that it is a true shame that he was not elected.

      I sincerely hope more ethical, moral, sincere, hardworking caring citizens choose to run for office in the future.

      Why are so many people willing to apply for Council vacancies when a Council member resigns – but so few are willing to actually run for office? I think the comments above help answer that question.

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  27. I will certainly be at tonight meeting and every meeting following until the shaft the city has shoved up my ……………….. is removed. Until a week ago I was a proud new owner of my first home for my young family @ 23227 92nd Ave W. We bought it specifically for the perceived balance of environment and development in Edmonds. My grove of “Old Growth Trees” was my treasure. Well last Wednesday the developer on my rear property line excavated 5 feet down on the property line and completely destroyed the root system of 4 of my trees. Now they are unstable and have put my family, my home and the other 10+ trees at risk. This in complete violation of permitting process, development code and Land Clearing Code (18.45.050 (H)) as well as several state laws. And this Council wants to enact a Tree Ordinance when the City Administration is so inept they cannot even enforce the fundamental development codes? What a joke. Now after scraping and saving, I am in a battle with a Seattle developer and have to try and answer my 7yo son’s question of “Why is the bad man killing our trees?”

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    1. Mr. Blomenkamp – I am happy to meet with you and share with you my experiences with the City. Maybe knowledge of what I have experienced would be of some benefit to you. I can also help you navigate the City’s website and possibly find helpful information. I’ll attempt to find your contact information – at the same time, please try and contact me.

      One thing to consider – Goals and objectives for site design, building form, and building facade are discussed in the Comprehensive Plan’s Urban Design chapter (pages 92-98).
      This includes:
      C.13.a. Retain significant landscape features and unique landforms such as rock outcroppings and significant trees.

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      1. I would love to have a coffee or other discussion with you. I am the first to admit my lack uf experience dealing with municipal government. However this is my first house and I have chosen to make Edmonds my home, I may have some idealistic and nieve ideas of how government should work but I am a quick study and I have every intention not only to fight this battle but many others. I plan on being at every Council meeting FOR THE WHOLE MEETING, every Planning Board Meeting, and as many public meetings as possible. My contact info is sablomenkamp@gmail.com and cel # 206-569-4149. This is only the start for me, there obviously are many other battles to fight and I plan on not being on the sidelines.

        I did look at those chapters as well as several other references to the same concepts, such as:
        20.01.000 Purpose and general provisions.
        A. The purpose of this chapter is to establish standard procedures, decision criteria, public notification, and timing for development project permit application decisions made by the city of Edmonds. These procedures are intended to:
        4. Balance the needs of permit applicants with neighbors;
        5. Ensure that decisions are made consistently and predictably; and
        6. Result in development that furthers city goals as set forth in the comprehensive plan.

        20.11.030 Criteria.
        A. Building Design. No one architectural style is required. The building shall be designed to comply with the purposes of this chapter and to avoid conflict with the existing and planned character of the nearby area. All elements of building design shall form an integrated development, harmonious in scale, line and mass. The following are included as elements of building design:
        a. In multifamily (RM) or commercial zones, selections from among the following or similar features are appropriate for dealing with this criterion:
        iv. Appropriate landscaping;
        B. Site Treatment. The existing character of the site and the nearby area should be the starting point for the design of the building and all site treatment. The following are elements of site treatment:
        1. Grading, vegetation removal and other changes to the site shall be minimized where natural beauty exists. Large cut and fill and impervious surfaces should be avoided.
        2. Landscape treatment shall be provided to enhance the building design and other site improvements.
        3. Landscape treatment shall be provided to buffer the development from surrounding property where conflict may result, such as parking facilities near yard spaces, streets or residential units, and different building heights, design or color.

        20.13.020 General design standards.
        B. A formal arrangement may be acceptable if it has enough variety in layout and plants. Avoid continuous, long, unbroken, straight rows of a single plant where possible.
        C. Existing vegetation that contributes to the attractiveness of the site should be retained.
        Existing significant trees and shrubbery (six-inch caliper or more) must be shown on the proposed landscape plan and saved and incorporated into the landscape plan, if they are reasonably attractive and of good quality.

        20.75.085 Review criteria.
        The following criteria shall be used to review proposed subdivisions:
        A. Environmental.
        2. The proposal shall be designed to minimize grading by using shared driveways and by relating street, house site and lot placement to the existing topography.
        4. The proposal shall be designed to minimize off-site impacts on drainage, views and so forth.

        But ANY help would be appreciated. Also any info about local groups with like concers would be great.

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  28. I’m sorry about your loss Mr. Blomenkamp…..I don’t doubt for a moment that this City Administration knows exactly what goes on…….particularly in regards to the developers . I believe that is why at every City Council session the first hour is usually behind closed doors “pending litigation”. …….Everything starts at the top and we can do something about it.

    Our environment now is more important than ever and enlightened people around this world that pay attention to the science KNOW this……We’re not an island here…..We share the planet

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    1. Thankyou Tere, but I am not ready to say loss yet. I am having a Master Arborist come out and give his opinion and if I can in any reasonable way save these trees I plan on it. I am not a tree hugger (please no one take offense) meaning I believe they are a resource and should be appreciated as one. This includes all facets of their value. I also am not anti-development, but I believe in reasonable development. This, of course, is broad, but I believe most non extremists could reasonably agree that next to 3 parcels of property all with tall, old growth trees, a residential lot should not stand out like a melanoma on your skin. And I am very much for INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS. The simple concept that they want to extend oversight to individually owned parcels is idiotic. Individuals simply do not go and just clear cut a lot, there is no incentive. Spend the time and enforcement on the problems. Typical people that want power over others and will not do their jobs while reaching for more power.

      All interested please get ahold of me @ sablomenkamp@gmail.com or 206-569-4149. I do have a job and a 7yo that is into every imaginable sport and activity but his war is for his future and I intend to wage it on every front possible. I am in this for the longhaul. We need organization and any local current groups, associations and such you know of please forward to me. Otherwise I will be trying to form something along with social media and such. Further, I believe it is time for potentially an outside investigation from the AG and possibly the FBI. I cannot believe in any way there is not significant curruption and that is one of their mandates, Public Official Corruption.

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  29. The 2015 Washington State Vistors’ Guide ( big wonderful book available at the Ferry tourist brochure section) lists under

    “Explore Small Towns” “EDMONDS”…..”historic downtown is filled with boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries….Enjoy the waterfront by fishing off of the public pier……stroll on the beach…..grab a pair of binoculars and head to the Edmonds Marsh…..FIRST station on Audubon Washington’s Great Washington State BIRDING trail”……

    .I am reminded of something Mayor Earling had said at his Feb. 2015 City address…..”Many think of Edmonds as a small quaint seaside village….But that’s not us”…….and another quote from our Mayor within the last number of months was “Every foot is money”………

    Yes, we need to make sure our government represents ALL of us and not just a select few and we do need some regulation in our environment or we won’t have birds coming here, we won’t have clean air to breathe and we won’t have clean water. Laws and regulations are f or the collective greater good…….

    and sacrificing individual rights for the sake of one developer is simply wrong

    I also believe that as our Mayor has been involved with transportation in Washington state for quite some time, the citizens should be kept abreast of what is unfolding with transportation, including Bakken Oil cars, BNSF and now Paine Field (transportation) with many more flights.

    I understand there will be as many as 100 trains passing through Edmonds each day and I have no idea how many planes will be flying overhead. but, obviously there are many that were long aware of this, in my opinion…..

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