Mayor’s rail crossing advisory task force to hold first meeting Sept. 2


The first meeting of the Mayor’s Advisory Task Force on the At-Grade Rail Crossings Alternatives Analysis will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2 in the Brackett conference room on the third floor of City Hall.

Under the leadership of co-chairs Mike Nelson, Edmonds City Councilmember, and Jim Orvis, Edmonds Port Commissioner, the 10-member Advisory Task Force also includes: Kirk Greiner (Edmonds resident), Cadence Kerr (Edmonds resident), Phil Lovell (Edmonds resident), Joy Munkers (Community Transit), Rick Wagner (BNSF), Lynn Griffiths (WSDOT – Ferries Division), Lorena Eng (WSDOT), and Jodi Mitchell (Sound Transit) City staff members Rob English (City Engineer) and Patrick Doherty (Director of Economic Development and Community Services) will join to facilitate the Advisory Task Force.

All meetings of the Advisory Task Force will be given advance notice on the City’s Public Meetings and Events Calendar and will be open to the public, although public comment will not be taken at the task force meetings. Future opportunities for public comment will be developed, potentially including open houses and online channels for submitting public comment.

You can see the agenda here.

For questions or more information, contact Economic Development and Community Services Director Patrick Doherty at 425-771-0251 or [email protected].

14 Replies to “Mayor’s rail crossing advisory task force to hold first meeting Sept. 2”

  1. Why is the Gold Family not on this Board? Seems the body of research they conducted could have been a positive addition.
    Or is this another example how the Mayor controls access to his agenda.


    1. The Gold’s are not part of the group, because the Mayor correctly selected people who had no bias, so that we can get maximum objectivity.


      1. By your definition that the Gold’s are biased rather than citizens with initiative also could be applied to the mayor with biased appointments regardless of their political leanings. Try a little positivity.


      2. I don’t recall reading in the July 29, 2015 City of Edmonds Media Release that a goal of the Mayor’s was to select people for the Task Force with no bias so that we can get maximum objectivity.

        Furthermore, the press release said nothing about why the extremely hard working Gold family is not part of this group. What information is your comment based on?

        The Mayor must be okay with bias on this task force. The November 10, 2014 City Council meeting minutes document that Task Force member Phil Lovell stated that a better solution than the train trench would be to add a down ramp to the west side of the tracks within the current Edmonds Crossing concept.

        Mr. Lovell may be right and he is entitled to his opinion. The Golds may be right and they are entitled to their opinion. I am very confident that both Mr. Lovell and the Golds want the City to make the correct decision related to this challenging problem.

        Hopefully the public process related to this Advisory Task Force will greatly improve from this point forward. So far, we don’t know if the City Council played any role in the decision to form this task force. We don’t know what the Council’s role was related to appointees. We don’t even know what the City’s rules and regulations are related to the formation of and staffing of an Advisory Task Force. Is the public notified of Task Force opportunities and are Task Force applications requested?

        I requested additional information this morning from Economic Development & Community Services Director Patrick Doherty and have yet to receive a response.


        1. I imagine it would be very challenging to form a task force without individual members having opinions and/or biases. One thing I do not appreciate is the singling out and labeling of the Gold’s. The Gold’s made a great effort to contribute a possible solution to a significant problem. Their effort was inspirational. I think they should be praised for their hard work and possibly nominated as Citizens of the Year.

          Their website states that: Chuck and Katherine Gold residents of Edmonds, WA. have no political, financial, or business interest in this project. The Edmonds Train Trench is proposed solely and genuinely for the benefit of everyone’s future quality of life here in Edmonds, WA.

          What a great example of citizen involvement they provided all of us.


        2. The Gold’s have not been singled out. It would be surprising if you did not know that your councilmember, Joan Bloom, said in an open council meeting that “she was taken aback” by not having been appointed to the group by Mayor Earling. Mayor Earling responded: “The Councilmember he appointed likely has not made any adjudication regarding an alternative”.


        3. You claim that “The Gold’s are not part of the group, because the Mayor correctly selected people who had no bias…” Again – What information is your comment about the Gold’s based on? I find your statement odd as I believe another appointee, Kirk Greiner, shares some common ground with the Gold’s.

          As you made that statement, I believe you are singling the Gold’s out. I have no way to know if what you say is true – I am only responding to what you represented. Please tell us how you know what you claim you know. Assuming you know something that isn’t public information – Are the Gold’s the only citizens excluded because of their “bias”?

          Still no response from Patrick Daugherty. I did find the following on MRSC’s website which makes me wonder even more if the Mayor had authority to form this Task Force without Council involvement:

          “Mayor-Council Code Cities – RCW 35A.12.090 provides that the mayor shall have the power of appointment and removal of all appointive officers and employees. Confirmation of mayoral appointments by the city council may be required by ordinance for positions where qualifications for the office have not been established. The members of most appointive boards and commissions of the city, such as the planning commission and the civil service commission, are considered to be officers of the city; therefore, the mayor has specific authority in RCW 35A.12.090 to make these appointments. The council can appoint ad hoc task forces with a specific task whose sole duty is to study a problem and report back to the council. When that specific task is completed, the task force is dissolved.”


        4. Just received the following:

          Dear Mr Reidy:

          Thanks for contacting me with your inquiry about the Mayor’s Advisory Task Force on the At-Grade Rail Crossings Alternatives Analysis.

          In short, the City Council has no involvement in the establishment of such a task force. Pursuant to ECC 2.01.010, the Mayor has the authority to convene any group of ad hoc advisors he wishes to assist him in analyzing a complex issue of city interest such as this and help guide the public engagement process.

          This is precisely the role the Mayor’s Advisory Task Force is intended to fulfill – provide advice and assistance to the Mayor and city administration during this Alternatives Analysis process. Their comments, advice and observations will help inform the Mayor’s ultimate recommendations to City Council.

          The Advisory Task Force will assist with opportunities for public involvement during this process, including potentially hosting open house(s) as well as working with staff to create online-based opportunities for comment.

          In summary, this task force is intended to provide advice and comment to the Mayor, making no independent recommendations or decisions.

          Thanks again for your inquiry and best wishes,

          Patrick Doherty
          Economic Development & Community Services Director
          City of Edmonds


        5. “As you made that statement, I believe you are singling the Gold’s out”. You obviously missed the very first comment; it was Mr. McKeon who singled out the Gold’s.


        6. I take a wild guess not too many people really concerned with what you do or don’t appreciate. Doesn’t really seem lik this Wambolt guy needs to answer to you either. Hopefully at some point you run out of things to make up. Only stating my opinion.


      3. How is it that people that have worked together on many other entities (my research shows with our Mayor involved throughout the state with issues, committees, entities, groups, etc. ) through quite a number of years have been said to have no bias and total objectivity in regards to our Mayor and his agenda. Referring to some of the task force as just “Edmonds residents” doesn’t even tell the whole picture of what they are CONNECTED to and have been INVOLVED with for quite some time, who they work for, etc. Is the “Edmonds resident” just to make it look like citizen participation. Even our Council President Fraley Monillas was an alternate for the Puget Sound Regional Council. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I see many, many avenues of non objectivity here that could surface. Where is the “citizen” participation,???? AGAIN

        I’m wondering about the ethical basis of this chosen task force and laws regarding it.

        “because the Mayor correctly selected people who had no bias”…….From my research, I don’t get that

        again, the citizens are at t he TOP of government, not the bottom!

        I don’t see any new people here for new ideas…….I see more of the same and something totally tightly controlled by our Mayor so citizens are not actually a part of it


  2. One of the alternative to be studied is the trench approach proposed by the Gold’s. Their work is extensive and will be part of the study. Note that there will be opportunities for public input along the way and all the taskforce meeting will be public. Pretty open process.


  3. “totally tightly controlled by our Mayor”………….in my mind, THIS totally circumvents DEMOCRACY which is the BASIS of our society.

    Everything that happens and unfolds in this towns government appears to be directed and again tighly controlled by one person. We do not live in a kingdom. This is a democracy.

    In my opinion, the statistics and vacancies speak to the lack of PROGRESS of Edmonds as a city. We do NOT see more people rushing to live here. We just hear more rhetoric and a select group just making more money off of this city, with no real measureable growth.

    With the huge amount of MONEY collected by the taxing of business BID group here (and I see there is one of those members in the list for the Mayors task force above) I have to wonder where the measureable progress is of that entity ????, ……….which has been receiving tax money from businesses for a while now. …….and who are these taxing people and what qualifications, what legal standing do they have and how might they know what is best for diverse individual businesses in our city……but most of all, where is the measure of progress??

    There is something to that saying, “proofs in the pudding”

    This appears in my opinion to be a “system” with absolutely no checks and balances……with no real direction or mandate that comes from the citizens also Just the same people working a “system”

    Oh, and by the way, in our CONSTITUTION for our democracy, we do have a separation of church and state. History shows there is a reason for this. We need to move forward not backward.

    As we now have access to most information worldwide , I encourage all citizens to research online
    the affiliations of all candidates, their preparation for office and their education and the quantity and quality. ……also, as a good rule of thumb, check supporters and money given

    As Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Supreme Court) said this last year, something along the lines of democracy not being bought and paid for…..our Democracy is FOR everyone, not the select few or those that have the most money…….


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