‘We help our neighbors’: Edmonds City Council approves Safe City Resolution

The crowd began gathering well before the opening of Tuesday’s Edmonds City Council meeting, carrying signs showing support for the anticipated vote on the Safe City Resolution.

The public testimony period was entirely taken up with citizen comments on the resolution. Many shared heartfelt personal stories. All with the exception of one were overwhelmingly in support.

During discussion, all councilmembers voiced strong support for the measure

“The strength of our community comes from our rich diversity,” said Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, who drafted the resolution. “Harassment and violence are not OK, and have no place in our community. Sadly, there have been a number of recent incidents in our community, and even more sadly, these have been on the rise. That makes it particularly important at this time that we as a council take a stand in support of human dignity.”

Councilmember Teitzel underscored the distinction between a “safe city” and a “sanctuary city,” pointing out that this resolution supports the right of all citizen and visitors to Edmonds to a safe, hate-free environment, but stops short of declaring Edmonds a sanctuary. Fraley-Monillas responded that this resolution is a “baby step” and while it could pave the way for a future sanctuary city effort, its intent is to reaffirm the rights of all in Edmonds to a safe environment.

The strongest comments however were voiced by Councilmember Mike Nelson, who took issue with those who oppose this resolution. Reading from an email he received, he quoted the writer as saying that it’s not the council’s business to engage in social engineering, and that if someone wants to help undocumented persons, they can do so individually without involving city government. Nelson drew applause when he responded, “This is America. We don’t leave people by the side of the road. We help our neighbors, and city government does not get to choose who it will or won’t help. You are in Edmonds now. If you want to spew hate and fear, go somewhere else. Not in our town; not on my watch.”

The Safe City resolution passed unanimously.

Also at the meeting, the council:

– Heard the City Attorney’s annual report from Jeff Taraday of the Lighthouse Law Group, who reviewed the role of the City Attorney in advising and representing the council and the Mayor. He also highlighted the major work items addressed by the City Attorney in 2016.

– Listened to a presentation from Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty on the interlocal agreement with the Snohomish County Health District, formalizing the recent Council-approved appropriation of $40,900 in the 2017 budget to support the Health District. Council agreed to forward this to the consent agenda for Jan. 17.

– Received a report from Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite on the proposal to purchase the Edmonds fishing pier for the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Recent rehabilitation work on the pier means that it will last for an estimated 40 more years without additional rehab. Calling it a “tremendous asset to Edmonds,” Hite asked for direction from the council about whether to pursue this with the state. The council was overwhelmingly in support, and directed Hite to work with the state to move forward in acquiring the fishing pier for Edmonds.

– Heard a presentation from Public Works Director Phil Williams and others on the Snohomish County Hazard Mitigation Plan that details the potential hazards facing Edmonds, and their potential impact on the city. To be eligible for federal funding to cover disaster-related costs, the city must approve and adopt a FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan such as the Snohomish County Plan. While other jurisdictions have already adopted the plan, Edmonds still needs to. Councilmembers had a number of questions, and Williams will provide additional information for their consideration.

– Received information from Development Services Director Shane Hope about the Tree Board member appointment process, and how it has changed from the original code-mandated procedure that each councilmember would appoint a member, to one where the entire council considers each member. Hope suggested revising the code to bring it into conformity, and suggested that these changes could reflect whatever the council wants. She went on to outline the specific issues, and asked that the council provide direction prior to a new code being drafted.

* Also heard from Shane Hope about the recently-received letter from the State Department of Ecology Director in response to the Council’s recommendations regarding the size of buffer setbacks in the Shoreline Master Program. According to Hope, the Ecology Department agrees with some of the council proposals, but is asking for additional discussion. Ecology representatives will attend the Jan. 24 council meeting, and are asking for a response from the City by the end of March. Read more in our related story here.

* Approved the purchase of a new bucket truck to replace the current one with a 17-year-old lift. The money is already budgeted, but according to Public Works Director Phil Williams the order needs to go in now because of the length of the manufacturing time, which takes almost a year since each truck is custom-built to order.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

  1. This city has laws in place. If the city council wants to make themselves feel better..so be it..but not all of Edmonds citizens want a “SANCTUARY” city. Which by this article they state this is the first baby step. I want to go the way of the GOVERNMENT of the US and its laws. Dont we already have laws in place to PROTECT all of our people? I for one am getting tired of splitting us all in groups.

    1. Well said, Joy. Councilmembers who support making Edmonds a sanctuary city need to declare that so that we do not support their re-election. I do not support turning Edmonds into a lawless city.

  2. This resolution was merely to be a “safe”city, not a sanctuary city, although that would be a good idea as well. Surely a statement that we will not bully, harass or intimidate anyone based on their age, gender, religion, immigration status, etc. is something we can all support.

  3. I see that the exclusionary conservatives, as usual, have comprehension problems. Edmonds is NOT to be a “sanctuary” city. It is to be a “safe” city, where people are not to be attacked because of race, religion, gender, ethnicity or any other such thing. The kind of attacks we sadly are seeing by right-wing bigots in other places will not be tolerated here, and I am proud that my council has made that explicit.

  4. I have not seen or heard or any “right wing bigots” walking the streets shouting negatives to people. I would hope by common sense we all treat people with respect and courtesy. I have never witnessed bad behavior here to any minorities…I’m sure it happens but I don’t think it’s common to Edmonds. Is being a “safe” city a law???

      1. So lets say that news article link is true (already read it the weekend this came out)..I’m not saying it is because there is so much “fake news” out there. I wasn’t there so I don’t know. I do know that if that did happen on a street that is usually busy so many Edmonds people would have joined in and shouted the car driver away..at least that is the way I see Edmonds people. (yet he kept coming back) I’ll bet someone would have taken pictures of his license. Regardless, lets say it did happen. One incident in how many years? Based on our population? Will stating that we are a Safe city stop this stupidity from happening again? I doubt it. No teaching common sense and etiquette. Don’t leap to anything unless you really look and study the entire picture..

        1. What an awful way to question and dismiss ANYONE unfortunate enough to be the victim of a crime and even more-so a hate crime. Imagine if you were the victim of a crime- how would you feel if someone responded with “fake news” and “I wasn’t there so I don’t know”?

          Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, this type of ugliness does exist in Edmonds. We have even seen it in our schools, and as noted by a number of residents it has been felt by our neighbors.

          This resolution may not stop this type of ugliness from happening in Edmonds, but it a loud statement that we do not approve and it is not welcome here. It raises awareness and hopefully mobilizes and empowers people to act and stand-up to hate.

  5. Also I was fully aware that Edmonds wants a “safe” city in my previous response that is why I called it a baby step before wanting to become sanctuary. Sounds good doesn’t it? Do we need more laws? Has our communities been enriched? I think we have wonderful laws on the books already.

      1. Front page of the Edmonds Beacon (came out today)and I quote “Sanctuary city part of Edmonds future?” Apparently several of our city council one being Adrienne Fraley-Monillas was quoted saying “I’ve heard the call for the sanctuary city. And like I’ve said to most people, one step at a time.” Unquote..so what does that mean to you??? Apparently she thinks safe city is one of the small steps. Page 8.

    1. Yes!! and we HAVE a wonderful Constitution for our democracy ……Please read it and educate yourself………..Ignorance is not “bliss” for many, particularly those not of white privilege………and I am looking forward to 2040………figure that one out……..don’t think it is in your Bible…..education, education, education. …..and those that don’t learn from history………are destined to repeat it…………1930s Germany comes to mind…….”regardless of laws, government cannot legislate good common decency”……I just have to say wow

  6. Regardless of laws, government cannot legislative good, common decency. Just because we have a resolution or law does not mean bigotry, bullying or other such actions will cease. As a community, it is important that we treat all people respectfully, that we report issues that are unbecoming, that – when appropriate – we intervene.

    I’ve been assured that our “safe” city is not a gateway to a Sanctuary City. It would be economically detrimental for our city to take such a path – and it would violate federal law.

    Here’s my concern – the language in bullet 5 of the draft ” We will continue to work, in cooperation with our community partners, to ensure our services and social programs are accessible and open to all individuals.” In principle this works. In execution it does not. Some programs and services have stipulations – one of those being a legal citizen.

    So while I would like to ensure that all veterans receive benefits, I am unable to fulfill such assurances if they were dishonorably discharged; such is the case with some programs and services that receive federal funds for all individuals – some will not qualify because of their immigration status…and I think it is important to note that this is NOT bigotry nor is it discrimination. It is a matter of following the existing law.

    My suggestion is that we treat all people honorably – and those that have yet to get their legal status squared away, why not start to do so – this will resolve a number of concerns.

      1. Hey Kassie – becoming a Sanctuary City could very well jeopardize federal funding, of which many cities are dependent on to help function. That being said, we are NOT a Sanctuary City, but rather a Safe City – which is just a reminder to be decent to your fellow human being – of which I agree with.

    1. “Regardless of laws, government cannot legislative good, common decency” No but sometimes a strong statement of values can do a great deal of good (“We hold these truths to be self-evident… )

      1. Mr. Brown – you are correct – “sometimes a strong statement of values can do a great deal of good”…for those who share those values. The challenge we face here (and while I am in support of a SAFE City, not a Sanctuary City) is that this is intended to be a resolution to correct bad behavior. Those who display this behavior likely will not value this statement to begin with – unless of course it has a consequence.

        1. Those who behave badly will probably continue to do so, but it is nonetheless a statement which will encourage those in fear, and make the middle ground – perhaps the as yet “unformed” think. It is always the middle one hopes to reach – not those beyond reaching. And we strive to make everyone feel respected and safe – and such a resolution helps.

  7. “We will uphold the rights of individuals to be treated fairly, free from discrimination or profiling because of their faith, race, national origin, or immigration status. We strongly condemn bullying, intimidation, profiling, harassment, or any other acts of hate that are based on age, faith, race, national origin, immigration status, gender identity, ability, ethnicity, housing status, sexual orientation, economic status, or any other social status.” ……. I support this statement and resolution 100%. Thank you Edmonds City Council!

    1. Perhaps we need to add political views to this list. I believe it is a wonderful idea to affirm a belief that basically all folks should be treated with kindness and respect. I also understand that people can read in, or read out, concerns they might have with such resolutions, coming from a governmental body. I am not sure it is helpful to label people with such concerns as bigots, or lacking in comprehension.

      1. Anne, Since this is in reply to my comment I am confused where I labeled anyone. I happen to oppose labeling a person, though I may give a name to an action or behavior.

        1. My apologies, Laura. A previous poster used some of that verbiage. You were kind enough to post the actual list to which I thought it might be useful to add viewpoints as another trait that we might all want practice some degree of tolerance toward. I did not mean to imply that you labeled anyone.

  8. The idea that we don’t make laws about things because we don’t personally SEE them happen is a bit absurd. I’ve never personally witnessed a murder, but I’m sure glad there’s a law against it! You may not personally SEE racism/discrimination/bias yet others not only see it, but experience it.

    Please, for the sake of our neighbors who are “other” than you are, consider the message that you’re sending. You’re telling your neighbors, the people you interact with in this community daily, that the things they are experiencing aren’t real. That entire populations of people are lying about their daily experiences in this world.

    There appears to be a misconception that making things better for others somehow hurts those that had it OK all along. It’s a bit like the nature of fire; using an existing flame to light others does not diminish the original flame in any way.

    Our city council was also concerned about making our city “lawless” and very carefully constructed this measure in a way that would not. We did not pass a Sanctuary City resolution, we passed a Safe City resolution. We did not, in any way, pass a measure that protects people who are breaking the law.

  9. This is hot issue in the Beacon as well. From what I read some of the counsel members are intending to move Edmonds to Sanctuary status. What appears to be missing is Edmond’s fondness for Federal dollars. (5 Corners round-a-bout) If Trump stands by his word Edmonds may have to choose and should consider possible long term ramifications of Sanctuary status.

  10. Thank you, to Edmonds City Council!! It’s hard to inderstamd how anyone could object to a policy stating the “intent is to reaffirm the rights of all in Edmonds to a safe, hate-free environment.”

    Who would want to live her otherwise?

  11. I’m in my late sixties. I taught for years and was regarded as one of the better teachers at my school, having the year book dedicated to me one year. When I quite teaching, I went to work for the the US Ski Team, and I have participated in 3 Olympics and fourteen World Championships. I have coached kids from Washington, Oregon and Idaho up to the national and Olympic level, and have written several technical books, one still in print 15+ years later (translated into Russian), and innumerable technical articles. The reason I say all this is because in spite of my careers, which you might think would make me “invisible” and safe, I grew up feeling unsafe in Edmonds, a habit which held over into middle life. I always felt unsafe in Edmonds because I am gay. If this resolution had come twenty-five or more years ago, it would have had an enormously encouraging effect on my whole life. I hope it will now do so for others, whether because of racial, religious or sexual orientation, and I hope it will have a thought-provoking effect on anyone leaning toward exclusion or bigotry, now officially not part of our community. I applaud the decision.

    1. Thank you, Nathaniel. You have answered perfectly from your own actual experience the question of why we might need such a resolution. I, too, applaud the decision of the council, and I applaud you.

  12. Aside from potentially helping some feel better, how does this change behavior? Is this not just a band-aid? A resolution without enforcement is nothing more than a ceremonial act.

    1. No. It’s a strong statement which defines the spirit of the City of Edmonds. Perhaps you might reflect on the opening words of the Declaration of Independence – just a band-aid? Or do statements of principle have no use at all? This won’t speak to some who live in fear, or are on the margins of violence against minorities? Perhaps we should never tell our children what is right? Just do and say nothing? Why go to church – no one enforces what we hear there. Why say the Pledge to the Flag? No one enforces that.

      From the dawn of civilization, statements have helped define who we are, and who we want to be.

      1. Why go to church-no one enforces that? We believe there is a much higher enforcer there. God.
        Regarding the Declaration of Independence, it is the supreme moral law of the US. A declaration law which FOLLOWED by the Constitution. (That secured laws). That being said, the Declaration, Everyone should re-read that, is all you need. They didn’t feel they needed a “safe” city. Maybe our council should read the Declaration of Independence it has everything in it anyone needs to hear morally.

  13. Frankly I don’t think anyone cares about the “safe” city status. It’s the comments by city council that it will lead to sanctuary city. Who started the “safe” city idea? Lynnwood? Was it the Lynnwood city council? What city council person started Edmonds? I always like to know origins.

    1. I care! The citizens who packed a city council meeting on Tuesday night care! The many citizens who wrote letters to council care! Our council voted unanimously that they care! Just like many other statements, declarations, or pledges (Girl Scout Promise, Boy Scout Law, Pledge of Alliance, Declaration of Independence, etc.) this resolution is a public declaration of the values of the City of Edmonds…..values which I share

  14. And what does this do exactly? Is it not the basic charge of a City to treat all citizen’s fairly and provide for the safety of all its citizens? This is the Council which recently voted to reduce paramedic coverage. This is the Council that recently passed a draconian dress to code to deal with one barista stand. Have they added money for outreach to groups who are frequently targets of hate crimes? Have they funded more police? Looks to me like a feel good for the Council with no substance behind it. Substance costs money, and requires setting priorities.

  15. Good for you Laura. Again, it’s about sanctuary city not safe city issue. If you believe that saying we are a safe city, we are a safe city, good luck with that. I however do not believe by saying we are safe, makes us safe. My mother taught me Actions speak louder than words.

  16. Thank you Edmonds City Council for taking this first step. I look forward to learning more about how the city will ensure that this is a safe city for everyone, including queer, disabled, transgender people like me. I would especially like to see city employees get more training on diversity and countering harassment (especially the police). And it would be amazing if the city organized training for Edmonds small business owners.

  17. Thought our readers would like to see this recent article from the Yakima Herald-Republic, reprinted in Monday’s Seattle Times, about that city’s efforts to craft a similar resolution designating Yakima a “welcoming city.” The article also touches on the sanctuary city issue, about which one Yakima city councilmember says would help “deter local law enforcement agencies from having to act as immigration officers,” and leave that job to federal authorities. See the full article here: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/adopting-sanctuary-city-status-mostly-ceremonial-for-yakima/

  18. We reported in the story you are commenting on that Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas drafted the resolution and she also stated why in the same story.

  19. So its safe to say Fraley-Monillas started this in Edmonds..Thank you for the follow up I didn’t see that has had originated the entire concept..

  20. I am new to Edmonds, here 1 year now. I fully support this resolution and applaud the city council for their support. My home will always be open as a safe haven for those who are persecuted, wrongfully pursued, or under a threat of violence.

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