Commentary: Roses are red, cookies are too

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The post as seen on Facebook

While scrolling through Facebook this morning, I came across this photo. The caption read: “Really Edmonds Bakery? Really?! Your racism is so ‘cute’. Lost my business.”

Now let me be perfectly clear, you have the right to patronize any business you choose. You also have the right to NOT patronize a business for a particular reason, but shouldn’t we at least give some thought as to why it is we’re making such a decision? This one seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to what Edmonds Bakery Owner Ken Bellingham tells me was simply a joke.

Although I’ve not personally been to The Edmonds Bakery, I did find their website and from what I can tell, they create some fabulous cakes, cookies and desserts. After all, having been in business for 26 years, they must be doing something right.

Unfortunately, some may consider their most recent “creation”…wrong.

Ken told me that the phrase “Build That Wall” has been so prevalent recently that “as a joke, I decided to put it on a cookie…one cookie.” Ken was quick to tell me that he doesn’t think there should be a wall and he agreed that politics have no business in the workplace. Especially the type of business he owns and operates, one that caters to people of all political affiliations and spiritual beliefs.

Furthermore, he appeared to be the type of person that given a chance could have very easily explained his reason for making such a “joke,” but I have to wonder if he was even given the chance? Ken explained to me that he often makes “risque” creations for bachelor or bachelorette parties, the type that some might find a bit “edgy” or “questionable.” He then pointed out that the customer who voiced her displeasure with the “Build That Wall” cookie, bought several of those.

Personally, I don’t think building a wall is about racism. Nor do I think everyone who wears a MAGA hat is a racist. I have friends I’ve known for 40 years, both black and white who support our current President and I refuse to believe they’re racists. I know them and I know the difference.

I believe in border security, I believe we all do to some extent. Does that make me/us racist? My objections to building a wall from sea to “shiny” sea (and I do object) have more to do with the cost, its effectiveness and its symbolism. The notion that somehow America is off limits — not just to Latinos or Hispanics but to everyone who isn’t here already. Mr. Bellingham assured me that it was not his intention to promote building a wall, but realizes that at first glance someone could have easily gotten that impression.

But it was just one cookie.

Should Mr. Bellingham have been a bit more careful? Yes. Will he do it again? I can guarantee you he won’t. I believe this is one of those situations that given too long to fester could easily ruin a man’s reputation and his livelihood. That’s why I jumped on this story. Ken said he has received numerous calls already and appreciated the opportunity to tell his side of the story.

I have to admit that as a writer and lyricist, I often struggle with ways to convey the same message and not sound redundant. I struggle with ways to be creative and keep things fresh. Let’s be honest, “Be Mine”, “I Love You” and “XXOO” on cookies is about as original as The Beach Boys going back out on tour without Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine or…oh wait, never mind.

My point is that we all make mistakes. Sometimes what is funny to us or a “joke,” may not be funny to someone else and that’s OK. What we do to break up the monotony of a work day may in fact give someone else the wrong impression and that’s OK too, as long we’re given a chance to defend ourselves if we so choose.

If I’ve learned anything over the past couple of years or for that matter weeks, it’s that we need to stop and think before we react. Some day it may be you or me who has to defend something we did or something we said unknowingly or in haste.

Ken has a sign on his door that says “Stop The Hate.” Does that sound like someone who believes in building walls? If you get the chance, stop in the Edmonds Bakery and meet Ken Bellingham. This local business owner has been providing a service to our local community for the past 26 years. When you’re there, ask him about building wedding cakes, not walls.

— By Rob Oxford
Rob Oxford, a writer, lives on the border of Shoreline and Edmonds. 

65 Replies to “Commentary: Roses are red, cookies are too”

  1. Well said!! Keep selling those cookies— there are plenty of people who believe in border security and effectively vetting immigrants applying for citizenship and asylum in this country. Pathetic that this customer would use this as a platform to defame this small business.

    I’m not a Trump supporter, but clearly something needs to be done to keep our country safe. I find it ironic that this nose-ringed whiner takes offense at border security when she confesses that her family escaped to our country from the drug cartel-ravaged country of Mexico. Without borders and extra surveillance along our borders, we are simply inviting those drug traffickers, along with other undocumented criminals, into our country. Shouldn’t she be advocating for border control?

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  2. I’m with Ken.

    I really don’t understand your rambling Rob. You get around to saying that you don’t think Ken is going to outright offend you again, and you’ve learned over the last couple weeks not to react in haste, but you still lead with, “Lost my business.”

    Maybe Ken can make a cookie that says KUMBAYA. Wait, that wouldn’t pass muster with you either because you would probably deem singing “come by me Lord” too divisive.

    Yes? But wasn’t MLK a pastor? And we say he was uniting… I’m confused. Time for a cookie!

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    1. Maybe you should read the article again? “Lost My Business” are not my words (hence the quotation marks), but instead the caption that accompanied the picture which first caught my attention. It is what inspired me to contact Mr. Bellingham and get his side if the story. I’m afraid “overreaction” seems to be a common thread in today’s society.

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  3. Yeah he blew the racist dog whistle and the dogs came a runnin’! Go look at all the five star reviews by racist POS Trump supporters. Sorry lost my business buddy. A joke?? Using that lame excuse is the biggest joke of all.

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  4. Should Ken have been “a bit more careful?” Absolutely not! He should make snowflake cookies in that whiner’s honor – maybe even name them after her. Better yet, that FB post wasn’t worth a comment. ❄️

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    1. Yes, he should have been more careful. And you name calling is so mature and shows us a lot about your character. Your support for his actions tell us a lot about you and your character.

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  5. Sorry, but the wall and MAGA hats are both racist — MAGA hats are merely a white hood where you can see the person’s face. You’re coming from a place of sympathizing with racist actions and racist sayings, and are a racism apologist, Rob. Please do literally anything to learn about this before you put your ignorance and prejudice on public display. Even a quick google search for “why is the wall racist” would provide you with more useful information than your a priori assumptions here.

    Joking about attitudes that are literally killing people — including children — in concentration camps at our country’s southern border is not just in poor taste, it’s morally questionable at best.

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    1. So, according to you, the only way not to be classified as racist is to only ban white people from illegally entering our country?

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      1. Mr. Wambolt

        Your comment is incredibly racist in and of itself. But let’s look into this a bit further….

        The wall being built on our southern border is racist based on keeping Mexicans out of our country. While we aren’t even building a wall on our northern border. Can you explain that?

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        1. Mr. Bridger,
          Your comment intrigued me and I am in no way trying to be facetious or combative. As I tried to indicate in my article (and I will capitalize so I am clearly understood) I don’t think we need a wall on the border with Mexico. However, I am curious. Are illegal drugs from Mexico being smuggled into our country from the Northern Border with Canada? I’ve not seen any statistics that indicate that as being a problem. Maybe they are. Secondly, do you think the wall on our southern border is being proposed to keep ALL “Mexicans out of our country”? Again, I am asking for the sake of enlightenment and not for argument.
          Thank you.

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        2. The Mexicans are more than welcome to come in legally! In fact, a large number of them have. We are all Americans who live here legally. We are NOT different nationalities.

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      1. Why? Is she threatening your life? Is she unduly intimidating you?

        Hate speech and hate groups have intent to destroy your ability to pursue life, liberty, happiness or freedom.

        She is saying that MAGA hat wearers are racist. She never indicated that they should be hurt, jailed or killed. Just that the views held by those who often wear MAGA hats are similar in nature to the Klu Klux Klan – who incidentally are a hate group.

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    2. Ms. Battey,

      Concentration camps??
      MAGA hats are a White Hood?
      People who call other people a Racist, are usually, the only Racist in the Room.

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  6. Can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard someone say something cruel, stupid or demeaning, followed by JUST KIDDING!

    Not so funny.

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  7. The Edmonds Bakery is very unfair. Too many mouthwatering treats. People should be upset by all the delicious baked items. Their wonderful creations are a serious challenge to my New Year’s weight loss resolutions. They are just hoping to bake your day a little better.

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  8. We, as a community and as a nation, need to relearn how to speak to one another without resorting to name-calling on the internet. Maybe Ken thought he’d get a little uptick in business with his special cookie. But he’s lost my business. I’m so *done* with provocation. It gets us nowhere.

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  9. The Stop The Hate sign was left on his door by a community member, not the owner. Please confirm your story. You say that that disgusting hat is not racist? Perhaps your Trump loving friends are not racist (or are they deep down?) but if Trump goes more looney than he already does an issues a proclamation or dog whistle to his minions to take down anyone not of the predominant color, religion or his political party, you think they’re FINALLY going to oppose him?

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  10. Well a couple of things are interesting here:
    1) How could anyone of conscious mind, in this atmosphere of division, think that this is a joke?
    This makes me question where someone really comes from no matter what they say after that.
    2) Notice the nastiness of the defenders even in these comments. That is truly pathetic and just like Trump when you do or say something like this you “become” their flag bearer, like it or not.
    3) Everyone deserves a chance at redemption and we are never too old to change the way we think. The only way to overcome anything is to be pro-active and find out where the thought that “this was joke” came from and learn something new that is more forward thinking. Truth is, we all need to do this sometimes.
    4) And people, especially those of diversity and of Mexican descent go this bakery and be kind and talk to the owner and show him your humanity and vice versa. THAT is how you change the world. Or you can just run him out of business……you are capable of both so chose wisely and think about how it will reverberate outwards.

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  11. Mr. Oxford,

    You have a very eloquent way of spin.

    Turn it on those who are offended/victimized but not keep the focus on the offender. Let me clarify that statement with your own words: “…we need to stop and think before we react”. Why not stop and think before we act. Let me simplify this even further just in case you and your readership don’t understand.

    If Mr. Bellingham would have just thought about what he was doing BEFORE he made the cookie, which he admits he did because he thought it was funny, he wouldn’t have to be defending his actions and you wouldn’t be blaming those who were victimized by his actions.

    Also, I would like to know what your relationship is to Mr. Bellingham. Are you friends? Have you know him a while? Are you a customer? It would be nice to have that information because this commentary seems a bit biased.

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    1. Mr. Bridger,
      I am more than happy to address what appears to be your obvious “suspicion”. Unfortunately it appears you may have skipped over some of the article. In the 3rd paragraph I state very clearly I have “never been to Edmonds Bakery”, I had hoped that would indicate I am not a customer. I’ve also never met Mr. Bellingham personally which would mean we aren’t friends. Finally, my conversation with him on the phone lasted all of 8 minutes. Therefore I haven’t “known him for a while”. I’m sorry you feel the article was biased? I thought I made it clear that I don’t believe in building a wall (for the reasons I mentioned above). However, I also don’t believe in condemning a man for one mistake. I am obviously in the minority here. In closing, your assumption that I am blaming those who were “victimized” is not only wrong but misplaced. I would argue that the real “victims” you attempt to reference in this scenario are more apt to be the asylum seekers, not customers of a bakery? As always I appreciate constructive criticism and thoughtful debate.
      Thank you

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  12. I encourage people to attend The Three Practices event on JAN 30 – and learn how to stay in the room with difference. We need to evolve from the mindset that someone is evil if they hold an opposing view to our own.

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  13. A hate filled, polarizing, racist comment like “Build the Wall” is not appropriate for a Valentine’s day cookie. Plus, it’s not smart marketing to turn off the statistical majority of your potential customers. I certainly won’t be shopping at Edmonds bakery anymore.

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  14. In November 2018, Trump’s former personal attorney of over a decade reported Trump had made several racist comments to him, including: “Blacks are too stupid to vote for me.” No one contested this report, not even Trump himself who brags that he “hits back ten times harder.” That’s probably because everyone (including me) believes Trump did say these things; it fits his pattern going back decades. In February 2016, after David Duke publicly supported Trump for president, Trump refused to disavow both him and the Klu Klux Klan. In 1973, an obscure novel was published called “The Camp of the Saints” by Jean Raspail. This fictional piece portrayed people of color as subhuman beasts crawling around in their body fluids wanting only to kill white people and steal their culture. The architect of the Trump campaign, Steve Bannon, was infatuated with this book and wove it’s racist ideologies into the very core of the Trump Administration.
    Regarding the Charlottesville protest, Trump said: “I don’t know if you know…They (the white supremacists) had a permit. The other side did not…” This is how Trump views white supremacy: he defends them. To him, they are the good, lawful people with the permit. Those that oppose white supremacy will always be the lawless ones, the “other group” without the permit (it is important to note here that Trump lied. The counter protestors did have a permit).
    Mr. Oxford, where we disagree Sir, is you state in your editorial: “Personally, I don’t think building a wall is about racism.” A wall? I’m talking about THIS wall, which is ALL ABOUT racism. We must remember that this wall DOES NOT exist, it never has existed, and even Fox news host Julie Banderas accurately reported last month: “The wall is never going up.” We’re talking entirely about a wall which is purely a metaphor for racism. By your own words, you object to the wall because of it’s “symbolism.” You probably know that the entire concept of the wall originated merely as a gimmick by Trump’s speechwriters to get him to remember to talk about immigration. Trump himself never believed in it. But “the wall” took off simultaneously with his racist rhetoric and the crowds who were mesmerized by it. The wall is Donald Trump’s avatar. It is his “Camp of the Saints” ideology in an allegorical symbol.
    The FBI records data on hate crimes in this country. After several years of reported hate crimes going down, they began to rise the year Donald Trump ran for president. Then, in Trump’s first year, reported hate crimes went up 17% with African Americans and Jews being victimized the most. This is what I see when I think of Trump’s wall.
    You (and others) repeatedly minimize the actions of the Edmonds Bakery as being “just a joke.”
    “Just one cookie.” Just a “knee jerk.” I disagree with you and I wholly commend Ana Carrera. Standing up to racism is one of the hardest things to do.
    “O, let my land be a land of Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.”

    Being a writer as you are, Mr. Oxford. I’m sure you recognize the poem “Let America be America Again” by Langston Hughes.

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  15. In these times a single baked cookie can stir up so many people. I wish I had purchased the cookie, and eaten the evidence. Being politically correct, and not offending anyone seems to be almost impossible. ” I am offended,” we have become so thin skinned. Ricky Gervais once said that he is now at a age that he really does not care, that is a joke. For a long happy life the most important trait is to have a sence of humor.

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  16. Congratulations @Edmonds Bakery/Ken Bellingham.
    Hopefully this increases your business, but my instinct’s tell me the viral attention this has received and the hatred expressed in responses on this site alone, will lead to intimidation and threats to your business of 26 years.
    The anti-fascist’s are the one’s committing fascism in the name of their belief’s, attempting to silence you and your right to practice business in a free-enterprise society. Stand Strong – let the loud minority say what they will. Just keep doing what you’ve done for 26 years.

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  17. It was just a lousy cookie with a stupid saying on it, the making of which wasn’t very well thought out; especially by a man whose business depends on people being hungry for sweets, but not necessarily interested in his views about politics. If he loses a little business over it; lesson well learned. Personally, I think Trump is a racist, failed business con man who accidentally and, perhaps, illegally got elected to our highest office. Other folks think he is a brilliant business deal maker who is making America great again and is being unjustly investigated by a biased deep state government. Take your pick, but quit making such a big deal over a damn cookie – makes us look like a bunch of “picayune yokels.”

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  18. Are those who support the president racist? Three separate studies published last suggest so. We’re also having record numbers of white nationalist terror attacks, and hate crimes.

    Applying logic (not belief) there are some questions we could ask. How is “build that wall” a Valentine’s messages? What was happening in the unconscious mind that connected them? If we’re not largely racist, would we have the power to claim that ‘build that wall” isn’t a racist dog whistle when there are countless examples of the phrase expressly being used for purpose of racial intimidation? Why is acceptable for whites to use blacks as human shields whenever someone does something arguably racist? Why is potential harm to “Mr. Bellingham” more important than the actual harm he negligently caused to an innocent customer? Was it “just one cookie” to her? Why is her distress (and humanity) so unimportant that she goes unmentioned here?

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  19. “Racist” seems to be the first response for anything or any action that is contrary to a person’s belief in this current time. The term cares no weight any longer. Enforcing immigration law is not racist.

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    1. The manner in which any and all laws are enforced can certainly be racist, or not, depending on the behavior and motivations of the one doing the enforcing. After all, Bull Connor was an honorable man, doing a tough job and just upholding the law!

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    2. Or, maybe we live in a white supremacist system and any acknowledgment of that makes you uncomfortable or angry.

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  20. I honestly don’t know who is more irritating; those who are publicly condemning Edmonds Bakery for views they assumed are reflected by a cookie or the MAGA hatters supporting them based on the same shallow and erroneous assumptions. No one, especially Ana Carrera, could be bothered to ask him? It’s very easy to do. The owner is in the shop most of the day. He was less than 20ft. away from the counter and always willing to come out to speak to customers. All someone had to say is,”Are you serious?” He would have said,”No.” I have no doubt that if Ana would have bothered to talk to him, the cookies would have been pulled. It would have taken far less effort than going to the press or even making a viral post ( and By viral, I mean toxic). But the removal of the cookies was probably not the goal. So many are addicted to outrage, self righteousness and the attention they get from it, the simplest solutions are quickly dismissed. We have gotten accustom to talking “at people” than “to people”. We have become better at condemnation than a “fire and brimstone” preacher. We have abandoned dialogue for discord. It does nothing but deepen a divide and alienate Well intentioned people.

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    1. Hear, hear, Lee. There’s also a kind of “ambush” mentality where anyone’s likely to call someone out not directly in person, but instead on social media. Is that really acceptable to everyone now? If it is, I question its effectiveness. Sometimes, one’s attempt to “shame” someone publicly, without first addressing the issue privately, may or may not have the opposite result. I just don’t get it. Doesn’t everyone deserve a chance to explain him/herself before being condemned in public?

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  21. Agreed, enforcing immigration law is not racist. Referring to Mexico “sending us rapists, drug dealers, and ‘lots of really bad people’,” should arguably be construed as ethnicity bashing rather than racism. (Mexican, Hispanic or Brown are generally not considered racist terms, except by avowed racists). When our President goes on to claim that “lots of terrorists” are sneaking in with the refugees he is, perhaps, reaching into the category of race baiting as many people, on the extreme Right, like to think of Muslims as a racial group which they are not. If our President would simply change his rhetoric to “money for securing the border” instead of “money to build the wall” he would probably be much more successful in his endeavor. Can’t wait to go get some coffee and a pig in a blanket at the bakery. It’s a great business in a great town.

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    1. First of all, it was just an ill conceived attempt at humor; not a doctrine. In fact, if I showed him a copy of this comment. He would be appalled. Arbitrary discrimination or demonization for the sake of political, social or personal gain is monstrous. If Ken knew that his work would attract people who think like this, he certainly would not have made it.

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  22. Just wanted to double check that the most informative detail, and important to my understanding of this whole teapot tempest, I got from reading this is correct. There was only a single cookie, out of dozens, that had “Build that wall” written on it, correct?

    If true, this greatly moderates any concerns I had about this bakery and its owner. Reminds me more of those occasionally offbeat and unexpected sayings you find on the odd conversation heart candy than the sentiments of a person that wishes to exclude others based on the color of their skin.

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  23. Just re-reading this should-have-been-dead-long-ago article and, in light of new pro-wall developments, got a chuckle from the last line…
    “When you’re there, ask him about building wedding cakes, not walls.”
    Yeah, that might just be a _really_ interesting discussion too. Any same sex couples gotten a wedding cake from this business?

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    1. Tons. I told him he should promote it. He didn’t think it was a big deal. He is universally oblivious to politics, which explains a lot.

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  24. Does anyone see the irony in the position taken by the “I’m offended and discrimination claimers”?

    A bakery doesn’t bake a cake for a small minority (gay wedding), due to his personal beliefs and the left get’s him shut down, publicly shamed and bankrupt.

    A bakery actually makes a baked good (cookie) for a small minority (according to the left), due to his personal beliefs and the left wants him shut down, shamed and couldn’t care less if he goes broke defending himself.

    Something seems odd to me.

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  25. Good heavens. If Dori Monson, Rush Limbaugh and John Carlson are upset with us, I don’t know how we can go on as a viable Society in Edmonds. I think I’ll just have to hit the Edmonds Bakery and drown my sorrows and fears in coffee and sugar.

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    1. not sure how any of those names are relevant.

      This city sanctioned commission publicly lied and made an overt attempt to effect/shame/close Mr. Bellingham’s business.

      Your comment show’s your level of ….

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  26. I figure if our city commission members and spokespeople are creating biased talking points for local and national right wing alarmist pundits , they must be doing something right. Good job City of Edmonds and long live the Edmonds Bakery. Can’t we all just get along for heavens sake. Edmonds is a great place, so let’s just enjoy the ambiance and forget the vitriol. Life is just too short for all this nonsense.

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    1. As a person who likes to be angry, not to mention easily offended, I find your statements condemning vitriol and nonsense to be exclusionary and judgmental. This has made me even more angry, for which I thank you! :p

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  27. Interesting comment. Don’t see myself as an angry person at all. I’m actually a rather happy person . Reading thru your comments, Wade, seems to me, we are more on the same page than not on this particular Edmonds non issue. Anyway, I’m sorry I made you more angry but I have no control over that. I would, however, say calling me a “person who likes to be angry and easily offended” is a bit judgemental when you don’t really know me. Sort of unkind too, don’t you think?

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    1. Oh hey sorry Clinton, was just fooling around. Not angry or offended, but perhaps poking fun at others who can get that way. Am pretty much on same page as you, based on your comments as well. At this point it has become a bit of a, as noted, dead horse so I was just trying to be silly. Should’ve done the old j/k instead of :p

      Ending on a more serious note however, I certainly never saw any calls for closure of sanction of this local business around these parts (though I can’t speak for the dreaded FB). Seems those kinds of allegations are rife in this thread and I’m curious if I just missed something that would be of actual concern.

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  28. Wade, I’m so old and generally out of it that I didn’t even know what you were referencing at the end. Humor can be tricky business and it has gotten me in trouble often, especially when I was a school kid. Over all though, life is no good without it. My personal opinion is that Edmonds needs a whole lot more humor and a lot less rancor. Ever since the great cat leash controversy at City Hall, we seem to have devolved into an “us” vs. “them” mentality. Actually the real division began when the four story condo was built on the beach when I was in High School in the 60’s. But the cat leash issue is more fun to reference. The 3 Practices seminar is on my calendar for the 23rd.

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  29. Today the owner of this bakery traveled to seattle to drop off his cookies at an immigrant owned tamale shop.
    His behavior is confrontatinal, ugly and tacky.
    The respinse fro the owners at the tamale shop was graceful and generous. Nothing he deserves.
    You can believe supporters of 45 are not racist all you want but to support 45 is to support racism, xenophobia and grabbig women by the pussy. To say otherwise is absurd.
    Not to mention having an aversion to facts, such as that the majority of undocumented immigrants are visa overstays, not those who cross the border seeking asylum which is by the way, LEGAL.

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    1. Ok Mari Adams, this post was dead two weeks ago, let us let this cookie crumble and go away. Since you veered off the subject of cookies to talking about female genitalia we certainly could talk about another subject, and go into another direction. Have a great day.

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