Wednesday: Edmonds mayoral debate at ECA

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Kristiana Johnson
Mike Nelson

Learn more about the four candidates running for Edmonds mayor during a debate this Wednesday, July 17, sponsored by My Edmonds News at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 4th Ave. N. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the debate will start at 7 p.m. It will be moderated by Publisher Teresa Wippel.

Brad Shipley
Neil Tibbott

The following candidates will appear on the August primary ballot: Edmonds City Councilmembers Kristiana Johnson, Mike Nelson and Neil Tibbott, and City of Edmonds Planner Brad Shipley.

Primary election ballots are scheduled to be mailed to voters Thursday, July 18. The deadline for voting is Tuesday, Aug. 6. The top two vote-getters in the primary will move on to the Nov. 5 general election.

 

41 Replies to “Wednesday: Edmonds mayoral debate at ECA”

    1. No audience questions. The questions will be my own based what I have learned/observed over my time covering city government. However, feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have a subject area that you would like to see addressed.

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    1. You can watch the video after it has been recorded. It will be posted to the website within a day or two after the debate.

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  1. I would love to see this run on the “3 Principles” format, with candidates stating positions and others responding with “I would be curious to know…”. What a difference that could make in the tone of the debate – though it would be more of a discussion, and I’m all for that.

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    1. Three of the four candidates attended at least one of our Three Practices events. Perhaps they will follow this format!

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  2. Thank you for this information. This will be my first mayoral election since moving here. Do Esperance residents vote in Edmonds mayor and city council races?

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      1. Thanks, Ron. That’s why I asked. That makes sense, but I also know that the current mayor and some council members have been less than transparent about moving toward annexation of Esperance in the recent past. By “less than transparent” I mean not seeking Esperance residents’ input when annexation discussion was underway, not being forthcoming about pros and cons of annexation, and pointing out that it would be up to Esperance residents to somehow know about it without notification, and to circulate a petition for input
        I don’t have strong feelings about annexation as I would need more information, but I do have strong feelings about transparency.

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  3. I’m supporting Shipley. But hands down Johnson is winning the debate. I am super impressed with how articulate, lighthearted, yet serious she is under this pressure. I dont agree with some of her positions, but [dag] she could probably convince me shes right.

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    1. I suggest you check to see when is the last time Edmonds has had a successful mayor who had first not served as a city council member.

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      1. And, by the way, Councilmember Johnson still hasn’t told us why she did not attend last Friday’s budget retreat.

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      2. Ron, if I check my Edmonds history, would I find that the City was always a bit Country Club, or in some people’s case, a vehicle for national politics? City Council seems to be a source of a lot if problems. The optics last night is that Nelson, especially, end-runs the other members. There are emails of him boasting to seattle about his ability to do whatever he wants with the council. Kristianna took Tibbot to the woods on his minority report regarding ecological issues. I gotta admit, Tibbot is a really big person, and his apology was sinscere. I was super impressed with that. His cadence when he talks is really nice too.

        On a side note, as much as I cringe, Nelson made the biggest point last night about the need for district elections for the Council. It is how the Council should represent the whole town. Ironically for him, districts with representatives is a Republican form of government. Kudos to him for advocating this.

        Ultimately though, dogs are mayors of some towns. The mayor is a manager job combined with a ceremonial position. A successful mayor will need to be good at the first without letting the second go to their head.

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        1. I will say from my own experience Mr Tibbot will do what is beneficial to his friends and not the community. He was instrumental in getting housing first, low barrier housing two blocks away from my house. He and former Woodway councilman Bill Anderson both sat on the board of Alliance for Housing Affordability of Snohomish County. Compass Housing Alliance, a downtown Seattle based company with Seattle based clientele with low to no income will now be living in Edmonds courtesy of the Edmonds Lutheran Church. Low barrier, housing first means they can be drug addicted, still use drugs and be provided housing courtesy of your tax dollars. And we will see crime go up exponentially around the area all four candidates said concerns them most – the area near Aurora.

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        2. Thanks Kari, I want to look in to that. I think everyone should be able to agree that Edmonds should –not– do whatever Seattle did to “help” low income people, but I think there are people here who think Seattle is did a great job and that we should do it too. Tibbot could respond regarding his record as I don’t know. Your criticism of him is the same that Earling is getting.

          I’ve pointed out many times, and was really happy to see Teresa mention it as the [fantastic] moderator, there is a pending business cycle. It will be the mother of all recessions. Let’s all agree that we need to invest in housing for all, but no one in their right mind would ever invest at the top of the market. The next mayor shouldn’t take on new “connectors”. The city has got to coast a bit until the lay of the land in known housing-wise and budget-wise. Let’s fix side-walks and rest on our laurels a bit.

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      3. Ron…do you think one needs to serve on council first before being elected to the position of mayor? I’m not yet convinced this is a “must” if one brings other relevant skills and experience to the office.

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        1. And for more of the back story, Bill Anderson is the finance director of the church, and the mayor tapped him to sit on the Edmonds Housing Strategy Task Force. When all this tom foolery was outed people started attending the housing meetings that they asked for and got involved, much like the Save Edmonds Beach group. The meetings are always standing room only. When the people get involved it brings change. I encourage all residents to stay on top of this hot button issue because it will change the city faster than anything.

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        2. Kari, Brad Shipley says often that there’s a culture at City Hall to sort of keep ideas close to their chest as a way to avoid early public scrutiny. Even Tibbot, in the debate, said that folks in the know are afraid of getting questions, and that he wants to change that. After the Connector and Housing agendas, it seems to be unanimously accepted that our delegates all have too much rope. Mayor Earling really didn’t like the community involvement in his housing plans, complained about handing out fliers at a public hearing by writing an op-ed. Lots of prior mayors endorse Tibbot, but don’t know if he’ll feel the same or not. What does democracy look like?

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        3. Mike:
          I don’t believe that its mandatory, but it’s very beneficial and for me it gets a significant number of points. As you’ve said, a candidate could possess other skills that out weigh not having been a council member.

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  4. I was somewhat appalled by the late turn of the debate of sniping and bickering and personal attacks. Mr. Shipley correctly pointed out that you all will need to continue to work together during and after the election, regardless of the outcome–yet you engaged in personal attacks and referred to your opponents rudely and dismissively by their last names. Frankly none of you came off as particularly mayoral tonight.

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  5. I’m thinking a Draft Teresa movement might be in order here. She asked all the right questions in all the right ways. Maybe I’ll start a write in campaign on her behalf. On second thought, I’d like to try to stay on her good side.

    Ms. Johnson had Mr. Tibbott apologizing all over himself to her and the City for going rogue on the marsh set back issue, which the Mayor also tried to end run the Council on. Their collusion on this tactic was more than obvious and she very adroitly called them on it in debate.

    Mr. Nelson called out the need for going to a District electoral system for Council members which I agree with totally. That would make neighborhood input automatic, not left to the whims of Mayor and Council to have community meetings and formation of hand picked committees and boards to advise the Council and Mayor from an at large perspective. I would also recommend doing away with the strong Mayor form of government and going to a City Manager system.

    Mr. Shipley rightly points out that this election is pivotal, that change is inevitable and we need to embrace and manage it, not try to hold it back, which is impossible. He opposes building a large downtown parking lot, which quite likely might become obsolete as modern transportation evolves. I like his looking forward, rather than in the rear view mirror.

    Mr. Tibbott emphasizes his support by numerous past Mayors including the current lame duck occupant of the office. Mr. Tibbott represents the status quo and more of the same. He’s your man if that’s what you want and if you want “the Bowl” be the focal point of all decisions.

    As I posted elsewhere here, I think we are really forced to decide who is the least of four evils. Who will manage the current unfair system in the least unfair manner so to speak.

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    1. Some candidate usually tries to characterize an election as “pivotal” and that they are the “pivotal person”, hoping to garner more votes than they otherwise would. Our city and our country are not perfect, but I believe that we are closer to being perfect than any other place you can name. People love living in Edmonds, as witnessed by the recent letter from a bunch of fine citizens. Additionally, I’ve walked this city from one end to the other campaigning in three elections and the compliments I heard for Mayors Haakenson and Earling vastly exceeded anything negative. And guess what, neither one of them lived in the “bowl”.
      Mayors Haakenson and Earling have done a great job running our city and I believe that Neil Tibbott, if elected, will continue where they’ve left off. Edmonds is not perfect, but we’re better than any other place you can name.

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  6. Once again, Ron, you adroitly make all my points. Your predictability is amazing. I Thank you again.

    Like I said, if you want status quo, the good old boy network, Bowl, Business and real estate interests first priority and back stabbing the city council when it suits your purpose, vote Tibbott. If you want some change and a fresh look at things around town, vote anyone else. It’s a simple choice.

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    1. I suspect most citizens have only a vague idea about what geographic area encompasses the bowl. Its boundaries are: 9th/100th on the east, SR104/Edmonds Way on the south, Casper on the north, and Puget Sound on the west. It gets a lot of focus because our popular downtown is within it.
      It seems to me, Clinton, that you favor only those with a D after their names. You just don’t care for R’s.

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      1. “a droit” – to the right, thus “properly.” Hopefully not “right leaning”? The opposite, linguistically, to “gauche,” or “left.” Basic 7th Grade vocab, though.

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  7. Well Ron, not sure how the Bowl doesn’t actually begin at the top of Main Street hill and encompass Emerald Hills. Seems like that area would logically be part of the side of the Bowl. No problem though, I’ll go with your definition.

    Actually Ron, I think maybe you are the one favoring R’s over D’s. I know you are a bunch more worried about the D’s being involved in the Election than I am because with the exception of Mr. Nelson, I don’t even know what parties the folks belong to and I’m not supporting Mr. Nelson. I do like his idea about districts for City Council, but I’m not real comfortable with his closeness to the Democratic Party ( I’m sure you would call it the Democrat Party as most” Republic’s” like to incorrectly call it to show their disregard. If a Democrat is a member of the “Democrat” Party a Republican is a member of the “Republic” Party). Sorry for the digression.

    Like you regard yourself as an Independent (leaning somewhat heavy Right I would guess). I’m an Independent leaning heavily Left of center, but definitely not to the point of giving away college and medical care. I would like to see those things a little less of a Corporate profit gouge, however.

    You are old school Edmonds and I do, believe it or not, respect that and you as the great person you are. Same with the former Mayors. I, however, don’t hold them in the awe you apparently do. I do not respect what your guy and the current Mayor did to the Council in relation to the Marsh. I do not respect your guy’s vote change on the connector to save his election with the dubious claim that he didn’t realize the area was a Marine Sanctuary to justify the change. I know he’s apologized, but was forced to do that, and actions always speak louder about “possible” future events than words.

    I don’t know who will win this thing. I hope it’s not Tibbott, but, if it is, good on him and all of us will need to regard it as a start over and help him all we can. It will still be a the great town you say it is full of great folks like yourself no matter who wins. None of this national political party tribalism welcome here. On that at least, I think you and I agree. Great discussion Ron, and my thanks are sincere about our lively discourse. You may be right, and I sure could be wrong. Anyone who thinks he/she is always right about everything is usually a fool. Clint

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  8. As prior chair of the Republican Party, 21st LD and three-time delegate, I can say as a matter of fact that all local non-partisan offices are targeted by both parties to be filled with partisan candidates. This strategy is known as “Farm League”. The idea is that the partisan candidate will be beholden to party interests, and also get name recognition needed to move onto higher offices. Vacancy appointments are also a tool used in this way. For anyone blind to this, Edmonds Mayor is ground zero. Nelson [who got appointed] has exposed us to some lawsuits that are putting Edmonds on the map for partisan interests, more so than “Build The Wall” cookies. Partisans are professionally partisan and the Independents (the majority) are usually too heads down to be effective. The slightly larger vocal minority calls the shots. Where’s Strom Peterson these days?

    I’m being objective. look at the contrast in the endorsements of the two in question:
    https://neiltibbott.com/friends/
    https://www.votenelson.org/endorse

    Tibbot would be handicapping himself to be explicitly Republican. I heard rumor of protests being organized to demonstrate against his personal unwillingness to marry his hypothetically gay son to a hypothetically gay man. The poor guy said he’d always support and respect his kids’ choices, he just wouldn’t preside over it. I got ordained on the internet and would love to help any way I can. 🙂 I’m a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, Abraham Lincoln was gay in my opinion. We all know that this doesn’t affect Tibbot’s role as mayor, but Kristianna asked the question nonetheless and it’s having a significant partisan effect. Nelson is clearly using Edmonds as a pitstop on his political journey. He’s a political science major who’s filling out a checklist.

    Independents are the biggest voting block, but trying to swing them is how you lose an election sometimes. Brad Shipley and Kristiana Johnson are democrats from what I can tell, but not in an annoying way that makes me feel unwelcome in my own town. Tibbot leans right. I bet all three drink coffee from both Cafe’ Louvre and Walnut. To me they are the more independent choice. My #KeepingItReal-Independent-Score is:

    Brad Shipley: 10
    Neil Tibbot: 7.5
    Kristianna Johnson: 7.25
    Mike Nelson: 1.0

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      1. I’m ltimately subjective. The comparison of the endorsements are objective. Nelson’s endorsements are the entire state Dem Party – down. It’s a layup. He didnt seek the endorsement of a local staple like the Water-Temprature-Taker-Dude, or Desmond van Rensburg. In this area Tibbot would lose more votes than he gained if he listed the 32nd Republicans. That’s a pretty objective analysis. I am a politician.

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        1. I was asked about my Strom comment today. The formula is:
          1) Get Appointed for Name Recognition
          2) Get Elected Against a No-Name
          3) Sell Your Seat for Party $
          4) Graduate to State

          Partisan Politics is like Prize Fighting. It’s a career. Don King could be mayor of his city if he were inclined.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strom_Peterson

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  9. Personally, I don’t care much about this party stuff anymore. I quit giving to any organizations whatsoever which tell me how to think about anything. I’m admittedly a Progressive thinker and like a little change just because it’s change. If it ain’t working, try something different. I also think some traditional Conservative values are a damn good thing too. Nothing wrong with fiscal responsibility and not just throwing money at stuff hoping to solve it. Real solutions require brainstorming, compromise and trying things until something works. That no longer exists in the two party system. We have a morally bankrupt, racist and clown fool President because the political system is so polarized and broken. People (mostly white) in the Midwest, Industrial Northeast and South love him because he listens to them and parrots back what they want to hear. And the Dem.s are too stupid, idealistic, timid and inept at politics to beat the guy, with the exception of Pelosi. Like any bully he’s afraid of her because she stands up to him.

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    1. Its beer time for us. [email protected]. We might be kindred spirits.

      That said. Being objective, Kristianna Johnson won the debate, Mike Nelson made the best point about District Elections, Tibbot is a super nice guy with great character, Shipley “I have done the work” isnt a compromise for any voter. I dont think there are many racists out there anymore, certainly not the POTUS. Words mean something and everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. With 4 great candidates we should have ranked choice vote.

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  10. Shame on you, Kari!
    You say, “Compass Housing Alliance, a downtown Seattle based company with Seattle based clientele with low to no income” like it’s a “bad thing” to be low income and Seattle based!
    Also, do you seriously believe we don’t have homeowners who are also addicted living in EDMONDS or something!?
    Do you also want to convince Edmonds citizens how “their tax dollars” shouldn’t or should be used!!?
    Where do you get off deciding that we as a city should not house, feed, educate, etc. the most vulnerable and needy?
    “And we will see crime go up exponentially around the area.” Kari seeing as you can see the future, perhaps you will be happier elsewhere? Perhaps Edmonds is just too kindhearted and care too much for the citizens who need it the most, for your taste?

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    1. Are you telling Kari to leave Edmonds if she does not like it? She is entitled to her opinion the same as you and me. This is a forum for information and comments, albeit, not to everyone’s taste, not personal attacks, or virtue signaling (me good, you bad).

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    2. What I am referring to by calling them Seattle based, is that we are literally importing Seattle’s homeless (aka drug) problem to the city of Edmonds. Their clientele is King county based as they have only been in King County up until now. Is that a good thing for Edmonds residents? I’m not for enabling their destructive behavior, and that’s what this is. I want a solution whereby the drug addicted are committed to get treatment in order to receive assistance.
      I know for a fact the CEO of Compass Housing Alliance has lied to the citizens of Edmonds. Their 990 tax form states they house people 50% AMI or less. When we quoted their initial blokable flyer (as stating 50% ami or less) at the housing meetings and they saw the negative response to it, they all but changed it on their web site and then they stated at a meeting held at Stevens hospital it’s for 80% ami or less. I have the original copy. They will house convicted felons and people with drug addiction who don’t need to seek out treatment in order to stay in a unit. This will spill into our neighborhoods.
      I’d rather see these units house senior citizens who are being taxed out of their homes. I told the pastor in a meeting I’d even volunteer if it was for seniors. I have done my homework and I have gone to countless meetings to try to get them to change their allegiance to Compass Housing Alliance. But you see, Bill Anderson; Woodway city councilman, finance director of Edmonds Lutheran, board member of Alliance for Housing Affordability, affiliated with Compass Housing Alliance, sat on Edmonds Housing Strategy Task Force had a deal already struck with Compass. And Neil Tibbott walked the grounds of the Edmonds Lutheran Church back in 2016 after they covertly changed the land use code at the church in order to sneak this deal in. This was a done deal back then – the church just received their $1,550,000 million in funds after they initially said they were donating the land.
      I have concern for the safety of the surrounding neighbors. I have lived in Seattle and sold my home because it wasn’t safe anymore. So I have lived it, done my homework, and tried to make change for the better. What have you done, Buck? Other than trying to bully me into leaving my hometown?

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  11. Many of Nelson’s positions reminds one of some of Mayor Cooper’s positions…a blast from the past!

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  12. I’m pulling for Shipley because I think he understands what is going to happen in the very near future in terms of population growth, transportation and the realistic financial ability of our citizens to do what has to be done, not necessarily everything we want to be done. I’m pulling for Shipley because I think he wants to be Mayor of Edmonds period, not the next state senator, or Governor. I’m pulling for Shipley because I think at least one of the others who might win will try to see that he loses his current city job just for having the courage to run against him or her. I’m pulling for Shipley because he is young and will have to live with the consequences of his actions long after many of us around here are gone.

    Simply put, I think Brad is the right person at the right time. This town needs some new thinking and some new approaches to how the citizens are represented and served by their public servants. We need more bottom up and less top down approaches to our problems. I’m hoping Brad will get on the bandwagon to try to change the Council to a district system that would get more citizens heard in a more timely manner than the current system. Ultimately I’d like to see Brad press for a change to a Council Manager type government; a position that I think he would excel in. We simply expect too much from our elected Mayor and he wears too many hats.

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