Letter to the editor: Voters entitled to candidate information that may be negative

Editor:

I think it important to respond to Alicia Crank’s “Letter to the Editor”, August 9, 2019.  Much of what she said is laudable. What should be informed and fact-based debate has recently often turned into innuendo and supposition. However, voters are entitled to accurate information even if it is argues against a candidate being elected. It was interesting to read the replies to Ms. Crank’s letter: Some agreed and some vehemently disagreed and I think those who disagreed recognize that such an approach advocated by Ms. Crank can result in voters not having all pertinent facts. We should not be electing candidates based on some kind of “feel good” statement. Instead, critical thinking based on pertinent facts should be employed. Note that I said “pertinent” facts. If there is something about that candidate that would directly affect their job performance, voters need to know.  Don’t sell the voters short. They are capable of judging what is relevant to job performance and what is not. The underlying message in Ms. Crank’s letter is that we should only hear “positive” messages. Well, not all attributes of candidates are positive and the less-than-positive attributes that would directly affect a candidate’s performance if elected is something the voters have a right to know about. The fundamental question is whether a candidate is qualified and is the best choice for an office.

On June 15, 2019,  I submitted a “Letter to the Editor” where I expressed concerns about Diana White’s actions as Edmonds’ School Board President. (“Don’t Bargain Away the Money You Don’t Have”.) Ms. White is running against Susan Paine for Edmonds’ City Council Position #6. As I stated in the article, the fiscal mismanagement by the Edmonds’ School Board, of which she is president, was detailed and exposed in a Seattle Times article. In addition, I included text from a letter sent by State Superintendent of Public Instruction to district superintendents directing them not to bargain away money that is not there.  Given all the information she had, Ms. White and the school board nonetheless approved the contract with its double digit increase in pay for teachers. That approval was not fiscally responsible.I stand by that letter and I urge Edmonds’ voters to go into the MEN archives and read it.

Yes, I guess you could call this “negative” information, but important information for voters to know. It is not a personal attack on Ms. White nor is it an attack on teachers for whom I have the utmost respect. I have worked in public education for 25 years and sent my own children to public school. Instead it is a desire to let voters know that Ms. White, based on past performance in public office, is not the most qualified candidate for Council Position #6. One primary responsibility of the City Council is oversight of Edmonds’ finances. As Mayor Earling himself stated in MEN, Aug. 15, 2019, in his “This and That…” piece, “While we have had a very strong economy and all requests are usually reasonable, spoiler alert… there isn’t enough revenue!” And, we well may be looking at times in the future without such a strong economy.

Let’s all work to keep the campaigns fact-oriented and about issues. Let’s make sure our comments are backed by research and thoughtfulness. However, please do not shut down legitimate and important debate based on calls for a “positive” campaign.

Lynne Chelius
Edmonds

17 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Voters entitled to candidate information that may be negative”

  1. Lynne,

    I agree with your letter. I’d just like to clarify that my underlying message wasn’t meant to convey it should all be “positive”, but more of sticking to facts and not engaging in personal attacks and name calling (even if initially grounded from questioning a professional ability).

    Research and thoughtfulness, as you said, are key.

    Ignored

  2. I agree with this letter. Take all my negatives off the table, I could be mayor of dis town. The whole candidate matters. I’ve never seen candidates so afraid of tough questions, give or take.

    Ignored

  3. Let’s be real here. Mr. Nelson was attacked and accused of bias and dishonesty based on his occupation and accusations about how he allegedly abused his position. Mr. Tibbott, likewise, has been attacked based on his occupation and presumed prejudices against certain groups. On the other hand, Ms. White has been attacked based on her prior job performance in the area of fiscal responsibility. In my opinion, the first two examples are negative electioneering, while the third example is a legitimate questioning of one’s ability to perform the job the voters are responsible for filling with their vote. In my opinion, Ms. White’s attack deserves a response to her accusers. On the other hand, I don’t blame Mr. Nelson and Mr. Tibbott, if they tell their accusers to “Buzz Off.”

    Ignored

    1. Not all of the accusations against Mr. Nelson are false. It is a fact that he was a registered lobbyist when he became a city council member; that is a violation of a city ordinance.

      Ignored

    2. Clinton, I thought you and one other man had hit the “ignore” button during your last tantrum. It seems as though you “UN” ignored the 3 people you listed. I personally don’t care who you both chose to ignore, however when you make a public statement stating such, then keep making comments in answer to one of the people you listed as ignoring, you seem disingenuous.

      Ignored

  4. I don’t know Mr. Nelson or his lobby, but I am appalled that he got so many votes. Who are these people who vote for a person who hasn’t paid his taxes and all sorts of other problems that put in question his character. Not paying taxes is like not paying rent. It speaks volumes about a person’s character, as well as his money-management skills. And he wants to be mayor? According to election reports, only about 25% of registered voters actually voted in this election; are they all friends or associates of Mr. Nelson?

    Ignored

    1. Good comments!
      Actually 40% of registered voters voted and 44% of them voted for Nelson. He for certain has too many associates in Edmonds who evidently are voting for the party and not the best candidate.

      Ignored

  5. Mr. H. If it makes you feel good to call me out, go for it, I could care less. Nobody needs or has to read any of this stuff of course. If having after thoughts and comments makes me disingenuous, I’m guilty as charged. There, I hope that admission makes you feel all wonderful and happy.

    The people screaming the loudest about Nelsen being part of the Democratic party and Democrats voting for him are the same folks who would be totally silent if Tibbott was being promoted by the Republican Party and Republicans were voting for him in droves. They have absolutely no proof that Nelson is being voted for because he is a Democrat. It is just their supposition. People may be voting for him, because he isn’t necessarily going to go lock step with the past political establishment in town. There are reasons that the last two Mayors are gung-ho for Tibbott and I suspect lots of folks are seeing that aspect of this election. That could explain the numbers as well as his association with the Democratic party.

    Personally, I’m looking for candidates who want to run Edmonds for all the people who live here now and not just the Bowl residents, of which I am one. I’m not interested in any more over hyping of the town and catering to the whims of all the visitors and business patrons. I’m not interested in any candidates who are overstating the dangers of our waterfront and buildings and who want to turn our parks into parking lots. I want to see what their concerns are for the town and their plans in writing, and I will vote based on that, not their past sins and improper affiliations as presented to me by the mud-slingers among us.

    Ignored

  6. Mr. Nelson was evidently working for the SEIU union while serving on the Council and voting on appropriations that would benefit the SEIU. In my mind, that is simply corruption. Also, while he was working for SEIU, SEIU got a huge fine for breaking campaign finance laws. These are totally valid issues for voters to consider. We don’t need officials that want to raise our taxes to benefit their employers and friends. He presents as a nice man, but I’ve lost my trust, unfortunately. So I’ll vote for Mr. Tibbott.

    Ignored

    1. Fact checking on my part: My understanding is that Mr. Nelson recused himself when the council voted on SEIU matters. That is what he told me when I asked him about this a year or more ago.

      Ignored

      1. That’s also my understanding, but he really should be recusing himself from all votes related to unions since they are one big family. And that means he cannot do the complete job so should never have been appointed a council member.

        Ignored

      2. I asked the clerk for minutes or memos of Mike’s recusal and none were found (not to say a record doesn’t exist, just that the City doesn’t have it). According to minutes Mike was in fact “absent” during most Collective Bargaining meetings in 2017/2018. However, “recused” was never listed in the attendance. There are important differences between absent and recused, and I won’t digress because it’s moot.

        According to Ordinance 3689, recusal (or absence) is not a means allowed to mitigate Mike’s type of conflict of interest. The ordinance requires a 1-year hiatus between being a City official and a lobbyist for an organization associated with the City. The Ordinance does a pretty good job of outlining this firewall, noting that information exchange is a key concern. There’s no way to prove a negative, so this ordinance was designed to prevent spying as much as biased decision making as both things are nearly impossible to prove.
        http://www.edmondswa.gov/images/COE/Government/City_Clerk/Ordinances/2008/Ord_3689.pdf

        I remind everyone that appearance of a Conflict of Interest isn’t the lowest bar for there to actually be a Conflict of Interest. Recusal is a tool to avoid the appearance before it roots, even in cases where there isn’t an actual conflict. I this case, Mike is admitting to MEN retrospectively that there was a conflict, but what good is a recusal that isn’t allowed (according to city ordinance) and not forthcoming? A recusal needs to be explicit for it to actually work.

        Ignored

        1. Thanks Matt, you have certainly done your research and shown both sides of this question about Mr. Nelson’s questionable “recusal”. You always list your backup links and you seem very knowledgeable about workings of our local government. There seems to be some reading comprehension problems from those who think you are “slinging mud”. You are giving us pertinent information on which to base our support for who to vote for mayor. Your comment is useful, not just an opinion that supports “your” candidate, whomever that may be. Thank you.

          Ignored

  7. There you have it folks. This is all about anti union sentiments and Mr. Nelson’s association with Unions in general based on his occupation. I would suggest to Mr. Tibbott that he should disassociate himself as soon as possible from these anti union, anti Democratic Party so called supporters, if he wants any chance of winning this thing. Another thing for Mr. Tibbott to consider is that he will have to work with union people and Democrats if he does turn it around and wins. These folks are not helping you Mr. Tibbott. Keep it positive and reject the mud and innuendo and you still have a pretty good shot.

    Ignored

    1. Since speculation is allowed, speaking from a pro-Union perspective… I think SEIU lost contract with the city as a way to insulate the City from Mike’s conflict of interest, which was the subject of a criminal investigation. I have no proof of this but this is the appearance.

      Ignored

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *