My decision to run for mayor was based on the fear that the real issues facing the city would not be discussed as part of the candidate vetting process. I did not want the campaign to be a rehashing of issues that any candidate running for Edmonds’ office should know the proper response to — don’t raise building heights in the Bowl.
Even though the candidates were aware of issues in Edmonds, and had experience on the council, only Kristiana Johnson had experience of working for municipal government. I brought the experience of working within city hall into my campaign. If I accomplished nothing else, my goal was to add to the conversation and help highlight important issues our community will have to address in the coming years.
It is easy as an outsider to offer solutions that are not always practical but make for good sound bites: One candidate suggested construction of an underground parking structure to address parking issues — this is one of many such examples. The solution is neither practical nor a good use of limited city resources given the high water table and sheer cost to construct — which currently figures to be $60,000-$85,000 per parking space. It sounds pleasing, but is either disingenuous or naive. We should be having an honest conversation about fixing broken sidewalks and improving accessibility. Sadly, the campaign process did not allow for meaningful debate on these issues. That is unfortunate and we have to do better in the future.
It is not imperative for the next mayor to have worked in the field of urban development or city management. I’ve met with the mayoral candidates and they both acknowledge there is a learning curve ahead should they have the privilege of serving as our next mayor. Given that, I wondered how the candidates would approach their new position and reflected on how each candidate has traditionally collected information critical to council decisions during my time in city hall.
From my experience, Mr. Tibbott has always been one to engage and ask questions. He has joined me on neighborhood walks, organized groups for discussions on important topics such as housing, and always appeared to leave his own biases at the door and sought to find meaningful solutions without a preconceived notion of what the solution may be. For this reason, I support Mr. Tibbott in his run for mayor as I believe this is the approach the city needs.
It is a transformative time in Edmonds and we, as citizens, have a lot to consider over the next four years. Whoever Edmonds elect as its new mayor, I look forward to working with that person to ensure their success. If they succeed, Edmonds succeeds.