Letter to the editor: ‘Job interview’ shows why Tibbott is best choice for mayor

Dear Editor,

In many respects the campaign for Mayor resembles a job interview for the position of Mayor. Voters (the employer) will select the candidate they conclude is best qualified to fill the job. Campaign promises aside, these are mature men best judged on past performance; they will continue performing as they have in the past. What does the record show? Here is my check list on factors critical to me.

  • Ethics: The candidate must have a clear record of ethical conduct.
    • Nelson failed to disclose several conflicts of interest when he was chosen to be Council Member, this though he graduated with a legal degree and must surely have known what the law requires.
    • Tibbott has a clean record.
  • Potential conflicts of interest: Voters must evaluate the likelihood of conflicts in the future, a judgement call at present.
    • Nelson reports substantial financial support from entities in nearby big cities. It is naïve to think there will not be a pay-back time after the election, and the pay-back likely will be in the interests of those in the big cities rather than in the interests of Edmonds.
    • Tibbott’s support comes mostly from people in Edmonds. His responsibility will be to the citizens of Edmonds.
  • Communications, cooperation, openness with others: The office of Mayor requires a high level of demonstrated ability in these characteristics.
    • With Council Members – Council Members have been critical of Nelson’s performance in public meetings. This is on record from public meetings.
    • With City Staff – Staff employees have expressed guardedly that Nelson is domineering, does not give due consideration to their professional advice, and is difficult to work with.
    • With the Edmonds public – much the same criticism from those on committees and organizations serving the city, as reported in news media.
    • Regarding Tibbott – none of the above. He shows a fifteen-year record of working collaboratively with others. He reaches out to the community. He shows up at public forums and listens.
  • Fiscal responsibility: We are giving substantial control of our check books to the Mayor for several years. The candidate had better have a good record of prudence and good judgement.
    • Over the years, Tibbott has consistently been careful with taxpayers’ money, doing his utmost to balance limited resources against the many needs of citizens, and to ensure that outside contracts are properly managed. This is a matter of public record.
    • Nelson brings a history of failing to submit legally required reports while Executive Director for the Service Employees Union, which resulted in saddling the Union with a fine of $250K which the members must pay. This is not the performance I expect, certainly not from one trained in law. This is not what I want for Edmonds – absolutely not!
    • Nelson’s problems with failure to pay income taxes on time is another negative indicator from his personal affairs, a questionable failure from one who is familiar with law. To paraphrase his explanation that he was “short of money” does not convince me. Many of us who are short of money pay IRS on time anyway.

In closing, I urge those who supported Kristiana Johnson and Brad Shipley, two good candidates, now turn their support to Neil Tibbott as the superior candidate we have for Mayor.

Erling Hesla, P.E.
Edmonds

16 Replies to “Letter to the editor: ‘Job interview’ shows why Tibbott is best choice for mayor”

  1. This is getting loathsome. All these Tibbott supporters regurgitating the same talking points ad naseum. All half truths bent to serve their agenda with no actual facts to support the arguments, only innuendo. I am fairly certain most voters at this point know who they are going to support in this upcoming election. Can we stop with the replays already?

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    1. Just a reminder to all — We will be cutting off publication of letters to the editor regarding political candidates or issues Oct. 18, around the time that ballots are set to be in voters’ homes.

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    2. What part is half true, and what part is not half true. Again, undecided, but based on the rhetorical presentations and responses, getting closer to making up my mind. “Can people stop expressing their political views and opinions already” – is a great way to approach public discourse.

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  2. This is a great, clear and concise letter of support for Mr. Tibbott. There is nothing “loathsome” about documented facts. Many have not made a final decision on who they support, that is why this forum exists.

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  3. Not that having had family in this city for three generations gives me any greater platform than someone who just moved here, but it does provide me a different perspective. A bit more of a “long view.”

    Those who have sat in the council seats and the Mayor’s seat have always had their fans and foes. There was one mayor, who I think it’s fair to say, most thought was a disaster. Previous elects have marshalled in the city we have today – despite differences in political views and often times in methods.

    Overall, the process has been civil and respectful. Several years ago, the “hit pieces” started – and it was started by someone who currently sits on council. She knows who she is. From a political standpoint, it was brilliant and well-played. But it gave permission for other candidates to follow suit.

    What I find interesting in this election is that those who are raising questions around Nelson’s records are viewed as being “pariahs” or slinging mud. Even if they aren’t Tibbott supporters.

    Those who are Nelson supporters seem to want to overlook a historical pattern and method that some find concerning. Maybe these patterns are not important and will have little impact or influence should he be elected. After all, we have certainly overlooked a number of standards and historical patterns for those who have sat (and for some – sit) in the Office of the President.

    For me, I have one standard – would I trust this individual if I had to go into battle. I may like someone = and I will always be civil and respectful – but just because I like someone doesn’t mean I necessarily trust them.

    Who I trust to lead this city is becoming more clear with each response.

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  4. Re: Nelson brings a history of failing to submit legally required reports while Executive Director for the Service Employees Union, which resulted in saddling the Union with a fine of $250K which the members must pay. This is not the performance I expect, certainly not from one trained in law. This is not what I want for Edmonds – absolutely not!
    The political expenditure laws are byzantine in the state of Washington, and difficult to follow. Fines can be levied for overlooking small/conflicting/confusing requirements. The AG’s office did not find that the lapses were intentional. The initial complaint about the irregularities was brought by the Freedom Foundation, a very conservative think tank dedicted to union busting and harassment of unions. I know of them from my involvement with the Washington Education Association, which has dealt with attaks from the Freedon Foundation for years.
    Education Association.
    Claims of possible payback or ruffled feathers are getting tiresome, Tibbot supporters. Perhaps try talking about what Tibbot can do, and not just about Nelson.

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  5. There are a lot of accusations and condemnations of character going around here, most of which I personally ignore as I know what many of the commentators are going to say before they say it. I’m definitely okay with either of these gentlemen winning as I think they are both good people, just people with somewhat different political/ideological leanings and a different view of what should be Edmond’s future . My vote comes down to actions rather than words. I can’t get past Mr. Earling and Mr. Tibbott sending that letter of decent to the state trying to undermine the council majority’s opinion on the Marsh set back. In fairness, Mr. Tibott has apologized which was a good action. The action, however, does not scream “team player” in my ear.

    Mr. Tibott’s vote against the Connector also gives me some reason for pause as going into the “save our beach” meeting his position was adamantly for proceeding on the Connector. After the public demonstration he changed his position saying something to the affect that he didn’t realize this was a Marine Preserve which does not seem likely. I’d rather he’d just said I realized I was wrong and I want a chance to win this election. I think that would have been the truth.

    For me these two actions on Mr. Tibott’s part are troubling but not fatal should he win. I think he has learned some valuable lessons in this whole process.

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    1. I thought Nelson led the study that recommended the connector to the city? If so, he had two years to determine if it was a good idea.

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      1. This point is well taken and it should be noted that both candidates did change their position on the Connector over time. The issue for me, is when and why did each change position to against. Mike changed his position well before the large public demonstration against it the night of the vote and Neil changed his position at the last minute after he observed the public demonstration of disapproval. My conclusion is one man was leading the parade while the other jumped in front of it to avoid an election defeat. This kind of tells me who was getting out and listening to all the people and who wasn’t. I tend to favor the guy who was obviously on the ball as per representing the majority.

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  6. Full Disclosure?
    Okay Mike Nelson is Executive Director of a union group that was attacked by a Far Right union busting group. His opponents keep trying to use that against him. The fact that Neil Tibbot is Executive Director of an evangelical church organization is perhaps more relevant. You can find information about this role at churchplantingnorthwest.com. The stated goal of this group is to create more churches that support their values – which include rejection of gay marriage.

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  7. Marjie – I’m curious to know how one should weight your comment that being an executive director of an evangelical church org is more relevant than being an executive director of a union organization. Is there a scale I should be aware of – that one who directs a union is higher up than one who directs a church org – or just an evangelical church organization? Would it be just as relevant if he was an exec director of a Muslim org? I’m not being facetious – I’m seriously curious.

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  8. It is convenient to throw out “far right” – look at the SEIU, it is a pretty far left group. I do not care. If I was applying for a job, and my team had been fined by the attorney general for illegal activity (yes, it was illegal, and hence the fine) I am sure it would be a question. If the members of my organization filed a lawsuit against my organization and my organization then settled (after repeating the behavior for the next 2 years) for 3.25 million, the bosses (in this case, the electorate) would ask. If I led a team for two-years that encompassed a large amount of time and effort, and then made a polar opposite change in the 11th hour, there would be questions as to the motivations (I happen to think the decision was a good one that was made by both candidates, but my complaint has always been consistent with our council – we spend more time and money to say no in many cases, and complicate the work of staff through indecisiveness, and make a final decision based on political expediency).

    On the evangelical issue, last time I checked, Neil has not brought those beliefs into the fray. I think both candidates bring their belief system into the actions, and both have shown that they can reverse course, and both, again, are willing to serve. It is political expediency to throw evangelical and far right into the mix.

    Just by reviewing supporters alone, a non-partisan mayoral race for a town of 40,000 people has become a stepping stone to further a political career. Before that happens, I am going to continue to ask questions about both of their behaviors and actions. I have worked with Neil on a Committee and find his approach to engaging, probing, and very sensitive to the various groups within Edmonds, and representative of the whole.

    For now, I do not find Mr. Nelson’s answers adequate to suit my needs. Simply put:

    1. I do not want to risk the unilateral decision making to put tax dollars at risk on somewhat shaky judgements. That is why I am asking the questions about the political donations and the union dues. That’s why I am a bit miffed at the City (yes council and mayor included) about spending an inordinate amount of money on the Sunset Avenue Never Ending Study, the Connector, etc etc. when a decision gets made for political expediency and future political aspirations. As mayor (even in a weak mayoral city) there will be opportunities to make decisions. Costly ones.

    2. I do not like the partisan nature of the electioneering that is occurring. Again, sewers, sidewalks, potholes, safety, schools, growth, and promoting and preserving Edmonds are not partisan topics. Last time I checked, the pothole on 84th avenue was not registered, and did not need Strom’s support or endorsement to get filled. (Even though I voted for him, I still do not think we need his endorsement to get that pothole filled, and I doubt seriously, no matter who is elected, Strom would stop doing his best to represent the district and secure much needed funding for programs in our area).

    3. Mudslinging is the act of throwing unverified and unsubstantiated information into the fray to discredit a candidate. When facts are presented, they should be addressed. They are being addressed by simply throwing loaded terms out there like “evangelical” “far-right” “Old Edmonds Bros” and other unsavory and frankly, hilarious terms. Edmonds is a vibrant high-density suburb that has an age that is 25% on average higher than the rest of Washington. The ratio of male to female is .9 males for every 1 female. So in reality, Edmonds has an “Old Madam” issue in politics, right (I mean it is a fact, and it is math – so this makes better sense to me). (Purely using this as an example of the relative offensiveness of such inane statements).

    Again, I am still undecided, but the more hand-wringing and wailing I see, the more I realize that if we elect Neil Tibbot, we will probably be stuck eating crumb rubber in-fill in a fenced in area on the newly paved over Marsh while our children are forced to mix concrete for the new high-rise apartments that will be built from South Edmonds to North Edmonds to block everyone’s view. (With the exception of the 100 yards on Sunset – this has been determined by numerous attempts). (Sarcasm intended).

    I just want facts. Simple plain facts. No name calling, no partisan endorsements. Asking Mr. Nelson to address his part in these two issues with the SEIU, address the Connector, are not attacks. They are questions about how one does business. Simple.

    Vision is great. Execution is key. The best indicator of future performance is past performance. The best indicator of how one operates is to look at how they have traditionally operated. That is all I am asking for.

    As of today, I still do not care what Mr. Nelson’s wife does for a living.

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  9. “Again, I am still undecided, but the more hand-wringing and wailing I see, the more I realize that if we elect Neil Tibbot, we will probably be stuck eating crumb rubber in-fill in a fenced in area on the newly paved over Marsh while our children are forced to mix concrete for the new high-rise apartments that will be built from South Edmonds to North Edmonds to block everyone’s view. (With the exception of the 100 yards on Sunset – this has been determined by numerous attempts). (Sarcasm intended).” This is totally inappropriate sarcasm; there is no basis for any of it. We don’t need this kind of bull possibly swaying some voters. You should do the right thing and ask Teresa to remove it.

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  10. There is nothing wrong with sarcasm. In fact, Mark Twain made a living off of it. It highlights the level of polarization that we have gotten to. I asked two simple questions, and was labeled an old boy, old politics, right winger. Much like I am not going to asked those be removed, I am not going to ask t hi is one to be removed. If you are swayed by this comment, Inwill pray for all of us.

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  11. Not at all. I do not want to tarnish either candidate. I would prefer answers. I appreciate the feedback though.

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