Regarding the recent letter from former mayors and city councilmembers, thank you for your past service. Edmonds is what it is today for your contributions.
Having relocated to Edmonds only a few years ago, I (like many) am awed by the natural beauty that surrounds us. That beauty, the majesty of our home, is one excellent reason we live here — and that we stay here. And, for some of us, draws us here.
I ‘get’ it, really I do; preserve Edmonds for what it has been, not change a thing, is a worthy goal. It also is a chimera. The growth in the local population comes with responsibility. How best to manage the growth so that Edmonds continues to function for each and all of us? To ignore the growth is akin to sweeping dirt under the rug; the dirt is still there even though out of sight.
I admit much of your message confounds this reader rather than helps. For example, when you say…
1. “For this 2019 election, we ask that our citizens seriously research and evaluate the candidates…” Do you mean only this one time? How does this election differ from previous elections… from your elections? Nonetheless, I did as you bid and investigated Mike Nelson. I also investigated you, the handful of signatories to your letter to the editor.
2. “Mike Nelson’s connections create a conflict of interest…” A bold assertion. And like all such assertions, should be supported with documented facts — that you fail to provide.
3. “An extensive investigation.” Who performed this investigation? Who paid for this investigation? Why do you not share explicitly the findings of this investigation? Does the “extensive investigation” not support your conclusion?
4. “Nelson … did not disclose that as the executive director of a statewide union…” I wonder whose responsibility it was then (and is now) to ensure such a disclosure is made. For Mike Nelson — really, any person — being elevated to a city council role from a role at a union, two entirely different roles with different requirements, the person should receive guidance to ensure all the regulatory filings are made. Seems to me a failure of commission by previous city officials not to put into place the mechanisms necessary to ensure compliance… If even required. You do not say, you only intimate Mike Nelson is guilty of the sin of omission. Another unsupported assertion.
5. “He openly admits being delinquent in paying federal income taxes on time…” I believe our trials and tribulations help us grow and evolve to become a better person. Shame on you for focusing on only one-half of that calculation. Perhaps it would have been better for your argument had you proved that Mike Nelson learned nothing from his experience of being tardy on paying a few tax bills; that past behavior could damage Edmonds. You do nothing of the sort. Having met Mike Nelson a few times, he strikes me as a humble man, someone who learns (has learned) from experience.
6. “His union was fined $250,000 by the Attorney General for under-the-table campaign contributions while he was in charge.” This assertion is beyond the pale, really nothing more than dirty politics. The Attorney General was clear the charge did NOT implicate Mike Nelson, did not explicitly name him. Shame on you for attempting to obfuscate facts with innuendo.
7. “He has not disclosed that his spouse is employed as a lawyer.” Here you go again, making unsubstantiated assertions. It would help your argument were you to cite city codes, policies, and regulations Mike Nelson violated. Moreover, should Mike Nelson’s wife reveal her entire roster of clients, past, present, and future for possible conflicts of interest? And even were conflicts to occur, you do not state whether Mrs. Nelson has recused herself from representing any clients that might manifest as a conflict of interest, now or in the future. Or any other material difference from your naked assertion. Most of us live lives shaded with grays; I am happy for you that your lives are writ in black and white.
8. “Mike Nelson’s commitment to our community is lacking when records from the Secretary of State indicate that he failed to vote…” This assertion, also unsubstantiated, troubles me. Having voted locally many times over many years, I would like to know how you know whether a private citizen votes. My ballots have all been cast anonymously — do you also know how I vote? Whether I vote? Where I vote? What I ate for dinner last night? Do you know how – when, whether, method – all private citizens vote? Leaving off that troubling admission by you, you allow for no shading of black and white; perhaps Mike Nelson abstained his vote(s) for reasons of principle? Perhaps this or perhaps that. You do not ask; you reveal no interest. You only assert with no substantiation. And of course no proof.
9. “Citizens in Edmonds deserve the best person for mayor. Anything less is not acceptable. We recommend that citizens vote for Neil Tibbott to fill this role.” I believe you mean to say, ‘anyone.’ Or perhaps Neil Tibbott in your estimation is a “thing”…?
]I originally met Mike Nelson at a campaign event. Someone in the audience asked him about being “divisive.” I found the question interesting because what I saw that day is a person who cares. Who listens. Who learns. Anyone interested can see that arc play out in his life: from boy to man to husband to father to citizen to Edmonds denizen to public servant. To (possibly) Mayor of Edmonds. Edmonds will be all the better.
Pluralism demands we manage for all citizens, not just a few. Mike Nelson is politically progressive, which fact troubles some people but does not stop him from wanting to be everyone’s Mayor. Mike is still here, still standing, and still running for Mayor despite your bald attempt to tar and feather Mike and his family.
Mike Nelson has my vote.
David M. Gordon