Letter to the editor: Why we are supporting Neil Tibbott — and Mike Nelson’s response

Dear Editor:

As former elected mayors and council members of Edmonds, we were proud to have served in office and wish to have our elected officials respected as they carry out their prescribed duties.

For this 2019 election, we ask that our citizens seriously research and evaluate the candidates to assure that each one satisfies the tests for trustworthiness, integrity, professional attributes, and commitment to office.  We have done this research and the results have led us to reject the candidacy of Mike Nelson for mayor.

Persons submitting this letter are not anti-union, but Mike Nelson’s connections create a conflict of interest when, as mayor, he would be the chief negotiator of all labor contracts for city employees. An extensive investigation has prompted our decision because of the following:  (1) Nelson was appointed to the city council in 2015 and did not disclose that as the executive director of a statewide union since, he was also the state-registered lobbyist since 2012 of that union; (2) He openly admits being delinquent in paying federal income taxes on time for three years and was fined accordingly, which blemishes his ability to properly administer the city’s financial activity; (3)  His union was fined $250,000 by the Attorney General for under-the-table campaign contributions while he was in charge; (4) He has not disclosed that his spouse is employed as a lawyer for the firm representing the Edmonds Police Officers Association; (5) Mike Nelson’s commitment to our community is lacking when records from the Secretary of State indicate that he failed to vote in two of our Edmonds School District ballot measures (2012 & 2014) nor in the 2012 primary election where important statewide officials and judges were being determined.

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.

Jack Bevan
(Council 1964-1968)

Phil Clement
(Council 1974-1979)

Laura Hall
(Mayor 1992-96, Council 1981-91)

Michael Hall
(Council 1992-1996)

Gary Haakenson
(Mayor 2000-2010, Council 1996-2000,)

Mike Herb
(Council 1975-1980)

Richard L.Marin
(Council 2000-2007)  

Tom Miller
(Council 1997-2002)

Larry Naughten
(Mayor 1984-1992, Council 1978-1984)

Gary Nelson
(Council 1967-1975)

Dave Orvis
(Council 2000-2010)

Ron Wambolt
(Council 2006-2009)

Jack Wilson
(Council 1984-1994)

Jack Winters
(Council 1974-1978)

Editor:
The one thing I have learned about our wonderful community is that the people of Edmonds value honesty, character, kindness, and empathy. This smear campaign based on lies, half-truths, innuendo, and sleazy accusations about my wife is an attack on the values Edmonds holds dear. This is exactly the kind of divisiveness that our citizens don’t want in our town. I refuse to let Trump-style politics corrupt Edmonds.
My opponent’s supporters have attacked my work supporting working people. Those who care for our elderly, treat our childrens’ injuries, drive our kids’ school buses, keep our parks clean and beautiful, keep our roads drivable, make our sidewalks walkable, protect our community from criminals, and perform emergency life saving measures on our loved ones. I think most of us agree we should be standing up for these folks, not tearing them down.

And going after my wife? Are we now attacking my family as well? Is this what Edmonds elections are coming to? The citizens of this city deserve better.

My opponent’s supporters want to distract from the real issues here in Edmonds, and my extensive track record as a council member advocating for greater transparency and budget accountability, increased spending on public safety, greater environmental protection, and meaningful reductions in the threats of gun violence.

While I could spend time listing my many endorsements from current elected officials (like Senator Maria Cantwell, State Representative Strom Peterson, or County Prosecutor Adam Cornell), I understand that what voters really want to know is what are we going to do for our city? As Mayor, I will work every day to keep our city safe, healthy, and livable. I will work to create new small business incentives, robust neighborhood engagement, new open space protections and park expansions, revitalize Highway 99, reduce utility taxes for our seniors and disabled residents, expand walkability, increase pedestrian safety, and have a permanent location for a year round outdoor market.

Let’s talk about how we are going to move Edmonds forward, not backwards.  I am asking my opponent to disavow any connection to these lies and corrosive campaigning, and demand that all of his supporters do the same.

Mike Nelson
*If you have any concerns please feel free to contact me at mike@votenelson.org 

 

34 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Why we are supporting Neil Tibbott — and Mike Nelson’s response”

  1. This is pathetic. Vote Nelson. Let’s not allow a smear campaign to taint our local elections as well. These names listed above should be ashamed.

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  2. Thank you to Mike Nelson for your continued honesty and transparency. Sadly, Neil Tibbott’s supporters have lowered themselves to a dirty, mudslinging campaign on his behalf, and ostensibly with his blessing. Shame on the co-signers of that letter to the editor. How embarrassing to continue to bring exaggerations and half-truths to the table instead of genuine and positive information about their candidate. It’s very sad to see people in our community stoop so low as to attack someone’s personal life and family just to try to win an election. We are a community who should strive to work together to make Edmonds a wonderful place for all of our neighbors. Politics of deceit and divisiveness have no place in our town.

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  3. Facts hurt. It’s not a smear unless the accusation is addressed. I agree, Mr. Nelson’s wife has no part of this election, but address the innuendo. Speak to the fines and lobbyists positions. Speak to the clear Democratic Party support in a nonpartisan election. It would be much more telling for me to hear facts from Mr. Nelson versus a passionate distraction to say the bullies are invoking Trump and picking on his spouse. These accusations and innuendo should be easy enough to address. There is an issue. The appearance of impropriety is, unfortunately, in today’s political climate, impropriety. I hear supporters of Mr. Nelson crying about half truths, tell me, an interested and active voter the truth.

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    1. I disagree with George Bennett’s statement that it is not a smear unless the issue is addressed. It seems to me that the supporters of Neil Tibbott have been bringing up innuendos and snarky “truths”, first anonymously and now at least, openly. Is Mike Nelson solely responsible for SEIU’s actions and fines? I think the folks signing the letter want to keep things as they have always been and apparently, will resort to unsavory activities to do so. I am solidly supporting Mike Nelson now.

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      1. That is fair, yet what rises to the level of a smear? What is not fair game? If Mr. Tibbot was asked the same questions, I would expect a similar series of answers that address the concerns in a clear and detailed way. The irony is not lost on me. We have a President that cries foul at the slightest of invocation of substance, and most of us disagree with that tactic. Now, we have a foul being called by folks who would otherwise be spitting venom at the same tactics. It comes down to sidewalks, sewers, streets, controlled growth, and a track record. Asking any candidate questions along the lines above are fair, and should be expected. Anything less than asking these questions of both candidates becomes a partisan attempt of subverting debate, and if there is one place where debate and dialogue should be sacred, that is local politics. Those are the politics that affect our way of life in the most direct way.

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      2. Judy, yes Mike was responsible for the punitive action against his “council”. Mike was one of two members of the council, the other being a subordinate. The AG complaint identified Mike Nelson specifically and the fine levied was related to the crime of illegal electioneering, funneling millions of dollars into elections under the table. Google “Mike Nelson WA AG”

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  4. This is plainly perfectly timed mud slinging, right before the ballots arrive in the mail. They had all summer to bring up concerns but chose instead to hit hard and unfairly then duck behind their antiquated past authority. Mike has explained some of these issues in detail to anyone who was listening before this week and as we all know, bullet points never tell the full story. Mike Nelson cares for his town and constituents and anyone who spends five minutes with him could see and hear just how much. Edmonds is lucky to have a talented leader in Mike Nelson. Don’t believe the ghosts of the past. A bright future for Edmonds demands Nelson as it’s forward thinking mayor.

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  5. Wow. “Lies, half truths, innuendos, and sleazy accusations “…yet not one of the statements were refuted. Just give us the facts please

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  6. Question, Mike Nelson. When you said “You refuse to let Trump style politics corrupt Edmonds,” are you saying the opposition are Trump supporters, or is this now a term used by Democrats to accuse others of being corrupt by somehow tying them to the way Trump supporters do politics? We are not all Democrats in Edmonds, and I was bothered by what you said. I met you for the first time in a local coffee shop, and you had my vote in the primary. You said that issues should be what we vote on, I agree.

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  7. My family has known Neil Tibbott and his family for many years. Mostly thru school functions and volunteering. He is an first class person with very good values. He would make a great Mayor! The Edmonds community would be better off with Neil as Mayor.

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  8. It’s great to see vetting of the candidates…many want to use the Mayor position as a stepping stone for higher political ambitions!!

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  9. I have yet to determine who I am going to vote for, I tend to vote democrat, but have concerns – one being the way way Mike Nelson handled the waterfront connector. He made it sound like he was against it all along. His comment, “I don’t need an environmental impact study to tell me this is a bad idea” (I may have gotten the last part wrong, but that was the gist of the statement) really sticks in my head – where was this thinking when he was co-chairing the committee that reviewed 50+ ideas and presented the controversial waterfront connector in the end? If he felt that way it never should have been presented as a viable solution.
    I agree with the distastefulness of “smear” campaigns – yet, I fail to see how the comments above are that. To me they are simple statements of what appear to be facts. If they are true, shouldn’t Nelson be trying to convince us of that.
    “going after my wife” again, I do not see what was said about her in any way as mudslinging – just a piece of information that he probably should have disclosed yet failed to do so – how is letting voters know his who is wife represents going after her?? Please explain.
    I would also want to know this about Tibbott’s wife.
    For I have concerns about him as well – from dealings with him as a parent years ago, but behavior speaks to me about his integrity.
    Yet, another election where I feel my choice will be based on who I think is the lesser of the 2 evils, rather than voting for someone because I truly think they are a great option

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  10. Mr. Nelson.. you are right. The Citizens of Edmonds do not deserve you. I find things in my life being a coincidence if something happens once. In the third paragraph above there are several items that have been brought forward that you sound-off in a way that say’s it’s a “Trumptastic smear campaign”. So, none of the above mentioned items happened? Why don’t you go on the record today and prove that none of the afore mentioned items is true? Prove that your opponent is a “Trumptastic smear campaign artist”! So you never did any of the things above?
    All we ask is that you prove the allegations false. If you can, then I should vote for you.
    Remember, if it smells like a rat, then it probably is a rat.

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  11. It appears that Mike Nelson has not always made friends with the Mayor’s office. Personally I think that it is good thing. It means that a Mike is dedicated to challenging that office and holding the Mayor accountable. This seems like a “sour grapes” campaign. I agree with a previous comment about providing relevant facts not sound bites of sensationalism.

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  12. All the Mike Nelson “supporters” got the memo, to refer to Nelson’s history as “mud slinging”. Why is Nelson’s troubled financial past, his union ties, and where his wife works “mud slinging”? These are true disclosure of Nelson’s past and are facts. He admitted to everything but somehow truth is now given a new name, “mud slinging”. We are being told that this true history should not be spoken or brought up in an election where Nelson is handling taxpayer dollars, city budgets and yes, unions. Even Nelson blames his multiple moves on housing prices. Nelson has portrayed himself as a “victim”, for his own poor choices. No thanks, our household will be voting for a person who understands and knows how to handle money/budgets, especially “other people’s money”! We do not need Mike Nelson who portrays himself as a Victim, to be Mayor of Edmonds.

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  13. Accusing his opponents of “Lies, half truths, innuendos, and sleazy accusations“, Mr. Nelson offers us nothing but exactly that, without addressing any of the issues calmly and factually. He _does_ have an implied conflict of interest in his union connections, and he needs to explain how those connections would not influence him in his mayoral decisions. I have met and spoken with both candidates, and Mr. Tibbott’s integrity and character make him my clear choice.

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  14. In debate circles, when someone (Tibbot supporters) create an argument backed up with facts, the burden of rejoinder is on the other party (Nelson or his supporters) to refute with facts. Emotions and outrage don’t count. He’s a lawyer and should know this. Debate 101.

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    1. Well said, Jamie Mann. The facts about the past integrity issues were presented well before this week. Mike Nelson’s responses did, as others noted, portray himself as a victim. One area that particularly caught my eye was his multiple years of past due federal income taxes. He stated that he obtained a payment agreement to pay them back. He also noted that he purchased his home in Edmonds during this time of delinquency. How many people could purchase homes if they also chose to deliberately not pay they taxes for multiple years? Anyone can make a mistake and mis-judge what they owe for a year. Multiple years is not a mistake. Since a payment agreement was obtained, the Internal Revenue Service chose to pursue his illegal activity in a civil resolution, not a criminal resolution. The government’s choice. The citizens of Edmonds now have the opportunity to make a choice on the integrity of the person they choose for mayor.

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    2. Jamie and Jeanne, Your comments are spot on. Mr Nelson does not refute the facts, but plays a victim. Using this mud slinging term is truly laughable, we have every right to know where a candidates wife works. Mike Nelson is clearly not Mayor Material, his response to the true facts of his history is that of a person who I will not vote to serve as Mayor of Edmonds.

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    3. I would just like for Mike Nelson to answer those accusations/mud slings, not divert! I am voting Neil Tibbot.

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  15. I think any reasonable person that reads this letter and Mr. Nelson’s response would conclude that it registers very lightly on any scale of mudslinging or smearing. The letter expresses what many people are concerned about as well as surprise that Mr. Nelson seems to be the front runner (based on the primary results). His federal income tax issue is something Mr. Nelson described thoroughly earlier this year. Can’t people express concern about his financial management credentials based on this story? I don’t think Mr. Nelson’s wife is attacked at all. They question whether Mr. Nelson should disclose the type of work she does given that he is running for mayor and there may be an opportunity for a perceived or actual conflict of interest. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the clients she represents or the work she does. Far from it.
    So Mr. Nelson’s broad brush response that this a smear, mudslinging or “an attack” hurts his cause. Also for a local election, don’t we want people who know and care about local politics to be those endorsing the candidate? State and federal endorsements, in my opinion, indicate more interest in politics at those levels of government and their interest in us (Edmonds). I’d prefer we worry about making Edmonds as great as it can be on our own first, then ask for help (or influence) later on our terms.

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  16. Nelson has some serious integrity issues. I certainly won’t vote for him. I hope others will see through the excuses and promises.

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  17. Kind words and gestures are as impactful as the list of “Who’s who and backing Whom” in local races. I am a relative newcomer to the area, and upon learning of the loss of our beloved pet, Mike Nelson stopped what he was doing at a local venue to offer kind words and condolences, and his spouse offered to pick up her remains for me at the vet if we were unable to do so.
    You know the saying about trusting who people to do the right thing when no one is looking? Those simple gestures brought my family great comfort.
    Anyone can “look” like they have integrity and character when not challenged, but it is the one who admits one’s imperfections and grows with them, rather than wields them as a weapon against others, has integrity.
    We look forward to standing with Mike Nelson who not only understands policies but also the people in the audience.

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  18. As the candidates are running for mayor, I do believe vetting both candidates’ recent experiences are appropriate, and Mr. Nelson should answer questions about his current job. Why didn’t he disclose his position as a lobbyist? As someone who is running for a position that will be in charge of negotiating contracts for the city, I’m concerned that a “friendly” Attorney General would find errors in his organization as so egregious, that they warranted a $250k fine. Will, his leadership, put Edmonds taxpayers at risk of similar mistakes or lack of oversight? Will Mr. Nelson’s role as Mayor be utterly independent of his (then former) role as head of a union when negotiating contracts? Mr. Nelson may have great answers to these questions – I just haven’t heard him answer them publicly, and he’s sidestepped responding to them by attacking the questioners.

    It is also essential for both candidates to show that they are independent in both fact and appearance. While I understand some might find it uncomfortable with this letter bringing Mr. Nelson’s wife into the race; Mr. Nelson is on the record stating that his #1 priority involves hiring more police and having more traffic police on the streets. I believe that any candidate for office should articulate when there are either factual conflicts of interest or situations that create the appearances of conflict of interest. Mr. Nelson’s policy proposals for adding more traffic police are likely entirely independent of his wife’s employment – I personally am willing to take him at face value on this point. That said, Mrs. Nelson’s job and Mike’s policy proposals do create the appearance of a conflict. I believe he should articulate how his policy positions will be independent of his wife’s employment and he shouldn’t be attacking people asking questions about it.

    I also find it ironic that Mr. Nelson references “Trump-like politics” when Trump himself has mastered “attacking the questioner” when it comes to answering genuine questions about his own conflicts of interest along with those in the Trump administration. If Mr. Nelson wants to be above the fray in D.C., he should answer citizen questions and not attack and smear those who question him.

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    1. So they both served on the same council, both accomplished stuff, and both are looking for promotion to a higher office. Both are subject to how and what they accomplished. I still see an emotional cry without substance or a willingness to address, and as far as I can tell, the other side has not said much either. I have not picked my candidate yet. I have stayed silent until the politics of blame started. None of the people who wrote these questions did the items in question. They are questions for the candidate that wants a promotion. That’s debate. That’s discussion. That’s what happens when you want a promotion. There’s nothing discriminatory, disparaging, or distasteful in the questions. The responses have that bent. Everyone who wants the answers is now a knuckle dragging Trump supporter who probably has anger issues. That’s not discourse. That’s easy and cheap name calling with no substance.

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    2. Thank you for addressing this Marjie. I agree. It seems as if Mr. Tibbott’s whole platform is “This is why you shouldn’t vote for Mr. Nelson”, instead of “This is why you should vote for me”. If the ‘Ghosts of Edmonds past”, really wanted to make an argument for Mr. Tibbott they would list his accomplishments. But, oh wait, he doesn’t have any. All Mr. Tibbott is is a mouthpiece for the “Old Bro Club” of Edmonds, to keep their agenda going.

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  19. As one who has given to both political parties on a national level, who has had strong ties to SEN. Murray’s office and yet has his picture with leading republicans, I wonder how I will be cast when I raise some of these very same questions. Could it truly be that “I am curious to know” the answers to many of these questions – or will my questions be twisted to be “leading” or part of a smear campaign?

    In full disclosure, I was a strong supporter of Mr. Nelson when he first ran for council. I’ve also enjoyed the conversations I’ve had with Mike. I can say the same of Neil. I helped him on his first campaign. And I remain supportive of him. And now we all have a decision to make – that should be based on both accomplishments, character, past dealings and actions.

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  20. I’m voting for Mike Nelson. I have met him on several occasions and have been impressed with him, and his wife, for being open and candid. To keep bringing up things like unpaid taxes when Mike wrote and explained what happened, is below the belt. Many, many people were hit hard during the great recession and the Nelsons are handling this well. Maybe what the past mayors and council persons don’t like is that Mike brings a breath of fresh air into Edmonds and won’t bow down and do things the good old way.

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  21. I think many comments in the initial letter are not asking questions but making innuendos. So Mike Nelson’s wife is a lawyer got the firm that represents the Edmonds Police Guild? And your concern about that is….? The union he works for was fined- was he directly responsible? Points are being raised in a manner I perceive as negative but clear questions are not being raised. Do we examine the voting record if every mayoral candidate? Nelson’s opponents say they just want answers to questions. Then please ask them clearly, possibly in a face to face forum. Otherwise, your approach seems negative, to me.

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  22. How does Mike not respond to the fine levied upon him by the Attorney General’s office?

    Mike acts unilaterally and end-runs those he should roll into the fold. Kristiana (a Democrat) took him down a rung for taking credit for her accomplishments and Brad Shipley (mostly a Democrat) popped Mike’s inflatable soapbox.

    I agree. I dont quite know or understand the conflict of interest with Mike’s wife. Ive heard about it, but nothing seems wrong there from my perspective. Table that and see what we’re left with.

    I compiled most of the information regarding Mike’s activities. If anyone wants to see the data and minutes themselves, email me at mdrich2012@gmail.com

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  23. These are both good people and we will be okay whichever one wins. Tibbott definitely represents old school Edmonds politics and Nelson represents a definite affront to the status quo and the good old boy downtown culture as usual. The letter from the past pol.s was totally predictable; I’m just surprised it took this long to hit the press. Both men voted correctly on the Connector in the end. I think Neson’s vote was so he might win and Tibbot’s vote was so he wouldn’t lose for sure. Actions always tell you more than words.

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