As our city council begins with a new mayor, new and seasoned councilmembers; it might be time to remember that they are supposed to be non-partisan elected officials with goals of good government for all the citizens of Edmonds. Perhaps to start off this quest we should begin with civility. Civility is a key to productive governing. Listen, Talk and Respect is a worthwhile pledge.
How we talk about things matters. While we may be able to share our views and express our opinions, one should leave room for someone else’s viewpoint. Understandable at times that can be challenging. How can we seek to listen to those who hold different beliefs? How can we respectfully disagree? Being polite is an important social skill, whether in private or before many, it’s just good manners.
Councils and boards regularly are faced with challenging and complex issues that can spark strong emotions. A critical responsibility of a leader is to facilitate conversations in the community about important issues.
A leader should take the responsibility to be civil and to have respectful and meaningful interactions despite differences of opinion on a particular issue, and to create an environment where those leaders, staff, and citizens can have the opportunity to express views openly without personal attack. There is nothing wrong offering one’s opinion, or to bring forth facts, often it’s how you do it. Doing so in a civil manner, ensuring any facts are represented accurately is a personal responsibility.
Our community leaders should commit to embracing principles that establish a framework for conversations about difficult and complex issues and harmonizing feedback from their peers, staff, and citizens; hopefully resulting in decisions that are informed and well-balanced for the whole community.
Edmonds is a place where our community as a whole — with its mix of cultural identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religious beliefs and more — represent an increasing diversity in Edmond’s environment. Our community leaders should strive for civility and be held accountable to find common ground and build a lasting framework for our community, especially when discussing important city issues.
By encouraging a listen, talk and respect philosophy, leaders should strive to promote harmony, community, responsible citizenship, and effective leadership.
Edmonds is a wonderful place to live, work and visit. Working together as a community, we can keep it that way. The Edmonds Community will be watching.