Emergency council meeting Friday to address firearms language, plastic bag ban

Mayor Mike Nelson

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson has asked the Edmonds City Council to meet Friday afternoon to consider two items: Removing language related to the possession of firearms now in the city’s Disaster Preparation and Coordination ordinance, and temporarily lifting the city’s plastic bag ban in light of the COVID-10 epidemic.

The meeting will be conducted virtually and live­-streamed starting at 3 p.m. Friday on the city’s website and on Channel 21. The council chambers will not be open, in compliance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s temporary suspension of a portion of the Open Public Meetings Act to prevent the gathering of people in a single location.

You can access the live-stream (click the video link once the meeting starts) and the council agenda at this link.

Members of the public are welcome to comment via email at council@edmondswa.gov

The first action on the council agenda will be to revise the amendments to Edmonds City Code (ECC) Chapter 6.60 (“Disaster Preparation, Emergency Coordination, and Civil Emergencies”) approved by city council in a special session March 22.  According to a city press release announcing the meeting, “the mayor will specifically ask for council support for an amendment to Section 6.60.090 (which lays out items that could potentially be invoked by order of a mayor in case of emergency) by removing Subsection G related to carrying or possessing firearms with intent to do bodily harm.”

That subsection has generated concerns by citizens who worry about the impact it could have — if ever enacted — on Second Amendment rights, and even prompted tax activist and gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman to visit the council chambers March 24 with a group of supporters.

In addition, Nelson will ask council to temporarily suspend for 90 days the city’s plastic bag ban, so grocery stores could use light-gauge plastic bags.

The council agenda memo notes that grocers have not been able to keep an adequate supply of heavy-gauge plastic bags or paper bags, due to “the outbreak of COVID-19 and the need to take many precautionary measures to reduce exposure, and the additional demand from shoppers to purchase more food and other grocery store supplies. In addition, due to concerns about the spread of infection, grocery store checkers are reluctant to handle used bags that customers bring for carryout purposes.”

 

 

8 Replies to “Emergency council meeting Friday to address firearms language, plastic bag ban”

  1. Very sensible. Regardless how one interprets the 2nd Amendment, it was divisive and unnecessary in a set of resolutions to deal with the virus. I suspect dismay in these virtual pages helped, anf the mayor is to be praised for being flexible and reacting so fast.

    Now let’s work to pull together and focus on mutual support and community.

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    1. I’m hoping that the mayor interpreted the posted messages as necessary and friendly feedback, and not as random criticisms. If the mayor does indeed backtrack on this, it’s a big and welcome surprise because it tells me that he wants to grow and do the best job he can in the office he holds. This improves his record of being a listener, but he’d have my blessing to never listen to Eyman.

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  2. Nathaniel, I do admire those who can own their mistakes. What will be key in keeping community united is for those we elect to keep focused on the immediate mission without clouding it with personal agendas…both locally, state wide and nationally.

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    1. Very well put Mike. Kudos to the mayor and council for adapting, pivoting, and focusing only on what’s important during this emergency. We need to remember that these are unprecedented times and taking quick action will results in some mistakes (the only perfect set of plans are the ones that aren’t built). I’m happy to see our leaders have the humility and confidence to go back and fix those mistakes.

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  3. To citizens who want to make Public Comment today, please know that my two attempts to use the public comment email address came back as not able to be delivered. Following are my public comments submitted directly to the City Council for today’s meeting:

    City of Edmonds decision makers should never let decisions stand after they become aware that they were provided false, misleading, incomplete or inaccurate information. This is true of City Staff, the Hearing Examiner and City Council.

    To do so rewards wrong and encourages the provision of false, misleading, incomplete or inaccurate information. I’ve seen the City of Edmonds not only let such decisions stand – I’ve seen the City of Edmonds side with the wrongdoers by refusing to correct the decisions made even when the City knows what took place. Such City of Edmonds conduct promotes great distrust in City government.

    I’ve seen City Staff and the City Attorney discuss the fact that required information was left off a survey yet choose to not inform the applicant that the subdivision application is ruled incomplete. I’ve seen the Hearing Examiner refuse to act after being made aware that City Staff and the City Attorney provided the Hearing Examiner an incomplete list of relevant City Code sections. I’ve seen the City Council refuse to act after being made aware that the City Council Agenda packet provided to Council was missing critical information.

    In exasperation, I have told others that it seems that City of Edmonds government loves to reward those who provide false, misleading, incomplete or inaccurate information.

    It happened again last Sunday. An emergency meeting of the City Council was suddenly thrown together on a Sunday afternoon. Mayor Mike Nelson wanted to immediately amend Chapter 6.60 of the Edmonds City Code (ECC). Within a few short hours, the City Council voted to approve new Ordinance No. 4177.

    Chapter 6.60 ECC is linked to the exercise of emergency powers as prescribed by RCW 38.52.070. RCW 38.52.070 states that:

    Each political subdivision of this state is hereby authorized and directed to establish a local organization or to be a member of a joint local organization for emergency management in accordance with the state comprehensive emergency management plan and program: PROVIDED, That a political subdivision proposing such establishment shall submit its plan and program for emergency management to the state director and secure his or her recommendations thereon, and verification of consistency with the state comprehensive emergency management plan, in order that the plan of the local organization for emergency management may be coordinated with the plan and program of the state.

    The City of Edmonds plan for emergency management is documented in the City’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). The CEMP lists the City of Edmonds Emergency Operations Board as a PRIMARY AGENCY. New Ordinance No. 4177 eliminates the Emergency Operations Board from the City’s Emergency Management Organization. I can find no evidence that the City Council was informed of the CEMP before it voted to pass Ordinance No. 4177. I can find no evidence that the City Council was told that the elimination of the Emergency Operations Board from the City’s Emergency Management Organization results in the City’s Code becoming inconsistent with the CEMP. Please appreciate, our CEMP is a Plan previously verified by the state director for consistency with the state comprehensive emergency management plan, in order that the City’s plan for emergency management may be coordinated with the plan and program of the state.

    Ordinance No. 4177 was passed after incomplete information was provided to the City Council. The public was blocked from the surprise process and not allowed to inform the City Council about the CEMP or that our CEMP requires the PRIMARY AGENCY known as the Emergency Operations Board.

    On March 24, 2020, City Attorney Jeff Taraday informed Councilmember Diane Buckshnis that:
    “I removed the emergency operations board from the ordinance that revised chapter 6.60 because the city, to my knowledge, no longer has such a board. I was primarily trying to conform the ordinance to current practice.”

    This highly alarming admission requires immediate investigation. Has the City of Edmonds practice been to operate without the PRIMARY AGENCY established in our CEMP? If so, how long has our City Government been violating ECC 6.60.035.C? Per the CEMP, the Emergency Operations Board shall be responsible for evaluating a situation to determine if a Proclamation of Emergency by the Mayor is necessary. If the city no longer has such a board, who determined that the Mayor’s March 5th Proclamation of Emergency was necessary? Will the parties responsible be held accountable?

    There are additional problems with new Ordinance No. 4177, such as its two references to the Emergency Services Coordinating Agency (ESCA). When one clicks on the link to the Emergency Services Coordinating Agency on the City of Edmonds website, you are taken to a webpage that discusses a license to drive in the State of Texas. I urge City Council to immediately repeal flawed new Ordinance No. 4177. Please repeal and initiate a proper legislative process if chapter 6.60 ECC needs to be updated. Please ask Mayor Nelson and City Attorney Taraday to explain to all, including the public, why they failed to provide complete information to the City Council prior to Council’s vote last Sunday. Thank you.

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  4. Restaurants offering take-out often need to place multiple boxes in a bag. Plastic bags are what I have seen most often. Makes sense.

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  5. Very disappointed that our new mayor would attempt to pass gun regulation thru during the pandemic…let’s deal with the emergency at hand and address our 2nd amendment rights when the public can attend. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky…

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