Between Assignments: 100,000

Dave Earling (Photo by Jon Anderson)

Stunning, simply stunning! How many of us are able to initially comprehend the loss of life of America’s citizens in that magnitude? The combined number of fatalities we have experienced exceeds the combined total of American deaths in the Korean War and Vietnam conflict. 100,000! And by the time you read this, there will be scores more.

In truth, for the past couple of weeks I have been working on a piece about the importance of the arts in our lives. However with the ongoing challenges we have with the coronavirus I have altered a priority or two.

There are bits and pieces of angst, anger, frustration and hope mixed into my current attitude toward the dilemma of how we as a nation, state, and local government have coped with the coronavirus.

Admittedly my personal feelings in dealing with the virus comes from concern for the health of my family, friends, and certainly a slightly different perspective when still feeling responsible to a city of 40,000 citizens as the former mayor.

So let’s start local…and I include Edmonds and all of Snohomish County as local. As of last weekend we in Snohomish County have lost 145 citizens, 24 of those from Edmonds. I think most of us believe we have more deaths than that. I haven’t traveled the county much, but then I am “locked down” too. But by following reports in media and conversations with decision makers and friends, we have made great progress.

Our County Exec, Council and Health District have co-ordinated well in having us understand the significance of the hard work we need to do to work our way out of the “lockdown”. Even though we have have not perfectly met all of the Governor’s criteria to move to the next phase, the County has applied through the appeal process to move us to “phase 2”.  Wish us all luck there. I still need a haircut and we need to show progress to assist our retail and restaurant community.

At the Edmonds level our local government has taken a very positive step toward encouraging us to follow the basic rules of distancing, washing hands and wearing masks when in public. We as a community have responded as I guessed and knew we would. Last weekend while at the local grocery store, as an example, virtually everyone in the store wore a mask! We have been serious!

At the state level, our Governor has taken us down the correct path. Laying out ground rules, monitoring progress carefully and laying out a path for success to move us out of “lockdown” We are in the middle of that process, but so far we have taken his guidelines seriously and with few exceptions made great progress.

At the national level we are a nation with at best, mixed results. The institutions we expect to show leadership such as the CDC and NIH have shown that leadership, relying on science and professional recommendations from years of research and experience. Kudos to Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci for their leadership in delivering strong messages and not backing down in certain key situations.

At the Federal level we have had to witness lack of decision making on policy, and then modifying with almost daily or weekly shifts in those policy decisions causing extensive delay and progress. The most troubling of course was waiting for our leader to admit to the nation after two months delay and excuse making, we were in fact in the midst of a  pandemic. Beyond those delay’s, we have endured leaders not following key task force recommendations such as wearing of facial masks in public and going further afield with suggestions to the nation such as injecting disinfectant into our bodies or taking hydroxychloroquine as potential cures. Leaders need to lead, not dither. Admittedly the President is not responsible for the virus, but the lack of leadership at key points has in part caused pain and suffering to countless thousands of individuals and their families with illness and death. 

So after that ramble, we are where we are. At the local and state level we have had successful progress with attacking the pandemic. While it stresses me there are those who will continue to use hoax or violation of personal liberties as the theme for the resistance, collectively while paralyzed with the self imposed isolation and the knowledge we have lost more than 100,000 of our fellow citizens, we as a nation will continue to understand we have the strength and ability to work together to defeat our challenge

— By Dave Earling

Former Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling is a music educator and business owner. He and his wife Susan have three adult children and four grandchildren.


14 Replies to “Between Assignments: 100,000”

  1. SNOPES:
    During a Feb. 28, 2020, campaign rally in South Carolina, President Donald Trump likened the Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the new coronavirus outbreak to their efforts to impeach him, saying “this is their new hoax.”

    What’s False
    Despite creating some confusion with his remarks, Trump did not call the coronavirus itself a hoax.



  2. How did the CDC and NIH do a great job and only Trump was terrible when all of his statements that people don’t like are after briefings from those same officials?

    Did Trump pull Hydroxychloroquine out of thin air? When Trump said “not to worry, just like the flu, not going to be a pandemic” in Jan-Feb Fauci was publicly saying the exact same thing…. so did Trump hear it from Fauci and others in briefings or did Fauci parrot Trump? It is not Trump that has the CDC changing their minds constantly on Covid being infectious on surfaces or how effective it is to wear masks. It isn’t Trump sitting in a lab somewhere not coming up with effective test kits despite unprecedented funding that started in Jan. It was not Trump that came up with all the terrible predictive models. It was not Trump that closed schools and is not opening them back up based on data sets of infection patterns that used the flu as a model. It was not the Feds that told NY to start their shutdown late among many other errors. Speaking of which if you believe Cuomo its the CDC that forced him to send Covid positive patients back to nursing homes. It was not the Feds that caused us in Washington to do a worse job with long term care facilities than a state like Florida that faced a much bigger potential problem.

    People need to face the stark reality that the biggest problem we have had with this is the experts being wrong and Trump (and others) “listening to the science and following the data” in error.


  3. A typical one-sided partisan piece characteristic of our former mayor. This leadership talk is from the same guy who wanted to built a freeway off ramp on our local beach.


  4. Sadly we as bloggers pick any word or comment to be our launch pad for things that do very little to help our community. When we sit down at our keyboards we should take off our masks, get some fresh air with a very deep breath and then put on our thinking caps to see if there are any ideas or concepts or plans we can discuss to help with the basic question “Where do we go from here?” Here are some questions we can collectively think about with our being political.
    1. 12 of the 25 dead were in a care facility. How do we protect those folks not only from CV19 but for the upcoming flu season. They did not go to China to catch CV19, some how we brought the virus to them.
    2. Are there any ways we can not only restart Edmonds businesses but help them survive. If we cannot help them survive can we find new businesses to take their place or should we just let the market place work?
    3. How do we in Edmonds protect ourselves and others now that we are allowed to leave our homes?

    Let’s use former mayor Earling comments to trigger thinking that will be good for Edmonds.

    What follows is meant to be a joke. Dave Earling labels his remarks as “Between Assignments”. If he had further political ambitions he has a fund raising problem! Some have accuse him in the past to have been in the “pockets of the big developers” I would be my bet the the big developer with the last name starting with a “T” will not be a contributor to Dave Earling’s next assignment!!

    Laugh or not, lets get to work helping bring Edmonds back to life!


    1. Columns are opinion pieces. Anyone want to write a commentary or letter to the editor expressing a different view? Go for it.


    2. Former mayor Earling is not a hack nor is he partisan. I have witnessed him publicly supporting both political parties.


      1. Then what is this commentary? What you might have seen in the past, is exactly that, the past. What “former mayor Earling” wrote here is not only misinformed but is thinly veiled partisan UN-facts that are definitely aimed at not letting a crises go to waste; and for what purpose? Today we need unity not an ex-politicians attempt at more division.


    3. Have you Trumpsters tried the bleach treatment as per your president’s brilliant idea? How about trying the Hydrochloroquine that he took then stopped taking? He sure “reverses course” a lot. He had a 2 month head start on this virus irrespective of what the CDC or China was disseminating about how to handle it…and he failed like he has so many times (yes, Chapter 11 also means fail). “Anyone” can get a test…in March? Really? He also may not have technically, verbally, word for word called it a hoax, but he sure downplayed the heck out of it with Trump-like results: DISASTROUS! All the power and zero accountability and not even close to a true leader.


  5. It is great that Jeff, Allen, Anthony and Scott, exposed Earling for what he is, an out of touch ex-mayor that ended with a final humiliation (connector) that he could not shove down the throats of the people of Edmonds. This commentary from Earling is full of false statements…… 100,000 …… and will be scores more (?)…. more deaths than the Korean and Vietnam wars combined?…….war numbers are people UNDER 30 yrs old!


  6. Hey Dave Earling…Don’t throw stones at your neighbors, if your own windows are glass…


  7. Fact check (go to for the timeline if you want to verify for yourself): Public Health Emergency declared by the White House on January 31, 2020. WHO declared pandemic on March 11, 2020. White House declared National Emergency on March 13, 2020. The two month delay in action, referenced in the commentary, is a common falsehood circulating on social media.


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