Council approves hazard pay for Edmonds grocery workers; hears ire of retailers opposed to Walkable Main Street

City Attorney Jeff Taraday, bottom row-far left, discusses the proposed ordinance for grocery workers’ hazard pay during Tuesday’s Edmonds City Council meeting.

The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night approved Mayor Mike Nelson’s proposal to require Edmonds grocery stores to provide an extra $4 an hour in hazard pay for their employees. The measure — which applies to Edmonds grocers who employee 500 or more workers statewide —  was originally proposed as an emergency ordinance, meaning it would have been effective within days if approved by a supermajority of five or more councilmembers. In the end, the vote was 4-1, with two abstentions, so the measure will go into effect in 30 days.

During public comments, the council also received an earful of negative comments from downtown merchants regarding the city administration’s plans to reinstitute its Walkable Main Street program — which last year closed Main Street between 3rd and 6th Avenues to vehicle traffic on weekends from June 20-Oct. 11.

A representative of the grocery industry as well as several grocery workers addressed the hazard pay issue as part of the public comment period. Holly Chisa of the Northwest Grocery Association, which represents grocery chains with a presence in Edmonds such as QFC and Safeway, said that the association is concerned that the measure “pits us against other retailers in the city” not covered by the ordinance. For example, Chisa noted that under the measure, pharmacy technicians employed by grocery stores would receive hazard pay but pharmacy technicians employed by Rite Aid would not.

Michaela Strain, who works as a QFC meat wrapper, said that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she and many of her co-workers “have been showing up to work every day to ensure that the community of Edmonds has a reliable source of food,” even as restaurants and schools were shut down. While Kroger, which owns QFC, and other large grocery chains initially rewarded workers with a $2-an-hour hazard pay increase early in the pandemic, “that pay bump was taken away last May even though the hazardous conditions have remained and at times gotten worse,” Strain said.

Union leaders have been trying to get that hazard pay reinstated ever since, Strain continued, adding that the companies are large national corporations “making billions in profits and refusing to share that profit with essential frontline workers that show up every day to help keep the community fed.”

Debbie Gath with Teamsters Union Local 38, which represents over 3,000 Snohomish County grocery workers, said that while they are encouraged more workers are getting vaccinated, “in this pandemic world, things are changing daily. “

That point was also reiterated by City Attorney Jeff Taraday in discussing with the council the reasons why the mayor is proposing the measure now — a year after the pandemic started. “There’s a lot of uncertainty how effective the vaccines are going to be against some of the (virus) variants that are appearing,” said Taraday, adding it’s also concerning that the Snohomish Health District said Tuesday that the county’s COVID infection rate is increasing. “I think there’s still some signifcant risk there that these workers are facing,” Taraday said.

Three councilmembers — Diane Buckshnis, Kristiana Johnson and Vivian Olson — raised a range of questions about the hazard pay measure, including why other frontline workers — especially those in the health care field — weren’t prioritized or at least included as part of the hazard pay ordinance. Taraday responded that the administration could consider addressing hazard pay for other groups if the councilmembers requested it.

Olson said that while she is “so appreciating all of our frontline workers,” it appeared to her that a main reason for the hazard pay was because of “record profits” made by grocery stores. She stated that consumers should “shop with their wallets” and support local grocers that are already offering $4 an hour in hazard pay — currently the PCC in Edmonds plus Trader Joe’s in nearby Shoreline and Lynnwood. “It’s not the government’s role to determine the salaries that businesses pay their employees,” Olson said. “This is about profit and having a problem with the profits that are being made by this company, and we have appropriate government regulation against pandemic profiteering.”

Councilmembers Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Susan Paine, Laura Johnson and Luke Distelhorst all spoke in support of the mayor’s proposal.

“There are enough activities going on in grocery stores that put the workers at risk, day in, day out,” Paine said. That includes asking customers to wear masks and participating in regular cleaning protocols, “whether you’re at the register, managing carts or doing cleanup, or just tidying up all the places where people touch.”

“These people have been working over and over, doing more work than they had ever planned in scary, scary times,” she added. “This gives them the opportunity to be made whole.”

When it came time to vote, Councilmembers Fraley-Monillas, Paine, Laura Johnson and Distelhorst were in support of the hazard pay, Vivian Olson opposed it, and Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson abstained.

Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty speaks to the council Tuesday night about Walkable Main Street.

As for Walkable Main Street, several downtown retail store owners used the public comment period to declare their opposition to the program, even though the mayor has already indicated it will proceed.

Robert Boehlke, who owns HouseWares, said his Main Street business suffered on Saturdays last year, adding that customers had trouble finding parking. The demographic attracted to Walkable Main Street is younger and “more interested in a party atmosphere” than shopping, he said.

Kate Guthrie, who owns Glazed and Amazed pottery studio at 5th and Main near the fountain, said her business depends on having parking nearby for the families and elderly shoppers — and Walkable Main Street has taken that parking away. “I lose customers because of it,” Guthrie said, adding it  deters people from coming to her store on weekends. In addition, Gutherie pointed to concerns from other businesses located outside “the chosen zone” — how they describe the Walkable Main Street area — who have also seen sales decrease.

“For the record, not everyone loves the Walkable Main Street program,” said Jenny Murphy, owner of women’s clothing boutique Sound Styles, also located near the fountain at 5th and Main. “Many of us — Edmonds business owners and residents alike — feel it’s a wave that can’t be stopped and are deeply frustrated by the fact that our voices are unheard when our livelihoods are at stake.” She has heard complaints that the outdoor “streateries” — permitted so that restaurants could offer outdoor dining during the pandemic — have greatly altered the town’s aesthetics, blocked sidewalks and removed parking.

“The restaurants have had their chance to expand into much-needed parking spaces, which has kept them afloat, but at whose expense?” Murphy asked. “Please keep our streets open and do not allow our town to become one big Taste of Edmonds,” Murphy said. “And remember, when people in a community don’t feel heard, those communities fall apart. Let’s work to stay together, not just be a restaurant district. We need all of us.”

Cline Jewelers owner Andy Cline, located on 5th Avenue near Main Street, told the council that “when the streets are closed, retail does not thrive. Restaurants and bars do.” Big Edmonds events like the car show or Taste Edmonds, where people are walking around town, “are absolutely the worst days for retail,” Cline said. He also criticized the city’s Walkable Main Street survey conducted in March as “very skewed,” noting it didn’t ask respondents whether they supported Walkable Main Street in the first place. Instead the focus was on ways to expand or enhance the program.

(You can see the survey results in this link to the council agenda.)

While the city stated that the survey garnered responses from 1,332 people and there were 629 individual comments, of which 88% expressed support for Walkable Main Street, “how many people — like me — didn’t fill out the survey? We didn’t want to answer questions that we didn’t agree with,” Cline said.

“I don’t think there’s a need for Walkable Main,” he added. “It’s a great fun atmophere but I hear people are just staying away on the weekends now and some of our top customers said they won’t even come down on the weekends.”

Pedro Germano, who manages Demitris Woodstone Taverna — a restaurant located near the Edmonds ferry terminal and outside the Walkable Main Street area, said his business was down over 30% on weekends during the Walkable Main Street program. “If you direct everybody to one single spot, it’s obvious what’s going to happen with the rest of the businesses,” Germano said. In addition, with a possible “fourth wave” of COVID looming, Walkable Main Street only serves to encourage people to gather with no one controlling how many are gathering. “I just don’t think it’s healthy,” he said.

Between federal and state loans and grants, plus options for streateries, restaurants have had “plenty of help,” Germano said. “So I don’t know what else the city wants to do to help that specifically chosen zone and not help the whole city of Edmonds.”

In his Walkable Main Street presentation to council, Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty also noted that in addition to the public survey, representatives of 31 merchants participated in a facilitated roundtable discussion on Walkable Main Street. Among the ideas discussed were adding street closures on Friday nights, providing A frame or other temporary signage promoting businesses outside the walkable area, addressing parking concerns, and ensuring that sidewalks maintain ADA access.

In making his case for maintaining the Walkable Main Street program, Doherty said that business owners do support the street closure, but didn’t show up to comment to the council Tuesday night. He also pointed to comments on the city’s Facebook page that indicate many people are concerned about coming downtown during the pandemic due to the city’s narrow streets and the inability to maintain social distancing.

While the city has decided to move ahead with the program and has surveyed the public, the administration is still interested in hearing comments and concerns from the council, Doherty said.

There were a range of thoughts from councilmembers: Vivian Olson suggested that the program not been implemented on days when there was a likely chance of rain in fhe forecast (Doherty noted the difficulty of using unpredictable weather forecasts to make closure decisions); Susan Paine wondered if the event could be limited to two weekends a month instead of four (Doherty said that could be problematic because people may not remember which weekends are open or closed).

Councilmember Laura Johnson then suggested the program could perhaps run from 6 p.m. Saturday through all day Sunday, thus giving retailers a full weekend Saturday without closure and parking worries. That idea was also supported by Councilmember Kristiana Johnson.

Walkable Main Street ideas will continue to be discussed at future council meetings.

— By Teresa Wippel

 

 

62 Replies to “Council approves hazard pay for Edmonds grocery workers; hears ire of retailers opposed to Walkable Main Street”

  1. The government intruding into the private sector to mandate wages for businesses that have negotiated agreements with labor unions, not listening to the merchants and citizens concerns around the “clutter” that has become downtown Edmonds. It is clear the Mayor and all of the council members need to be voted out of office at every opportunity. Remember ,in the end, we get the government we deserve.

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  2. The hazard pay ordinance needs to be challenged in court…Mayor and City Council are overstepping their authority!

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    1. I have been a resident, and taxpayer in Edmonds for 45 years, my mom was a business owner downtown for 16 years. When did it become acceptable for a city not to listen to the tax paying, permit fee paying small business owners and residents. Why are we allowing our city leaders to take away our voices, we are the people, when a community’s voices are ignored the community will ultimately fail, it seems that we are well on our way to complete separation between our residents and our city government. How long before we start hearing about envelopes of cash being mysteriously found on some of the city officials desk’s, another unfortunate true history of our city government. WHAT EVER HAPPENED to it’s an Edmonds Kind of Day.

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  3. Wow. Even those who speak against something are dismissed by the City saying that somehow they don’t count because there’s who didn’t speak are in favor of it. He City Attorney was arguing that the vaccines may not work so hazard pay is necessary. Ms Monillas argued passionately argued that no one needs restaurants or bars. But grocery stores we do. So only the chain groceries who make outrageous profits should pay workers hazard pay. Mr Distelhorst came unglued about public transit ( where his day job is} but that public transit pays for hazard (ignoring that pubic transit is funded largely by taxes). As to ‘walkable Edmonds’. Apparently there is no stopping that. Where they argued about safety for the minority of grocery workers ,that concern magically disappeared as they talked about the street festival weekends. Simply astonishing. So the mayor and his cohorts on council have done the Unions negotiations for them. Small grocery firms with equally as in jeopardy grocery workers, not so much. Even the ordinance they passed is not an emergency order. But hey, let’s all party in the street. So, left or right, nuts is nuts. And since if you disagree, they can always quote someone who didn’t speak. Does it improve our safety? Does the shanty town look of Edmonds really appeal to anyone? Once the emergency order from inslee is lifted I hope there will be some accountability for all the over reach and nonsense.

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  4. A City Council that continues to disappoint.
    The City should NOT be dictating what businesses pay their employees. Not your job.
    Businesses and Employee Unions have the responsibility to make those decisions…not the City.
    You deserve to get sued on this one.

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    1. Best the city stays out of trying to tell businesses how to pay their employees. Second, the city has focused on restaurants and getting more restaurants. Adding to traffic and taking away from the enjoyment of those living in Edmonds.

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        1. Sounds like Socialism & Marxism taking over our city government, telling employers what to pay their employees ! Where does it end with this mayor ? Hello Seattle !!!

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  5. The businesses need to form a Edmonds Downtown Alliance so that they can unionize against the City, get a lawyer on retainer.

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  6. If Mike and his minions on the City Council can do this to QFC and other businesses they can do it to private citizens, too. Mike has no just authority to selectively take property from private entities as he is doing here. He has only that authority founded in bureaucratic power, something unfortunately enhanced and expanded beyond all reasonable scope by the presumed emergency we find ourselves in. We no longer have a representative government; we have the Tyranny of Mike.

    Will he get away with it? Probably, at least for a while. I hope the affected entities sue the City of Edmonds.

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    1. Maybe the citizens of Edmonds are also a concern. Right? Right.
      We too with the help or not of the UCLA can start a nice title class action suit of our own, we have many reasons for doing so.
      Right now I won’t list these. Don’t want to stir the hives too much until we are ready. We will also do this with complete transparency.

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      1. I support this 100%. There must be a lawyer reading these comments who lives here – I wonder what he or she thinks? Is there a case for Edmonds citizens? For affected businesses?

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  7. I appreciate the creativity on the part of Councilmembers Susan Paine and and Laura Johnson in addressing the issues with Walkable Main Street. Thank you for listening to business owners and offering solutions that can preserve the walkability AND give retail businesses what they need.

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  8. I would be very interested to know where the people running for City Council stand on the “hazard pay” issue; would Alicia, Janelle, Neil kindly respond? We all know that Adrienne and Luke stand with Mike Nelson.
    The business people who supported Mike Nelson but don’t support his “walkable” Main Street, need to speak up. I’m glad to see that Cline’s has the courage to let their thoughts be heard., as well as Sound Styles. Mr Doherty and Nelson have “selective hearing”, they only hear what agrees with them.

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    1. Totally agree. And I thank Clines too. I love a man or woman who puts others before him or her self. You are now my jeweler. And I will tell others. .

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  9. Once again the mayor and his “faithful four” have given me another reason to vote for their opponents in the coming election. We are becoming a “Little Seattle” very rapidly which is quite sad. The walkable Main Street survey was a joke as Andy Cline commented. There was only one way to comment against it while the questions only led to enhancements to an already decided issue. I have walking difficulties and this does not even allow me to drive to downtown restaurants to pick up orders. I’ll jus go to Lynnwood or Shoreline instead.

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  10. An old friend of mine called downtown Edmonds ” Food Court”…..Another friend called in “Unwalkable Edmonds”

    We need all of our businesses….not just the restaurants.. as much as I love them…! Weekends are big days for retail…there were some good ideas put forth limiting the no-traffic times….There must be a happy medium somewhere.

    Are we just becomming one big “Taste of Edmonds”? or are we creating a “Waste of Edmonds?” Again, nothing against restaurants…I’m a Girardis and Taki Tiki Rory’s fan. We need some out of the box thinking here. I wish I were versed in City Planning. which I’m not….so all I can do is verbalize.

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  11. The great thing about this Mayor, Council and City Attorney is I don’t have to watch the boring meetings anymore. I know the various outcomes of all the issues before they happen. Just think 4 to 3 on all things Edmonds now. Great system of city government we have going here. Anyone interested in a change to Council/Manager system yet?

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  12. Just keep voting [D] for more of this type of leadership. I still can’t get over the Police chief fiasco.

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    1. Ed, not all Democrats including me are Socialists or Socialist wanna bees. I as a Democrat not a Socialist believe we should have a mixed council. But…NO far extreme Right Wing. AND NO far extreme Left wing. We need in both parties A bit of centerist thinking. People who are passionate but can and will work together. I am inclined to vote against all of them…I need to know exactly where each candidate stands on everything.
      This is a start over for us Edmonds…We may only get one.

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  13. The mayor said his number one priority is the safety of the citizens of Edmonds, yet he wants to pack main st. so people can party Who is going enforce masks and social distancing. Sounds like it could turn into a super spreader.The Mayors number one priority is politics (think europe) Quite the dog and pony show last nite

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    1. That’s the point. Main Street ISN’T packed for the most part. Retailers suffer loss of business on probably the most important day of the week for them.

      If you are forcing an “Unshoppable Main Street” on us move it to Sunday. The restaurants are still open and, even though a few retailers might suffer, the impact would be a lot less severe on the ones that are open on Sundays.

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  14. I too feel Mayor and Council are overstepping in regards to Grocery $4 hazard pay, which should be required by their Unions. As for the two council members; Diane Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson choosing to not involve, aka “abstain” themselves in the vote, just how often can one choose to not do what is expected of them?

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    1. Oh what an evil web we weave….I filled out the vague survey. They didn’t ask, you are correct.
      I am not in favor of Walkable Edmonds..I am not in favor of street closures.
      First not fair for retailers, or citizens who do not live within 3 blocks of the city.
      As far as the Grocery Stores are concerned. What annoyed me more than anything was Vivian Olsen suggesting where we should get our groceries. PCC OR Trader Joe’s. Well we don’t all like organic we are not all vegan or vegetarians. A family of 2 cannot use some organics as they expire very quickly. Also, many products not available. And for many to most of Edmonds finds PCC too expensive, Vivian Olsen. Hey she said it right here. The nerve…I am totally shocked at that.
      This is out of control, I am ashamed of our city and our Council on so many levels, it’s sad.

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      1. I can see how that could rub you the wrong way.

        As you know from my “no” vote and from watching the meeting, I thought this grocery store hazard pay proposal was problematic. Why this industry and not others with the same or greater hazard levels? Why now as the vaccine rollout is getting to the “all eligible” stage? Should the government be involved? What are the unintended consequences?

        This discussion highlighted the grocery stores who were voluntarily doing the extra for their frontline workers. I thought that a positive, that as consumers, we can support those which have policies we respect, like providing more care for all involved, from the growers to the employees. You properly add the caveat “if you can afford to”, which was a point I made at another juncture. I pointed out that low income residents would be further inconvenienced if this was passed as they travel to a Lynnwood store to shop where there is no $4/hour hazard pay being passed on in the price of their groceries.

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    2. If you follow the entire meeting, both Kristiana Johnson and I said we did not have enough information to make a valid decision as the packet ONLY contained the ordinance. There were many questions I asked as did Vivian Olson and Kristiana. Kristiana said she needed more time to see the statistics and details that were obviously missing, so that can lead to an abstention. In my opinion, if the local legislators want to to overstep their legislative roles and inject themselves into corporations and unions – why not treat all front line workers with equality and mandate hazard pay to teachers, nurses or small business that are on the frontline in Edmonds? There was not enough information to understand this concept and being a fiscal conservative and an extremely pragmatic process person, I could not make a valid decision despite the fact that I heard the emotional comments last night and I agree – these workers have done a stupendous job and really should be paid hazard pay (by their unions like PCC or Trader Joes). Lastly, I listen attentively at meetings and you will find I abstained another time last year during the bike lane debacle when Vivian said she needed more time to assimilate data and hundreds of citizen comments. So, it all comes down to a complete packet and transparency and this was not a time sensitive issue and one week with additional data might have change individuals opinions or the focus.

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      1. Thank you Council Member Buckshins. As a citizen it is sometime frustrating that we find ourselves with limited or no way to make our voices heard. I tried for example to offer public comment to the meeting but the city web site was down. Upon checking later and looking at the council page their was no way to find easily how to make written comment that would find it’s way to the public record. I know their is a way to do that but it needed to be done with some deadline in mind.

        If the city wants to add to transparency it should have easy to understand instructors and links and deadlines to make such comments for the record. Not all of us are adept at talking live to a camera.

        Public involvement make our city make better decision. Thank you for your service. Being on council is one of the most hazardous jobs in all of Edmonds. We should pay council an adequate wage for the enormous time you all spend on city business.

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      2. Thank you Diane for the explanation. I appreciate your concerns and understand why you abstained in this case. I hope that Mike and (I assume) Fraley-Monillas stop treating the City Council and Edmonds citizens like a cat treats a captive mouse.

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      3. What authority does the council have here? This should be an automatic no vote. Can the city council impose a minimum wage law if it can do this? The hazard for Grocery Workers wasn’t any more that people with other jobs. There wasn’t any more deaths of grocers than waiters for example. Hazardous duty means it’s more hazardous. Legally and Logically this is bunk.

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      4. Thank you Diane for weighing in. I was curious to know why the process for taking action on this issue was unnecessarily rushed and knowing that not enough information was provided to council in order to cast an informed vote on the matter is discouraging.

        Sadly, I think most of our elected officials seem to have forgotten that the residents of Edmonds are on the top of the city’s organizational chart. Thank you for not being one of those officials.

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    1. Just re-listened to her testimony and she said she was a meat wrapper at THE QFC but didn’t say Edmonds. So I will edit the story to reflect that. Thank you.

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      1. That is what dictatos do…until they are overthrown. This council Many long time residents of Edmonds are now fully vaccinated. Due to fear and the loosely enforced mandates in Edmonds, we had to stay home. I now am glad I did. Now we are OUT. I suggest a non violent protest outside the council and mayors office to begin with. We need to organize. I would like to see the Republicans and Democrats both attend. It seems feasible that they will. As the Mayor and Council have pretty much alienated both parties. So, anybody who agrees please contact me. Speak with your friends, get them ready. We can carpool. Have some to drop off people….as they will find an excuse to try and keep us from this right to assemble. I personally take all of this very seriously. We citizens of Edmonds don’t have to let them control our feelings, our decisions, our place in the community… I wish the best to all of us R and Dem. Together we will take our town back. We can make Edmonds welcoming, pretty, diverse and friendly. Our Retail and Restaurants can work together. Without council or mayors opinion. Perhaps…taking turns.We are not going to need these outside extensions after all who want to be are inoculated. That simple. So might be smart for the restaurants to consider that having all of the retailers except a couple making money…mad at them…may cut their clientele considerably. Think about it. Who are most people city wide more loyal to…Retail Merchants or Restaurants. I think its Retail. Retail also brings in more sales tax then resturants…Now with this pandemic you aren’t seeing this,as the restaurants are full of bored out of work people.

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      2. My husband goes to QFC in Edmonds on 100TH every week. Has thru all of this. At first they did well. Now he tells me for awile now they no longer clean the carts between customers as they promised to. They are not keeping up with their part of the bargain. I was furious. He is compromised and brave my husband. But he is quite angry right now. He said sometimes they leave a container with wipes, but frequently empty.
        Get it together QFC. You promised.
        I btw am mentioning this as an example of how people sometimes behave when they don’t get their way.
        I am not addressing the 4$ bump in wages.
        This is about a promise broken.

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  15. As a resident of Shoreline, my usual outing to a restaurant is in Edmonds (there is little in Shoreline from which to choose). However, the new plastic parking strip restaurants and the party atmosphere have been a major turn-off. The charm of Edmonds has disappeared and it appears there is but one small area that has been given this privilege of having the party brought to them. I have no desire to drive around the streets of Edmonds looking for a parking spot, only to eat at a restaurant more reminiscent of a street fair. Shopping? Nope. Between fighting the drinkers lining the streets, the lack of close parking, and the new, weird high school reunion vibe, I’m out.

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    1. Glen, I can’t believe you linked to data that shows the pandemic well in control and fading fast. Don’t you understand? Mike needs fear and terror! Emergency powers! Forward, together!

      What an absolute joke.

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  16. Well, this pushed it over the top….I’m now officially embarrassed to call myself a resident of this city. Mark my words, our next stop on the downward slide is going to be the vagrant tents slowly making their appearance. Anyone who voted for Nelson should hang their heads in shame.

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    1. Well Jeff, I hang my head in shame! I voted for Mr. Nelson because I’d met him pre-pandemic and thought him harmless enough. He seemed like a decent man. I thought, how important is a mayor? What is that position, really, aside from a figurehead and a guide, someone who nudges policy in the direction they desire?

      Boy was I wrong. The man is a tyrant. His policies are deeply un-American, undemocratic, and have so little regard for the principles of this country that he may as well be a dictator in a banana republic. And we citizens are essentially locked out of the process account COVID-19 emergency…blah, blah, blah. We’re out, he’s in charge, too bad.

      Perhaps we can vote him out. I sure hope so!

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  17. Walkable main street is about the most obvious and overdue solution I’ve heard for a long time. The view and environment is fantastic down there, almost everyone who has experienced car free zones prefers them (no moving deadly objects), see cities in Europe. I understand there are a small percentage of businesses objectively hurt by losing the “stop and go” function, but that is always, always inevitable with any change. I think the fair solution would be to set up a relatively small fund, for the few businesses truly of the “stop and go” model, and basically pay the full transfer cost of relocation nearby. Everyone should be okay with that, it will attract more revenue and increase quality of experience for majority.

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    1. Avery – So in your plan all the lovely retailers in Edmonds would be “relocated elsewhere,” right? A wee small fund would be “set up” to do this? Is this your vision for Edmonds?

      Nothing but bars and restaurants. No jewelry, no art, no toy stores, no bookstores, no clothing stores. Is this what you really want? If so, what gives you the right to wreck the hard work, assumed risk and dreams of all the business owners you propose to destroy?

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      1. “Yes, the relative cost of relocation is very, very small.” – in which Avery decides which businesses can go where.

        I think you’ve stated your position quite well. I don’t have anything further to say to you. Thank you!

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    2. “ Walkable main street is about the most obvious and overdue solution I’ve heard for a long time.”

      Overdue solution to what?
      Just what exactly was the problem that led to the “Walkable Main Street “solution”?

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      1. Edmonds is the center of the Universe for “solutions looking for a problem.” It’s still one of the most fun places to live in spite of (or maybe even because of) all the partisan bickering.

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  18. Mayor Nelson’s actions on this matter are highly suspicious. The question that I would like to know is:

    Where did mayor Nelson get the idea for the grocery worker hazard pay, and what role if any did the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) where Mike Nelson served as executive director have in influencing this idea?

    It is not entirely clear if a grocery worker hazard pay would be good for the city. Certainly there are critical workers in grocery stores, but the move will cut hours and increase food costs. For those who are lower middle income right above food stamps, that price difference could be drastic, as well as for those with cut hours.

    The suspicious action only gets worse when you consider how frontline medical workers were excluded, even though that would have made a lot more sense as a policy. The main difference in that case is primarily that grocery workers are represented in the SEIU, and medical workers are not.

    Distelhorst and AFM have already shown that they will vote for anything that has enough partisan buzzwords in it, so it was clear that there were only a few council members who would give this serious thought.

    Given how hostile the mayor has been towards Edmonds voters, and how many bridges he has burned at the city hall by making it a toxic workplace (like with the city communications director that he drove out through his aggressive behavior), it is incredibly unlikely that Mayor Nelson would ever have any serious chance at reelection.

    Is mayor Nelson already selling out the city to outside interests in preparation for his next job?

    Hopefully someone will do a FOIA request for the mayor’s emails to see what type of outside interests are guiding his decisions.

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  19. I see approximately zero described examples in conflict. Something that would be in conflict is a hardware store or dry-cleaners (or gas station if those existed there), very little else. Let me ask, have you ever walked a car free street, and if so where? Yes, the relative cost of relocation is very, very small…

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  20. It should have been easy, and it still should be easy for City Council to get the extra time some Councilmembers want to review this. On April 2, 2021, specific to this issue, I emailed City Council and requested:

    “Please make sure the vote you take relates directly to the Motion that is made.”

    Yesterday, April 7, 2021, I emailed City Council an email that included the following request:

    “Please inform all that the Grocery Store Ordinance did not pass last night as nobody made a motion to pass anything other than an emergency ordinance.”

    No Councilmembers replied to either of my emails mentioned above.

    Furthermore, the draft ordinance in the Agenda Packet for the April 6, 2021 City Council Meeting contained the following:

    Section 4. Emergency Declaration. Based on the findings of fact set forth in Section 1 of this ordinance, the city council hereby declares that an emergency exists necessitating that this ordinance take effect immediately upon passage by a majority vote plus one of the whole membership of the council (RCW 35A.12.130), and that the same is not subject to a referendum.

    Edmonds adopted the powers of initiative and referendum in 1985. I believe the only way an Ordinance necessary for immediate preservation of public peace, health, and safety which contains` a statement of urgency is not subject to referendum is if it is passed by UNANIMOUS vote of the City Council.

    Why was Council not told this prior to its vote? Does the Ordinance include something that does not apply to Edmonds?

    The title to the draft ordinance in the Agenda Packet for the April 6, 2021 City Council Meeting also declares an emergency. An “emergency” requires a unanimous vote. That did not happen so the Ordinance title is inaccurate and misleading.

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    1. The following is taken directly from MRSC’s publication: Local Ordinances for Washington Cities and Counties – see bottom of page 21, top of page 22:

      A legislative body may also need to follow special procedures to enact an emergency ordinance. For example, passage of a “public emergency ordinance” in a code city requires a vote of a majority plus one of the whole city council. (If the code city has adopted the powers of initiative and referendum, the vote must be unanimous and include a statement of urgency.) RCW 35A.11.090(2)

      Last year, Edmonds City Council passed two Ordinances (4200 and 4201) that declared an Emergency in the title of both Ordinances.

      Neither Ordinance received a unanimous vote or even a vote of the majority plus one of the entire membership of the Council.

      Despite this, neither Ordinance 4200 or 4201 mentions that the Ordinances are subject to referendum and shall take effect thirty (30) days after final passage. Instead, both claim that “If it is only approved by a majority of the Council, it will take effect five days after passage and publication.”

      Why the different treatment for proposed ordinances advertised as “Emergency” ordinances?

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  21. “No jewelry, no art, no toy stores, no bookstores, no clothing stores. Is this what you really want? ” I’m of the opinion all described stores, would ultimately do better in a car free zone. Again, the proposed zone is very small. I notice nobody answered the question of their experiences in walkable zones.

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    1. Add me as one who loves walkable main street.
      I believe, the walkable main street originated during the pandemic to help the survival of the Edmonds restaurants. It has definitely helped them from having to close their doors. During these times, the demands of people have been some form of socialization and happy atmosphere…the walkable main street in Edmonds feed those needs. Not only has it helped the restaurants survive, it has provided visitors a positive experience.
      Most people have not been able to go to work and all those activities that require new clothing have been closed to us, so perhaps the lack of clothing sales in downtown Edmonds has been a result of lack of activities and not the walkable main street. We all have had to prioritize what is important to us in these hard times. Food and fun atmosphere win out. As things improve, we may see a change.
      I would urge the city to provide disabled parking close to the city center. And hope the rest of us are active enough to walk 2-3 blocks to enjoy walkable main street.

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      1. I understand there are some who are having a good time at the downtown Party Zone. Unfortunately there were a lot of retailers that are not joining in on that party. The mayor and a local travel celebrity stoner think it’s a good idea, and seem to care less about the retailers, but there also is quite a bit of people who been avoiding the area because it’s turned into kind of a mess. I have walked Main Street for many many years and never had any trouble with crowds. The opportunity to sit in the middle of the asphalt street in a plastic chair and drink a beer is nothing special for me. To each his own I guess.

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  22. As a long time resident I have seen a lot of things in Edmonds but the issues I have seen with our mayor and the city clown show that must have a desire to destroy what has been a great small town and has been for most of my life. I sure hope the citizens of Edmonds remembers who to vote out when the time comes for a change.

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  23. Please help me understand how $4/hour extra for grocery store workers protects them from getting the COVID-19 virus?

    If the goal is to help them to be more safe and protect them, why not spend that extra money on the latest protection equipment in the industry? I’ve been to the grocery store and it’s less than adequate compared to other places. They don’t even have someone wiping down the carts anymore. Did the virus all of a sudden disappear as you walk in and grab your cart?

    My next comment in no way takes anything away from grocery store workers and having to put themselves in harms way to serve the public. I truly support them, but they are number 8 of 17 top cases reported in the state with a total of 172 cases ever reported and only 1 case in the week of March 28th to April 3rd. The highest reported cases are amongst Food/Service Workers, Child Care Pre-K, non-food manufacturing, construction, retail and homeless services.

    Why did the Mayor and Council Members Monillas, Paine, Laura Johnson and Distelhorst (the 5) vote yes? Is it because the clerks belong to a union and the Mayor has a history with certain unions? Is this some type of pandering to a certain voting block? Do they not care about the non-unionized food service & child care workers and the rest who actually have more reported cases than grocery store clerks? If Mayor and council were really concerned about the welfare of the clerks, why not focus those extra dollars on enhanced safety measures for both clerks and customers? Does $4/hour extra reduce the symptoms or the danger of COVID in some magical way?

    It’s time to stop this nonsense and vote in Tibbott and Cass for council!!

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