Letter to the editor: A request to cancel the June 24 council study session on housing


An open email to Edmonds City Councilmembers and Mayor Nelson:

My name is Gary Kindness and I have been a citizen (resident/home owner) of Edmonds for almost 50 years. In the past, both the Edmonds City Council (ECC) and former Edmonds’ mayors have listened to Edmonds citizens and, I believe, acted in their best interests. This appears to have changed.

On June 15, I received a memo from Shane Hope, Edmonds Development Services Director, regarding a special ECC study session to be held on June 24 at 4:30 p.m. to review several housing commission recommendations. The notice stated that the virtual meeting was to be online and open to the public. I assumed that the session would be open to public comment.

Let me be clear, I believe that the housing commission was a joke. It clearly was not an unbiased, independent evaluation of the interest and desires of the citizens of Edmonds. Rather than elect officers to run the commission, it is my understanding that the commission was run by Ms. Hope, a city employee. Apparently she arranged for the multiple surveys that were conducted. Why multiple surveys, all of which covered the same grounds, albeit using different formatting and wording, is perplexing to say the least. My conclusion is that either Ms. Hope and/or at least some of the commissioners did not like the results they received in earlier surveys. The result, multiple surveys all at taxpayer expense. Even so, many of the commission recommendations do not appear to square with the survey results.

Ms. Hope’s memo was strange in a number of areas, two in particular — the 4:30 starting time and the lack of a link to the virtual meeting. Typical bureaucracy — you have the right to attend, but we are going to put roadblocks in your way.

For some unexplained reason, I did not receive an updated memo stating that, because the June 24 session is a study session, it will not be open to public comment. All I can conclude is that the controlling members of the ECC and the mayor have a hidden agenda that, contrary to their frequent positive transparency statements, requires a lack of transparency.

I request that the June 24 study session be cancelled, that the Edmonds Planning and Architectural Boards,as well as, any other pertinent boards, be asked to review the commission recommendations and that the ECC take no further action on the recommendations until the ECC receives reports from these and any other relevant Edmonds boards.

Gary Kindness

  1. I agree whole heartedly that the whole committee should be disbanded. The Mayor and wall of four seem to make these back room deals and then present them to the public, whether we like them or not. The Mayor will not be re-elected and neither should council members Adrienne and Luke. Adrienne and Luke supported Pruitt and every other bad idea this Mayor has had.

    Edmonds has enough housing with current projects underway. The City Planners want to turn our beautiful residential areas into small cramped spaces, which brings in more traffic, crime, and noise. If you think the train whistle upsets you, wait till you hear your neighbors music bellowing over head. Just say no ! Adrienne, Luke and the housing commission have to go!

    1. Thank you Gary for writing your letter which expresses well what many of us agree. So much of the Housing proposals will change our City and will impact the environment and the infrastructure. The environment and the character and charm of this town will change forever with the proposed implementation.

      The Housing Commission proposals do not represent the community and it is clear from the Mayor and “Wall of 4” (S. Paine, L. Johnson, A. Fraley-Moillais and L. Distelhorst) do not want to include the public opinion because it does not fit their agenda. Transparency be “damned”.

      So what are the solutions?
      1. Yes, cancel the July 24th Study Session. All meetings re housing proposals should be in-person public meetings.
      2. Start over with a new Housing Commission that is not appointed/guided/controlled by the Mayor/City Staff. They have proven they cannot be trusted to work for the good of the residents.
      3. Incorporate public comments into any housing recommendations.
      4. Hold in-person meetings to discuss housing proposals.
      Sounds so simple, but of course it is not. The Mayor and “Wall of 4” have not in the past listened, or even responded to the concerns of the citizens. Ultimately, we need to vote to replace the “Wall of 4″” and the current Mayor.

  2. We need to do something about our Mayor and the wall of four Council Members before our City is totally messed up. I have looked at the recall process in Wa state and it requires “malfeasance”, “misfeasance”, or “violation of the Oath of Office”. I don’t know what Oath of Office the Mayor took but I am going to look into it.
    I am not a lawyer but it appears that multiple instances of deceit might fit under one of thse conditions. There is also a requirement to collect a larger number of signatures that will require some bucks or a lot of volunteers.

    To refresh your memories -here is a list on the part of our Mayor
    1) Scott James terminated as Finance Director in June 2020 with no explanation on the part of the Mayor and a hefty severance package that prohibited Scott from talking about the firing and the reasons behind it. Did Scott find out something about the Mayor that the Mayor needed to keep hidden???
    2) The mess around the Mayor’s Police Chief selection. This mess which has been well documented continues to this day with continuing large taxpayer expenditures with no results.
    3) The whole Citizen’s (haha) Housing Commission joke. The commission was basically directed by Shane Hope and multiple surveys were taken and the results suppressed unless they agreed with what the city wanted–which appears to be unrestricted development of anything anywhere.
    4) Walkable Edmonds which has been instituted on both Saturday and Sunday in total disregard of the downtown merchants who have indicated this will devastate their businesses.

    I agree that the first step is getting rid of Adrienne and Luke but it is really the Mayor that is “the man behind the curtain”

  3. The housing commission is a joke. What a waste of money and resources. Mike Nelson was a mistake from beginning. Most of Edmonds can’t stand our mayor. I’m just speaking the truth.

  4. A 4:30pm meeting on the last week of the Edmonds School District school year most definitely excludes the participation of many families and teachers. I heard that the Community Services Director Shane Hope is retiring at the end of June and wants to wrap up the Council’s consideration of the ECHC’s recommendations by then. Could this be the reason for this early Summer push?

  5. Yes, cancel the study session and all discussion and decisions about housing proposals until there are in-person meetings and more publicity about proposals. Most people are not aware of what is going on behind the scene. This is our city and we have a right to be informed and involved with all issues, especially this one which would forever harm our quality of life and the charm of our city.

  6. The above comments are well thought out and expressed. I wholeheartedly agree: DO NOTHING further without in person public attendance at meetings. As I have said before, Edmonds has been referred to as Seattle north – this is not a compliment.

  7. I also agrees that the ultimate vote should be with the People of Edmonds. In the news this morning, there was an alarming message concerning a number in the thousands of Birds accross the Mid West that were found dead or dying have from an unknown cause. This should be a major concern for all of here in the Northwest as well.

  8. Like just about everything else this Mayor and Council have had any part of; the housing study has been bungled and any action on it should definitely be held off until after the Nov. election. We need to demand that, even if it means a bunch of us hitting the civic center lawn with Save Our City signs. Another 4 to 3 decision on something this controversial will be devastating to our city I believe.

    Speaking of the Nov. election, I urge everyone who votes to take a good hard look at today’s campaign finance article, especially the individual contributions section. Look at which current C.P.s are donating to which wanna be’s and ask yourselves why. Especially look at who the Council President is donating to. Look at the names of local developers and who they are contributing to and ask yourselves why. Take a good hard look at outside city funding and inside city funding of campaigns.

    The only way this form of city government has any chance of functioning, even minimally well, is to have totally independent, open minded, and constituent oriented individuals on the council. This is the only check and balance available on the too powerful Mayor position we seem locked into. We need to remember that the two real power positions are the Mayor and Council President.

  9. I totally agree with all the statements.
    I encourage you all to contact Shane Hope directly and all city council members !!!
    This should absolutely be a meeting for citizens.
    Sincerely ,
    Mary-Megan Linder

  10. This kind of political bs has been happening here for years. The current Mayor and Council are following the examples of their predecessors I’m afraid. The reality is, everything now revolves around money, as money = power. We all vote for the candidate we believe is best suited to the position based on their experience and campaign promises which are deceptions and lies that we tend to believe because why wouldn’t we? Why would anyone running for political office lie?? Remember, the previous administration was no better! This column has been chock full of letters and comments and yet nothing changes.
    This is America, 2021 and that is how we as a people roll. We talk and talk. We post on social media. But we DO nothing. I don’t know about the “Seattle North” thing as I have never head that but I do know Edmonds is steamrolling it’s way down the same road as Ballard and Kirkland and I seriously doubt this is going to cease. As the old saying goes, “Know when to hold em know when to fold em”. For me, I am getting very close to folding. There is a ton of money to be made here and the greedy money mongers are going to get it, like it or not. Seattle is a cancer that is poisoning and killing everything around it and it is not going to stop.

    1. Joe,

      On the bright side, one is not required to vote for the candidate with the most money raised. (On at least two occasions, the majority of Edmonds voters did not vote for the candidate with the most money raised, or I would not have won two City Council elections).

      Further, we have more than the usual number of candidates who can be judged on their records. This time, folks can skip the glossy brochures, and find out what 5 of the candidates did when they were on Council. I think that at least 2 additional candidates have served in key volunteer positions like the Housing Commission and the planning board, so those candidates also have a record.

      Unless one chooses to risk the unknown by choosing one of the 2 new candidates, or is unable to find accurate information about the record of the 7 known candidates, the voters can have more control of this election than usual.

      Planned growth, or unplanned growth, or just take a chance.

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