Election 2021: Edmonds City Council Pos. 1 opponents Johnson, Crank meet in primary debate

Position 1 candidates take the stage for Wednesday’s debate.

With the Aug. 3 primary election less than three weeks away, candidates for Edmonds City Council positions 1 and 2 faced off against each other for the first time Wednesday evening at a debate organized by My Edmonds News. Positions 1 and 2 both have three or more candidates on the primary ballot (Position 1: Alicia Crank, Kristiana Johnson and Brian Hartman; Position 2: Janelle Cass, Will Chen, Luke Distelhorst and Lora Petso). The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

This story will focus on the candidates vying for Position 1. Candidate Brian Hartman did not respond to invitations to participate, leaving Wednesday’s debate as a two-person standoff between incumbent Johnson and challenger Crank. All three names will, however, appear on the Aug. 3 primary ballot.

Look for our coverage of the Position 2 debate in a separate story to run shortly.

The debate was moderated by My Edmonds News Publisher Teresa Wippel.

The format of the debate, which drew an estimated 250 attendees to the Edmonds Center for the Arts,  called for each candidate to give a one-minute opening statement. They then took turns answering a series of questions developed by debate moderator and My Edmonds News Publisher Teresa Wippel, based on suggestions from readers and from the following Edmonds civic organizations: the Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds (ACE), the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, the Edmonds Civic Roundtable (ECR) and the Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition (ENAC). Each candidate then gave a one-minute closing statement. The debate also included several “lightning round” questions requiring a simple yes or no response.

Event sponsors were Edmonds College, James Russell, PLLC certified public accountants and business advisors, and OfficeTech.

In her opening statement, Alicia Crank quickly reviewed her background and experience including serving on the boards of Project Girl and the Hazel Miller Foundation, as vice chair of the Edmonds Planning Board and as chair of the Snohomish County (Paine Field) Airport Commission. She stressed that this experience has given her a “deep appreciation for listening to the feedback and concerns of others, and understanding how to put solutions into action.”

“As your councilmember, I will work diligently to ensure that we, those of us who live and/or work in Edmonds, have our voices represented,” she stated. “From our children to our senior citizens, renters to homeowners, we can all work together to improve our public safety, housing affordability, transparency, economic development and sustainability opportunities.”

Kristiana Johnson spoke of her experience serving since 2012 on council, and before that on several boards and commissions.

“I love Edmonds,” she said. “I will always put Edmonds first. I will protect neighborhoods – the building blocks of Edmonds – our historic and charming downtown and our environment. I will also work to ensure good government, ensure decisions are open and transparent, and that you know what is going on and when to have your voices heard.”

Wippel then posed the first question:

The city council created a Citizens Housing Commission specifically to come up with ideas for expanding “the range of housing (including rental and owned) available in Edmonds… irrespective of age, gender, race, religious affiliation, physical disability or sexual orientation.” The commission has issued 15 recommendations for council consideration, and they have divided the community. Some say that — in particular — recommendations favoring detached accessory dwelling units, smaller housing and placement of duplexes and townhomes on a single-family lot, will change the character of Edmonds by leading to the elimination of single-family zoning. Others say such options will provide more housing opportunities for lower-income individuals and families, seniors and the disabled. Do the housing commission recommendations reflect your long-term vision for Edmonds?

Johnson responded first.

“Council is now in the process of evaluating these recommendations,” she began, noting that council has already acted on one by entering a housing agreement with the Snohomish County Housing authority, and that it is preparing to move forward on two more that will address design standards and racially motivated covenants.

Crank pointed out that “recommendations are just that,” stressing that the focus needs to be the people, specifically ensuring that those who are here and want to stay here are able to.

“It’s not about helping folks who are trying to move into the city,” she stressed. “Rather it is about helping those who are already here stay here.  This has to be the basis for conversations on any of these recommendations.”

Wippel then moved on to question 2.

Homelessness was a crisis in our region before COVID-19 hit but now, with many facing the loss of jobs and homes, we are seeing more unhoused individuals in our city. What ideas do you have for eliminating housing instability and homelessness in Edmonds?

“No one municipality can take care of this. It has to be a group effort,” responded Crank. She pointed out that people are not unhoused just due to drugs or alcohol, and that often it’s other things like affordability and abuse issues.

She pointed out the potential role of accessory dwelling units in addressing this problem, but cautioned that this cannot be done with a blanket approach, but rather on a case-by-case basis.

Johnson pointed to the city’s hiring of a new human services manager and the money that has been allocated to allow people to stay in their homes, adding that these funds will soon be supplemented with those from the federal American Rescue Plan.

“Two aspects of homelessness are particularly troubling to me,” she added.  “First are the kids, many of whom often find themselves couch surfing, and those who have drug or alcohol problems and prefer to be in a situation where they can do that freely.  Both groups need assistance, and we have allocated money for a social worker to help with this.”

The next question was the first “lightning round:”

Parking continues to be a concern for residents, businesses and visitors. Would you consider a structure to ease the downtown parking situation?

Johnson responded “No.”

Crank responded “Yes, where appropriate.”

Next was question 3:

If elected and you could change only one thing during your term – just one thing – what would that be?

Position 1 candidate Alicia Crank

Crank responded that she would prioritize Edmonds residents to be at the top of the list for preference in the application process for MFTE (multi-family tax exempt) housing as a way to help ensure that they may continue to live here.

“This is not to say that folks from outside Edmonds could not apply,” she clarified, “but just that current residents would get priority.”

Johnson said she would implement clear council rules and procedures, and ensure that they are followed.

“This would help ensure that the public knows when and how they can weigh in on issues, and would eliminate the current confusion” she added.  “It’s the one thing I’d like to change.”

This elicited scattered applause from attendees.

Question 4 was next:

The State Legislature will offer the 22-acre Unocal Property near the Edmonds Marsh to the City of Edmonds for purchase when the environmental cleanup is complete. Given the size of the property and a range of potential uses that could benefit all residents, what would you do to engage the public in a discussion of ideas for use and funding sources to purchase the property?

“This sounds like the perfect thing for a town meeting,” responded Johnson. “We need to include existing organizations like Save Our Marsh, the fish hatchery and the associated gardens. We’ve all been bucking this issue for a decade, and we need to all get together and share our ideas.”

Crank said she also favors a public meeting approach, and that it would be best to have “several” and hold them in a hybrid format.

“If we’ve learned one thing from COVID it’s that public participation increases when folks have that kind of access,” she stressed. “This will help ensure we engage all elements of the community rather than just those with a special interest.”

Next was lightning round 2:

You are running for a nonpartisan position. Did you seek and/or receive an endorsement from a political party (YES or NO) and if so, which party?

Crank: Yes, Democrat

Johnson: No

Next was question 5:

Do you believe it’s important for city councilmembers to serve as role models for the community on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility? If so, how would you demonstrate this in your work on city government issues?

Position 1 incumbent Kristiana Johnson

“We are all role models – community leaders,” responded Johnson. “I think we need to make recommendations to improve things in our city administration – police, public works, planning – to make sure we have diversity, equity and inclusion.  We also need to address our contracting procedures and policies.”

“We are all role models whether we like it or not,” said Crank.  “And we can be either a positive one or a negative one. Diversity is not about race and gender, it’s how you think about things. I have tried to demonstrate this in my community life by bringing every voice to the table and ensuring a robust and diverse conversation about anything from housing to race relations to economic development.”

Regarding city staff diversity, Crank pointed out that overall, city staff are actually more diverse than our “predominantly white” community as a whole. “But a closer look at city staffing reveals that more work needs to be done at the managerial level,” she added.

Question 6:

If you could change only one thing about how the city council currently functions, what would that be?

“We need to be a better model for civil discourse,” responded Crank. “Especially now that we’re online and you can see everyone’s face it really resonates when you see [body language like] eyes rolling or people nodding their heads. It’s not that hard to practice civil discourse, and we really need to make the decision to do it, even if sometimes you have to bite your tongue.”

This elicited scattered applause from the audience.

Johnson said she would increase the efficiency of council meetings. “Let’s start on time and end on time,” she began. “Let’s make sure we have a three-touch rule where items first go to committee, then to council for discussion, and finally to council for a decision. That process has been ignored over past year and a half, but we need to bring it back so that you the citizens know what’s going on and when to participate.”

This also drew applause from the audience.

Question 7:

Proposals for increasing housing density in Edmonds may conflict with current environmental protections already in place, including the city’s Critical Areas Ordinance, the sustainability element of Edmonds’ Comprehensive Plan and the current Climate Action Plan. In your opinion, which should carry more weight: environmental protections or increased housing density?

“I don’t think you can look at one of these without the other,” responded Johnson. “All area plans should include elements like transportation, land use, and public safety so we look at it all together. We divided the city into seven districts for the housing commission. We could do this kind of study on two of these districts per year and be complete in four years. I plan to propose this during the upcoming budget process.”

“I don’t believe in density for density’s sake,” responded Crank. “It needs to make sense in the places we’re trying to build it.  One thing that’s important to me is environmental justice, making sure that open spaces and parks are included in all areas of the city, not just select ones. We need to be aware of the broader picture and long-term effects, and not fail because we didn’t think three steps out.”

Lightning round 3 was next:

The city council pulled the plug on the Edmonds Waterfront Connector project following citizen outcry, but we still haven’t addressed the issue of ensuring safe passage across downtown railroad tracks during an emergency. On a scale of 1-5 – #1 being not at all important and #5 being extremely important – rate how you would prioritize this issue as a councilmember. (Reminder: All I’m looking for is a number.)

Crank: 4

Johnson: 4

Question 8:

The city council approved a new set of regulations aimed at retaining existing trees when private property is developed in Edmonds. Do you support this approach to protecting Edmonds’ tree canopy? Why or why not?

“Yes, I voted for this,” said Johnson. “We need to do a better job of protecting trees, and I approved this approach for public property.  Private property is tough though, so we made a middle ground recognizing that it’s important to save the oldest trees, but it’s also important to let folks develop their land.”

She added that a “new map” is being developed to assist in this that will enable comparison of past and present levels of tree canopy coverage.

“Public, yes. Private, not so much,” responded Crank. “Goes back to property owners’ rights. Almost every Planning Board meeting over the past years has included audience comments on this issue. Property owners’ rights need to be a big part of this decision.”

Question 9:

Describe your thoughts on policing in Edmonds and our current police force. Are there any changes you would like to make?

“No agency is perfect,” began Crank. “I’ve been fortunate to have good relations with former (Police) Chief Compaan and Acting Chief Lawless…and it’s become clear that a healthy partnership including interpersonal relationships between police and community is crucial. The question is whether we’re willing as community members to work together with police leadership and the officers.”

“We haven’t had a Chief of Police for the past 17 months,” Johnson began, “and we’ve spent $120,000  searching for one. The mayor and council have made mistakes, and we have yet to have a panel of candidates to evaluate. The rules say that the mayor nominates and the council confirms.  If we could just follow those simple rules we’d be much better off.”

Alicia Crank visits with voters at the meet-and-greet event in the ECA lobby following the debate.
Kristiana Johnson meets voters following the debate.

Question 10:

As a city councilmember, describe how you will support our business community.

“First, I personally shop locally and make it a point to support our business community,” Johnson said. “We all make decisions about whether to spend our money inside or outside the city, and I choose inside.  We currently have new funding from the American Rescue Plan, and we will donate significant money to support our local businesses, especially those who have not received prior support.”

“I will do what I always do,” began Crank. “I show up. I spend my money locally, I share on social media where I am, and this has encouraged others to go there too.  I talk to shop owners, be proactive, listen to them.”

Next was lightning round 4:

Yes or No: Do you support the mayor’s decision to operate Walkable Main Street on both Saturdays and Sundays, instead of limiting it to Sundays only as a number of downtown merchants had requested?

Crank: No

Johnson: Absolutely not.

Question 11:

Share a “moonshot” idea that would draw more businesses and customers to Edmonds.

“Why not hold concerts directed to young people,” said Johnson. “Most of our concerts are directed at older folks. I’d like to see something more hip that would draw a younger crowd.”

“I like the idea of moveable feasts,” offered Crank. “One day each week food trucks would go to a different area of the city where folks could come, eat, bring lawn chairs, socialize and get to know an area of town they may not have seen before that’s not just downtown.  It would be a way of driving business with food — and hey, everyone loves to eat!”

For the final question, each candidate was given the opportunity to ask a single question of the other.  “You only get one question,” cautioned Wippel, “so choose wisely.”

First was Johnson to Crank:

“This is the third time you’ve made a bid for council in the past six years, and you also submitted your name for appointment [to Nelson’s vacated position],” she began. “I don’t recall you submitting comments or calling me directly on any council business over this time. Why is that?”

“I may not have reached out to you directly,” responded Crank. “But I had interpersonal conversations with other councilmembers past and present. I’ve also been an active participant in attending meetings – many online – and I’ve been opinionated and transparent on numerous issues.”

“I have never heard any of that,” Johnson rebutted.  “I’ve not heard you give public comments, and none of your comments have gone to all councilmembers.

“I agree with that, but that’s not the only way to participate,” responded Crank.

Crank then asked Johnson: “Given the challenges of getting out and doing things in the community during the COVID shutdown, it is still important to connect with the community. In this regard, what have you done during this period to connect with your constituents?”

“It hasn’t been easy to get out and about during COVID,” Johnson acknowledged. “I’ve stayed close to home per the Governor’s recommendations. I have kept in touch via email and phone, and had conversations on many key issues including the police chief selection, housing and tree codes. That’s how I connected with my constituents.”

Closing statements were next, with Alicia Crank going first.

She began by citing the challenges and opportunities we’ve experience as a result of coming through the pandemic. Benefits include developing “a new appreciation for transparency and communication” and becoming more invested in our neighborhoods, our schools, our local businesses and with each other.

“Many of you have seen my efforts to model bringing various voices and opinions to the table on topics that matter to us. You’ve seen me model civil discourse, community and business engagement, as well as active listening in both virtual and physical settings,” she continued. “I am committed to continue this work with our community members, fellow city council members and other elected officials across the board to ensure the best decisions for our city. I hope that I will have your support and your vote next month. Together, we can continue to build our community to be the safe, diverse and comfortable environment we know it can be.”

Johnson began by reiterating how many in the community have been “very unhappy” with the council over the past year and a half.

“I’ve been unhappy too,” she acknowledged.  “I’ve tried to bring common sense and good judgment, but have always been in the minority of three who couldn’t’ get the job done right. In the last election my opponent was supported by Councilmembers Fraley-Monillas, Paine, Laura Johnson, and Nelson [note that Paine and L. Johnson successfully ran for council in that election, which also saw Nelson elected as mayor), and again by these same councilmembers when she applied to fill the council seat vacated by Mayor Nelson. If you did not like their politics, you will probably not like my opponent’s politics.”

Wippel then thanked the candidates for being present and participating before taking a short break to bring on the candidates for Council Position 2.

My Edmonds News will provide similar coverage of the Position 2 debate shortly. You can watch a recording of the debate here.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel


    1. Sam: Over time, people reveal more and more about themselves and, maybe more importantly in this case, with whom they chose to align. I supported Ms. Crank in 2019, too, but because she’s clearly shown her allegiance to Ms. Fraley-Monillas and Mr. Nelson, I won’t be voting for her again. I suspect Ms. Johnson has merely gained the same perspective.

      1. Annan- do you happen to have any examples of Alicia Crank supporting policy decisions made by the Mayor or CM Fraley-Monillas?

        1. Sorry Chris for the late response! My response to Sam below probably sums up my thoughts better than going through specific policies. The bottom line for me is that I don’t trust Ms Crank won’t blindly join team Nelson after she’s elected. She had the opportunity to unseat two members of the council who have proven over and over again that they don’t care about the overall good of Edmonds. Instead, she chose to go after a member of council who has shown she can listen to all sides, ask questions and make educated decisions apart from what Nelson et al wants. Seems very orchestrated to me, and unfortunately, Ms. Crank has gone along with the plan.

      2. Annon, Yes I believe you have explained this perfectly! Alicia has aligned with the progressive arm of the council many times.

        This is Alicia’s 3rd time trying to be on City Council. She now is supporting “food trucks” all over Edmonds; what an unusual stance to take; we don’t already have enough brick/mortar restaurants? The shanty temporary buildings taking up our Main Street and parking are not enough “blight” on our small downtown?

        1. A ‘blight’?? WOW! They may not pretty or live up to your high standards but If the ‘Parklets’ (which btw, are in every community here and have been in other Cities and States for years) had not been built, most of the Restaurants downtown would have closed their doors. These allowed these businesses to remain open so they could feed us and keep folks off of the unemployment line. Personally, we enjoy eating outside and supporting the local businesses.

      3. Please show me where Ms. Crank has been lockstep with the Mayor, Ms. Fraley- Monillas and Ms. L. Johnson.
        Here’s a tip: you can’t. I bet you’ll find more evidence of her disagreeing with many decisions of the city and council over the 18 months.
        This little narrative certain folks are trying to push forth is easily disproven – but you keep trying.

        1. Sam, where is the “evidence” of Alicia disagreeing with many decisions of the city council AND mayor the last 18 months? This is a big narrative and truth is hard to deny.

        2. Sam, here is a tip: Nobody on this thread used the word “lockstep”. The term used,: Ms. Crank has clearly shown her “allegiance” to Mr. Nelson and Ms. Farley-Monillas. On that very statement I agree. You can research your own facts.

        3. For those who require evidence, Ms. Crank disagreed with the police chief process, walkable Main Street for both days, and when Edmonds and the council were characterized as racist. I’m sure there’s more evidence of her not having allegiance to anyone. Maybe that’s the problem – she’s not showing allegiance to the old guard either.

        4. Sam, never said she was in “lockstep”.

          In a piece Ms. Crank wrote in MEN after her loss last election, she stated she is considered a progressive candidate, just like Ms. Paine and Ms. L. Johnson (who were also running at the time); in her own words she has aligned herself with them. She has the full support of the 32nd District Democrats, who also support Ms. Fraley-Monillas, Ms. Paine, Ms. L. Johnson, Mr. Distelhorst, and Mr. Nelson. (For perspective: I’m an Independent, but lean left and more often than not vote for the democratic candidate.)

          This election, Ms. Crank immediately chose to run against Ms. K. Johnson for council instead of taking a stand against the destructive and divisive behavior of Ms. Fraley-Monillas, (as well as taking a stand for survivors of domestic violence since Ms. Fraley-Monillas says perpetrators of DV are just being “silly” when they attack). She also didn’t choose to run against Mr. Distelhorst, but then that would take away one of the group who will bend any way the wind of Fraley-Monillas and Nelson blows.

          There are many things to like about Ms. Crank, which is one of the reasons I voted for her in the last election. But I’ve been burned by giving my vote in prior elections to all those mentioned above (save the appointed Mr. Distelhorst). Because of her affiliations, I have no trust that Ms. Crank will do anything other than what she’s directed to do by those officials who are “running” our city. It makes me sad because I believe Ms. Crank to be a good person who has given of herself for our community, but it’s not worth the risk to elect another person who will more than likely support all the horrible ideas coming from this mayor and Ms. Fraley-Monillas.

        5. Annon, you just wrote a complete, comprehensive explanation that definitely checks all the boxes concerning the best choice for Council Position 1. It has to be Kristiana Johnson, tried and true, no party affiliations and as She is now known to be “the smartest person in the room”!
          Also the Fact that the progressive partisan group that is holding office in Edmonds, all 4 of them, endorse Alicia along with the local Democrat party, is the one-way ticket to becoming Seattle North. Last election cycle it was “eyes wide shut” as voters ignored Nelson’s SEIU connections, and look where it has gotten us! We need smart, Centrist representatives who are not towing the baggage of a partisan line!

  1. The Mayor, Ms. Fraley- Monillas , Ms. L. Johnson, Luke Distelhorst, Susan Paine, now Ms. Crank all received endorsements from the partisan 32nd District Democrats. This is not a narrative, it’s a fact. “Birds of a feather, fly together”. Ms Crank received an endorsement from this partisan group because she overall agrees with their positions. As an Independent voter, I will not support any partisan candidates for Edmonds City Council.

    1. Brian:

      How does the fact that a partisan group endorses a candidate make that candidate in turn “partisan”? For example, I sometimes see signs indicating that the local firefighters endorse a certain candidate, but I don’t think that means that the endorsed candidate is now a firefighter ..

      My point is that while a given candidate’s positions might encourage partisan support, this is still a very important election and it would behoove all of us to focus on the various candidates’ individual messages/positions, and not be influenced by others who would simply endorse/agree with them.

      With respect.

      1. Paul, come on. Really? You’re comparing a political ideology with a career choice? Do you really think that a partisan group would endorse someone who didn’t support their cause? Firefighters will only support a candidate who is a firefighter?

        I don’t have a problem with the endorsement or the support in and of itself. What I do have a problem with is the extremism of belief and expectation that accompanies it. I feel the same way about the extremism and expectation with republican support. We’ve seen what happens when the chosen ones are given power; it’s not pretty; it’s destroyed Seattle, and it’s on it’s way to irreparably harm Edmonds unless we all educate ourselves and make wise choices.

        On a lighter note, “behoove” is one of my favorite words….just fun to say….nicely done.

        1. Annon, I’m just saying that it beseems us to focus on the candidates’ messages, and not dwell on the endorsements (certainly not to the point of determining who to vote for – or not – simply based upon an endorsement). I get your point about expectations (it is a well placed one), but the salient issue for me is to determine how the various candidates’ policies/proposals align with our own personal viewpoints. I wish to support candidates because of how their message resonates with me, not because of how it resonates with others.

        2. Annon, you are actually making my point for me. Aside from the fact that I have never understood why it matters who firefighters as a group endorse (those who don’t randomly light fires?), the point is that they are endorsing a candidate for reasons beyond the obvious. Similarly, people/groups have all sorts of reasons for endorsing a particular candidate, and it is to be expected that those with similar outlooks are going to endorse candidates with sympathetic policy positions.

          My point is simply that we should focus on the various candidates’ messages themselves, and not worry so much about whomever else may agree (or disagree) with them (your comments about “expectations” are noted). It would be disappointing if people dismissed a candidate simply because of someone/some group that endorsed them. I will vote for the candidate(s) whose message(s) resonate with me, and I am not at all interested in how their message resonates with others. I just hope that others would do the same.

        3. Paul, the problem is that we’ve seen what the expectations are for the candidates (now mayor and council members) that have been endorsed and supported by the same partisan group that created the sad state of affairs in Seattle. That group, along with Fraley-Monillas, Paine, Distelhorst, L. Johnson, and Nelson, are now endorsing Ms. Crank. I don’t believe for a moment that they are harmless endorsements with nothing expected in return. I never anticipated the choices and behavior now seen from Ms. Paine after listening to her message before she was elected, but she’s fallen in line with the destructive forces in charge. I wasn’t concerned that Mr. Distelhorst was appointed (although I thought Ms. Crank should have been at the time), but I now see what a damaging choice that was. I listened to and believed prior candidates, I even thought that an endorsement from the democratic party was a good thing, but I’ve learned that something has shifted with the party and it’s not, in my opinion, positive.

          Beseems….love it!

        4. Paul, it occurs to me that your comments are more general in nature, while mine are expressing my thoughts about candidates that are running, and have run in the not so distant past, for specific Edmonds positions. I agree wholeheartedly with you about listening to the individual candidate and their message instead of getting totally swayed by who does or does not endorse them. I look at endorsements as one piece of information with which I make my decision. In the specific races we currently have for Edmonds city council, I don’t trust that we’ll see anything different than what we’ve been seeing from the council if another similarly supported and endorsed candidate is elected, as well as if Mr. Distelhorst is elected and Ms. Fraley-Monillas is re-elected. Overall, I think your point is spot on and speaks to the responsibility we all have to make informed, thoughtful decisions when it comes to casting a vote.

  2. Thank you Teresa for organizing and publishing this debate.
    I will back Kristiana Johnson as she speaks and acts from experience and her ethical community minded actions are historic.

  3. Thank you to My Edmonds News for sponsoring the debates. This provided an opportunity to really evaluate the candidates on many levels. It refocused the light on some of the unethical decisions made by Mayor Nelson, AFM, Laura Johnson, Luke Distelhorst, and Ms Paine. Primarily the chief of police situation regarding a hasty , Ill advised, nomination of a candidate with numerous issues regarding his behavior and performance in the past. Thanks to the strong stand made by Ms Buchshnis and Johnson our city avoided a disaster.
    I didn’t know much about Janelle Cass going into the debates but she was well prepared and asked the most significant questions as well as exposing that Chen and others have received large sums of money from partisan (democrats) and sources outside of Edmonds.
    She was the winner in my eyes.

    1. Of those I chose Cass and Lora pesto. Absolutely no to Disteldorf. Personally I feel we need a more moderate council to get our town back. So for me that eliminates, Johnson, Paine and AFM. Alicia I find bright..articulate, she cares…but too much CA ideas…that idea was a CA picture. I want no CA ideas. I want bipartisan and I expect all or any of all of these candidates to be bipartisan….and not just saying they are.
      I hope this is all done with grace.
      For me I am afraid the idea of more of this Seattle politics…is going to destroy Edmonds no matter how pretty we make it.
      Thing is I am a centrist so I do lean both ways depending on the issue. In our present condition I am probably going to be voting on the Rep side more. This is a huge deal to me personally
      ..but I want Edmonds safe, beautiful everywhere, I want no racism…but truth is I don’t see Racism here. Often…
      I see a difference in ideals. The ideals I prefer are not Socialist all day long every day and every penny.

      1. First time watching an Edmonds council candidate debate. It was a worthwhile watch. I don’t have a lot of knowledge of the incumbents records on the council. Maybe that was a good thing in a way as I was a fairly blank slate What I came away with is who I wouldn’t vote for. The position 1 debate had the kind of demeanor I would expect from a leadership position. The second debate left me disappointed in a couple candidates. I thought some of the very vocal audience members did their candidate a disservice. It came across disrespectful of the forum bordering on belligerent. Unfortunately I will remember them yelling instead of what their candidate was saying.

  4. I appreciate this coverage of the debate.

    I have been very impressed with the community engagement demonstrated by Alicia Crank in her Black in Edmonds series over the course of the past year. I experience Alicia as a wise and caring community member deeply committed to our small city.

  5. The position 2 debate is going to take more time to write up. Time to Donate to MEN for doing all this.

  6. Yes, thanks to all organizations that participated. This kind of event, and the reporting, is a great way to help people make their own decisions on who to vote for. I thought the responses to question 3 were particularly revealing.

    1. I like question 3 also but I am not in the weeds deep enough to understand the ways that the current council is out of compliance with the rules and why other members or those running the meetings are unable to fix those issues that are pointed out in violation. They clearly have rules to follow already, so what is the barrier keeping them from getting back on track when a procedural error is pointed out?

      1. Well spotted, and other observations may also be made.

        Some procedural issues can be handled on the spot through Roberts rules (in general concept, the majority rules but the minority gets a voice). Code requirements setting minimal public notice also help.

        In practice, people need to behave like adults, share information, and take the risk that someone in the minority or among the public might dare to suggest a different idea or an improvement to the idea under consideration.

  7. Christine, the barrier is simply a lack of willpower to do things right even when errors are pointed out. For example, please see my public comments documented in the June 15, 2021 City Council Meeting Minutes. Following are excerpts:

    Per ECC 1.04.020:

    In the event the city council is unable to complete its agenda on any Tuesday, it may recess the meeting to the immediately following Wednesday at the same time and place as the commencement of the meeting for which the agenda was incomplete. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the city council from continuing any item before it in public meeting to a future regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting of the city council. [Ord. 1606 § 2, 1972].

    ECC 1.04.040 does not say that the Mayor and City Council President can “confer” after City Council has approved the Agenda and decide on their own that an approved Agenda Item will be addressed at a Future Meeting.

    When and how did Mayor Nelson and Council President Susan Paine “confer” after the June 1, 2021 Agenda was approved near the start of the June 1, 2021 City Council meeting? Why did they decide to move “Resolution adopting Council Rules of Procedures” to a Future Meeting?

    Why approve an Agenda if the Mayor and Council President can later “confer” and change the agenda without a City Council vote?

    As this act has taken place, what will be done about it?

    Christine – absolutely nothing was done about it.

    A Resolution adopting Council Rules of Procedures is now on the Agenda for the July 20th Council Meeting. I suspect that if these new rules are not followed at some future time, nothing will be done about that unless 4 Councilmembers have the willpower to insist rules are followed. Without such willpower, many of our rules, codes and laws are just words on paper.

    If there is willpower, I hope it will not be politically motivated. I hope the Rules will be fairly enforced and applied equally to all.

    1. Ken, once again you shine a light on truth. You seem to be very non-partisan in your explanations and I appreciate your efforts. We are very lucky to have your excellent comments that expose the “smoke and mirrors” of partisan politics of our Mayor and some members of our City Council. Thank you also to My Edmonds News, an excellent venue/forum that enables honest debate and information before this election.

  8. Thanks Linda. I greatly appreciate the possibilities of a nonpartisan City government. I believe we should be able to all work together to pursue good government. I believe it better to be involved than to be apolitical. I understand that many people have truly little time to be involved and that some have little interest.

    I believe wise City officials engage citizens early who are passionate about an issue that involves City government. My experience has too often been the opposite – that some citizen involvement is not truly welcomed.

    For example, I email City Officials, including our Mayors, frequently. I have done so for many years. The last email response I received from an Edmonds Mayor was in March of 2012. To me, this is a sign of a dysfunctional City Government…a City Government that does not welcome all its citizens.

    On Friday July 9th I emailed City Council an email about the Emergency Ordinance unanimous vote requirement. The email started: “Please read this email in full and confirm via email back to me that you have read it. Thank you.”

    Only Councilmember Distelhorst responded. All he said was “Received, just FYI”

    I responded on July 12th and concluded my response as follows:

    “My hope as a citizen is that a councilmember reading my email would want to discuss the contents of the email with the constituent who prepared it. I hope you will consider setting up a time to discuss this with me. Thank you.”

    I received no response about setting up a time to meet and haven’t received a single confirmation from a Councilmember that they have read my July 9th email.

    My July 9th email included discussion of a Code error that has existed since 1985 and discussed assorted problems with the 16 Emergency Ordinances voted on by Council between March 22, 2020 and March 2, 2021.

    I continue to believe we can do much, much better. I am not willing to give up that hope yet.

  9. Ken, you are an amazing man for detail; when you get ahold of an issue you do not let go. My particular circle of friends always discuss the issues that you bring to light, usually topics that we did not know existed. You are educating all of us on the things that need to be fixed within our city government. Perhaps My Edmonds News needs a weekly “Reidy Report” column?
    I find myself looking for your comments. Again, I appreciate your knowledge and ability to bring so many topics to the attention of the citizens of Edmonds. You have introduced to my group of friends so many interesting perspectives and we will be more educated and informed during the upcoming election.

    1. I agree that Ken’s words need to be taken seriously. He is truly an advocate for all of us, and the politicians/city administrators are probably looking over their shoulders with each comment. His exposure of the details that usually get lost and are never brought to the light-of-day (thanks MEN comments section), will only benefit all on of us.
      I also give a thumbs up to Matt R for Informed Satire/Debate. We truly are fortunate to have these two civil minded contributors, as I too “look” for their comments.

  10. Wow Linda- I am honored! Thanks for the very kind words and thanks for taking the time to read my comments!

  11. Trying again as my comments could not post last week.

    Thank you Teresa and ECA for hosting this debate, and thank you Larry for this well done summary. I was happy to see all of the attendance at the event, and was grateful to be able to meet the candidates and hear them debate in person.

    I am a fan of both Kristiana Johnson and Alicia Crank, and I think there are good points to both of them. Unlike the Position 2 debate where there was one clear loser (Distelhorst), and two clear winners (Cass and Chen), this debate was more nuanced and there were good points made by both sides.

    Kristiana Johnson – The ‘safe’ choice. Johnson reiterated common sense policies and procedures that she had followed throughout this last year. Johnson along with Olson were essential voices of reason on the council while the Mayor and AFM continually shut out public input and instituted very unpopular policies that were almost purposefully antagonistic. Johnson made some very thoughtful and reasonable comments and actions this last year that would be very difficult to lose.

    Alicia Crank – Alicia has been a voice of civil discourse and new ideas, and she certainly displayed that in this debate. She is fun, witty, and showed a lot of her strengths that would be an asset on the council. There are two aspects that worry me, and could worry other voters though.
    1) Alicia was dodgy on key specifics. On housing she said that it should be dealt with on a case by case basis, but that is not how the votes on the issue will go. There is going to be a yes or no vote. Without clear positions, people do not really know her stance.
    2) Support from Mayor Nelson, Laura Johnson, and AFM. Probably one of the most important parts of the debate came at the very end in Kristiana Johnson’s closing statement. This is not an easy issue for her to address, but it is essential. Will she be a rubber stamp for unpopular policies? Depends on the issue.

    1. Hi Evan. Thanks for your comments as well as giving feedback on some of the Black In Edmonds discussions over the past year. I will say that your second point above is pretty easy for me to address. There are literally several videotaped statements of me vocalizing my disagreement with several votes/initiatives that have come out of the current council. That being said, I will be holding a virtual Q&A this Friday at 6pm for anyone who would like to have any questions about the campaign and my position on specific issues. https://tinyurl.com/AliciaAMA

      1. Thank you very much Alicia. I appreciate you reaching out and responding. I have seen you voicing dissenting opinions on important issues, and I am certainly convinced that you will bring an innovative mind and collaborative set of skills to the council that is badly needed.

        How do you convince the people who are concerned about being sponsored by the Democratic party? It is a difficult issue to address since you are trying to convince people of your actions in the future, but I think you are right to point towards your record as the best way to do that.

        One strength that may have been overlooked by some is your ability to work together and collaborate.

        Kristiana was right that the council and mayor have made a number of decisions this year that were deeply unpopular. The problem is not just those decisions but the way that they were conducted.
        – A majority of people choose in a survey to not have walkable downtown on both Saturday and Sunday, and despite a reasonable compromise, they were ignored.
        – The public was railroaded, chastised, ignored, and demeaned in the police chief search.
        – The city of Edmonds Communications Director resigned because of the hostile work environment where the Mayor would not even communicate with her.

        Kristiana Johnson has also said that the Mayor is not talking with her. That is not good for anyone. It is not good for Ms. Johnson, Mayor Nelson, or the citizens of Edmonds. I don’t think that it is something that we can really blame on Ms. Johnson, but there are definitely questions about why there was a breakdown, and what can be done to address it.

        There is a lot of breakdown in respectful and productive communication in Edmonds government right now.

        I have seen you take what could have been very contentious conversations on the Black in Edmonds series, and turn them productive. On the issue of endorsements, you have been praised by people on all sides of the political spectrum. I think that is an indication of your collaborative strength.

    2. A good review. Alicia Crank certainly has an attractive personality although, support from Mayor Nelson, Laura Johnson, AFM, and also Susan Paine makes me wonder if she going to be another member of the partisan “squad” that I think has been so destructive to local governance.

      1. Committees and Councils are like Alicia’s merit badges. I am wondering [because I don’t know], how over-committed she. If I had a merit badge in badminton, I’d wear it, but wouldn’t want to do it ever week in the evening. I’ve heard Alicia ducks some if the other obligations and hope I heard wrong. That said, she’s the best communicator in town.

        1. I just heard that some commitments were likely curtailed due to Alicia having cancer diagnosis. This is known in retrospect, and respect her. Both women have had health issues, and it sounds like everyone is for the better these days. Health is wealth.

          Note, City Council is a super busy part time job.

  12. I voted for Lora Petso because I think she is Independent, smart and I generally liked her positions on the Council in the past. In other words, she’s a known quantity.

    I argued against the idea that people should not be judged based on being supported by a political party in the last election and feel I got burned big time on that notion in a couple obvious examples. When I know I’m wrong, I admit it, and I try a different approach. I wish some folks, I’d like to support, would take that approach too.

    1. Thanks! I really believe it is the voters who can take charge right now. A person can probably think of themselves as a good D or a good R even if just this once they vote I.

  13. One question about this specific position that has been been address is who is Brian Hartman (beyond what is in the voter’s pamphlet) and why is he running? Beyond filing (on the very last day) Mr. Hartman has raised no money, has done nothing to raise awareness (e.g., posting signs, direct mail), and has not participated in any event (the League of Women’s Voters or this debate). In addition, MEN has indicated that the does not return phone calls or respond to emails. This lack of communication suggests that the only reason for his presence on the ballot is to force a primary race for this position and I would like to know if any group or person is behind this and if so who that group or person is and their reasons for doing so. While I do not believe that doing so is illegal, I think it is unethical. It is important to have this information and to ensure that no candidate or group endorsing a candidate is behind this.

  14. I just wanted to add that the closing statement would be a great opportunity for a follow up question with Alicia Crank from MyEN.

    Kristian Johnson said in her closing remark “In the last election my opponent was supported by Councilmembers Fraley-Monillas, Paine, Laura Johnson, and Nelson, and again by these same councilmembers when she applied to fill the council seat vacated by Mayor Nelson. If you did not like their politics, you will probably not like my opponent’s politics.”

    As Sam Parker correctly noted, Alicia has not always agreed with the current voting majority of the council on their decisions, and has differed with them on the handling of the Police Chief, housing policy, tree policy, and many others. However, she is endorsed by the Democratic party, which would indicate that she does indeed lean Democratic.

    How would Alicia respond to the claim from Ms. Johnson in her final closing remarks?

    To be clear I am also a moderate Democrat, and certainly don’t believe that party affiliation will automatically predict your choices, but it does present a general alignment. There are people on both sides (Democrat and Republican) who will vote with party no matter the issue just to convey their party loyalty. I personally don’t think that Alicia Crank has displayed that type of blind partisanship, and I have seen that she genuinely has assessed the issues on their merit rather than where party ideology has guided her on what to think.

    The key I think is that we wouldn’t want someone who would say that they would never agree or not agree with other members of the council. Mayor Nelson has certainly produced a lot of bad ideas, but not 100%. Ideally we want a candidate that will asses the issues as they arise rather than have a predetermined choice before they are even presented to them. Kristiana has noted that Mayor Nelson is not even talking to her which is also bad.

    However, I do think this is an important issue to address in Alicia’s own words.

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