Wednesday night during the debate, council candidates in the primary election were asked if they supported Walkable Main Street on both Saturdays and Sundays.
All said no.
Councilmember Luke Distelhorst was challenged on this. It was known that he hadn’t supported my efforts to bring discussion of imposing limits on administrative authority to close rights-of-way to the council agenda*. In response, he suggested that he had asked me to return with parameters, and that it was my dropped ball in bringing them back that led to council inaction.
I take complete exception to this and asked (and still ask) CM Distelhorst to correct the record.
This is the proposal I made complete with parameters:
“Council approval is required for the closure of any City right-of-way exceeding 5 days in length when it is not affiliated with public works or construction projects.”
This balances government expediency where it makes sense versus vetting and judgment of the community impacts by more people for the longer, optional closures.
It was not parameters, but evidence that other cities had put such limits in place that CM Distelhorst asked me to seek. I obliged when he still wanted it after I told him I didn’t know how that was relevant, that what was good for Edmonds wasn’t dependent on what other other cities did or did not do.
The research provided him included mayors and city managers asking their councils to vote on these matters, but did not include proof that other councils had required that approval vote by code. It was this “lack” (not a lack of parameters) that made him unwilling to support bringing those limits to council for discussion.
I continue to seek a fourth CM’s support for adding the above proposal to the council agenda for discussion. CM Kristiana Johnson and CM Buckshnis have supported the ask both times so any one of the other four who have not already supported doing so will create the critical mass to make it happen when they sign on.
*The executive branch (Mayor’s office) has broad authorities granted to run the City; the legislative branch has the authority to make policy, including that which puts limits on the Mayor’s authority.
In response to this letter, Councilmember Luke Distelhorstt provided a link to the city council meeting minutes where this topic was discussed and said the following:
“I think my quote that night (below) was consistent with what I said last night. I have not seen an agenda memo or supporting documentation/attachments, as is customary with agenda items.