As a resident of Edmonds who has been involved in charitable organizations, dedicated time to the Economic Development Commission, and have tried to present facts during critical votes that lead to positive momentum in the City of Edmonds, I am writing to express my concerns with voting Lora Petso back on the council. So far, the arguments against Will Chen and Janelle Cass have been unfounded and based solely on their ability to effectively build relationships both in and outside of their communities. Both of them come prepared and dedicated to a better Edmonds for all residents. I am certain that Lora Petso is not the best candidate in this race. A few salient points that I believe need to be brought back into light:
- When I was a resident of the Five Corners area, the traffic was unbearable and the neighborhood needed a catalyst for redevelopment, beautification and to be brought into the fold outside of the Bowl area. Lora Petso voted against this important project that accomplished all of its goals. Five Corners is a focus area that will lead to further economic opportunity and the council, except for Lora Petso, put their money where their mouth was by investing in this project.
- Lora Petso voted against the formation of the Public Facilities District. This district was formed to increase the visibility of Edmonds as both a community focused on cultural opportunities and bringing a greater emphasis on the arts in our community. Prior to COVID, the Edmonds Center for the Arts would host 80,000 visitors at a diverse collection of over 25 performances per year. John F. Kennedy said it well “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him… We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.” The Center for the Arts, given Lora Petso’s stance, would not exist and the City of Edmonds would not have the benefit of cultural programs, a wide range of artistic expressions, summer camps, and just as important, the economic vitality this asset brings to the community.
- Lora Petso voted no on the installation of a community solar project on city property at zero cost to the city. From My Edmonds News ” After nearly two hours of debate, the Edmonds City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve a site lease for the Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative to install a solar project on the city-owned Frances Anderson Center roof in downtown Edmonds. The lone “no” vote came from Councilmember Lora Petso, who said she wanted more time to study the proposal.” Solar panels (made in Washington) installed at zero cost, and an important working study on the benefits of solar alternative energy in our Community would have been held up for another “study.”
- Lora Petso was the lone no vote in funding the Strategic Action Plan process. The Strategic Action Plan was intended to be the roadmap for the City of Edmonds to focus on those projects and initiatives that bring vitality to the City of Edmonds. Again, an important initiative that included public input would have been delayed and more city staff and public time would have been aimlessly spent getting to a plan to bring vitality and opportunity to the City of Edmonds.
- I also find it ironic that Lora Petso makes the claim to have “led” the effort to create Hickman Park. The goal here was simple, avoid any development in her neighborhood. The City of Edmonds had always planned to develop a park in that neighborhood. This effort was not “led” by Lora Petso, this effort was led by the community, previous councils, and city staff.
These are just a few of the reasons that I am encouraging residents of Edmonds to carefully consider their vote for this city council position. More of the “same old” management isn’t going to move Edmonds forward in both a diverse and equitable way. I am not throwing my support in the ring for one of the other candidates. I am throwing my support and efforts to researching those two candidates as a better alternative to Lora Petso.