On July 27, the people of Edmonds came to the second in person council meeting, since council had gone to Zoom in early 2020. The residents were eager to speak about issues that concern them. Approximately 75 people attended this in-person meeting. The residents made public comments for nearly two hours. Topics ranged from requests for traffic calming on Dayton; concerns over the newly implemented “hate & bias reporting portal”, concerns about housing densification and more. Multiple people expressed feeling ignored by and invisible to the council, and that many decisions concerning Edmonds had been made in the dark. It was a night of impassioned speeches from people participating in our public process.-
On Aug. 3, Mayor Mike Nelson responded from the bully pulpit, dismissing the people’s outpouring of heartfelt, honest opinions. He took comments out of context, falsely accused citizens of name calling, behaving uncivilized and he unabashedly slandered citizens saying “they were seen drinking beforehand.” Perhaps, instead of criticizing his constituents, Mayor Nelson should be evaluating his own team. The hypocrisy is hard to miss.
During the Zoom-only council meeting on Aug. 24, I was one of the many viewers who were appalled to witness a councilmember noticeably impaired while voting on decisions for Edmonds. Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas kept her screen dark and was only visible when called upon to vote. When on screen, she was seen drinking red wine clutched in two hands and clearly had limited control over her speech and faculties. This behavior is concerning on many levels and creates a breach of trust between council and constituents. This calls in to question, with a four/three vote often deciding Edmonds’ future, and with 80% of meetings viewable on screen only over the last eighteen months, how often has that deciding vote been made after drinking alcohol? The fact that Edmonds is being governed under the influence is frightening.
This unacceptable conduct is enabled when the council abandons publicly held live meetings. The mayor has falsely accused the citizens of drinking prior to a council meeting, yet in reality a member of his own voting block is drinking wine while on duty and voting on important decisions for us. Other members of this voting bloc, appeared to be covering for Adrienne’s behavior by advising her to keep her screen off. The mayor’s misdirection of accusations towards the people, while one of his own is drinking, leaves the citizens of Edmonds with no confidence in city leadership.
While the councilmember’s behavior saddens and concerns me, I hope that appropriate, urgent action will be taken to resolve this situation to assure residents that this will not happen again. Ultimately it will be up to the people on Nov. 2 to choose true leaders who are willing to address the fundamental problems at city hall and to bring competent functionality back to our city government. As a candidate for city council, my mission is to raise the standard of professionalism, accountability and transparency in our city government and to rebuild trust between the people and council.
Edmonds resident and candidate for City Council Position 2