Letter to the editor: I’m prepared to serve city on day one


With 15-plus years of military and government service, my resume demonstrates good stewardship of millions of taxpayer dollars. This fiscal responsibility has continued to be a priority in my business and personal life. Managing budgets, protecting the environment and overseeing multiple projects and complex processes, while prioritizing public input, have prepared me to be effective on city council starting on day one.

I will deliver on both fiscal responsibility and oversight. After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy, I served for five years as a bioenvironmental engineer in the USAF, then continued civil service for 11 years as an environmental engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These positions required expertise to create and manage government budgets, perform acquisitions and provide oversight of millions of federal contract dollars. A rewarding part of these duties was to also research, contract and complete projects utilizing minority-owned and disadvantaged small businesses, which helped them grow and thrive. To gain the most value for the taxpayer, I implemented best practices, while ensuring the job was done on time and within budget. As an Edmonds city councilmember, I will continue to implement the practices of being a good steward of the taxpayers’ dollars.

Being on city council requires that we work with each other, the mayor, city staff, departments, contractors and most importantly, the people of Edmonds. I will seek winning solutions that balance environmental stewardship and infrastructure needs by creating cooperative relationships between all stakeholders. Developing positive relationships was a daily practice in my career. For example, as the environmental engineer for the FAA’s Las Vegas Metroplex Airspace Redesign Project, I experienced challenges bringing together the FAA and the National Parks Department to agree on how airplanes should fly over sensitive areas of the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. Initially, the organizations wanted entirely different outcomes. With diplomacy and persistence, I was able to encourage FAA management, FAA unions, and the airlines to develop a collaborative relationship with a wide variety of invested organizations, including: the National Parks Department, Tribal Nations (primarily the Hualapai Tribe), State Historic Preservation Offices, State Departments of Ecology, the Department of Defense at Nellis AFB, elected officials, the public and others. Together, we reduced an average of 100 flights per day over the Grand Canyon and eliminated flights over Zion National Park altogether. Furthermore, the FAA and the airlines achieved their mission of improved efficiency, safety and fuel emission reduction. The success of the project reflected my proficiency to foster effective team work among those with diverse opinions. I will utilize these valuable skills when bringing solutions to Edmonds’ challenges.

When elected to the city council, you will see this same dedication, expertise and professionalism in the work I do for Edmonds. Before council acts on any issue, I will prioritize:  1) clarifying the issue we are trying to solve; 2) that citizens and stakeholders are recognized, respected, heard and understood, and 3) that the actions taken by Edmonds city government reflect the will of the residents of Edmonds, not outside special interests. When selecting your next city councilmembers, please consider candidates that have a track record of using a multitude of skills to effectively address complex issues like the ones Edmonds may face in the coming years. I am prepared for Edmonds’ challenges.

Janelle Cass

  1. We just had Janelle on a tour of the Port with Commissioner Steve Johnston and Executive Director Bob McChesney.
    I was blown away by the depth of Janelle‘s understanding of the work & engineering that’s going to take place to replace the Port Walk.
    In addition to that she has a very deep understanding of the process and the players involved on such a large project, like the Army Corps of Engineers as well as others.
    This is the type of real world experience along with the ability to bring groups of people together that Edmonds needs immediately.

  2. I’ll first say that I do commend those who have stepped forward to run for council. It appears to be a thankless job – but when done as per the job description, puts Edmonds first.

    In NOV we’ll have the opportunity to exercise our vote – and my hope is that more are paying attention to the goals, ambitions, and intentions of each candidate.

    While I rarely come out and state whom I plan to support, in this seat, I plan to support Ms. Cass – because I do believe she is ready and able – and deeply knowledgeable on the issues – to serve on day one. We are in a fight for our city…and I have strong confidence that she’ll lean in on what I believe are truly the most important issues: “balanc(ing) environmental stewardship and infrastructure needs by creating cooperative relationships between all stakeholders.”

    Environmental stewardship and infrastructure needs…not a progressive, ideological agenda. It is time to get back to smart, efficient, objective governing and legislating.

    1. Cass went from being last to first in Primary. She practically already won the election in November, for all of us, simply by primarying Councilman Distelhorst. Thank you Janelle. It would be icing on the cake to have aother practical women veteran on the council.

  3. I am not aware of anyone running for city council or currently on city council who has as much experience as Janelle Cass when it comes to bringing many diverse stakeholders together to do something good in a large, complex, controversial government program involving. She has a proven track record in managing government budgets and government contracting. As a former airline president, I fully understand and appreciate the impressive work she did for our country during the FAA’s Las Vegas Metroplex Airspace Redesign Project. Great job Janelle! I hope you are elected to the Edmonds city council. We need leaders like you.

  4. Janelle brings a modern, non-partisan, inclusive approach to the city council that is desperately needed.

    Janelle will put an end to the dividing, name calling and bullying tactics of some current council members and our Mayor. She is the only candidate with a proven track record of inclusiveness and listening to all points of view to find a compromise that benefits all parties involved.

    Janelle has a proven track record or protecting the environment with common sense solutions. She will work tirelessly to protect what we have and ensure Edmonds remains a beautiful and clean place to live while also protecting our property rights and safe guarding them against greedy developers and housing commissions that want to up zone Edmonds..

    Janelle has a proven track record of managing budgets and not wasting the tax payers money. She will be a good steward of the city’s financial resources and allocate them in an efficient, non-wasteful manner to get the biggest return on investment possible.

    Janelle is the only choice in the race that will move Edmonds forward in a positive way and bring common sense back to the city council.

    The majority of Janelle’s campaign contributions come from local residents of Edmonds (Grass Roots), not from outside donors or political parties.

    That is why Janelle has my vote and she should have yours as well.

  5. Thank you Janelle. I see a lot of positives from both you and Will.

    One of the main issues for me has been the contention and animosity on the council. AFM and the mayor have been very resistant to include alternative viewpoints in their decisions, even up to the point of making up lies and insulting the public just so that they would not have to genuinely listen to them.

    I see lots of areas where both you and Will would be knowledgeable and capable as Councilmembers, but I would like to hear more about how you would address the lack of civility at City Hall. In many of the letters and debates, this ability to productively collaborate with people with a range of political viewpoints has been highlighted as a key skillset for Will. I have heard a lot of policies that you would support or oppose, but not as much about how you would work with a group of varying viewpoints to reach collaborative solutions.

    To be clear, I think this likely is something that you excel at, but would like to hear more about it.

    How will you listen and connect with council members and constituents who have alternative view points to reach collaborative, transparent, and productive decisions on the council?

  6. I have not heard much about how Ms. Cass will support the needs of citizens outside of the Bowl and address some of the very, very real and growing issues in our city like crime and homelessness. Perhaps some of that is jaded by the comments I read from Cass supporters in these threads attacking Will Chen’s credentials – and that is their right – but since Ms. Cass wrote the OP, I’d love to hear what her stance is.

    1. Tom, your question comes at an excellent time. In listening to all residents of Edmonds, crime and homelessness is absolutely a top concern. This is why tomorrow, Saturday Oct 2, at 2pm at Yost Park, I am hosting a citizen’s forum on “Drug Addiction and Homelessness – What have We Learned from Seattle”. The panelists include top experts on the topic such as president of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild, one of our very own recently retired EPD officers, and a non-for-profit leader in Snohomish County who provides boots on the ground going into encampments helping people get the help they need. I hope you can join us. I will be happy to expand on some of views and ideas about addressing the issues. For more details: https://myedmondsnews.com/2021/09/election-notes-cass-sponsoring-oct-2-town-hall-on-drug-addiction-homelessness/

  7. I’d like to hear about Ms. Cass’s position on masking and proof of vaccination requirements, as well as other plans to contain the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in our community.
    I’m also interested in her position on Edmonds entering into an interlocal agreement pursuant to Snohomish County Code 2.460.200 that would allow Code chapter 2.460 to be enforced in Edmonds.
    Thank you.

  8. Are masking and proof of vaccination requirement decisions made at the City Council level in Edmonds? It would be nice if citizens were afforded that level of legislative representation. Same goes for having City Council vote on major policy decisions such as establishing a bias/hate reporting portal.

    Snohomish County Code Chapter 2.460 is titled: Snohomish County Human Rights Commission. I think it was first adopted by the Snohomish County Council back in 2010. At the County level, County staff didn’t decide on their own it was a good idea and slap a reporting portal on the County website without further ado.

    Edmonds can’t enter into an interlocal agreement related to Snohomish County Code Chapter 2.460 unless it adopts or incorporates the provisions of the County ordinance by a lawful Edmonds ordinance or Edmonds resolution.

    Instead of asking City Council to consider adopting or incorporating the provisions of the County ordinance, the following took place, according to Patrick Doherty, City of Edmonds Economic Development and Community Services Director:

    “The idea for the bias/hate reporting portal came out of preliminary discussions among Commissioners – not a formal recommendation. These discussions led me, as staff, to discuss this idea internally and we decided that it was a good idea that we could implement without further ado. We simply added to the existing reporting portal on our website a new category: incidents of bias, discrimination and/or hate.”

    I wonder if the Diversity Commissioners who had preliminary discussions about the bias/hate reporting portal were made aware of Snohomish County Code Chapter 2.460. If they had been, the possibility of the Diversity Commission voting to recommend City Council adopt the required ordinance or resolution would have existed.

    Instead we have the bias/hate portal that Nelson/Doherty have so far refused to remove from the City’s website.

  9. Believe it or not, my question about SCC 2.460 had nothing to do with the portal. Whether I share Ken’s views on the portal is immaterial, but others with whom I’ve discussed this issue think an interlocal agreement (and adoption or incorporation of the county code that would make that possible, of course) might be worthy of discussion, at a minimum. In any case, I’m interested in what Ms. Cass thinks about the idea, not in her opinion about the portal. I am well aware of how she feels about that.

    As to my questions about Ms. Cass’s thoughts on COVID mitigation efforts: I’m well aware of the limits on Council authority. I’m interested in her thoughts because it’s a significant public health issue and if the Council considers budget line items that implicate such efforts, I’d like to know where she stands.

  10. Janelle Cass is exactly what Edmonds city leadership needs right now. She has the best qualifications, experience, intelligence, leadership skills, compassion and common sense to make a big, and very positive impact to our current city leadership. She listens to residents throughout all of Edmonds (not just the bowl). She listens to business owners (as she is one of them). She engages in citizen groups to understand the various concerns within our community, she is engaged in our school district (as a mother and community leader). She is the right choice for Edmonds.

    Regarding Will Chen, I’ve done my research and I’m not convinced he has the strength, and ability to help right the ship. When the tide begins to turn with Cass, Tibbot and Johnson elected in November, my wish would be that Chen replaces Paine or L. Johnson when their term is up.

    1. Hi, Deborah –
      My question here concerns Ms. Cass’s thoughts on these issues – if any (I recognize her focus at this point may be on the many other significant issues our community faces). Whatever her response is, I don’t plan on engaging in a debate here if I disagree with her. I have no idea whether I will disagree. Just looking for information as I think about the election and issues facing our city.
      Thanks, Kim

  11. This editorial amounts to free publicity for one candidate. In all fairness, please print an editoriaI from her opponent, Will Chen.

    1. Anyone is free to write a letter, including the candidates (one per candidate, per campaign season, please).

  12. There is no question in my mind that Janelle Cass is the best person to serve Edmonds on City Council. My plea is that all registered voters will take the time to do their research on all the candidates. That is what every voter should have been doing all along but “we the people” dropped the ball and have ended up with a city government that does not listen to the citizens. Please people, do your homework. We have an excellent well qualified candidate in Janelle Cass who will represent all of Edmonds and find solutions to the problems the city faces. Look at her background and resume and talk to her. Cast your vote from a position of being informed. Let’s save the Edmonds we all love.

  13. I strongly support Janelle Cass for city council. She has an extraordinary record of education, training and achievement. She has the skills and experience to effectively deal with the variety of issues and problems facing Edmonds. As the environmental engineer for the FAA’s Las Vegas Metroplex Airspace Redesign Project she successfully coordinated an extremely complex project by effectively working with multiple governmental, Union, NGOs and Native American Tribal all with disparate interests and expectations. This was a Herculean task and she carried it off with distinction. Clearly she is a team player who can effectively work with other members of the city council who have different backgrounds, interests and beliefs about how to manage and solve the issues facing Edmonds today. Finally, she listens to the residents of Edmonds and is sensitive to their needs, wishes and expectations. Janelle cass is an outstanding candidate; one who can help bring order and accountability to our town.

  14. I’m voting for Ms. Cass simply because I think she will have more time for doing the job and less of an ideological perspective on what needs to happen or not happen to solve Edmonds problems, without creating more problems in the process. That said, I really have nothing against Mr. Chen, at this point, and wish him well if he does win. They are both pretty much an unknown in terms of what real actions they might take, and we have only their words, past and present associations, and past actions in other areas to base our votes upon. I’m planning to attend Ms. Cass’s citizen forum today at Yost Park as I suspect substance abuse and homelessness are going to become an ever greater part of our local civic discussion, whether we like it or not.

  15. I love that Janelle is a Environmental Engineer and she was paid to solve problems by working with the community. The Council and Citizens needs Janelle, because of her experience in outreach listening to citizens, which is lacking on our Edmonds City Council.

    A divisive council is not what we need in Edmonds. We need collaboration to solve REAL city issues such as traffic, safety, city maintenance and growth management. Janelle is non partisan she will represent all citizens respectfully!

    Respectfully, .
    Denise Cooper

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