It is truly sad that Edmonds government has lost all dignity. Our expectations of good governance in our city are long gone. Citizens regularly bring their heartfelt concerns to the council in public comments in hopes of giving input to our city electeds. They are dismissed by the mayor and Councilmembers Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Laura Johnson, Luke Distelhorst and Susan Paine, unless it is to criticize them. In our opinion, city council meetings have gone from watching Mayor Nelson and the Gang of Four to watching a three-ring circus, because official duties are not being taking seriously.
Three weeks ago, we saw Adrienne Fraley-Monillas drinking alcohol during a city council meeting, acting impaired, barely audible and continually clicking her video on and off. Adrienne’s excuse for her behavior was unconvincing. She only apologized to the mayor and council. Never did she apologize to the constituents for breaching the council’s code of conduct.
On Sept. 7, Adrienne further breached the code of conduct during public and council comments. We were the two citizens who spoke to the unacceptable behavior of drinking on the job. Our comments covered several issues, including a request for the resignation of Adrienne Fraley-Monillas for drinking and voting on city issues. Our statements were respectful and truthful. We encourage others to watch the video at the 1:10 mark: http://bit.ly/3z7WuYQ. At the end of the first statement, Councilmember Fraley-Monillas flashed a “Loser” sign at us and the public. She then proceeded to turn off her video when the other voiced her concern about Adrienne’s drinking on duty. Yes, she turned off her video to a concerned citizen. Has council really stooped to this level?
At the end of the meeting, Adrienne called these concerned citizens out by name twice, stated incorrectly that our comments said she was drunk (perhaps a Freudian slip — our statements said only that she was drinking) and then called our comments “Hate Speech.”
Did the mayor speak to her drinking? Never. He only likes to falsely accuse residents voicing their concerns of council’s actions, of drinking. Should Adrienne Fraley-Monillas be censured by council? Yes. But since Council President Susan Paine covered twice for her drinking by telling her to vote with her camera off, we have no hope for this. Adrienne Fraley-Monillas should be asked by every citizen to resign for drinking on the job.
The bar has been set very low for Edmonds government. It is truly a circus act, which continues to get more ridiculous each week. We feel for Kristiana Johnson, Diane Buckshnis and Vivian Olson, who are forced to put up with this clown show and don’t have the numbers on council to shut down this disgraceful spectacle. As citizens, we are continually forced into having to play monkeys in their demented circus. Why are we allowing this in Edmonds? Why are we complacent?
We implore the city of Edmonds to vote out this disgrace to our city in November. Let’s start rebuilding dignity and credibility in our local government. We deserve better!
Carolyn Strong and Susan Hughes
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Councilmember Fraley-Monillas’ response:
As most people know, I work very hard for the city and have missed very few meetings.
The meeting to which Ms. Hughes and Ms. Strong references is one is which I had a horrendous infection and a temperature. In retrospect, I probably should have been in bed. I am very dedicated to my job.
This letter is clearly political in nature, Ms. Hughes was a very active part of council audience behavior a few weeks prior to this. Please go to July 27 council meeting and watch the video on city the website. This wild behavior was not unlike what occurred at our national capitol in January.
During this meeting, a number of particular campaign supporters were seen in the parking lot prior to the meeting drinking out of red Solo cups, during the meeting some went in and out of the doors back into the parking lot, your guess is as good as mine to what they were doing.
During this meeting, some of these people were yelling, screaming, jumping up and down, flashing signs, calling council names such as Nazis, fascist, cancers that needed to be removed, laughing loudly, clapping, booing. They were also showing very inappropriate and disrespectful behavior toward the Edmonds staff. Most of these people were not wearing masks nor social distancing.
Safety of the elected officials and staff was clearly an issue and we ended up having police stand in the back of the room to protect all of us in the room. I felt sorry for the citizens who came to our meeting to hear what was going on and to provide input; they also had to tolerate this wild, scary behavior.
Following this, Mayor Nelson called out the behavior of these people and made it clear it will not be tolerated. When it started at the next meeting (police again in the back of the room) the mayor indicated if it continued we would adjourn our meeting.
Ms. Hughes, Ms. Strong and company, by continually calling me out and making up stories, are deflecting what occurred in our very own council chambers with their own behavior.
Edmonds City Council