Letter to the editor: The city council’s three-ring circus — and councilmember’s response


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

~ ~ ~ ~

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.

Adrienne Fraley-Monillas
Edmonds City Council

  1. As a citizen I have not been Happy with Adrienne, Laura or Susan’s performance on Council. Their Council position is to listen to all citizens, and make decisions based on community, not to block vote or to cause community division.
    Adrienne again and again has posted or spoken about our city, our community in a negative light. We need council, who are respectful and professional enough, to honor the commitment, to our community.

    Adrienne should be removed or recalled. This isn’t about politics for me. I don’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat, as long as you do your job and love our community. The police chief circus was caused by Nelson, Luke, Laura, Adrienne and Susan. Luke has been voted out and we must continue to remove council , who have been responsible for making a mockery of our town.

    If you cannot handle yourself or your own behavior, you are not fit to make decisions for your constituents. The mayor will not take action so the voters must. Vote out Adrienne restore respect to Edmonds. Thank you!

  2. It is going to take time to process the claims made by City Councilmember Fraley-Monillas in her response. I am stunned at the moment.

    I attended the July 27th meeting and spoke 3 times. I’ve told many it was one of the most beautiful displays of our freedom to participate in government that I’ve witnessed in Council Chambers. I hope most elected officials cherish the wide range of citizen input provided that evening.

    I also spoke the evening of July 20th when Council Chambers was pretty empty. I think I was 1 of only a few who spoke that evening. Two police officers were in attendance, sitting in the back row. I think former Mayor Earling initiated the practice of police officer attendance a few years ago. As I left council chambers, I spoke to both to tell them they are appreciated and to thank them for their service.

  3. If anything like Monillas is making up occurred at the July 27th meeting it would be on the video and it isn’t. I suggest all concerned citizens watch the video (http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/calendar.aspx ll) of the citizens comments(comments start at -2:54) or at least read the minutes (http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=15&ID=2877&Inline=True). Not one citizen called any council members names, this is a lie made up by Monillas and the mayor.
    Not one person was drinking that I saw at the council meeting, if this actually happened then there would be videos from the cameras around the courthouse.
    This was the first council meeting I had ever attended and I was heartened to see so many citizens attending to voice their concerns. I’m appalled at the false and vindictive statements made by the mayor at the 8/3 mtg (http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/calendar.aspx) starts at -6:20.
    I suggest citizens take a look at what actually occurred at the council meetings and then you will see that Monillas and the mayor are gas lighting, creating false narratives and trying to bully concerned citizens.
    Citizens need to hold their elected officials accountable! There is no excuse for the false narratives and lies from our elected officials and there is absolutely no excuse for drinking on the job! Complaints have been filed by citizens and will continue to be filed to stop what is going on in our city government. I’ve lived in Edmonds for 40 years and just started paying attention and I’m appalled.

  4. Adrienne:

    I was at the council meeting that you reference and I was also outside chambers before the meeting. Let me make it very clear. Nobody was drinking alcohol that I observed. 100% fact. But even if they were, why is it OK for you to drink alcohol during a council meeting but not them?

    You also equate the behavior of the citizens that attended the meeting to the people that the stormed the Capital? Seriously!! What meeting were you at? This is a complete exaggeration and a lie. I heard some people comment on the hate portal and relate that to what happened in Nazi Germany or other Communist countries but no one was calling anyone a Nazi or doing what you accuse them of.

    In the end, we live in a democracy and the citizens have every right to voice their concerns and frustration and opinions, just like you do. You just didn’t like what they had to say. You yourself have said some very mean things about the people who live in Edmonds. You have said that Edmonds is a racist town, you have called the people that live downtown a pack of rich white people and now you choose to drink wine at a council meeting while bashing others who supposedly chose to drink before a council meeting. Where is the logic here?

    You seem to have an excuse for everything you do and you deflect the blame and put it on others like you did in the response above. You don’t address the issues and apologize and move on. You name call, make up false claims and use bully tactics to discredit those people who challenge you.

    Anyone can watch the recorded version of the council meeting that evening. That is verifiable video evidence and the citizens can watch that and judge for themselves what they think. But what about the accusation of people drinking before the council meeting and being drunk? Can you prove that? Do you have verifiable evidence to support this accusation?

  5. I am absolutely stunned and appalled at Ms. Monillas spinning of the truth on July 27th, 2021 ! I was in the room and what she is claiming is absolutely slanderous of everyone in that room!Are you that out of touch or is there a bigger problem going on here, one that you are not willing to take responsibility for? It was you who put yourself in that position! No one else did. You must think the Edmonds constituents can’t see you or hear you. If you had some sort of procedure that put you in “horrendous pain” usually that is treated with a prescription for pain in which case you should not have participated either, way! Regardless of the fact that we are in an election cycle, you are doing great harm to the citizens/constituents of this city. Do you not see that all of this reflects poorly on Edmonds??? When you or anyone else in government tear down the people you are “allowed” to represent, what we have in this city is a “dereliction of duty”. “….failure to conform to rules of ones’ job..” Also, “it is a failure or refusal to perform assigned duties in a satisfactory manner”. Step down!

  6. A year later this you will likely look back at this letter with regret. Not exactly the legacy you would want to leave as remembrance of your time on the council.

  7. The Response is signed:

    Adrienne Fraley-Monillas
    Edmonds City Council

    Is this a personal Response by Ms. Fraley-Monillas or a Response by the Edmonds City Council as a whole?

    On January 26, 2021, City Council adopted a Code of Conduct via Motion. That Code of Conduct includes:

    Section 6. Council Code of Conduct

    The City Council finds that Councilmembers should seek to continually improve the quality of public service and ensure public confidence in the integrity of local government and its effective, transparent, and equitable operation.

    Councilmembers have a public stage and privileged platform to show how individuals with contrasting points of view can find common ground, demonstrate problem-solving approaches, and achieve solutions that benefit the community as a whole.

    Central to these principles is that civility and decorum shall apply to all Councilmember conduct in relation to city business.

    To this end, the following Code of Conduct for members of the Edmonds City Council is established:

    6.1 General Conduct

    A. Councilmembers shall focus discussions and debates on vision, policies, and their implementation.

    B. No Councilmember shall dominate proceedings during Council or other public meetings.

    C. Personal, insulting, or intimidating language, body language and actions, are not allowed. Councilmembers may raise a point of order for ruling by the Chair or by the Body to address inappropriate remarks.

    D. Ensuring that all meeting participants feel welcome is a vital part of the democratic process. No signs of partiality, prejudice, or disrespect should be evident on the part of Councilmembers toward any individual participating in a public meeting. Every effort should be made to be respectful in listening to Council, staff and public testimony and discussions.

    E. Technology allows words written or said to be distributed far and wide. Councilmember written notes, voicemail messages, texts, email, or other electronic communications, are public records and shall follow this code.

    This situation will give citizens a window into how the NEW Code of Conduct will be enforced as it relates to the conduct described as taking place during the September 7th meeting and the conduct documented in the Response above.

  8. Dear Adrienne,
    You are such a disgrace to our city and the position you hold. You have become toxic to the citizens you were elected to represent. Shame on you for your continued idiotic rants, lies and excuses for your unacceptable behavior. Give up now and pull your candidacy. You have no one to blame but yourself for the multitude of negative comments that have, and will continue, to come your way from Edmonds residents.

    Thank you for continuing to show how truly inept you are as a council member as you will indeed be voted out in November.

    1. It is time for AFM to be relieved from her council position. She has again and again shown her complete disregard for and elitist approach to the position she has been allowed to hold. If her repeated slanderous, untrue, and inflammatory comments toward the constituency she was elected to represent are not enough, then you should consider her complete lack of judgement in attending and voting at a City Council meeting while drinking and while not in her full capacity due to her health issue. She still has not apologized for her poor decision. She has only said how being “dedicated” is her flaw- sorry, but that’s just not going to fly. Her decision to deflect and gas-light rather than to act professionally, take accountability and to lead with honor has been the constant. THAT IS WHAT BEING POLITICAL LOOKS LIKE.
      Her flawed decision showed incredibly poor judgement. Period. That is what she needs to admit and apologize for to the Edmonds constituency.
      In addition, WE ALL SAW her flash the “L” (for loser) sign at the comments made the week when citizens of Edmonds called out her poor decision to be drinking during a council meeting.
      Why has this mot been addressed by AFM? She conveniently ignored this in her rebuttal. Is this behavior following the Code of Conduct that the CC has approved?
      It could not be more clear that AFM thinks we are dumb.
      Why wasn’t she censured for this? Why was she instead named by Mayor Nelson to be on the new “Homeless Task Force?” Her poor judgement and unwillingness to take accountability can no longer be given a pass. We demand accountability. We are done with the clown-town approach that this City Council is bringing to the table. It’s embarrassing and she is a liability to our city.

  9. Adrienne, we who were in attendance at several of these referenced meetings have an entirely different perception of how you conducted yourself. You are trying to explain away your own bad behavior and your bullying tactics on everyone but yourself. We, as a community, will be so much better served when you are voted off of our city council.
    Your behavior has been bizarre to say the least. I urge you to walk away quietly, enough damage has been done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.