This morning, I received an email from Adrienne Fraley-Monilas and her biggest concern about the upcoming council race. Here is a snippet, ” What’s at stake in the upcoming city council race? Funding for social and community programs, the Democratic majority on our city council, and solutions to our homelessness crisis.”
This is both offensive and elitist to me and should be offensive to every citizen in Edmonds. We have seen our local politics and political climate become flooded by partisan bickering and fear mongering. We have seen a decrease in civility on the Council, a decrease in transparency at the executive level, and an administration that is following a national playbook written by national interests. We have seen some candidates accept money from special interest groups and then tout that as a good thing. What we are not seeing is what local politics should be — non-partisan solutions to common problems.
The last time I checked, homelessness was not a Republican or Democrat issue. Churches, veterans organizations, social organizations and other non-profit organizations, as well as our own homes, donate time and hours to try to solve this complex issue. Social programs are not a local Democrat or Republican issue. We want services that serve all of our community regardless of the label that Adrienne Fraley-Monilas and the mayor have decided to put on them. We want equitable and diverse solutions for our city that enhance investment, preserve Edmonds, increase understanding and opportunities to build generational wealth across all citizens. We all want Edmonds to be a place where individuals and families can both work and live here. The last time I checked, our moral and ethical obligations as humans were not labeled as Democrat or Republican.
I would like to point to some interesting facts uncovered in a study by Richard Florida, and highlighted in the quote below from the ICMA (National City Managers Association):
“Recently, local governing bodies have been requested to enter the political fray about issues such as the Second Amendment and gun control, school choice, immigration and refugee policy, COVID-19 business closures and mask mandates, and other topics that do not directly pertain to city/county services. These types of issues are incompatible with the regular duties of local government for at least five reasons.
- Local governments rely on relationships, collaboration, and compromise to solve problems and provide services. Injecting the partisan divide into local decisions may very well degrade the crucial relationships and trust required to solve local issues. In local government, our relationships are much more important than party and ideology.
- Local issues are almost exclusively nonpartisan. Residents’ attitudes about local issues are not shaped by partisan politics or party loyalty.
- Local government officials typically use their roles to build community trust and healthy relationships rather than contribute to disagreement and bickering.
- Often, the public is unaware of the limitations of the authority of city and county governments. Proposed resolutions may not have the impact desired or anticipated by its supporters.
- When governing bodies, individual elected officials, or local government managers meander from their proper roles, things will get messy fast.
What we do in local government is not partisan or overtly political. Local governments do not decide everything with a vote but, rather, operate much more with consensus on community issues. This makes sense because, as Richard Florida found, there is very little difference between the attitudes of Democrats and Republicans on local issues.
The playbook that we are being given by our mayor, Adrienne Fraley-Monilas and three other current council members is not representative (as widely studied, proven in results and obvious in our local politics) of effective city government. It is a cheap way to cover for the inability to effectively manage and support local policies, funding, and programs that increase Edmonds ability to fund programs that are beneficial to all. Let’s get back to effective city government this election season. Sewers, streets, sidewalks and services are not threatened by our party affiliation, they are threatened by the current inability to govern.
Publisher’s note: All letters to the editors are the opinion of the author and do not represent the viewpoints of My Edmonds News. To submit yours, email firstname.lastname@example.org. No letters regarding political candidates will be accepted after the Nov. 2 general election ballots are mailed Oct. 14.