Letter to the editor: Will Chen will be a unifier on the Edmonds City Council

Dear Editor:

I am a member of the AAPI community in Edmonds. Many of us, including me, wholeheartedly support Will Chen’s candidacy for Position 2 in the Edmonds City Council election. Here are my reasons:

Will loves the entire Edmonds community. He serves Edmonds with single-minded dedication where he lives and works. Service is in his blood. When Will had his accounting branch office in Seattle Chinatown, he served the Chinese American and all other communities well by using his expertise and bilingual skills. He is a former president and board member of several traditional family associations as well as a board member for the Chinese American Chamber of Commerce. The Chinese American community here in Edmonds is very proud that Will is so committed to dedicate his time and resources to serve his and our hometown, Edmonds, as a city councilmember when elected.

Will has lived and worked in other states and cities before he moved to Edmonds 13 years ago, and he has garnished an excellent reputation everywhere by his hard work, honesty, and integrity. Will does not subscribe to the utilitarian model in relationships. He always builds strong and lasting relationships with people with whom he works. When his former colleagues learn that Will is running for the Edmonds City Council, they totally support him 100%. In fact, some of his good friends from Kimberly Clark drove all the way from Wisconsin to Edmonds to support him and contribute to his campaign because they know how excellent and committed Will is as a person and as a community builder serving our Edmonds community.

Will loves and cares about the well being of Edmonds the most! After traveling, studying, and working in different parts of the world and in our beloved country, Will chose to live and sink his roots deeply here in Edmonds. This is abundantly evident in his deep involvement and continuous services in our Edmonds community.  Will serves on the Edmonds Chamber Board. He is a serving member of the Edmonds Rotary Club, doing many voluntary projects to serve our Edmonds community here.  He serves on the accounting advisory board at Edmonds College. He has helped with the Edmonds Marsh land restoration project, to name a few of his active contributions and services to our beloved City of Edmonds.

In his professional capacity as a CPA with high integrity (with nine years of highly respected and well-received business establishment and practice here), Will will bring a depth of knowledge and wisdom to the Edmonds city financial management for the well being and improvement of Edmonds as a whole. This is testified by the many clients Will has over the years as a well-trusted CPA. His skills will serve the Edmonds City Council and all the people of Edmonds well.

For Position 2 in the Edmonds City Council, Will’s abilities to work across a diverse background of people in all constituencies makes him the best candidate! Will will serve not only the people in Edmonds Bowl but all people in Edmonds. He will also be a voice for people who have been underserved previously. As an AAPI community member myself, I am very thankful that Will is so dedicated to sacrifice his family and professional work time to serve Edmonds, the city he loves and where he resides.

Will is a unifier instead of a divider. We want to preserve the positive, friendly, cooperative, collaborative spirit of Edmonds, which we are so proud of and cherish.   We don’t need meanness and divisiveness in Edmonds. Will is the best candidate for Position 2. Will will do his very best to work with all members of the city council, city staff and all the citizens of Edmonds together, focusing on improving our city infrastructure, addressing housing issues, and improving public safety for all Edmonds citizens and residents.

Most sincerely yours,

Bo Song

  1. What a terrific letter Bo Song! Thank you for taking the time to write so well about Will’s strengths and character. I join you and many others in supporting Will and thanking him for his willingness to do so much for our community and to donate his time and talents to our City, and serve on the Edmonds City Council. He will be a unifier and will serve all of Edmonds with hard work, integrity, and impeccable ethics. Just what we need at this time.

    1. The following was written by Will Chen a few weeks ago:”Finally, when it comes to planning for our future and the growth that is coming, it will require us to act! If we wait until the growth arrives to act, then we will fall further behind.” I asked Mr. Chen to explain what he meant by falling further behind. He never responded.

      The only growth that will come is what our housing will accommodate. If housing density is increased then we are welcoming a higher growth rate.

  2. Will in threads here has said he does not support upzoning efforts. Is it true he used to, and why did he change his mind? What is “a solution” to housing. It really looks like all city’s here have no solution and things done so far make it worse. Am I wrong Will?

    1. Matt I agree, I haven’t seen his campaign acknowledge his Real estate business, or answer your question, Edmonds Current ADU application is one thing but to upzone so we look like Shoreline or Ballard will not create affordable housing! In fact it will have a negative affect on every neighborhood that it’s allowed in. So Will what is it? What’s your proposal for growth?.

      1. Because this was new information to me, I asked Mr. Chen about whether he had a real estate business and here’s what he said: “I do have a real estate license in the State of Washington but I am not actively engaged in real estate business. I got the license to help friends and family and better understand the real estate market and should be seen as added value since I was selected to be on the citizens housing commission.” — Teresa Wippel, Publisher (note I had to edit this slightly from my first comment posting as I didn’t get the facts correct the first time)

        1. If you look at Brixstone Holdings commercial/ Residential on Roosevelt Way it still has him listed as a agent! I don’t care if he is the owner or a agent, except it should be disclosed prior to Edmonds Voting for our council.

        2. He’s also listed here: https://search.wpirealestate.com/idx/roster

          “Will is a valued member of the WPI Real Estate Services team. Since 1972, WPI Real Estate Services, Inc. has been an industry leader for Seattle property management and real estate sales in the Seattle Metro area and the Greater Eastside. Our motto: “Integrity, Knowledge, and Professionalism.” is backed with nearly a 50-year proven track record of success. WPI optimizes our clients’ real estate investments by providing expert advice gleaned from years of field experience working in the closely related worlds of real estate sales and property management industries.”

          An explanation seems appropriate.

        3. Hi Annon and anybody who is paying attention to these threads.
          I do have a real estate license. I have also earned my CDL driver’s license, a food handler permit, been an Accounting Instructor at Edmonds Community College and volunteered as a golf coach to beginner senior citizen and youth golfers. These are just a few of the jobs that I have held. Like many in our community, I have worked multiple jobs to better myself and provide for my family. I did not grow up with much. I was houseless myself as a youth and I believe in encouraging others to continue their education and enhance their skills so that they can constantly improve themselves and increase their knowledge and reach their full potential. If the 2008 recession and now the Pandemic has taught us anything, it is that having options is a good thing. I don’t operate a real estate business but I do have a real estate license and am listed on a real estate website. My involvement in real estate transactions has been extremely limited to helping friends and family (many who are not native English speakers) navigate the market. I am proud of my accomplishments and my education and if this is seen as a negative by some, so be it. I am hopeful that those members in our community who have goals and dreams and read this thread will see that there is not limit on what they can accomplish if they work hard. Those are the facts from the source.

        4. Thank you for your response, Will, and the explanation (from the source). You certainly have worked hard and done a lot of different jobs throughout your lifetime so far!

      2. Otto, I am not proposing for growth, I am saying as a city we need to plan for grow. In the State of Washington, we have a Growth Management Act (https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=36.70a) that we need to comply with. In addition, Hwy99 and the Lake Ballinger neighborhood have been neglected for too long. This is a great opportunity for us to revitalize hwy99, build up Eastside or Uptown charm and maintain our city’s small-town character. Holding everything constant without any changes is not only NOT practical, it is also NOT responsible.

        1. If you check with city staff you’ll learn that our city has always been in compliance with the Growth Management Act, and that no zoning changes are required for that compliance to continue.

          Hwy99 height limits were increased several years ago above the limits allowed in the downtown area and there’s a major redevelopment plan underway. Codes have not been held constant.

        2. Mr Chen,
          Thank you for your follow-up, I appreciate your openess and honestly, that seems to be rare these days in the political arena, I believe you are a man of your word and have worked hard to provide for your family, I would like for all the candidates to answer the same questions? If we don’t ask the tough questions now, once the person is in office it’s to late.
          My wife and I worked hard to afford a home in Edmonds we didn’t start here, it was a goal not a given! Good things take hard work and I would like to see Edmonds remain a goal for others.

        3. I totally agree with Will on every point on the issues of revitalization. Without doing all of Edmonds we may have none of Edmonds. Will is right. I did real estates sales and the Ballinger area was not safe and was not even close to what it could be. It also appears there is more acreage beyond it to the East.
          What you are suggesting is what I think will unite our city, improve the entire community…give people a feeling of pride in community instead of feeling like they are tolerated but not really wanted. I think much could be done here.
          I also do not care where Will received his campaign donations. I guess I don’t understand why that is important…It is money big deal… in politics everywhere and Edmonds is certainly no exception $$ is king and all candidates need it. Some are very wealthy to begin with and can finance their own… Some get most of their help from very wealthy donors. I say its what WIll would do as a councilman that is important to me. He I think will be kind, assertive, responsible and actually listen to all of the citizens of Edmonds regardless of their political affiliation. He is also a great role model for children. I met hisi f I could describe perfect children ( I met them) it would be the two I met… So polite and sweet.. Such kind little smiles… Yeah I don’t think anyone should say anything bad about Will Chen.

    2. Hi, Matt, whether it is housing, houselessness, or public safety, we first need to identify problems or opportunities for improvement. Once problems are identified, solutions, likely more than one, can be developed together with public inputs. If you have “a solution” that is better than what’s been done by other cities, I would like to know about it.

      1. Will, there are so many situations where doing nothing is better than something. Here are the facts:
        1) There are more housing units per capita in this area than ever before
        2) Household Size (the number of people per house) is lower than ever before.
        3) Fertility rates are going down.
        4) Interest Rates have never been lower for longer and a mortgage is one of two loans nearly everyone can get (auto loan being the other).
        5) Housing was doing this before anyone wanted to work from home.

        From an accounting perspective, what we are seeing is not a Supply and Demand relationship. From a real estate perspective “Inventory” just means how quick a hypothetical house would sell if it were for sale. The more houses there are, the lower “Inventory” gets, just like LulaRoe. The housing crisis is a manufactured crisis. What to do depends on how long you believe it can continue to be manufactured. If there is not end to this, then lets keep doing what we are doing, like a war – like a war in Afghanistan. If it can’t continue, then we need to just keep our heads down and invest in housing *after* it comes to an end, not at the top of a bubble market.

  3. I don’t understand why everyone has latched on to this up zoning comment. Will and I both live in neighborhoods adjacent to Hwy99. I am in Lake Ballinger. The fact of the matter is that the Hwy99 corridor needs to be up zoned and redeveloped. I’d rather have a 300 unit apartment building with families and workers who have an investment in their community than the run down motels and mini marts there now which attract crime. That also opens up housing options which are more affordable while preserving single family neighborhoods (for the record I do not support up zoning existing single family areas). As Will has shown time and time again he is willing to listen to input from constituents and possibly reconsider his stance or take more factors into account. That’s exactly the type of person I want representing our city, not those who have no intention of ever reflecting and instead stick with whatever ideology they have always had, or worse, cannot apologize when wrongs have been done. Looking forward to voting for Will in a few weeks.

    1. During the primary debate, Will Chen said that he was in favor of upzoning. If you look at the history of upzoning in cities such as ours, you will see that the slope is extremely steep and very slippery. Once the upzoning is OKd in one area, it will be OKd without announcing it to the denizens of the particular city, for the area just around the corner, the next block, etc.

      For RE developers, maximum profit is achieved when they build 4 units/lot. So what if they pay a premium on the property, they will reap the profits. Once you open that Pandora’s box, families will be priced out of single unit family dwellings and the 4x population density increase will roll. As to the myth of “affordable housing,” please it’s a 3-card Monty scheme, where we always lose, but that’s for another day.

      Just as a reminder, Edmonds , with 8.9 sq. miles landmass and a population of 4778 people /Sq mile, has approx 1800 more people/square mile than Olympia ( the capital), and they’re 2.5x the size of Edmonds, and we have about 100 more people per sq mile than Tacoma, and their area is 6x larger than Edmonds… so why are we in such a rush to increase population density? Let the rest of the state catch up with us first.

      By the way, the Edmonds school system says that it needs $1.17-1.7 BILLION in order to bring schools up to speed with renovations, security… this was before C19, with the existing population.

      Think of the taxes, parking, safety, beauty, and 9th Ave with 400% more traffic…

  4. Bo, thank you for your dedication to your candidate. We feel similarly about Janelle Cass. Janelle served this country in the Air force Academy and now her daughter is following her foot steps in dedication to our country. My brother fought and died for our freedom and the right to speak up against government abuses. Janelle is a hardworking business owner in Edmonds, she’s a wife, a mother and I see a great protector of our city. She’s compassionate and cares about people. She volunteers to help clean up “drug needles” in affected areas. Janelle is boots on the ground. To say that Mr Chen is for all edmonds is not reality. He is for “growth” which means single family zoning will be gone!. Rights tromped on hard. 80 percent of the people don’t want upzone, he does. I hardly say that will represent all edmonds. Hwy 99 will bring another 8-9,000 people to our city, Building happening now. More density, more crime, ask law enforcement. We don’t want “growth” of more crime. In my view, Mr Chen has already buckled with some council pressure to upzone if elected. Is that representation for all? No. It would be more of the same, govt doing what they want not what’s best for our city. When you mention division you aren’t talking Janelle. She is unifying. Because “citizens” stand up against abuse of power we are the “protectors” of “checks and balances” over govt. When govt violates laws we won’t stay silent. I don’t believe Mr Chen will stand up against govt abuse. He has already buckled from some council pressure to upzone. A vote for Chen is a vote for massive density and govt abuse of power. No thank you.

  5. Cynthia, I like Janelle also. But I respectfully disagree with your characterization of Will Chen. It is entirely false that he favors “massive density.” I’d encourage you to ask him. Both Will and Janelle would bring solid credentials to Council. In fact, you may have noted I donated to both of their campaigns to underscore that belief. However, the scales tip in Will’s favor when considering the pressing need for greater fiscal expertise on Council to ensure our taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and wisely. Simply put, Will has far greater expertise in that area. I hope Edmonds citizens will join me in casting their votes for Will Chen to help us move into a better era of local government.

    1. Dave, thanks for your comments. Although someone claims to have “fiscal responsibility” I wonder if Mr Chen would refuse federal monies being spent to increase and encourage more drug addiction and homelessness here?? That’s a tough pill to swallow and I doubt it is very likely. All we are doing now is encouraging more of the same problems and as a matter of fact, our current government support for all the “social service” programs taking federal dollars has to grow the problem and keep asking for more monies as they do it! I know many who support Janelle and I hope many more can finally see how easy it is for someone to “flip” on issues to get more votes. That’s hardly genuine or trustworthy.

      1. Well said Brian, in fairness maybe the Editor will ask all the candidates the question?. And post their responses.

        Do you support the upzoneing of SFR property ?

    2. “However, the scales tip in Will’s favor when considering the pressing need for greater fiscal expertise on Council to ensure our taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and wisely. Simply put, Will has far greater expertise in that area.”

      I found this statement incredibly perplexing from Mr. Teitzel as Mr. Chen as of this writing, has blown through most of his cash raised for this election (~83%) with only a few thousand left. His opponent, Janelle Cass, on the other hand has shown fiscal responsibility with over fourteen thousand left and she won the primary.

      1. Mr. Hoag, you are certainly entitled to your perspective. Ultimately, the voters will decide on the relative merits of each candidate. Regarding fiscal expertise, I stand by my comment that Mr. Chen’s qualifications in that area clearly exceed Ms. Cass’. Also, I’m not sure you are aware that Mr. Chen has been forced to replace nearly 250 campaign signs that have been stolen or damaged over the past several months. This is a significant campaign expense. In fact, the police have been provided clear photographic evidence of a perpetrator in the act of stealing signs, and the report and evidence have been referred to the prosecutor for action. Each candidate should communicate to his or her supporters that this sort of activity isn’t acceptable.

        1. Mr. Chen’s accounting expertise does appear to exceed Ms. Cass’, but councilmembers are not required to do the city’s books or audit the city’s financial filings. I believe that intelligence, judgement, and character are much more relevant qualifications for being a councilmember. I don’t wish to infer in any way that Mr. Chen lacks those qualifications, but only time will tell. However, being a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy leaves no doubt that Ms. Cass excels in those areas.

          Regarding the campaign signs, hopefully anyone apprehended will receive the maximum punishment available under the law.

  6. For the record Tom, no one is saying improvements are not welcomed in place of rundown places on 99 that should be gone. We are simply saying “keep our neighborhood communities in tact”. You can see any “charm” stripped away from Ballard, Shoreline, Seattle gone. Mr Chen is already in the camp of upzone (for SF) and he might waiver on what he “says” but ultimately he won’t go against those that have helped promote him. Wavering for the sake of getting elected won’t do. I know not to trust this.

  7. Thank you for this information on both Janelle and Will.
    My question is is what does Neil Tibott support ? I have seen very little information about his standing on City Growth and housing ? In the past he seemed to be changing his mind on issues if it meant loosing votes for himself .
    Thank you,
    Mary Linder

    1. Mary,

      Here is what I understand Neil supports from reaching out to him directly (unlike some candidates, he actually responded….)

      1. He does not want to abolish single family zoning in Edmonds. He wants to look beyond years 1 & 2 and at a 20 year horizon with citizen input.

      2. There is an award winning plan for increasing multi-family housing along the Highway 99 corridor with both infrastructure improvements and access to transportation. The largest program Edmonds has ever undertaken provides a huge opportunity for all of Edmonds.

      3. He mentioned that in the short-term, we should be focused on preserving what makes Edmonds a vibrant, livable neighborhood and be ready for the changes that Light Rail, emerging commercial growth centers (Everett & Arlington), and the new trend towards more working from home for a large number of the workforce. He also mentioned that transit and accessibility to transit are extremely important as the area grows to decrease impacts on traffic.

      Finally, my take on his approach was that we are a part of the regional plan, and “do not live in a vacuum”, but he also believes that Edmonds is not Seattle – Edmonds is unique, special, and a part of a region that needs to retain those parts that makes Edmonds the way it is.

  8. I have no problem with Mr. Chen having an active real estate license for being a real estate broker. I myself had one for many years, so I can tell you that the reason you have one is for helping “friends and family” in exchange for a commission. His Real Estate website shows that is what he is doing. As a good accountant Mr. Chen surely knows that any profit he makes helping friends and family needs to go on his taxes also known as a business for why else would you have any active real estate website. No profit, no need for a website. The concern here is that he would be helping directly or indirectly friends and family by up zoning property. To imply that that’s the same as having a food handler’s license is nonsense.

  9. Now we find out that Mr. Chen is not only a full time accountant, he is also a part time real estate agent. On top of all this he is seeking a relatively low paid; but time consuming (done right) part time city Council position. He is spending literally thousands of dollars to get this part time city position. He sought but did not receive Democratic Party support for the position. ( Correct me if I’m wrong on that). Somehow this just doesn’t add up for getting my vote. I’m not convinced his winning over Ms. Cass winning is the obvious best thing for Edmonds. Over extended time commitments and possible partisanship is screaming at me in relation to him. If he wins, I hope I’m wrong about him.

  10. I see a lot of discussion about up-zoning in this thread. The question that we should ask EACH candidate is: Do you support adding detached accessory dwelling units to the single-family zoning code? This is where the slippery slope begins.

  11. I support Janelle Cass. I like that she wants to Invest, Protect and Preserve Edmonds. . I don’t want the door opened one bit to change our neighborhoods. There are areas on Edmonds way, that can be developed and 99 for affordable housing as one climbs the ladder to the next step. All of my friends started in apartment, and worked their way up in life.

    I appreciate that Will loves Edmonds but it seems like what he sees as our future is against what most residents want as far up zoning, according to the survey results. If we already know this then why even vote in that direction? We need Council that will listen to the citizens they are supposed to represent.

    Thank you,

    Denise Cooper
    50 year resident

  12. I found a very cool hyperlink and survey this morning – I suspect Candidate Tibbott will share the results and the information can be used at the Executive & Council level even after election season (one would hope) –


    I am interested in seeing the responses too!

    Hopefully the link works!

  13. What a great forum, provided by MEN! Teresa, this is a wonderful public service. Thank You.
    My check is in the mail.

  14. I would advocate for comments to be closed on this thread and to those who support Janelle Cass to write a letter to the editor about why they support her versus commenting here why they do not support Will, which is a lot of what I am reading in response to a community member sharing their thoughts in earnest (the OP). Furthermore and from my personal viewpoint, even though I am supporting Will, both candidates for this open position shine in the areas that we need them to to support our city, i.e., if Janelle did win, I would be disappointed for Will and myself but not for the city. I feel as though greater focus needs to be on the other two council positions, where the candidates could not be more different in their thinking and approach to the future of our city.

    1. Thank you Tom for the suggestion as there have been a good range of viewpoints expressed. Closing this thread now.

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