To help voters learn more about general election candidates running for Edmonds City Council this fall, My Edmonds News hosted a series of virtual debates.
This report summarizes the first debate between Position 3 incumbent City Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas who is seeking a fourth term, and her opponent, former City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Neil Tibbott. Full video of this debate is available on You Tube.
The questions were compiled based on questions from civic groups, including the Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds and the Edmonds Civic Roundtable, plus numerous individuals who sent in their own questions.
General election ballots are due Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Each candidate makes a two-minute opening statement, after which moderator Teresa Wippel poses a series of questions to each. Both candidates are given two minute to respond. After both answer, the candidates are allowed one minute to rebut. After the questions, each candidate makes a one-minute closing statement.
I was born and raised in Richmond Beach and lived in Edmonds for 35 years. I know area well. The things I do to keep Edmonds on track include keeping taxes low, voting against taxation (most are regressive and harm seniors). I’m here to ensure safe streets and support working with Edmonds Police Department. I support investing in Highway 99. My supporters include Gov. Inslee, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and multiple legislative districts, mayors and councilmembers. Why do I have this support? It’s because I work very, very hard to preserve our way of life in Edmonds by keeping taxes low, (building) heights low, and prioritizing public safety. This year I’ve worked on the Meadowdale Beach salmon recovery project, the community court, and voted against the emergency tree ordinance.
Like you, I love the city. I moved here over 20 years ago to raise my family. Since then, all four of our kids have graduated from the Edmonds schools, and my wife teaches at one of those Edmonds schools. I’ve served on the Transportation Board, the Planning Board and the City Council, and for more than 15 years I’ve worked to preserve and improve the things in Edmonds that are important to you and to me. I’m honored to have support from former mayors of our city, current and former councilmembers, and many citizens who have served with me and alongside me. My track record speaks for itself, but tonight I want to focus on what I will do as your representative on the city council. I will work hard for you and your family as we recover from the pandemic and move forward to restore our sense of community. I will ensure you have access to me and a voice in the decisions we make as a city.Your opinions and concerns matter to me the most. I will protect our housing zones throughout the city as well as the public safety services that support our neighborhood. My highest priority is political climate change in Edmonds. We are tired of the partisan bickering that characterizes our national government and are offended by the way it has invaded our city. My opponent has contributed to this problem. She has divided our city, set a terrible example for our children, and we must do better. It’s time for political climate change in Edmonds, and if you agree with me, vote for Neil Tibbott.
Question: There has been a lack of civility and decorum displayed by elected officials at Edmonds City Council meetings. What will you do as a councilmember to restore decorum and collaboration on the council?
I have a long history working with lots of organizations including the Edmonds City Council. I’ve always worked collaboratively. Key to that is patience to listen to all sides, get information from our citizens, listen to everyone, and then look for the overlap. It takes listening to one another, then looking for solutions. I look for the overlap and execute a plan that serves everybody. I have an excellent track record for that. This includes working with fellow councilmembers, including Ms. Fraley-Monillas. When we think of our city, we note that it’s large and diverse. I and my family know people from one end of the city to the other, and as a result we’ve met many families, heard many of their stories. This has allowed me to speak passionately and empathetically about the full range of needs and situations in our city, and provides a basis for how I’ll bring civility back to our city.
First, I want to talk about the Diversity Commission and note that (former councilmember) Strom Peterson and I worked together to form the Diversity Commission. We saw at that point that Edmonds needed to talk through these issues – it’s about equity and equality. Current council decorum has a lot to do with the fact that certain prior councilmembers are no longer in control. When Mayor Nelson won the mayoral election over Mr. Tibbott, he put forth a progressive plan for the city to move forward. People jumped to sides. At least three of the current council are endorsed by the Republican Party, and four by the Democratic Party. This is a change from the previous administration where that was reversed. I think this is the source of the stress. I’m not being nailed as much this year as when I was council president. That was a hard year because of other councilmembers’ behavior toward the leadership. This year I’m not council president but again we have behavior toward council leadership and the mayor that is not productive. I have offered several times to bring in facilitators to help with this.
Rebut by Tibbott:
First, I’d like to know who the Republican council members and challengers are. I have never affiliated with any political party – I’ve always worked as an independent. It’s disturbing to me that she is the one who is calling out political parties when she is the one with support from political parties, PAC money, and her endorsements are all political. It’s clear she is going to use that as a card, but again, I do not know who the Republican-supported folks are. I have supporters from both political parties and everywhere in between. I regret she is using that kind of language.
Rebut by Fraley-Monillas:
Awful language? Republican and Democrat? All the endorsements on Mr. Tibbott’s website are Republicans (Tibbott interjects “not true, not true”). Ms. Wippel, will you please tell him not to interrupt me? (Wippel: “let her finish please”). There is that political line and people need to see it and understand it. It is what it is. When you stand up for things you value and believe in, and others do too, that makes a political party. Edmonds is a great place, and we need to move forward in a productive manner.
Follow-up: People have been polarized at both the local and national level into factions that reflect their beliefs. As a city councilmember, describe your specific approach to pulling your constituents together to listen to each other, try to reach consensus around tough issues, and move forward in an intelligent policy-making process.
Being involved in the city – not just showing up for elections but being involved in all areas of the city — I get to know the citizens fairly well. It’s not just the ones who yell the loudest or the ones who are beating their chests – it’s the people who don’t have the ability to go to meetings that we need to contact. The people who are working hard every day, have children, and can’t just drop everything to get involved. We need to touch the folks on Highway 99 where English is not their first language. I’ve worked along Highway 99 since before I was on council. It took only changing mayors to get the attention paid to Highway 99 and the areas around it. I represent all 42,000 people in Edmonds, not just 20,000. I’m all over the city all the time. I get out there, attend events, talk to people, find out what they want. It’s important to reach those who feel left out of the process.
One thing I won’t do is what my opponent did in the last segment. She stated all my supporters are Republicans, which is not true. My website shows endorsements from more than 200 people across the city from both political parties and across the full political spectrum. In my last campaign I visited more than 6,000 households in every neighborhood across the city. I am proud of the way I am able to work with diverse opinions and populations. As a councilmember I will bring value to council decisions by not bringing false information or misleading people. I will bring accurate statements, do my homework. If I don’t know an answer I will get expert opinions, I will ask good questions, and make sure the experts help inform our decisions. I will fight for transparency. Citizens will know what is coming up and what to expect from city government. They won’t be kept guessing about what might come out of left field and be implemented.
Rebut by Fraley-Monillas:
I need to clarify myself. I did not mean that everyone who supports Mr. Tibbott is a Republican. But on his website it appears that the elected officials who support him are Republicans. And why do you think the governor has supported a city councilmember year after year. and also a U.S. senator? It’s because they see what I’ve done, and they understand the work. There’s a reason why Attorney General Ferguson is supporting me. It’s about smoking. I have letter from him thanking me for the active work I have done against smoking. Take a look at that maybe.
Rebut by Tibbott:
One might ask how one gets the support of a governor or attorney general: it’s partisan politics, it’s getting things done that come from Olympia and Seattle. If people look at my website they’ll see a broad swath of people, and they will see that I support Edmonds. I enjoy the Edmonds that I look forward to serving.
Question: There is a belief that some councilmembers in Edmonds align themselves with political parties even though the city’s elected positions are non-partisan – and that councilmembers are listening to outside interests rather then their own constituents. Do you align your views with a political party, and if so, what do you say to those who believe it hurts your ability to represent all residents in your decision-making?
I do not align with any political party. I have good relationships with elected officials from surrounding cities. I have garnered support across the political spectrum. I listen to ideas from both the left and the right. In my campaign I’ve used opinion polls to allow people to contribute their ideas. I find that people are willing to contribute if you ask a good questions and take time to listen. That’s what I’ve done. I listen and add their voices to the discussion. As a result, I’m not dependent on a political party to give me marching orders, give me an agenda. I’m depending on the people of Edmonds. And I am concerned that (the current council and mayor) are over-reaching in some of the current strategies and commitments by not listening to our citizens and adding their voices. There’s a very large middle in our city that is underrepresented. I want to be a voice for all of Edmonds.
I align myself with a social services background. That’s why I took time to analyze the homelessness report. When Mr. Tibbott was on council, the council didn’t necessarily believe we had a homelessness issue in Edmonds. So that’s where I align myself. I fought hard to get a social worker for the police, I was a 12-year volunteer at the (Edmonds) Senior Center, I put a safe cities resolution into play so that people of color feel protected and safe, I voted against the freeway off-ramp to the beach, I voted for public health – all sorts of issues about public health. I’ve supported the (Edmonds) Marsh, and the Diversity Commission. I actually do work. All I can say that all Mr, Tibbott did in four years on the council was to get a two-person sidewalk crew. I congratulate him on that – it’s probably a very good thing for our city. But that’s the only thing he can be named for in four years – of actually championing something and doing something about it. I believe in parks, we have 42 parks in Edmonds and only one on the east side of Highway 99. Mr. Tibbott’s answer to that in last week’s Herald interview was that people could go to parks in Mountlake Terrace and that we don’t need a park over here. People here all pay tax dollars and deserve better in representation.
Rebut by Tibbott:
Again, my opponent is being deceptive about me denying there is a homelessness issue in Edmonds. I’ve been all over the city and been to homeless encampments. I’ve talked with constituents concerned about homeless encampments. I’ve invited homeless people into my home to give them respite. People in Edmonds have seen this. They’ve also seen her exaggerate and use deceptive language.
Rebut by Fraley-Monillas
Bully for you that you’ve visited homeless encampments. I’ve actually gone to the encampments and shelters and fed people. I’ve met with them when they were staying at the senior center. That’s a big difference from walking around the city. Again, all he’s done during his four years was a two-person sidewalk crew. That’s nothing when stacked up against taking care of the marsh, where he advocated for a narrower buffer.
Follow-up: What is your approach to collecting input from residents and incorporating it into your decision-making? Can you provide an example of where your initial inclination on a decision was changed by constituents’ feedback?
One of the ways I get input is by getting out, being seen, and talking with people. One issue where I changed my was mind on the tree code. We did an emergency ordinance — which I did not support — to keep people from cutting trees on their own property. I think that’s a travesty. We have to get builders, developers and homeowners in the same room to talk about this, but I wasn’t successful in getting this to happen. That’s an area where people changed my mind. Not just listening to the 25 loudest. We need to reach out. I held quarterly town meetings once a year. We started getting fewer and fewer people, so we quit doing that. The mayor is now holding town meetings again – I think that’s an important piece.
When on council I went to all town hall meetings. I have been going to other town halls since. I’ve been in every neighborhood knocking on doors and meeting people. I’ve polled hundreds and hundreds of people across the city and gotten feedback on what they feel the important issues are. Right now, I have a poll out there that focuses on initiatives on Highway 99. One way I changed my mind was on the (waterfront) connector. The (current) mayor was on task force that brought it to council and the council approved it unanimously. The project budget grew, and it became clear that it was on a nature preserve. The current mayor knew this before, but chose not to bring it out. As these concerns came forward, I came to believe that we must not do the connector as it was proposed.
Rebut by Fraley-Monillas:
Mr. Tibbott, Mesaros, Teitzel and Johnson continued to vote for the connector all the way through, and Mr. Tibbott only changed his vote at the last minute when there were 500 people gathered outside the council meeting yelling to not do the connector. Only then did Tibbott change his vote. You should have seen the Mayor Earling’s face – I thought the blood was going to run out of it. Also, councilmembers’ town hall meetings are not about transparency. These need to be done in public in front of the people because they’re talking about budget.
Rebut by Tibbott
I’m surprised that she talks about listening to people, but at the same time minimizes the input from people who take their time to show up at a town hall. It’s not a matter of transparency or lack thereof – it’s a matter of listening to what people have to say.
Question: As a legislative body, the city council is supposed to provide a needed check and balance for the executive branch/mayor and his or her administration. How would you work with your fellow councilmembers to create a strong legislative vision and implement it?
I would make better use of council retreats – two per year instead of the current one. It’s a good place to learn about upcoming situations. It’s harder to minimize other people in the room if you understand more about their position. We need to listen to each other, learn about each other’s backgrounds. We also need to take time to work through our packets and talk with one another about the things we’re learning from citizens and experts and use that information to speak openly before a decision is made.
We usually do have two retreats per year, but COVID has made this difficult. I didn’t see this behavior occurring under last mayor, but under the present mayor I am seeing a lot of negative comments, complaints – that doesn’t help communication with executive branch. I never saw councilmembers take pot shots at the previous mayor, but they do it with this mayor. Being able to discuss things in civil, rational manner is probably a good thing. Having retreats where we get to know each other better, discuss things with each other will help. Currently things are getting very adversarial. It’s not transparent for us to talk off camera behind citizens’ backs. It’s also not productive to have town halls where only a few get to voice their opinions – that’s why I didn’t attend these.
Rebut by Tibbott:
Again, Councilmember Fraley-Monillas minimizes the input of citizens who came out to voice their concerns. I don’t understand that. Another thing is the pushiness and overreaching from councilmembers and the mayor – on one occasion the mayor wanted more emergency powers. My opponent worked overtime to push this idea and get people to sign on. In the end, no one voted for this. That’s why people are upset – the overreaching and pushiness coming from our mayor and some councilmembers.
Rebut by Fraley-Monillas:
I mustn’t have worked too hard at it since I got voted down. I want to remind Mr. Tibbott that Mr. Nelson beat you in the last election and he is not running this time. Any shots to take at him are not appropriate. You’re not running against him. You’re running against me.
Question: The Edmonds’ Citizens Housing Commission submitted 15 recommendations for City Council action. One of those would permit upzoning in all single-family zoned areas of Edmonds, allowing the construction of duplexes, triplexes, and quadraplexes citywide. Do you support this upzoning for areas now designated as “single-family residential”? Please state your reasoning.
Nope, I do not. Also do not support raising heights an additional story, as Tibbott did in his interview with the Herald. What I do support is Highway 99, which gives us the ability to take care of our housing needs in a transit-oriented area. If someone should come to us wanting to put up a duplex on land that is zoned single, we’d have to look at it and evaluate it. We can’t say no to everything just to be saying no. But I can’t support upzoning in Edmonds. Absolutely. It’s one of the reasons I ran in the first place. Edmonds is a great place to live, and I don’t want to oversize us. We need to talk about detached dwelling units, owners living on property, and parking.
No, I don’t support upzoing across the city. No reason to do it. Plenty of other areas to develop. We have a plan for Highway 99, and we have developers interested in working with the city on that area. Earlier, my opponent said that the previous mayor did not take any interest in Highway 99, and yet it was his administration that secured $10 million to begin city’s part in investigating development in that area. I did not suggest buildings go up another story – my opponent is inaccurate on this. I have never recommended taller buildings either downtown or in our neighborhoods. The only places where we might consider higher buildings is where we have wider streets like Highways 99 and 104.
Rebut by Fraley-Monillas:
I suppose we’ll have to wait and see the Herald article about this. I was sitting there and heard it. I’ve worked on the redevelopment plan for Highway 99 for years and years. I’ve been the catalyst for the work along Highway 99 – most people know this. It was because of the inequitable environments of upper and lower Edmonds.
Rebut by Tibbott:
My opponent has said she’s worked on Highway 99 for years. I’d like to know what’s been accomplished in those years. I agree she is an ardent supporter of that area and I appreciate that. But I think it’s time for fresh thinking on that. I’d bring my construction, leadership, and organizational skills to bear on this.
Follow-up: Which housing commission recommendations do you support and why?
I looked at feedback from citizens. The ones that make the most sense to me are those that emphasize cooperation within the region. I want to see more of that in our city. We need to look closely at how we are using the land in our city; the commission was trying to be creative and bring ideas to the council for consideration. I find it puzzling that child care was part of the housing strategy. I don’t see how it fits into housing strategies.
I think one step at a time. One thing I want to look at is detached dwelling units. I think we should take this back to the citizens for an advisory vote and see what they think. Not getting input from the 10 or 25 who go to the park for a town hall, but from the 42,000 folks who live here. This approach was very successful for Mukilteo. This is a hugely important issue. I am in the working-class part of Edmonds – it’s a different sort of world up here. My neighbors are mostly people of color. I think bringing Mr. Tibbott into office when he doesn’t understand what it’s like to live here is an issue in itself.
Rebut by Tibbott:
I don’t think you have to live along a corridor where the largest redevelopment project in the history of our city is happening to appreciate how important it is. I don’t happen to live in the Bowl. I have a view of the water, but I have to stand on a 35-foot ladder on my roof to see it. My neighbors are people of color, my wife’s family is from Mexico, my wife teaches in the Edmonds schools, and we know first-hand what it’s like for immigrant and minority families to make their way. We are very aware of the diversity of people in our city.
Rebut by Fraley-Monillas
I also have a diverse family. I’ve lived here 35 years, and seen my neighborhood go from a soft, gentle place to live to one of the most the crime-ridden areas of Edmonds. I can’t keep stuff outside my house. And Mr. Tibbott – for me to look at Puget Sound I’d have to get on an airplane. I am representative of the working-class families of Edmonds. You live in Seaview – there’s a reason why it’s called Seaview.
Follow-up: Define affordable housing — using your definition of affordable — and give an example of a successful project in a similar city where it has worked.
The affordable housing project that comes to mind is Westgate, where it’s about $1,400 per month for a studio. I’ve seen this work in Everett, where they have a number of affordable housing projects. I’m hoping this will kick in on Highway 99 when we start working on the road itself. Then people working minimum wage jobs will be able to afford to live in Edmonds. Right now you can’t. Many businesses in Edmonds are minimum-wage job, but the workers can’t live here. They can work for us, be our day care providers, but they can’t live here. That’s a travesty.
I accept definition of affordable that comes from the state: 30 percent of household budget. Most neighborhoods in Edmonds will be inaccessible by this standard. But I’ve seen this work in areas where there are parcels of land where affordable housing can be built. I’ve seen this in Shoreline at the Compass Housing project. Apartments are small and clean. Facilities include programs teaching job skills and life skills to help folks improve their earning capacity. I think that is a great opportunity. There are places in our city where that could happen, and in neighboring cities where we could partner. I would work hard to ensure our regional partners are engaged.
Question: How will you ensure the critical needs of those who are homeless in Edmonds be met without enabling “Seattle-style” issues such as public camping, trash along streets and related public safety concerns?
I support an ordinance to prohibit public camping. If Seattle cracks down on this, there’s a possibility that people will be moving north. Everett tried allowing public camping, and it soon became unmanageable. I like that we have resources in our city for social services, and that we need to expand these perhaps with help from Verdant Health, Volunteers of America, and others. Homage offers a meal program – I’ve traveled with them delivering meals to people in Edmonds and met with their clients.
Had a meeting today on homelessness issue with folks from churches, Edmonds Police, YMCA and others. No one wants us to look like Seattle. Part of Seattle’s problem is that they didn’t do anything to begin with. They just let it sit till it overtook them. Mr. Tibbott needs to be aware that there’s a Supreme Court decision, I think out of Idaho, that prohibits removing campers unless you can provide some shelter that’s better than where they are. I worked very hard to get this program started over the years, and it took this new mayor and new councilmembers to finally get this going, approve my budget request for a social worker.
Rebut from Tibbott
I agree having social workers with the police department is great. I also understand that if folks want to get off the street that Snohomish County has resources to house them. In some cases, folks don’t want to leave. In these cases, we need to provide an alternate way to move on, which is why I support an ordinance to prohibit park camping.
Rebut from Fraley-Monillas:
Part of the group we’re working with now is looking at the issue of changing the codes regarding camping. Our social worker is coming from Compass, and works with more than just homeless – seniors and people with disabilities, mental health issues, drug addiction for example. And right now, Everett beds are filled.
Question: The BNSF railway recently confirmed that starting in 2023, it will be installing a second track next to the existing track that runs along the Edmonds waterfront. This raises a host of questions about the impacts — ferry, bus and Amtrak traffic, the ongoing safety issues related to Edmonds waterfront access during emergencies, and the environmental effects on the Edmonds Marsh. What should the city council be doing now to plan for this second track and what specific steps would you take to address these concerns?
This goes back to how we get people back and forth for emergency access. Double tracking will be a problem for senior center, ferry system, and boat owners. We’re going to have to figure something out. And we need to think about the marsh – single track already kicks up dirt that gets into the marsh and who know how much more a double track will kick up. The double track project has been discussed for a long time, so we’ll have to see if they’re really going to do it this time. But I’m not interested in a $30 million freeway offramp to the beach either.
I agree with my opponent – it’s going to be a problem that will take a lot of deliberation. I also want to point out that we are overdue for a citywide conversation about our waterfront – parks, businesses, how people can live and work there. This needs to be part of the planning process. It came up at one of the open houses that my opponent has been denigrating. Comprehensive Plan review is coming up, and it’s a great opportunity to look at solutions including daylighting Willow Creek and restoring the marsh. I look forward to citizens being involved and providing fresh thinking.
Rebut by Fraley-Monillas:
I take issue with Mr. Tibbott talking about the small, little groups of city councilmembers running for office and saying I denigrate their open houses. To me it was about budgeting and is not transparent. Again, we have behind-the-scenes non-transparency with this group of people who are planning for the future of Edmonds. It needs to be out in the open. It’s taxpayer dollars. I don’t think it’s about small groups of people in parks and saying I’m denigrating their open house.
Question: The City Council has put great emphasis on protecting “critical areas” in Edmonds. As a councilmember, what would you require in administering critical area studies and State Environmental Policy Act requirements governing Edmonds’ development? Further, how do you propose protecting the integrity of analyzing critical areas given pressure from outside parties — such as consultants for developers — working to influence city staff?
My exposure to critical areas issues started with my work on the Planning Board. It involved listening to citizens and making recommendations to council based on these. One in particular was the tree code, where people were concerned about overreach by the city with regard to trees, but the tree board had also brought forward ideas worth looking at. Regarding consultants, I understand they are often needed to provide expertise we don’t have in house or don’t have time to do ourselves. I understand we need to scrutinize these contracts, and I’ve sat in many meetings to decide which consultants we want to recommend to the Council. We need consultants, but we need to be careful about the ones we choose.
I’ve always been environmentally sensitive, particularly about critical areas. Council cannot be specialists in every area. We do our homework, and we have our staff, but there’s a point where you have to be able to trust someone else. But you need to double check what they’re doing. I’m not sure it’s council’s role to measure how well consultants are doing. I’ve always been very good with environmental things, especially around the marsh and daylighting of the creek and protecting the areas around the marsh.
Rebut by Tibbott:
This is more additional information, not a rebut. I agree that councilmembers can’t be specialists in everything. The difficulty comes when hiring consultants to facilitate meetings. Sometimes they come with biases that we’re not aware of, and we need to watch closely to ensure that communication is being handled correctly. This is where I could help – facilitating discussions and working with organizations and clarifying issues from a wide variety of people is a big part of my profession.
Rebut by Fraley Monillas:
Mr. Tibbott talks about his experience facilitating, but his website identifies this as being an “Onramp church planter” and then there’s something about “ Leadership Onramp biblical beliefs to follow started by Billy Graham,” and then a disturbing piece that the movement teaches that homosexuality is a sin. So when you talk about what you do and how you learned to it I have concerns about your philosophical views about people who are gay or lesbian.
Comment by Wippel:
I really don’t see what this has to do with the question.
Response by Fraley-Monillas
Well, he spoke about what he did in his private life, and somebody sent me this.
Comment by Wippel:
Well OK, given that this is really off topic I will give Mr. Tibbott the chance to respond before moving on to the next question.
I will mention that Leadership Onramp is one of the areas where I’ve worked. I’m also HOA director for a homeowner association in Lynnwood, and use my expertise in construction to collaborate with them. I’ve worked across the board with many organizations including people with diverse sexuality. I’ve worked with a religious organization that is identified as embracing gays and lesbians. Being painted into a corner is not something I appreciate.
Question: Describe your experience working collaboratively with other jurisdictions to address regional issues, and name one regional project you would like to see the City of Edmonds develop with other jurisdictions.
I’d like to see regional work on homelessness. Homeless folks don’t stay in one city. By having our resources together we’ll be in a much better position to move forward.
Working with local jurisdictions will help to improve our life. I’m proud of the work I’ve done with other jurisdictions though I’m not currently on the council. I look forward to developing this more on council. One concerning factor is that we start to have agendas that are very similar. It is important to me that Edmonds retain its charm, integrity, and direction. One thing we need the most is to give attention to our long-range vision as a city. We’re going to have more diversity, honesty, creativity and civility. As a councilmember I will work to make sure all these pieces are together. One example is our Waterfront Community Center. It is going to be a great place to build a future vision of our city.
Rebut from Fraley-Monillas:
I served on the senior center board for 12 years. I believe we need a similar center up on Highway 99 that will create a welcoming gathering place. Folks who live up here don’t want to drive down to Edmonds. It will also give a location for community police.
Rebut by Tibbot:
Again, I agree with my opponent. It’s time we have amenities in that part of the city. We have $180 million budgeted from the city’s side, so there should be lots of opportunities to generate meeting places and meaningful businesses. The Interurban Trail up there helps connect one park to another. It’s an exciting time in the history of our city.
Follow-up: Would you support collaborating with surrounding cities in South Snohomish County to implement a 0.1 percent increase in sales tax to support the development of affordable housing?
Fraley-Monillas: Possibly. I’d have to see the plan. I don’t generally vote for taxation, but I’d be willing to look at it.
Question: During the past year, we have learned more about negative experiences of BIPOC residents living in Edmonds. What is the role of the city council in addressing racism and the effects of white supremacy in our city?
This has been a challenge for our city. I’m one of the founding members of the Diversity Commission and served on it for five years. It’s getting more challenging for people of color in our city. Things are ramping up. I’ve had serious threats made against me because I was marching for BLM. Our mayor has been clear that he will not tolerate racism in our city. We just cannot allow this in our city. I’ve heard more problems in the city of Edmonds than surrounding cities.
I agree with my opponent. We must stand up to racist activity. And she’s famous for saying that because of all the racism in Edmonds we need to look at a police chief that was later turned down. There are good and negative ways to approach this. The school district is doing a lot to help teachers understand and work with student from wide range of backgrounds and their difficulties in adapting to western systems. I like the Diversity Commission’s idea of an international festival in our community. More and more people of color are moving into my neighborhood – we often have dinner together and help each other around the neighborhood.
Rebut from Fraley Monillas:
I love the misquotes. That’s all.
Question: If elected, what will be your spending priorities in the next budget?
We need to take care of our buildings. Many are in need of repair. Upgrading can lower their carbon footprint. We need to budget for parks and sidewalks and ADA ramps. We need to ensure our parks have accommodations for people of different abilities and support systems for taking care of the youth in our city. As a youth coach I became very aware of the need for this.
Just so Mr. Tibbott is aware, the council has already approved bonds for city building repair. We need to focus on Highway 99. We have $180 million already, but we need to focus on grants and other sources. This money can go to building a community center up here, purchasing lands and green space. Again, I don’t want to have to go to Mountlake Terrace to go to a park. We need to put some money into this part of the city. I’m sure Mr. Tibbott knows since he’s been all over the city that this part of town lacks sidewalks, adequate lighting, parks. One of my biggest disappointments this year was the 6-1 or 5-2 vote — I can’t recall — to pump money into Civic Field rather than building parks up here. I’ve heard councilmembers touting putting money into Highway 99 for years, but the only one who’s done it is Councilmember Laura Johnson.
Rebut by Tibbott:
It was Mayor Earling who worked to get $10 million to help get the (Highway 99) project started. I agree it’s a long time in coming, and I look forward to working on those projects and redevelopment in that area. I understand that my opponent may have some problems recalling the vote on Civic Field since she wasn’t at the council meeting that night. I believe it was a 6-0 vote. here was lots of support for this and input from citizens across the city.
Rebut by Fraley-Monillas
I’d like to know where the $10 million is. The only fund we were able to get to was when the legislature swapped out the funds for the freeway offramp that was to be built on the beach. Mr. Tibbott only switched his vote on this at the last minute after 500 people were at the door asking for this. There’s $6 million for Highway 99. There’s no $10 million sitting there waiting to be used. If it’s there, I’d really like to know where.
Final question: Without engaging in partisan or personal attacks, tell voters why you will be a better city councilmember than your opponent?
I have a long history of working with very diverse populations. I listen carefully. I take notes. I want to add their voice to what we want to accomplish in our city. I always look for the middle ground to deliver the best solutions for the most people. I enjoy learning from people. I’m good at evaluating contracts. I’ve written hundreds of contracts and know how to negotiate them. Much of this was from my Planning Board work. I have skills in facilitating conversations. I have surveys out on my website to gauge how people are feeling and have analysts compiling the data.
Because I know how to get things done and I get things done – at a regional, state, local and county level. I’ve worked closely with public health and worked with big pharma on the drug takeback program. I created the homelessness fund and the opioid fund. I have worked for the Snohomish County Transportation Commission that gets transportation services to folks in rural parts of the county. I’ve been on the Law and Justice Commission for six years. I’ve voted for the marsh again and again, I’ve proved that I can contact folks across the city, not just the loudest, but those who don’t have the ability to give input. I do this as a labor of love.
I want to conclude with something about me most folks don’t know. I love to make homemade soups from scratch– lots of fresh ingredients mixed up just right. I do the same thing with my leadership. I get lots of fresh input, mix it with the best from the past, and top it off with ingredients that get the best results. But here’s what others do. They go shopping in places like Seattle or Olympia, bring home a can of what they cook up there, and tell you “Here it is!” In this election you have a choice. You can have fresh soup or canned, but you can’t have both. So I’m asking you: help Neil cook! I’m asking for your vote in the coming election.
I think I’ve given great examples of what I’ve done, but unfortunately all my opponent did in four years was to get a two-person sidewalk crew. I have taken the steps to move forward to help our city do better. I’m a lifetime public servant, I’ve worked in mental health and developmental disabilities. This is my life: giving back to others. The leaders across the state recognize this and have given me their support. Thank you.
— By Larry Vogel