Letter to the editor: Ask vs. Tell politicians — Why I support Neil Tibbott


These days, we get enough of being told what to do.  Told what diet is the best, told the newest fad in exercise, told by our doctors, attorneys, accountants, family members, and others what we should do for our own good.  Sure, some of that is true. It is almost Orwellian in approach.

“Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades,” cried Squealer almost pleadingly” 

I cannot think of a time in local politics where this has applied more, particularly with the approach Councilperson Fraley-Monillas has taken.  A few recent examples:

  1. The police chief debacle and hiding obvious facts that should have been vetted and reviewed prior to rushing through a vote. The agenda she borrowed clouded her judgement. She claimed she did not have the information, FOIA shows she had it.
  2. The lack of judgment and drinking on the job. If you are passionate about a subject and cannot display enough restraint to not cloud an already contentious council, but still push an agenda that cries out for many people suffering from afflictions such as addiction (leading to homelessness and other social ills) while representing the citizens, it reeks of the pot calling the kettle.
  3. The “loser” sign. We are not losers. We are not less than Councilperson Fraley-Monillas’s borrowed agenda. The majority of citizens I speak to across all political spectrums agree that Edmonds needs to be better — a national agenda should not drive local politics.
  4. The “racist” commentary.  We are being told that we are racists.  We are being told that we do not do enough.  We are being lambasted and guilted into an agenda that has some merit but is not supported by the community’s efforts to be equitable.
  5. Councilperson Fraley-Monillas talks about all the things claims she has done to help our city. A fact check is needed.  But maybe what’s more important is what we know she has done. (Example, calls co-leaders (fellow council member) the “F-ing B*&#^%@”.  What has this done for the City and the citizens? These actions do not reflect leadership.
  6. “They want to pave over the marsh.”  Note the quotes – not one Council member ever said this except Councilperson Fraley-Monillas.  Sensationalism at its best.
  7. Councilperson Fraley-Monillas continues to claim that Councilperson Tibbott only wanted 10′ buffers for the Marsh.  It is a wildly dishonest accusation.  Again, sensationalism at its best.
  8. One of my personal favorites is the Meadowdale Beach project in 2018 that Councilperson Fraley-Monillas claims as her success.  See the truth in the article below: https://myedmondsnews.com/2018/07/rep-rick-larsen-visits-meadowdale-beach-park-to-review-improvement-project. Mr. Tibbot is displayed in the picture.  If I remember correctly, Mr. Tibbott worked with Somers to explain both the environmental hazard and the eyesore presented by Haines Wharf.  City Staff then wrote the request.  Mr. Tibbott did not claim success, he just was successful.
  9. Recently, Councilperson Olsen was lambasted by Councilperson Fraley-Monillas for seeking reimbursement for a legitimate expense.  Another display of petty bullying and grandstanding.
  10. Councilperson Fraley-Monillas voted to do away with the Salary Commission.
  11. Councilperson Fraley-Monillas directly accused Councilperson Dave Tietzel of being “sexist” (Her quote – “It gives me the suggestion that Mr. Teitzel has sexism in his own background”)
  12. She misrepresented drafting the Code of Ethics. Council assigned Councilperson Bloom and Councilperson Buckshnis to complete it. Councilperson Fraley-Monillas drafted a version outside of the assigned council members and received four votes without collaboration.
  13. The entire “Zoom” meeting issue and “Not worth dying for” is confusing and terribly convenient. It is a pretty weak argument when Councilperson Fraley-Monillas medicated with wine for a dental infection during a council meeting just two weeks prior. Our restaurants are open, our city staff are required to work in close quarters, yet our residents’ voices are not allowed in a public forum.
  14. For some reason, Councilperson Fraley-Monillas always finds a way to blame either the politically motivated public, the council members, or city staff. She does not display one ounce of accountability for her actions.  Read council minutes over the past years.  Read the Council comments at the end.  It is embarrassing and shameful to read the blame, the accusations, the pandering, and the lack of decorum in many of the comments by Councilperson Fraley-Monillas.

I will not say that I am in complete disagreement on every decision or action from Councilperson Fraley-Monillas. I can confidently say that decorum, progress, equity and unbiased representation have not been brought to City Council by her poor decisions and worse treatment of those who thoughtfully disagree. Quoting Teddy Roosevelt: “When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘Present’ or ‘Not Guilty’.” We get a lot of “Not Guilty” from Councilperson Fraley-Monillas.  

So let’s discuss why I am convinced Mr. Tibbott is the right councilperson for Edmonds:

  1. I subscribe to all of the candidates’ emails or Facebook posts. I received a survey that asked for input on what, as our elected representative, he should focus on as a newly elected councilperson. He is asking for the constituents to weigh in. It is refreshing in our local politics. It is not a “Blue Wave” or “MAGA” think tank or talking points by a PAC, it is focused on the voices of citizens. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the survey for yourself. Fill it out. Give Neil and the rest of the council your concerns. You can find the survey here: https://reelecttibbott.org/
  2. Councilperson Tibbott was the only councilperson to recommend a crime prevention specialist. It took a while for the council (on which he no longer served) to act.
  3. Councilperson Tibbott has never during a council meeting talked down, demeaned, made false statements or accusatory and derogatory statements concerning a councilperson’s approach and behavior. I find it ironic that Councilperson Fraley-Monillas blames other councilmembers, when she herself is the councilperson usually doing the “mansplaining” or “gaslighting” by just hiding or twisting the truth to suit the needs of non-local and non-regional special interests (the quoted terms are directly from Councilperson Fraley-Monillas commentary directed toward exiting councilpersons in December 2019).
  4. I was on the Economic Development Commission, and  Mr. Tibbott served as the council representative. My ideas focused on Highway 99, Five Corners and working with projects that were “outside of the Bowl.” Mr. Tibbott took those ideas back to council. Mr. Tibbott explored the opportunities and ideas that were brought to him for the Highway 99 project. Mr. Tibbott was instrumental in pushing forward on the largest project that Edmonds has ever undertaken  He did not tell us what was best for us, he listened, shared, and took those ideas to heart. Many of those ideas became a reality and others will soon be realized in the award-winning Highway 99 project.
  5. Mr. Tibbott does not distort the facts to fit his narrative. The police audit, the FBI statistics on crime, the racist comments, the hot button topics of the day have been misrepresented by Councilperson Fraley-Monillas. Mr. Tibbott worked regionally and locally to find solutions to many of those problems instead of just highlighting why others are to blame.
  6. Councilperson Tibbott accomplished getting a sidewalk crew! Go figure, a councilperson who wanted to focus on local safety, accessibility, and the tactical steps to fix what was broken (believe it or not, fixing problems and not creating them is the job of local council).
  7. Mr. Tibbott does not let personal beliefs get in the way of public policy. Sewers, streets, sidewalks, services, all framed in fiscal responsibility and followed up with accountability, display his strengths. He has practiced humility, changed direction after research and listened to all citizens of Edmonds.
  8. Most importantly, Mr. Tibbott brings decorum, professionalism, and a focus on what is right for ALL of Edmonds back to council. I am pretty sure I will not see him flashing a loser sign, punching down on the citizens of Edmonds, bullying the council, or name calling. He came prepared to every council meeting with citizen input and represented Edmonds in a way that we can all be proud of.

I spend way too much time reading council minutes. I have reached out to Mr. Tibbott, and received a personal response. I have never received a response from Councilperson Fraley-Monillas. I want to be represented by a councilperson that is responsive to our needs, not reactionary to the needs of every special interest group that we are told is “good for us.” Equity and inclusion are just that. Respond to citizens of all backgrounds without a deep seeded implicit bias. Mr. Tibbott is the only person in this race that actually lives that approach.

In the end, we all vote our own conscience. Not to go too zen, but one of my favorite quotes is by the Dalai Lama: It must be said that genuine compassion is not like pity or a feeling that others are somehow lower than you. Rather, with genuine compassion you view others as more important than yourself.”  This is why I am voting for Mr. Tibbott. His actions, his decisions and his leadership are rooted in compassion for all of the citizens of Edmonds and the future of Edmonds. I am for the progressive, thoughtful and inclusive candidate. That is not Councilperson Fraley-Monillas, that is Mr. Tibbott. Most of all, no matter how you vote, I would encourage everyone to fill out the survey. Mr. Tibbott will likely share the results no matter the outcome of this election.  That’s asking, not telling.

George Bennett

    1. Neil Tibbott is a middle of the road politician. He actually campaigns door to door. It is important to have a complete spectrum of viewpoints on issues facing everyone in this era .
      Because he is basically an outsider now….not currently elected, he has a tough row to hoe to get elected. But, he isn’t a quitter.
      Good for him. I put a yard sign up for him 3 weeks ago. It has been torn down every other day.
      Sad to see such anger that goes over the line. Please respect my yard sign…it is not hurting anyone.

  1. nice commentary, I thought you were talking about the current mayor much of what was said concerning the council person dovetails the current mayors attitude.

  2. George,
    Don’t forget, I shot President Kennedy, caused one of the biggest earthquakes recorded in Western Washington in 2001
    and I was driving the car when Princess Diana crashed into the tunnel and died.

    ( I love election time)

    1. Adrienne,

      It’s that kind of reckless sarcasm, innuendo, and lack of facts to rebut the argument that cost you my vote. I hope others feel the same way.

      You have an uncanny knack for making the good work you have done pale in comparison to the poor behavior and actions you take (this response being a fine example).

      I respect your public service. I do not respect your inability to be mindful, compassionate, and respectful when you don’t get your way.

      On another note, I didn’t think you were old enough to Kill Kennedy, but it contains about as much honesty as some of your other statements.

      1. Yes, “others feel the same way”. Adrienne’s bizarre rebuttal almost mirrored Jenna Nand’s rebuttal to a comment on another recent thread. They are indeed on the “crazy train” as another commenter called out.
        What is this type of thinking? “Reckless sarcasm, innuendo and lack of facts”, is exactly how Adrienne will be remembered.
        George, a very well written and true LTE, thank you for your thoughts.

        1. Grace,

          I agree with Jenna on a ton of topics! On Facebook, she is active in animal welfare and rescue and makes an awesome point about the red light cameras (not a fan of these, would rather have the money spent on something else!)

          I hope Jenna takes the survey and am thankful for the work she does in the community! (And her voice is a strong addition to the Edmonds Community)

          Public involvement is beautiful and I hope she votes for Neil!

        2. Great George, you get your opinion, I get mine. Frankly, I’m pleased that Jenna has expressed herself in the bizarre way she has on another thread, it gives a look into her alignment with the AFM crazy train school.

  3. AFM’s response is unbelievable yet par for the course!! Defensive? George, you hit a few nerves there. Thank you George for such a detailed and well thought out explanation of what’s best and worst for Edmonds. I hope all are aware enough and awake enough to see and understand these differences. I think it was crude of AFM to throw names around of the deceased to make her point. With this response, more than ever, there is more going on with this Councilmember than meets the eye. To your point George, she professed she is incapable of a response to the people that has an ounce of dignity.

    1. I love diverse opinions! Wasn’t being critical, just pointing out the good she does for the community. I have to be honest, I didn’t make it through her entire red.light camera comment.

  4. Thank you George!
    It is completely apparent to me by the way Councilmember Fraley-Monillas responded to your letter that she is unfit for her current position as a representative of our community.
    I hope the majority of Edmonds voters agree.

    I have been witness to her bullying and downright abusive behavior for the past year, as I started following the happenings in the Edmonds Government, but the additional points of fact you bring up are enlightening.

    Council member Fraley-Monillas is a divider and a person who clearly lacks self-awareness or self-control. We can no longer tolerate or condone an elected position behaving like she does.

    It’s quite alarming (but not surprising) that she would choose to respond in such an unprofessional and catty way for all to see, but it’s been her “go to” for at least this past year – and I have been witness to it. She is unable or willing to take accountability for her actions- but rather blames everyone else, and in particular, those that call her to account.

    She actually compared the outcry of citizens of in the community at the infamous July 27th council meeting, which I attended, to Jan 6 at our Capitol. She flashed the LOSER sign at citizens on a Zoom call Council Meeting on screen as they called her to account for drinking during a Council Meeting (and voting on city issues!!)
    Many have been witness to her abhorrent behavior first hand and if you haven’t- there are public records to support!
    Her ethical compass appears to have been broken. She behaves like an elitist who thinks she can act or behave in any way she chooses without any consequences.

    My vote is going to be for decorum, professionalism, and a thoughtful and non-partisan approach to the issues and needs that our city faces. Someone who respects and listens ALL to the people they represent, not just the ones who share her partisan -influenced policies.

    My vote will be for Neil Tibbott!

  5. Council member Monillas seems to have lost her moral compass. Just check out her drinking while voting at the August council meeting.
    Video of Monillas drinking and voting at the Edmonds city council meeting in August:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/12sPDNGL4J3V5a_jTPRIDrjrVtm8Ccj_7/view?fbclid=IwAR01IE-YkmR4ygpWoy3GaprbRC0VHplaZ_FMGSFNn6AApZiJ-cMndYDNjSE 
    Photo .
    And flashing loser sign to Edmonds citizens that spoke up about her drinking on the job.
    http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=3610&Format=Agenda&fbclid=IwAR2mHG6E1vGukdnn-gGY4rvN84f_I-DCZIw-GPAiTwffHsOlhuV5oxs6QZU at the 1:10 mark.
    It is appalling and pathetic behavior from a council member that just seems to continue with hateful comments, lies, bullying and intimidation. Disgusting!

  6. Adrienne Fraley-Monillas once again proves she is unfit to hold public office. She constantly shows her disdain for citizens and her snarky response to Mr. Bennett’s serious detailed letter is yet another example of her disdain for anyone who does not agree with her “superior” world views.
    Twleve years of this is more than enough.

  7. Regarding Fraley-Monillas’ RESPONSE TO GEORGE BENNETT:
    This is not the time nor place for flippant responses to legitimate concerns.
    Perhaps it is easier for Fraley-Monillas to joke, rather than make thoughtful, insightful comments. She seems not to think before she speaks, as she has demonstrated repeatedly.
    That’s not what we need in our city of Edmonds.
    My vote is for Neil Tibbott.

  8. Interesting editorial in the Herald Wednesday (10-6-21) describes Mr. Tibbot’s actual behavior: “… during the joint interview with the editorial board’s representative, he did not inspire confidence is his ability to participate in respectful or even frank discussions. On more than one occasion Tibbott interrupted Fraley Monillas during her responses to deliver attacks and accusations against her, behavior that is par for the course for cable news and even forgivable during an interview but wouldn’t — or shouldn’t — be tolerated in a public meeting.”

    1. Susan,

      I offered this editorial to the Herald as well, they didn’t run it. I don’t find Neil to be the most engaging speaker, but I am not looking for a stand up comedian.

      I have yet to see a platform from Councilperson Fraley-Monillas that does not belittle the citizens of Edmonds. The Herald is entitled, much like you or I, to their interpretation and endorsement, but one newspaper endorsement versus numerous attacks on the citizenry just doesn’t hold much water with me.

      It’s sort of like picking a news channel these days, we get plenty of opinions, but not much news….and depending on which one you watch on any given day, we are all guilty of some broad conspiracy theory against some movement for some cause that claims to know best. We are getting that locally as well. I don’t think the water main leak in my cul-de-sac cares too much about those theories.

      I hope you and 25,000 others take the survey as well. I have been sharing it with supporters from both camps and want to prove that as polarized as Councilperson Fraley-Monillas tries to make local politics, that most of us believe in the same things.

      No matter the outcome, I am looking forward to seeing the results. It all comes down to what’s best for Edmonds, and that SHOULD have a lot to do with the people’s voices, not the loudest voice in the room.

      Once the votes are counted, I will support and question that Councilperson. In the meantime, the most qualified person for Edmonds is Neil. (My opinion, just one of many)

  9. I am a Dem Centrist and I too will be voting for Mr Tibbot! Good luck to your Neil and thank you for being so decent , you will be great as our next council member. I am looking forward to working with you instead of working against the incumbent. I know you will be fair and listen to all of Edmonds. I trust you. Don’t let us down. Thanks

  10. Adrienne – Your response shows the public everything. Deflect from substantive issues and accountability and make sarcastic jokes as a diversion from the topic at hand. If George was off base, make your case, not a joke. Edmonds deserves better.

  11. Thank you George, you accurately articulated the thoughts of many voters within the city. We need Neil Tibbott on the Council. He has already shown that he respects the citizens and works to carry out their will, not his own.

  12. Putting partisan politics aside for a moment, let me say that my most important commitment during this campaign is getting citizen input on topics that matter most to you AND then “adding your voice” to the public policy decisions that the council makes every week. The goal of my public service is doing what best for Edmonds. Period.

    When I’m elected. I will continue to send out surveys. AND, I will always have multiple ways for people to contact me and get a response. I enjoy helping people understand how our city works and how to get the help they need.

    From the numerous responses I’ve received from over 100 citizens, here’s what people are saying.
    1. Public Safety needs to be improved in some parts of the city. This item was mentioned as something that works AND something that needs to be fixed in Edmonds. The comments tell me that crime prevention is still an issue. I will prioritize tangible solutions where it’s needed the most.
    2. Access to transit both light rail and ferry service were mentioned. But a surprisingly large number of people mentioned walk-able options for getting places like parks, schools, shops and even transit. I will continue to improve our walkway systems.
    3. People also talked about their desire for a city government that’s respectful and responsive. A relatively high (50%) of the respondents said that giving and receiving feedback was good. But they also wanted their comments to be valued more.

    These are preliminary observations. I will be combing through the data in the next couple of weeks with some data geeks who love crunching numbers. The survey is still open. Your responses are completely anonymous, unless you give us your information. Here’s the direct link to the form on my Microsoft server… https://forms.office.com/r/Uby6fD139G

  13. Ms. Fraley-Monillas,
    Thank you for your response to George’s thoughtful and factual letter. You made absolutely no effort to hide your distain and lack of respect for the citizens of Edmonds and your elected position as Council member.
    You are following closely on the heels of a national figure, recently deposed, in terms of name calling, lying, self serving and abusive bullying behavior.
    I am appalled that you were not sanctioned for your most recent acts of apparent privilege by drinking on the job and the equivalent of “ flipping off” citizens who dared to disagree with you. You have been protected by a mayor and three Council members who either lack the courage or commitment to provide the citizens fair representation.
    Again, thank you for continuing to show your true nature. We will take heed as we mark our ballots in November.

  14. Having watched Seattle elect an all-progressive City Council, and then see them allow the CHOP zone, riots and looting, massive graffiti on the approaches to Seattle, and the filth and degradation of public spaces by derelict RV’s and illegal campers, virtually overnight, I sold my home there and moved to Edmonds recently.. If you want Edmonds to become like Seattle, vote for Fraley-Monillas. She should really run in Seattle, not Edmonds. Neil Tibbott is the right person to restore civility and good city government. He is a person who wants to deal with Edmonds issues, not waste time grinding ideological axes as so many national politicians are doing. We need to focus on specific problems, not try to slay the ephemeral dragons of social injustice, so-called systemic racism, and the litany of the “woke” grievance industry issues.

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