Letter to the editor: Chen the stronger candidate

Dear Editor,

Don’t be fooled by misinformation…

People in Janelle Cass’s corner want you to just focus on the fact that Will Chen has received donations from outside of Edmonds because they are worried you will look at all the other reasons that make him a much stronger candidate than his opponent.

Will Chen is the farthest from a partisan candidate. He has broad support from both Edmonds residents and community members, current and former elected leaders from various sides of the political spectrum and business owners and those who work right here in Edmonds. Just compare the two and see for yourself: Endorsements – Friends Of Will Chen vs. Endorsements | Janelle For Edmonds (janellecass.com)

You see, not everyone that publicly supports a candidate donates money. As a matter of fact, there are many voices in our community that cannot afford to donate to a political campaign but they still matter just as much as the ones that have the extra money to give. Will has proven that he cares about these voices just as much. It is clear to me that he has the ability to represent all sides and not just the ones that care about the Edmonds Bowl. If you look at the PDC donations, the vast majority of Mrs. Cass’s donations are from those that live in a few neighborhoods within the downtown area/bowl and Emerald Hills. I think this is telling of where her representation will be prioritized.

Will Chen’s leadership style has also been demonstrated throughout this campaign and his life story. Just look at the baseless attacks that he has had to endure in the comments section of My Edmonds News and the Everett Herald posts. These baseless and misleading attacks from a consistent handful of the same half-dozen or so, attention seeking supporters of his opponent. I might add that these include real estate professionals and a known Republican campaign consultant. Talk about a partisan move!

I believe in transparency and action, and everything that Will Chen has demonstrated in this race thus far, leads me to believe what he says and does will be consistent with his character to date. I agree with the letter submitted by Mr. Rosen and specifically these comments that read: 

I believe the best way to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior. I give more weight to a candidate’s previous actions than I do their words. I want someone who has experience in things that are relevant to running a city. And, I mostly look at their core values and how they align with mine. Here is my list of what I look for; Honesty, respect, integrity, transparency, accessibility, deferential to others, humility, collaborative, picks people over party, chooses bridges over fences, is willing to be wrong.” 

Mr. Chen has demonstrated that he is all of these things and will be the collaborative member on the council that we so desperately need. If you really want someone that will choose bridges over fences, pick Chen. He is the exact opposite of his opponent who has allowed her very own campaign manager and other members of her team to publicly attack individuals on council rather than work towards meaningful solutions. If actions speak, the fact that Mrs. Cass has condoned this behavior and the types of comments from her base should tell you exactly how she will lead if elected. I am concerned that she will cause more of the same division we have now.

Will’s life story is one of hard work, persistence and character. Learn more at www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB_QxOEUpu4&t=2s. He will bring this experience and perspective to the council.

I’m voting Chen. I hope you join me, because we need his leadership now more than ever.

Chris Brown


22 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Chen the stronger candidate”

  1. Well written Chris,

    Im hopeful that everyone takes the time necessary to make a informed decision on their own, and not because of a article or two that explains one person’s rational on why they are choosing one over another! This truly is part of the reason for our current division in the US , if you have questions about there character I’m sure they all would meet with you so you can look into their eyes and ask the questions that your concerned about! In Politics bad choice’s affect everyone. Get informed and we will make the decision that fit our own convictions. Good Luck.


  2. “People in Janelle Cass’s corner want you to just focus on the fact that Will Chen has received donations from outside of Edmonds because they are worried you will look at all the other reasons that make him a much stronger candidate than his opponent”

    This statement is completely false and misleading. In no way do I bring this subject into question because we want to distract from the fact that Will is the stronger candidate as you say. Will is a strong candidate on his own merits. It’s brought up because those are the facts and it’s alarming to some that a local, non-partisan candidate raises almost 70% of his contributions from outside of Edmonds. We have no idea who those contributors are and what their intentions are. This is a valid concern for many reason that have already been articulated.

    The fact of the matter is that there should be limits on outside donations in non-partisan, city elections. This should apply to all candidates, not just Will. Will just happens to be the one that raised almost 70% of his money from outside of Edmonds, so that is why the focus is on his campaign. Nothing more, nothing less. If Will did not want this type of attention, then he should have set his own limits on outside donations and focused more time on local Edmonds donations. He chose to accept the outside money. That was his decision.


    1. This charge that Chen’s money is from “outside” is a very poor attempt to say….look at him….does he belong in Edmonds? He is an outsider. Ms Cass raised this at the first debate. It fell flat because it was ugly and OFFENSIVE. Mr. Chen was gracious. He told her, he lives and works in Edmonds. The money is from his family donations and his ethnic connections. So, go ahead and use the right wing “SCAREY OUTSIDER” ploy. It sure worked for Trump.


  3. Chris, when you said “real estate professionals” supporting Janelle Cass did you forget Will IS in real estate and with his willing to eliminate single family zoning the real estate professional I would be concerned about is Mr. Chen and any realtor willingness to throw their community under the bus for money. Do you get it Chris? Realtors including Mr. Chen who is a licensed realtor stands to gain big on upzone which Mr. Chen supports. This is a huge reason for people to NOT support Mr. Chen! And sorry to disappoint but there are many outside the bowl who support Janelle Cass and I spoke to them personally when I visited their neighborhoods! The reason why it truly matters that all the outside of Edmonds support for Will from Seattle and elsewhere is because he will be beholden to their politics, NOT EDMONDS. Our city has had enough of the politics of Seattle that has come to our area over the past year. And, history shows Edmonds that those who have had significant numbers of Seattle supporters *Mike, Monillas, Paine, have been instrumental in bringing Seattle policies here. As it is, Mr. Chen is heavily focused on the neighborhood he lives in and that is ballinger. With upzone, he is implying he doesn’t care about the rest of Edmonds. I also would not be bragging about his endorsements. Those whose endorsements he has gotten are progressive and want density! Look how policies have allowed Seattle to be destroyed. We have politicians who moved here from Seattle my aunt included (was in the legislature) who are used to throwing good money after bad and victimizing those they believe are not capable of rising up through hard work and education. They just perpetually grow the problem and don’t solve it. Mr. Chen will be one of those people. Drug addiction is “talked about” by many politicians in this city but they only know how to spend taxpayer money and those on council who try to “do something” get stopped by the gang of 4 so solving a problem gets stopped.


  4. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Will Chen when he came door-belling in my neighborhood, and I also heard Will talk when I was invited to a neighborhood meet-and-greet where he was speaking. My impression is that Will is a sincere, hard-working, individual who has overcome difficulties that most of us could never imagine. His life story is inspiring and I believe he genuinely cares about Edmonds and all of the city’s residents.

    I have not had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Cass. She may also be a good candidate. However I will say this: I was very disappointed in her letter in the My Edmonds News a few weeks back regarding the behavior of a particular Edmonds City Council member. I found it off-putting that she would publicly air accusations against a councilmember in what came across, at least to me, as a hit piece. Regardless of the veracity of her claims, I hope that her approach to addressing her grievances involved expressing her concerns directly to the accused, discussing the issue with other council members and the Mayor, and handling the issue in a tactful and private manner, before deciding to “go public.”


  5. Thanks for the endorsement comparison idea, Chris. Indeed, the political contributors and size of contributions always skew toward those with more money. Also, thanks for the link to the Youtube. I, too, am a U. of Iowa alum. Go Hawks! Go Will!


  6. I would only add to this discussion the following:
    When looking at political candidates, following the money is a valid method of predicting future outcomes. Doesn’t matter whether it is City Council, School Board, State Governor, or higher. Financial supporters of candidates have “skin in the game” and have expectations from their chosen candidate. These expectations are stronger the higher the level of contribution they make.
    Don’t say that a candidate’s sources of financial backing are irrelevant, because quite the opposite, sources of finances are a relevant indicator of expectations placed on a candidate.


    1. Doug:
      I believe that you are right about following the money. What that indicates about Will Chen, should he be elected, is that the Asian community is highly likely to receive a disproportionate share of his attention. Asians account for only 7% of the population of Edmonds,, but the contributions he has received from those residing in Edmonds and out of state is massively more than 7% of his total contributions.


      1. Ron, have you read Will’s biography. He has represented more than the Asian community.
        He is well informed and diverse. Please reread what you wrote and maybe you will see that it puts you in a bad light my friend.


        1. I have read everything about Will. If he’s elected, I’m more interested in what’s predicted that he’ll do in the future than what he has done in the past.


  7. Will is the stronger candidate. Janelle and her people have misrepresented Will’s position on single-family zoning.


    1. What is Will’s position on the housing commission report? I have asked him this before and I have never received a clear answer. Is he in support of up zoning and eliminating the single family housing designation? Does he support the housing commission report? The only time I ever heard a straightforward answer from Will on this, which was awhile ago, is that he supported up zoning Edmonds so that is what I have to base my opinion on.

      Please note that I like Will, I love his personal story and I respect him. I just don’t agree with some of the things he has supported/not supported. In the end, no matter Will’s position on the housing commission, etc., I think Janelle is the better candidate/leader that we need at this point and time and that takes nothing away from Will and who he is as a person.


  8. The citizens of Edmonds deserve to know exactly who they are voting for. With the current political climate of one party openly trying to dismantle Democracy, this is more important than ever before.
    What party is Cass ? What party is Chen ?
    Neither of them has been clear about this
    Due to the money spent in advertising, the letters of support and the endorsements both have given I have come to this conclusion. (I may be wrong but you will have to prove it).
    Cass is a Republican
    Chen is a Centrist Democrat
    The fight against Trumpism is not over.
    I can’t ever vote for a Trumpublican candidate. Even for dog catcher.


  9. Here’s the thing. Chen is a nice guy. He wants to get along. He wants to collaborate, get beyond partisan politics. He wants to be everything, to everybody. And he takes a position on …nothing. What is his position for example on rezoning? He won’t say, because he wants to remain open.
    That is a problem. We voters want a leader, someone who actually takes a stand on things. We want to know what he takes a stand on – before we throw our vote to him or against him.
    Every candidate who gains victory at the election and managed to not have stated positions in his or her platform, is really unaccountable to the voters, with an open ticket to do whatever during the tenure.
    I want to know what my vote is for, and I guess, any candidate who doesn’t have a stated position on matters of interest, probably isn’t going to get much thought from me on the ballot, no matter how “nice” they are.


    1. Doug, your comments are valid, and if you align with Janelle’s positions, and that clarity is critical to your decision, you have made a good decision in this race with your vote for her.

      Personally I do not need more clarity on positions from Will because my trust in him is complete. This is based on 3 years of regular contact and the amazing letters of recommendation I read when he was a candidate for the appointed seat two years ago. Will is fair, thoughtful, ethical and independent.

      As a CPA, business owner, and former internal and external auditor, his credentials are amazing, and I am very excited about the community he brings to the table with him. Will Chen will be a tremendous councilmember and has my endorsement.


      1. Vivian:
        I learned very early in my long business career that reading letters of recommendation is a waste of time. Applicants are not going to show any letters that would contain any negative comments.
        Since, just like you, Janelle is a graduate of the Air Force Academy I assume you would assess that to be a pretty darn good credential as well.


  10. Chen is a flip flopper on issues…blows in the wind like a windmill..

    But real issue is…will he fix the potholes in and around Edmonds??


  11. I initially supported Chen and had his sign in my yard. I emailed him in August to get clarification on a couple items, instead of answering, he became defensive and wrote “I would like you to talk to me directly about where I stay on issues and NOT let other people state what I stand.” That was why I sent the email. Then he asked for a donation. Why would I donate to a candidate who won’t even answer questions?

    I still don’t know what his position on housing truly is because what he said while standing in my front yard was not consistent with how he voted while on the housing commission or what he said in the debate. His website is lacking in substance and clearly defined positions.

    During the debate, Mr. Chen said “I can’t help that I have more friends than you do.” Who says something like when discussing donations??

    Regarding Cass’ supporters calling out council members, we all should be. In the past 21 months, there has been no collaboration; some members can’t get items on the agenda; zero transparency; and zero response from certain council members and our mayor.

    Tuesday night epitomizes what is wrong with Edmonds leadership. Paine, L. Johnson and Distelhorst failed to uphold the council’s own code of conduct. Drinking on the job is one thing but calling an Edmonds resident a loser is far worse. Fraley-Monillas’ defense was pathetic, but L. Johnson’s defense of Fraley-Monillas was despicable. For Mayor Nelson to let things go like they did was disturbing. Another example of why I don’t watch meetings anymore.

    Finally, I’ve talked to Cass about the issues facing Edmonds. I don’t know her party affiliation and don’t care because I like where she stands on the issues facing the city. To say you won’t vote for someone simple because you think they may be a Republican is ridiculous. Figure out where they stand if you can then make your decision.


  12. Since the primary election, I have blind cc’d City Council candidates on dozens of emails about a wide variety of topics that I consider very important. I’ve received responses and been asked questions by Janelle Cass and Neil Tibbott. Janelle’s questions have been detailed and indicate to me that she will take her role as a Councilmember very seriously.

    I have not received one email response from Will Chen or Alicia Crank. I’ve met one on one with both Will and Alicia in the past. I enjoyed those meetings and have no idea why they aren’t engaging with me about very important City issues during their campaigns.

    I prefer to elect city officials who won’t behave like Mike Nelson, Laura Johnson, and Susan Paine. The last email response I received from Mike Nelson was on April 6, 2018. The ONLY email response I have ever received from Laura Johnson since she was elected was on March 3, 2020. For a window into my attempts to get Susan Paine to answer important questions about our Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and new errors in our City Code (ECC 6.60), please see my public comments in the October 5th City Council Meeting Minutes. My comments start off as follows:

    Specific to my emails related to the May 5, 2020 City Council discussion of City Code Chapter 6.60, 2021 City Council President Susan Paine has chosen to not respond to 14 emails I have sent her at the following times.

    I then list the 14 dates and times.

    Maybe Will and Alicia will be different if elected but I simply don’t know. Based on their conduct during a hectic campaign/election season, I am very confident that Janelle Cass and Neil will engage with me about important City issues.


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