Letter to the editor: City council political games and obstruction

Dear Editor, 

Last week I wrote about being disappointed by all the political games and obstruction at our city council meetings. This week I have become convinced that some of our city leaders only want to continue those games and obstruct official business from proceeding. There are now three pages of amendments proposed to the city budget ranging from cruel to absurd.

Diane Buckshnis wants to completely defund our new Police Department Community Engagement Program; after publicly congratulating Tabatha Shoemake on being hired for this position, she wants to have her fired. She also wants to completely remove our Human Services Division — you know, the division newly formed to help community members in need, from people needing support due to the pandemic, COVID grant funds and the like, to say an elderly person needing help fixing a leaking roof, to someone facing homelessness and needing support and information on resources available to them. Back to defunding the police, Buckshnis wants to eliminate pre-employment medical assessments for Police Department and remove one-time funds for assessment centers to assist with hiring in the police department. She wants to remove more jobs too, including Park Planning and Capital Project Manager,  the REDI Program Manager, and the part-time office help for Human Resources.

Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson have amendments to remove ongoing building repairs and maintenance, remove citywide carpet cleaning service, remove facilities maintenance vehicles. Buckshnis and Vivian Olson want to remove the solar grant program, and Buckshnis wants to end restoration projects for both the Edmonds Marsh and Perrinville Creek. So much for having an interest in our environment and the safety and well-being of our community members.

What is going on here if obstruction and delay isn’t the number one goal? How do any of these amendments help our city to thrive? City council meeting tonight will certainly be interesting.

Pam Brisse
Edmonds

  1. I actually don’t believe we need a “community engagement program” when we have police who are doing a fine job. Many people have an issue with the Redi program. We just can’t spend money unnecessarily. Not everyone feels as you do Pam. If you want seniors to be able to access help that is one thing but this business about doling out money for a homelessness program needs to come with strings or we grow the problem! Lastly, Many citizens want Mr. Chen to be able to vote on the 23rd. After all, he is an accountant right? You call a delay an obstruction? Mr Chen should be afforded an opportunity to weigh in on what we are spending money on. You don’t seem to be on the side of taxpayers therefore you don’t represent my voice.

    1. Pam,

      You must want to raise taxes because the proposed budget is seven million dollars of expenditure over revenue. And last night they voted to add more projects/programs to the budget, increasing the amount of deficit spending even further. The current plan is to take that money out of the city’s reserve fund to cover the shortfall. Sound fiscal management of OUR money?

      Someone needs to show some leadership and get some ideas on the table for discussion to balance this budget within revenue. Unfortunately, the process that is being used during budget “deliberations” is flawed and the only way to reconcile it is to do exactly what Councilmember Buckshnis has done. – question everything! Otherwise, there is no way to get to a discussion which balances the budget.

      The process seems to be taking a bottom-up approach. Just put a wish list together and total up the costs. They don’t know how to prioritize different budget line items let alone distinguish between what they want and what we actually need. So, blame the process, not the people. The question we should be asking is who controls the process?

      It has been disturbing to watch this play out. In the end, we’re all going to PAY for it.

  2. I am posting here to document that I have my hand raised to speak during tonight’s public hearing on the budget. There was no notice provided that you cannot speak if you spoke last week.

  3. I wanted to provide a further explanation for Pam that you were not given the full details regarding responses of Diane Buckshnis and the budget decisions. In speaking with Ms. Buckshnis for further clarification, there was a 3 page budgetary document that was provided about amendments that contained numerous questions that required answers to be provided BY the administration and ultimately vetted by council. Questions that in some cases were asked for 2-3 times and still Ms. Buckshnis had not received answers to. From my viewpoint and I’m sure I’m not alone when I say this, I appreciate the fact that we have a council member who was attempting to make more thorough and informed decisions on behalf of constituents and NOT ramrod a budget through without consideration for more facts. Thank you Diane! Any council members acting hastily on this budget (we know who they are) are not acting in good faith nor are they providing good representation of the taxpaying constituents of this city. It appears the real “obstructionists” are council members who obstructed the will of the people to delay the budget approval until further review, do it through the legal and proper process, allow Mr. Chen an opportunity to vote, and provide council member Buckshnis with responses to her questions. I know with certainty these requests are not unreasonable when dealing with reasonable people. We know who stands in the way of reasoning. Remember who they are.

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