Scene in Edmonds: Ribbon cut for Edmonds Civic Roundtable

Among those cutting the ribbon, from left: Nancy Ekrem (Edmonds Chamber past chair), Carl Zapora (Edmonds Civic Roundtable vice chair), Neil Tibbott (Edmonds City Councilmember-elect), Dave Earling (former Edmonds mayor), Jay Grant (Edmonds Port Commissioner-elect and ECR Secretary-Treasurer), Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett, Tom Mesaros (ECR Chair), Roger Pence, Will Chen (Edmonds City Councilmember/Edmonds Chamber), Barbara Kindness (Edmonds Chamber), Jim Blakeway (Edmonds Chamber), Richard Bologna (Edmonds Chamber), Anne Penney (Edmonds Chamber 2nd vice chair), Marina Udodik (ECR assistant secretary-treasurer)

The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week for the Edmonds Civic Roundtable (ECR), a 501c3 organization founded in April 2021. The organization describes itself as an independent, non-partisan and nonprofit 501c3 organization made up of people throughout Edmonds. “We strive to provide balanced and objective information to our residents, media, elected and appointed officials and other stakeholders in our community to assist in making informed decisions with a focus on the public safety, fiscal, social, infrastructure, and environmental issues that impact daily lives in Edmonds,” the group said in the ribbon-cutting announcement. “We do this work through research, public testimony, position papers, correspondence, and articles through media, public workshops, and forums.”



  1. Wonderful. My first time hearing of this. looks like a pretty good crew there. Great we need all of those things and good luck to you. Deborah Arthur

        1. Dawn, ECR is a private organization too. Rick Steves is given a pass because of his politics. Europe is diverse, but Rick Steves’ Europe does not look very diverse by your metric. I mean no offense to to Mr. Steves, but he’s a public figure, Grand Marshall, advocated for street closures that hurt our businesses. If we are in a town where a lot of mud is slung around, like your comment, then my idea is to get everyone muddy so that maybe someone influential would pump the brakes on a comment like yours. Mayor Nelson and the City Council had the opportunity to make a vacancy appointment, choosing from several minority applicants, but instead chose Councilman Luke Distelhorst. Because of their politics they also got a pass. Dawn, please check your priveledge, which is being able to say things like that are patently dismissive, divisive and racist just because it aligns with the majority politic.

    1. From Edmonds Civic Roundtable website:

      “Who we are…..”
      We are committed to being a diverse organization that values all people, including but not limited to those of any age, race. ethnicity, matinal origin, color, social-economic status, gender, physical ability, cognitive diversity, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation.

      I’m confident this group would welcome any human being who desires to help, build community and share information.

      Thanks to all involved!

    2. Dawn, I am a minority and that sounds like white racism. I see Will Chen there, he is not white. I’m concerned that people are being trained now to only see color. On a more positive note, I am glad that people are devoting their time to a variety of issues and willing to participate and give their years of knowledge and experience, that’s what I see. Amen.

      1. Not white racism in the least. Seriously, my children and family are minorities. Mr. Chin is a councilman and that is why he was there. This group is a PAC and how they received 501c3 status should be questioned. Tom was actively involved in getting rid of our current mayor. The man who lost to him, who made a public statement against homosexuality, is in this group. The former conservative mayor is in this group. That is all I am saying.

        1. The mayor is a non-partisan office. Dawn, supporting the mayor or wanting him recalled is non-partisan by law. You’re making this partisan, not them. I think you are projecting.

  2. Seems like many members of this group are already people who report to officials in Edmonds, were there opportunities made for regular Edmonds citizens to be part of this round table? What about people of color or diverse economic backgrounds who can bring a fresh perspective?

  3. Thank you for your comments about diversity and openness. We seek more members and leaders from all segments of Edmonds and everyone in Edmonds is welcome to become a member, join one of our seven committees and help us deliver on our mission and purpose. We are a new organization that is only 7 months old and need to grow in to include all of Edmonds. Please take a look at our website ( and discover some of the diversity we have achieved thus far.

    1. I went to website Tom and I am not seeing evidence of much ethnic, age or political diversity. What did I miss?

      1. Diana, I don’t understand why folks are seeming to attack this organization. Do you, Dawn or Amanda know something that others don’t? Mr. Mesaros responded respectfully to a couple comments about the skin color of people in the photo. From what I’ve read, it’s a new organization and they want anyone and everyone to participate with them. They have some diversity on their board, and state their commitment to be a diverse organization. They say they’re a non political organization and won’t tell people how to vote nor will they endorse candidates, so I’m not sure how you could have found the political diversity you’re looking for on the website. Did I miss something that you found? And Amanda, how do you know that there isn’t “economic diversity” already? From looking at the picture?
        It seems like some targeted outreach might be a great idea for them (but maybe they’re already doing this), and a proof reader would be good, too….

    2. Tom, I was shown an e-mail signed by you, indicating the ECRT supported and helped to finance the recall of Mayor Nelson. How is this consistent with your mission statement? Is this even legal given the 501C3 Status as a non-partisan organization? I like your mission statement but actions do not seem to be non-partisan.

      1. I saw a screenshot of the email, too, and the contents are really concerning. 501c3 nonprofit organizations can do some lobbying and advocacy but they can’t do anything that advocates for or against a specific candidate for office. The Council for Nonprofits has a bunch of articles on this, if anyone wants to learn more.

        I wonder if MEN can do some follow-up on the advocacy work done by ECR, specifically whether or not they’re involved in actual political work. I’d certainly like to learn more. And if they have done some reporting on this my apologies!

        1. I’ll say it straight because I’m not afraid of this type of bullying. I was originally in some early EGG/ECR group discussions. I found them to be too anti-Trump so I moved on. I personally think ECR underestimates the level of Incivility. I am betting that the “email screenshots” are not esoteric at all. There are several social media accounts that have dox’d ECR communication participants.

          People have been crank-called and harassed, exposed. People know who is doing this. Some involved are here in this thread. There are kids in the fray. Alicia Crank has made mention of this in her social media posts, saying “Youth voice seems scary to some people.”

          Alicia’s refencing an email I only sent to the City Council, asking them to dissolve the Youth Commission due to some eyebrow raising political relationships between youths and sitting members. We [the adults in the room] do not know how to be adults and we are not setting boundaries. We are not mentors and youths should not be around this city government until we are able to police ourselves. It is -our- fault.

          Facebook and Tiktok – I can’t wait for everyone who is plugged into this starts doing it in virtual reality, leaving reality for the rest of us. I wanna see the Mayor and Rick Steves weigh in on this. There should be a summit on civility.

      2. My inquiry was made before you asked this question. Would have been helpful if you’d led with this; it’s a good question.

      3. Diana, ECR was incorporated in February 2021 and we received our 501(c)3 status in April or May of this year. I was involved in email exchanges regarding the recall of the Mayor months prior to that, and may have pooled my personal resources with others to pay for signs. However, my personal involvement in political affairs is my choice. ECR, as an organization, has not been involved in candidate campaigns. We have had two programs on the Housing Commission, one on encouraging women to run for political office, another regarding process in city hall to apply for permits (and having city hall be responsive) and recently had our new Police Chief speak. Others have commented on our diversity; politically we are quite diverse with Republicans, Democrats and Independents all serving on our board. We have one African American woman on the board, but are seeking more minorities to join us. I am glad you like our mission statement and I hope you like it enough to join us as we seek to ensure nonpartisan good government in Edmonds. Please feel free to contact me, I would enjoy the opportunity to connect over coffee and learn more about your thoughts and hopes for Edmonds.

        1. Thanks for the background, Tom. Yes, I think the mission is essential, and would like to converse with you further. I will connect.

  4. Community groups like this are crucial for our community to succeed. Posting Facebook comments and making public comments during Council meetings is a part of community activism, but organized groups of smart people working together like is what informs and keeps our local government accountable. Real people putting in the real effort to make positive changes in our community.

  5. Neil Tibbott, a candidate for the city council, was asked during a debate if he officiate a gay wedding should one of his children be gay and get married. People brought his kids into the debate and the man took that on the chin. Barack Obama, a candidate for POTUS, when asked said, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.” He got elected. Donald Trump was the first presidential candidate to openly support gay marriage. We need to stop bullying people are aren’t up to speed with the bleeding edge of progressive. It’s intolerant. And, also on the same subject as I’ve waxed on about here, keep kids out of politics.

    1. In addition, gay marriage is not the bleeding edge of progressive. It is the law of the land. His son was used as an example to see how entrenched his beliefs were. If he would turn away his own child. He spoke his truth, that he would not marry his own son. He has been running from that public statement ever since.

    2. Clearly that is false about Barack Obama. Neil Tibbott did not “take it on the chin” but hen asked if he would perform a marriage for his son if he was gay. He answered honestly in regards to his homophobia. In addition yes Trump is for gay marriage. That has nothing to do with the conversation.

  6. Matt: I respectfully ask that you stop using me as an example or point of reference in topics you’ve taken issue with that usually have nothing to do with me. You already crossed a line I using me as an example with the anti-hate portal. Bringing my name into this topic/story (and that it keeps being allowed) feels very unnecessary.

    1. You’re a pubic figure. You are engaged in some of the aforementioned, toxic, social media communications. Police your party. Look above at people who feel that invoking a candidate’s kids is fair game. Start here by showing us what civility looks like.

    2. I’m sorry you’re being targeted in this way, Alicia. It’s gross.

      Matt’s behavior appears to violate the MEN code of conduct, based on just this thread alone.

  7. Ah, the secret society that the TokTok Edmonds Behaving Badly group speaks of in caustic and nefarious ways. The secret is out! Edmonds has a group of concerned citizens that seeks to bring more dialogue and civility, is actively seeking out and asking for citizens to join, and want to collaborate to do good work for the entire community. Oh the horror!

    1. If there are concerns that there is not enough representation by the community along Highway 99, why wouldn’t you ask to join Kim? Tom reached out to everyone in his response.

    2. I agree that the views, opinions, recommendations, and actions of this group need to be diverse. Here’s an idea, instead of having to wait for an appointment bybthe Mayor to a committee, all of us can reach out to this group and join a community action group.

    I, like Matt, heard of this group and have talked with a few of the members, but decided that I prefer to be a loose cannon on my own, that way people can blame my lack of intelligence and approach to current events solely on me. I have an interest in hearing what the group has to say, just like I have an interest in hearing what City Commissions have to say.

    I think this is an excellent idea, and instead of finger wagging , why not join up? It seems to me that’s a good way to have representation and your voice heard. I think the first group thatbshould sign up are the members of Edmonds Behaving Badly ro expose this group for what it really is, a concerned group of citizens that seeks to create dialogue, bring back civility, and promote collaboration in local government in a module, respectful, and diverse way. (Let the hand wringing and MWAAHAHAHA! Evil laughter begin)…

    1. George, my last comment. I was really too uncivil for the ECR. They are great people, and sometimes I’m just not a good person. There’s a use case for people of my ilk and this is it. ECR represents the town and have a terrific mission. I’m not a spiritual man, but God Speed ECR. I hope it strives for political diversity.

    2. Very well said.. Agree. The more we talk and engage with each other the more we will get to know each other. Not just assume we know the other person. I am guilty of that too. I think we all are. So good we talk we welcome open discussion. I don’t know why anyone would find this bad to do. I do think we need both sides of the spectrum in these groups to make the conversation a real conversation not just all that agree with each other. We need to compromise. Maybe these groups can help us all.

  8. We need to stop relating to each other in terms of skin color (there is no Black or White Race; only a human Race), ethnic background, sex or sexual orientation, political party membership, or religion. These things are pretty much irrelevant to running a city fairly and efficiently. When these things get thrown into the equation of city governance, things get messy fast. (Study the true history of the so called Tulsa OK. “race riot”, if you want to know just how bad things can get).

    The basic questions we need to answer are things like: Do we need an overpass to the waterfront? Do we need to lobby the state to move the ferry terminal to a less congested area for better transportation results? Are the “streateries” good for the town or bad for the town and why? Should we allow denser building strategies to encourage more growth? How should we restore and enhance the Marsh? Should we move the City Hall and Public Safety buildings to a more central area or an area where land is not so valuable? Should we reform the very style of our government to facilitate better and fairer public input? Big, damn tough questions that require all adults in the room to answer.

    To the extent the ECR is dedicated to helping answer all these tough questions as an organization I’m all for it. Same with ACE and any other civic minded organization that sticks to the basics and skips the ideological and irrelevant perspectives in all their various manifestations.

  9. Yes Obama (who I voted for) did say that he did not support gay marriage but does support civil unions. He continued to stand by this statement in 2004, 2006 and even on MTV I believe in 2010. With President Obama he felt it was a thing the church should decide. I believe he changed his mind when finally realizing that Civil Union just wasn’t enough. HE said he supports and I know he does the gay community and has many friends in civil unions and marriages with children and he has changed his mind on this now I think as he knows now its just not the same as being officiated to those who want to marry . SO yes he did and he was quite firm about his beliefs and why. So take a look. I still like him as much as I did when I cried watching him sworn into office, and practically every speech he gave. So there ya go do with it what you want. Thanks I just thought you might want to know the truth. I voted for him and I am glad I did.

  10. Everything I have heard from and about Edmonds Civic Roundtable has been admirable.

    Having informed and respectful dialogue is probably the most important thing that our Country needs at this moment in time. Some of our most serious problems in our country have been majorly exacerbated due to the inability of the political divide to meaningfully talk with each other. From public safety, school curriculum, the economy, equity, and the pandemic, there are a wide range of problems where the political divide has hampered our ability to take actions towards our own self interests.

    Thank you to everyone on the ECR for your hard work to better our community.

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