City council: Citizens speak their mind on streateries; no sanctions for Paine on budget scheduling

Development Services Director Susan McLaughlin, upper right, goes over the map of existing streateries Tuesday night.

In a meeting that lasted until midnight, the Edmonds City Council Tuesday heard from nearly two dozen people commenting on the proposed continuation of downtown Edmonds streateries, with more discussion and a decision set for next week. The council also rejected by a 4-3 vote a claim brought by two councilmembers that Council President Susan Paine violated the council’s code of ethics while scheduling and managing the 2022 budget process.

The council in December 2020 passed an ordinance that allowed the temporary streateries in on-street parking spaces, giving the public an outdoor dining option during COVID-19. That ordinance is set to sunset on Dec. 31, but development services staff is recommending that it be extended. (A letter from the Washington Hospitality Association to the council suggested the extension run through June 2022.) Edmonds Mayor Nelson has also come out in favor of extending the ordinance.

While a number of those testifying Tuesday night supported the idea of keeping the structures in place to accommodate those who prefer outdoor dining during the pandemic, a nearly equal amount insisted it was time for the streateries to sunset. However, there were also a number of speakers who offered ideas for compromise.

Erika and Jeff Barnett, who own Salish Sea Brewing and recently opened their new Boathouse Taproom, said their streatery on Dayton Street has allowed them to provide their customers with a safe space to dine and socialize outdoors. Erika Barnett said she recognized that some Edmonds restaurants have their own patios or street-side dining — a bone of connection for those eateries who say it isn’t fair that they pay a premium for that type of real estate while the city doesn’t charge a fee for restaurants operating streateries in city right-of-way. “This does not need to be an all-or-nothing decision,” Erika Barnett said. “I think that most of us would be willing to address any inequities that have been seen and coming up with a plan that allows us to continue to provide outside dining — not just for the few that have… the luxury of having their own private dining patios,” but for those involved in the streateries program, she said.

Another player in the streateries conversation is downtown Edmonds merchants, who have said that the outdoor dining structures have taken away valuable parking spaces and forced patrons to travel some distance to their stores, which can be difficult for those who are older and/or disabled. Addressing that concern was Jen Lawson, who owns Crow Boutique and serves as president of the Downtown Edmonds Merchants Association (DEMA). “The streateries concept was important for keeping the doors open for many restaurants when indoor dining was not an option in 2020,” Lawson said during the public hearing. “We’ve now been at 100% indoor dining capacity since July, and the need for these structures as originally intended is greatly reduced. Additionally, more than a dozen restaurants already provide safe outdoor dining on-site, so there are lots of options for those who do not feel ready to dine inside safely.”

When it comes to a council vote to continue the streateries program, Lawson said, “the only fair and equitable solution is to charge ‘rent’ on these structures.” Lawson said that some restaurant owners have told her they would be open to paying a fee for continued use of the parking spaces, “and agree that retailers have been impacted the most from the lost parking.”

“The majority of restaurant owners and retailers are seeing eye to eye on this and any perceived drama is overblown and not conducive to compromise,” Lawson added. A council vote to continue the streateries without charging restaurants rent, she said, “would send a clear message that the retailers’ needs come second to that of the restaurants.”

Liz Morgan, who owns FIELD flower and gift shop on Main Street, is surrounded by streateries and said she appreciates all that city officials and restaurateurs have done during the pandemic to keep customers safe. She proposed the creation of a committee “that can look at this matter holistically. I like the idea of having a streateries program year-round or seasonally and possibly charging the restaurants for the space or designing the structures that are tasteful and keeping with the village feel of downtown Edmonds.” She called for completion of an objective analysis that looks factually at the issues involved. “We need facts, not sound bites,” Morgan said. “We need to come together and make these decisions, not to shame those merchants who expressed concerns or suggest that our restaurateurs are greedy and self-serving. These are our neighbors and we need to start acting like it.”

Following the public hearing, some councilmembers also raised the idea of finding common ground to make the streateries work for everyone. Council President Paine noted that the council had received 90 emails from citizens on the topic — and one of the main concerns they expressed was the need for parking — a topic she hoped city officials would address. Councilmember Will Chen suggested the council form a task force to look at long-term solutions, while continuing the streateries short term. And Councilmember Vivian Olson recommended a council subcommittee be created to discuss the matter further, an idea that was supported by Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas.

Councilmember Diane Buckshnis said she needed more financial data before she could make a decision, while Councilmember Kristiana Johnson said the streateries were meant to be short term and they shouldn’t be extended. The issue will be discussed again at next week’s meeting (the council will meet in committees, followed by a business meeting), when a decision is scheduled to be made whether to extend the permitting.

Councilmember Diane Buckshnis, top row-right, reads a summary of ethics violation allegations against Council President Susan Paine.

The debate over whether to sanction Council President Paine for her role in the budget scheduling process turned into a predicatably contentious affair. The complaint, brought by Councilmembers Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson, recommended that the city attorney prepare a resolution to sanction Paine. The complaint said that Paine scheduled budget deliberations weeks ahead of the traditional city timeline, to ensure those discussions included the participation of appointed Councilmember Luke Distelhorst, rather than waiting for the seating of elected Councilmember Will Chen on Nov. 23. The complaint also accused Paine of introducing a “new public hearing rule” when the budget hearing was continued from Nov. 16 to a special meeting on Nov. 17 . That decision, Buckshnis and Johnson said, denied citizens an opportunity to comment Nov. 17 if they had also testified the previous day — even though new materials were available for them to comment on. Another complaint focused on Paine’s decision to schedule a continued budget hearing on Nov. 17, even though Buckshnis and Johnson were unable to attend, thus leaving budget amendments unvetted prior to the budget’s passage. Finally, the complaint cited Paine’s decision to cancel the council’s monthly finance committee meeting with no public notifications or reasons.

“Bringing this charge against me is reaching a new level of absurdity that is entirely divisive and partisan,” Paine said, adding that the most recent budget process has included a “greater level of community communication with us…than ever before.”

The council decided during its budget retreat that it wanted a more streamlined budget process, Paine said, and the city responded with a timeline that included questions from councilmembers and the community that were answered by staff. She said that both Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson should have found a way to attend all the budget presentations “and be part of the process.”

The finance committee meeting was canceled because the only thing on the agenda was the budget, which was being discussed by the entire council that same evening, said Paine, although she admitted that “I didn’t follow the right steps” in canceling the meeting. She compared not allowing people to testify during the continued budget hearing Nov. 17 to a scenario of not allowing people to “run around to the back of the line and sign back up again” if they were testifying in person.

As for moving the budget timeline up to accommodate Distelhorst’s participation before he left the council, Paine said, “When it became clear to me that we were going to have this transfer of power on the same day that we were supposed to figure out and pass the budget, yes, it shifted a bit. But it doesn’t mean that it was undemocratic. We have seven councilmembers at the same time, we each carry the same authority and we each have the same ability to render a decision regarding the budget. The claim that this is something that is way out of order, I would deny it,” Paine said.

Councilmmber Fraley-Monillas agreed, noting that Distelhorst has spent two years on the council and served on the budget committee, so was qualified to vote on the budget.

She also criticized both Buckshnis and Johnson for not being available for budget deliberations, noting that she was out of town and still was able to call into meetings. “It’s appalling,” she said.

“Just because something has always been one way is not necessarily a reason to continue,” added Laura Johnson, noting the council not only finished the budget soooner, it started the budget process earlier. “And when it was noticed that the Nov. 23 council vote was just hours after a new councilmember would assume office, the scheduled moved up by a week to the 16th, allowing budget deliberations and vote by the same council.”

“I don’t see how you argue with that,” Johnson said.

Chen said he followed the entire budget process and he was ready to vote. He also noted that without Buckhsnis and Kristiana Johnson participating in the budget meetings, many important discussions surrounding budget amendments didn’t occur because Councilmember Olson — who was trying to raise those questions — “couldn’t get a second.”

“I think the whole budget process was rushed,” Chen said

That said, Chen said that he wants councilmembers “to treat each other like colleagues, like friends. We don’t try to poke people in the back.” He said he’s heard that certain councilmembers won’t talk to each other or look at each other, “and that’s not very healthy.”

“To be cohesive, I don’t want this sanction to go through,” Chen said. “I want to us to calm down, cool down a little bit and treat each other like friends.”

Olson reiterated her belief that the budget process “was undemocratic.” She pointed not only to the council’s extended agenda but to public notices that had been issued noting that budget approval was Nov. 23 — or Dec. 7 if needed — only to be changed after Distelhorst lost in the August primary. “It felt like the outcome was being fixed,” Olson said.

“This is a very serious charge against the council president, who manipulated the council process, following the correct rules…for her desired outcome, knowing full well she would have her four votes, perhaps only if Councilmember Distelhorst could be included,” added Councilmember Kristiana Johnson.

Fraley-Monillas concluded by saying the entire county is looking at the Edmonds City Council as “a cast of fools because we’re being set up to chew on each other and I think that’s really, really ridiculous. And I want people to understand that…that this is a very small, conservative minority that are pushing forward to make us look in this way,” adding that Paine’s actions regarding the budget were legal.

“A lot of things that are legal are not ethical, and this was a code of ethics violation,” Olson replied.

The final vote to sanction Paine was 3-4, with Councilmembers Buckshnis, Kristiana Johnson and Olson in favor, and Chen, Fraley-Monillas, Laura Johnson and Paine opposed.

In other business, the council:

– Heard a presentation on a compensation study for non-represented city employees. Consultants from Compensation Connections told the council that the City of Edmonds’ current non-represented salary scale is approximately 6% below market rate, and they recommend 29 jobs move to a different salary range, at an estimated cost of $220,409. The recommendation will be further discussed next week during the council’s public safety, personnel and planning committee and finance committee meetings.

– Approved an interlocal agreement with the Snohomish Health District to cover a 2021 appropriation to the district of 50 cents per resident, for a total of $21,450.

– Reviewed the city’s 2022 legislative agenda for the upcoming session of the Washington State Legislature.

– Discussed, but agreed to postpone until next week, whether to approve a resolution supporting House Bill 1156. The measure would give jurisdictions the option of using ranked choice voting in local elections. Learn more about that here.

— By Teresa Wippel

  1. Thank you, Teresa Wippel, for your city council reporting. I couldn’t even stay up late enough to finish the public hearing! This is a thorough report and I’m grateful for your local news reporting.

  2. There it is folks. Four to three is alive and well with Chen voting like the Democrat he is on the pretext of everyone just loving each other. Spoiler alert. They don’t. I thought Chen would be different. I was wrong. It’s a shame Ms. Cass did not win. Streateries forever and Walkable Main St. are right on schedule as Chen will vote for them too. Congratulations Mr. Nelson you won and I give up. New plan for me is to just eat pop corn, laugh and watch the circus called Edmonds City Government, until people have had enough and march on city hall again. This thing is corrupt beyond any sort of fix I’m afraid.

    1. Unfortunately, I was afraid that Will Chen was a”wolf in sheep’s clothing” and I am afraid that I was correct. I hope that his future votes prove me wrong.

    2. I wouldn’t fret too much. Next year there’s going to be another dynamic on the city council with Fraley-Monillas’ exit. Maybe Chen will want to be part of one big happy family with lots of 5 to 2 votes. In any case always comes down to the votes and three vote ain’t going to get the job done even with a questionable mayor. Further hipsters will get tired of eating inflated mediocre food in the middle of the street especially with our seasonal Northwest weather. I suspect the street shacks will eventually go the same way MySpace or Facebook accounts.

      1. Well said. WE will have a more balanced in ideals council is how I see it. I hope they learn to talk and compromise together before addressing us. I want everyone to have a chance to feel vindicated or appreciated and sometimes this means it takes a different ideal, those are the times we vote accordingly. Now for years here we have had no chance for those with more conservative ideas to have a chance to try their way. So now that will change and all of Edmonds will have a say. Maybe that will help us unite instead of pulling farther apart. Pulling apart more in todays times is a very bad idea. There is strength in unity regardless of whether the ideals and wishes are the same. Sometimes we have to let others win. So I am going to look at our new council with a positive frame of mind. I am asking Mayor Nelson to make some new rules. 1. All calls or Hands shall be as civil as possible. NO screaming and no yelling shut up twice to a council person again. It was disturbing. It was disruptive and that causes peoples minds to focus on that instead of the important issues we have in front of us.

  3. Staff made a presentation of survey and other data that explained why “development services staff recommend” and there is no mention in this article of the data that supported that recommendation. For instance: fewer than 50% of respondents said they would continue to dine indoors if that were the only option, while a majority said they would be less likely to frequent downtown restaurants if the streeteries option were no longer available. Over 58% believe streeteries enhance the downtown. Even more telling was data from sales revenue that showed overall retail revenues were up over 100% from summer levels pre-pandemic. Furthermore, over 70% of survey respondents stated they would be more likely to shop downtown if the streeteries continued to be open, which supports shopping center design that mingles eating establishments with retail to increase foot traffic.
    This is just a little of the background omitted from your lengthy article. I do applaud you for sticking around to the end of that long meeting, one of 43 people who did.
    And since I mentioned foot traffic, it is people walking by retail who decide to step in and shop. Drive by’s by people who can park directly in front of their destination, duck in, get what they came for and leave do not make for a vibrant shopping district. Acres of empty parking spaces are not indicative of thriving districts. As several citizens pointed out, we are no longer “deadmonds.” Let’s celebrate that!

    1. Hi Lora — we reported on the survey results in our earlier story (linked in why the mayor supports the streateries).

  4. Amazing MEN work, yet again a great source. Sound-bites work. Between the public money given, and the public space hogged, “Feedme Hospitality has been Fed”. I saw the Salish Brewing streatery full the other night, which was odd because all the other streateries in town were empty. Turns out Fox 13 was there to interview Salish on their outside set-up. The streatery emptied out as soon as the cameras shut off. It was staged.

    1. Huh,
      Was it a Tuesday night?
      Every Tues night Salish Sea is bustling due to RR/E Run Club. Nothing staged about grinding out miles then supporting a local business.

        1. Chen states he thinks ” this whole budget process was rushed” and that Vivian Olson (who even supported him for election) could not get a second to discuss amendments in depth. Then he turns around and doesn’t support her on the sanction of Paine to call out Paine’s mafiescence in office. Talk about “poking someone in the back.” Stabbing your known friends in the back to express good will toward people you hope to become friends with later is not an auspicious start in my opinion. Looks like a go along to get along kind of guy to me. I’ll cut him slack as soon as he actually proves he deserves it. Not holding my breath. Please pass the popcorn.

  5. The Washington Hospitality Association is a special interest trade group. No way around that. They requested the continuance of that quasi authoritative ordinance. They will, doubtless get it. No more arguments about special interest running the Bowl, clearly they do. Safety, well golly. They have permits without any proof of compliance or inspections. Nice if you can do that. (don’t try it at home folks, you will be shut down and fined).
    Did Council President Paine violate the code of ethics…? that code that Ms. Laura Johnson pontificated about and consternated over is as worthless as it is subjective. No one says a word when Ms. K Johnson is constantly harangued by Ms. Johnson and Ms. Monillias about her health issues ( even though she is the most coherent person present). Bullying. Sure. And to her Credit MS K. Johnson doesn’t take the bait.
    MS. Paine cleverly engineered her budget agenda. The engagement she spoke to was because of all that noise and drama she created. It is rare that an appointed council person doesn’t make it through the primary. The electorate resoundingly, clearly wanted him off the Council. Ms. Paine ignored the electorate in everything she did, as well as in her remarks last night. Well, not representing the voters isn’t a crime.
    Edmonds Bowl is a playground for the well heeled elites, and getting more so daily. Most of Edmonds isn’t there. It is however, those outside the Bowl who have for year footed the bill for the Vanity projects of the Bowl and their elite artsy spending projects. The omicron argument? Just people who want to justify something. more transmissible is all we know. So let’s encourage more gatherings. Wonder why we have been a hotspot for 2 years?
    Me? My money goes to Lynnwood and Shoreline exclusively these days.

  6. Unfortunately, it looks like outgoing Councilmember Fraley-Monillas continues to blame others for Edmonds City Council’s real issues with civility and violating their own Code of Conduct. See above where she stated, “And I want people to understand that…that this is a very small, conservative minority that ae pushing forward to make us look in this way.” Pure spin. My hope is that the incoming Council will be able to address and conquer these issues.

  7. It is a sad day in Edmonds when continued code violations by our city leaders are not only tolerated, but rewarded by the mayor and his posse. Nelson, Paine, L Johnson and AFM are not city leaders. They are the most partisan, power hungry gang we have ever seen in our beautiful city whose sole agenda is to bring in left-thinking policies and frivolous spending, no matter what it takes. Meanwhile, our streets need repair, our retailers are struggling, our citizens are angry they are not being heard, and the passive majority of residents scratch their heads and wonder why their city is changing for the worse.
    2022 with AFM gone can’t come fast enough.

  8. Sigh. It appears Will Chen is going to dance to the Mayor’s tune. Disappointing to say the least. Let us hope that when outgoing Councilmember Fraley-Monillas leaves in January that incoming Councilmember Neil Tibbot will show greater leadership and common sense.

  9. Mr. Chen wants a friendly relationship with his fellow councilmembers, that is those who are Democrats. And that he obviously believes is more important than voting for what’s best for our city. I’m not really surprised; that’s why I voted for Ms Cass.

  10. Sooner or later somebody will drive into one of these and injure or possibly kill someone. Do you think that the restaurant will be the only one sued? Nope, they will name the individuals who decided that it was safe to seat people in the streets with only a sheet of fiberglass separating them from thousands of pounds of moving metal. Then we’ll all get tab for that meal.

    1. Since no proof of insurance has been documented by the City, and the non compliance is open and obvious, it will fall to the tax payers to foot that bill. Duh. No one has mentioned that Main is a through route for ferry traffic, obstructed views, narrowed street, pedestrians darting out from between those shacks. The Washington Hospitality Association won’t be on the hook and since the City has decided not to enforce even the most basic safety rules it will mostly likely be totally on the City. Should Council extend them knowing all that, well lucky be the plaintiffs attorney who gets the case. Council members are well aware of all of all of this. Only one has shown the spine to say no.

  11. One vote does not a reputation make. Let’s cut Will Chen some slack. He shows every sign of making decisions independently, on the merits, not on some hidden partisan agenda.

    Personally , I’ll be happy with fewer 4-3 votes, same councilmembers in lockstep week after week.

    1. Chen also voted with members of the bloc 4-3, on his first day on the job, to continue Zoom meetings instead of returning to in-person/hybrid. Not good for those of us concerned about open and transparent government.

      1. Look at Mr. Chen asking us to treat each other as friends.
        Then voting to not sanction Ms. Paine.
        Way to rise above the fray.
        Way to walk the talk.
        Refreshing.

        1. Personally, I don’t want a bunch of City Council Persons who are bosom buddies singing Kumbaya at every meeting. I want seven independent thinking, politically non-partisan people, interested only in running a town fairly and honestly. I also want a Mayor interested only in running a town fairly and honestly; not making sure his pals and public benefactors are getting all the benefits they want in return for their generosity.

          I’m sorry but that is not what we have here, nor will we anytime soon it appears. We can only hope Neal Tibbott, who had the good sense and independent thinking to vote down the Connector, will bring some unbiased sanity back to this very weak kneed group of supposed leaders. Most aren’t leaders; they are followers of ideological thinking which is what the powers that be in town want us all to be.

          Paine is totally in over her head and being manipulated by Nelson who appointed Distelhorst over more deserving and independently thinking people. She should have been sanctioned over the budget fiasco and Chen chose to play politics rather than doing what even he knew full well what was the right thing to do based on his own comments before the vote.

        2. Clinton,

          Some kumbaya would be nice. I agree on the points of Mayor Nelson creating a block vote – I believe we can blame his win in the Mayoral race on some National political rhetoric at the time, but we are seeing a shift back to centrist viewpoints.

          Mayor Nelson has learned some pretty tough lessons. I do not think he is overstepping on the street dining, it is a minor issue, but the approach is what I challenge. A limited survey and vocal restaurant owners does not mean we don’t put proper fee structures, proper codes on appearance, and consideration for the public who enjoy Edmonds for more than food (and the other business owners) into place. I think they do add value, but alternatives for parking, other businesses, appearance, safety, etc need to be codified the right way.

          January will bring new voices and new thoughts to the Council. It will get rid of some old tactics that have worn the City thin (at least 67% of the voters).

          Not only will it force the Mayor to shift to a more centrist view (or just get voted down constantly) but he needs good press to continue his political career (that I think goes beyond the Mayor of our fine village).

          I honestly believe Neil is going to preach a little more Kumbaya and cannot wait until that happens!

    2. Roger,

      Completely agree – the block voting has gotten a bit ridiculous. IMO Councilperson Chen is going to be one of the two centrists on the Council – and I also believe he sent a very important message that was a key driver in some of the races – civility. Although Councilperson Paine has admitted that perhaps her budget tactics were a bit incorrect, I do not expect to see any differences in the way she votes. I expect to see a heck of a lot more 5-2 votes, but still expect to see 4-3 votes.

      I find it ironic that we live in a pink to light blue City that receives accolades for what we as a City have accomplished, and still outgoing Councilpersons bring in partisan tactics. Perhaps a great last stand – sort of like General Custer. Not that I disagreed with or do not respect AFM, but it was time to change the tone, and that is biggest accomplishment this election cycle. I do expect (and honestly hope) she stays active in local politics – her voice may not fit on the Council, but she does support the Highway 99 and Lake Ballinger areas. The nice thing is that we no longer have to deal with “And I want people to understand that…that this is a very small, conservative minority that ae pushing forward to make us look in this way.” – from the most partisan person on our City Council.

      The shelf life of Councilperson Laura Johnson and Councilperson Susan Paine will be found out soon enough, and again, I believe the hand will be forced to move to more centrist viewpoint.

      One question I still have – Can the Budget be repealed? If nothing else, it will send the same signal to Mayor Nelson that hand jamming a budget through (and other items) just cannot be considered the right approach.

      Finally, if businesses want to use public land – then the City should charge fair market rates for that land – and perhaps offset the cost of a parking solution with it.

      1. Why should private business be allowed to occupy public land? The sidewalks and streets belong to the tax-paying citizens. The streateries block our use of them. With or without payment, citizens lose.

        1. I don’t disagree with you, but if we (remember the City of Edmonds is “we”) are going to give prime real estate to businesses, “we” should get market rates for that real estate. “We” should also have codes in place that require sidewalk enhancements, profile improvements, minimum appearance standards, etc etc etc.

          Again, I am torn – I do not think we lose either way, but if it stays the way it is, very few people are gaining…

        2. Right on! The sidewalks are for walkers and the streets are for vehicles. Obviously that’s been forgotten by some.

        3. It should NOT stay the way it is. We should NOT be giving prime real estate to any businesses. Public property belongs to us. Give the sidewalks and streets back to the citizens. If people want to dine outdoors, it’s been pointed out again and again that Edmonds has numerous restaurants that offer outdoor dining on their own property, downtown and elsewhere in the city. Why do people conveniently keep forgetting that? The restaurant owners pay for it (What a concept!), and we should give them our support. Enough is enough. Ron is right!

  12. Just a thank you to MEN for continued excellence in reporting not a particular side in the council meetings but what actually transpired. Not a job for the feint of heart!

    1. Yes, I totally agree. It can’t be easy I am sure. I expect this paper to stay Bi Partisan. If that changes then well I guess I wouldn’t read it. I think Theresa does a very good job.

  13. It’s odd. I heard the comments last evening in support of the continuation of streateries, and many of the commenters passionately stated there is only a binary choice: eat outdoors in streateries located in parking spaces on the street or eat indoors. But the choice is not binary. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least ten downtown restaurants and bars (San Kai, Fire and Feast, Kelnero, Red Twig, Barkada, Epulo, Las Brisas, MarKet, The Loft, Kahlos, Rory’s, Niles Peacock Kitchen and Bar, etc) that each offer plentiful outdoor off-street seating for those not wishing to sit indoors. If all the on-street dining structures were to be removed tomorrow, there are now many off-street options for restaurant/bar customers in Edmonds who wish to be outdoors. I hope Council keeps this in mind as they consider whether to extend the emergency ordinance around streateries.
    Since the emergency ordinance allowing streateries was intended to provide a means to help local restaurants weather the business challenges associated with the pandemic—and since the pandemic is still with us—it makes sense to extend the emergency ordinance a while longer until the Covid issues are minimal. However, the streateries should be ordered to be removed at that time. After streateries are no longer in place, there will continue to be plentiful options for downtown outdoor dining.

  14. AFM is the only council person making Edmonds look silly. When council members Buckshins and K. Johnson are speaking AFM is using what appears to be sign language and pointing her fingers and tries to talk over them or calls points of order
    Not very professional. Not a great way to end her career.

  15. While I agree with many of the comments posted here, one topic that has been lost from last night’s meeting was the presentation on a compensation study for non-represented city employees. Shouldn’t this topic have been addressed BEFORE adopting the budget? Just another example of a broken process and a Council President who’s in over her head. And that is being kind.

  16. I sm torn on the seafood shacks. They are an eye sDore, have no real code enforcement, and are essentially free to the business owners.

    If the City wants to keep them, the business owners should have to follow an appropriate code about appearance and form and they should pay the highest square footage rent for taking public property that is intended for public use.

    Maybe we would see fewer Streeteries when owners actually had to pay the public back for leasing their land, or saw the cost of erecting an outdoor eating space that followed a stricter code (similar to any structure downtown).

  17. I am curious how anyone would know at one given time that, “…. all the other streateries in town were empty.” This is in relation to the many patrons seated outsiide the Salish Sea on Dayton near Main St. Is Matt using a drone to examine the other streateries? Does he have people scouting them? Did he happen to walk by each one while going to and from work? The streateries are not very close together.
    Despite what Matt states, the Fox 13 piece did not note, “… that the eatery [Salish Sea] was mostly comprised of workers and friends of the owners.” Fox described the people present as the owners’ “family, friends, and associates [who] had showed up to eat ahead of Tuesday night’s big decision.” Fox also quoted the Salish Sea owner saying, “…. we see these people all the time, these are our friends. We want what’s best for them too.” Fox did not suggest that this was “staged”.
    Finally how likely is it that one would know that all the other streateries in town were empty while watching the Salish Sea party break up, …. “immediately when the cameras were put in the trunk.”? I suggest not very likely

  18. I’m looking forward to the day when Council meetings return to in person. I would hope that some of the uncivil comments, from the so called majority, would cool off if they’re made in person. We need to return to civility and respect. Try to understand and learn about the position of others before making up your mind. The personal attacks are out of control and don’t move us forward. Please take a deep breath and be an example that we can all be proud of for how to treat each other.

    1. Terance P:
      I don’t disagree- civility and decorum are nice.
      But in the past year that I have been engaged in our local governance here is what I have witnessed:
      1) The Police Chief Debacle. Lack of transparency and zero accountability. In fact, the citizens were gaslighted by the Mayor as he clearly felt it was our fault that the whole process was a cluster. (City Council pack of 4 and the Mayor did that all by themselves)

      2) AFM states “ with all the racism in Edmonds’” in a local news article in reference to the Police Chief debate. She says she was taken out of context. She wasn’t.

      3) AFM refers to a group of citizens who were signing a petition for the Mayor to resign as “ a pack of rich white people” on a social media site. She never took accountability or apologized.

      4) July 27 in person Council Meeting: citizens upset about the Hate Portal, voicing their concerns of First Amendment violations and a liability for the city. We were chastised, called bullies, compared to the insurrectionists by the Mayor and Pack of 4 CM’s.

      5) AFM flashes a loser sign at a resident during comments at a meeting after AFM was seen drinking during a council meeting. No apology.

      6) 2022 Budget Process: timeline changed after Luke D lost Primary- CP Paine moved the approval date up to 11/16 so that Luke could vote since the new CM would be sworn in for the 11/23 meeting.
      Citizens pushed back repeatedly but were ignored. CP Paine denied certain citizens the right to speak at the Nov 17 Public Hearing- based on whether they spoke the night prior. There was a list of names sent to the Mayor earlier that day before the meeting on 11/17. CP Paine made the motion later at the meeting so it was a coordinated effort to block certain comments. Hardly anything changed in the budget- the Pack of 4 got their last vote in before Luke was gone.

      There will be civility when there is accountability and good ethical governance.

  19. Ms. Fleming, your last sentence is a total gem of truth. Some citizens were actually referred to as “people who “have already chimed in” and their names were placed on a do not call on list by elected and appointed officials. I point out that the newest elected Council Person chose to enable this behavior to stand in the interest of some sort of new found “civility” and I get labeled as a “bully” toward him. D.B., V.O., and K.J. try to get some degree of electoral accountability into the equation and they get shot down in flames. It’s all too much.

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