(The following letter was published here at the author’s request.)
Dear Mr. Mayor and City Councilmembers,
You have the power to end this painful-to-watch political Kabuki Theater now playing on the Edmonds stage.
Stop the play!
No more city council votes in 2021 need to be taken! Not even for “Emergency Ordinance 4209” that created the streateries. The State of Washington COVID-19 restrictions imposed on many businesses, including restaurants, were lifted on June 30, 2021. Since July 1, 2021, all restaurants and bars have been able to operate at 100% pre-COVID-19 capacities. In addition, the streatery permit holders have had six months to prepare for the sun setting (Dec. 31, 2021) of “Emergency Ordinance 4209”.
“Emergency Ordinance 4209” sunsets Dec. 31, 2021. There is no evidence in the public records (letters to city councilmembers or testimony at the public hearing) supporting or documenting any need to extend “Emergency Ordinance 4209”; to reduce economic hardship created by any current government COVID-19 restrictions. None!! The “Emergency” is over! Moreover, the record supports observations of limited streatery use. The lack of government restrictions on indoor-outdoor-patio-deck-sidewalk dining, and the cold, wet winter weather may be contributing factors reducing the current market demand for Streateries. Near-term prospects, January thru June 2022, are for more of the same — limited demand and use of the streateries, no government restrictions on restaurant dining and cold, wet winter and early spring weather.
Voting on extending “Emergency Ordinance 4209” that created the streateries will only add fuel to, and fan the flames of, an existing political wildfire that has already scorched the civic landscape of our beautiful city. Let “Emergency Ordinance 4209” sunset! Do not needlessly poison the well for those seeking future opportunities to dialogue on the streateries issues.
In closing, let us move forward together, creating “An Edmonds Kind of Day” never-ending story; beautiful from sunrise to sunset; and respecting the interests of all our stakeholders. Let us: listen to each other; separate people from the problems; focus on interests rather than positions; generate a variety of options before settling on an agreement; and insisting the process be based on objective criteria — see Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury.
Thank you for your public service. May you enjoy a memorable Holiday Season. May 2022, following a brief intermission between acts in the public political play, bring the next act tying up loose ends and resolving the unneeded and unwanted drama, moving toward…and they lived happily ever after.
I have lived in Edmonds for over 60 years. I have enjoyed raising my family in the city and seeing most of my grandchildren live, go to school, and enjoy the bounties of our beautiful city. Finally, I have had the pleasure and honor to coach little league sports, help build the community and serve the City of Edmonds in three public capacities: four years as chairperson of the first City of Edmonds Citizens Commission on Compensation of Elected Officials; five years on the City of Edmonds Planning Board; and, as an interim advisory board member, Edmonds Downtown Business Improvement District (EDBID).
Respectfully submitted by,
Kevin B. Clarke, Edmonds