Letter to the editor: Mayor’s statement on budget amendments not supported by facts

Mayor Nelson,

I’m compelled to respond to your commentary: myedmondsnews.com/2022/01/commentary-council-budget-cuts-will-make-edmonds-unsafe-polluted-and-uninformed.

Your inflammatory statement “These council cuts will make Edmonds unsafe, polluted and make our residents uninformed” is unsubstantiated by fact or by the proposed amendments. I will demonstrate with amendments that I support.

Your statement:
“Additionally, they wish to cut funding to our new Human Services Department.”

Proposed amendment:
#21 – $200,000 for the Human Services Department. The Division has a carry forward of $409,000 and there is no need to add additional money. An amendment can always occur during the year if that money is needed.”

My comment:
Based on my 50-year history as a social worker, working in and with non-profit agencies, it is my opinion that city government is ill-equipped to provide social services to the public. Many non-profit agencies exist that have the supportive staff, training, expertise, agency structure, outreach, and HIPPA compliance procedures, to better serve needy populations.

Your statement:
“Removing green streets and rain garden programs will create more flooding of our roadways and pollution of our streams.”

Proposed amendment:
“#61 Green Street and Rain Gardens – excerpt- “There is not sufficient information to support where green streets are or the definition and how the bio-retention and rain gardens should be built to reduce flooding?”

My comment:
Without a definition of “Green Street”, how can the city proceed with allocation of the American Rescue Program Act (ARPA) funds? Also, rain gardens must be carefully located and strategically built in order to provide bio-retention and reduce flooding.

Your statement:
“They want to cut a new pedestrian safety barrier at the police parking lot designed to protect our residents from being struck by police cars responding to emergency calls.”

Proposed amendment:
#38 – New Police perimeter fence – this should be vetted through a committee to determine less expensive methods can be utilized.

My comment:
I support council reviewing the expense of this perimeter fence.

Your statement:
“For the first time ever, this year our city has a full time public information officer (PIO).” And “some councilmembers wish us to go backwards and cut the position from full-time to half-time.”

Proposed budget amendment:
#16 – Public Information Officer – support for full time not provided.

My comment:
You reference “the recent tsunami advisory” as reason to have a full time PIO. Please explain why you think a PIO is related to emergency management. How about having an updated CEMP (Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan), as Ken Reidy has been emailing you and council about for many months? An updated CEMP would assure residents that your administration has a “comprehensive plan” in the event of a catastrophic event in Edmonds.

Your statement:
“Their removal of the filtration system used to clean polluted water entering the Edmonds Marsh will allow toxic chemicals to harm salmon and wildlife in our city and Puget Sound.”

Proposed amendment:
#55 – Edmonds Marsh Water Quality Improvements – excerpt: “there was no justification for the water mitigation or the phases of this stormwater project. Suggest that the stormwater aspect that was clarified in the CIP/CFP be brought forth for Council”

My comment:
Depending upon the methods used to reduce pollutants to improve Edmonds Marsh water quality, this could be extremely expensive and significantly increase our stormwater utility rates. It is important for the details to be known before council allocates funds.

A proposed amendment that is critical to the health of the Perrinville Creek watershed:
#60 – Perrinville Creek Projects – excerpts: “The Administration promised an entire Perrinville Watershed review in 2020” and “There is no support for funding $3.5MM of ARPA money for this rehabilitation.”

My comments:
The COE received the $3.5 ARPA funds in 2021. The damaged watershed at the lower end is caused by the upper watershed, which includes Lynnwood.
Complete restoration of Perrinville Creek will cost significantly more than 3.5 million, so it’s critical we not spend ARPA funds until a restoration plan of the entire watershed, including Lynnwood, is presented to and approved by council.

This means partnering with Lynnwood so that both cities contribute to the restoration of Perrinville Creek.

And, proposed amendment:
# 1 – REDI Manager – there is not sufficient information to support a full-time FTE. Suggest data being accumulated along with reasons as to why the current consultant that is used is not sufficient.

My comment:
Adding a full-time FTE, without justification, also adds significant ongoing costs associated with a new position, and new department. I support a REDI consultant.

Mayor Nelson, you have only yourself to blame for the 93 amendments to the 2022 budget. You and former Council President Susan Paine are responsible for rushing the 2022 budget without thorough review of all councilmembers’ concerns, questions and amendments.

Here are two LTEs to myedmondsnews questioning the rushed budget process.
By Councilmember Buckshnis:

On the related rush of the CIP/CFP:

Edmonds residents,

There’s something for everyone in the 93 proposed amendments:

A public hearing is being held by council on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, so there is still time to submit your public comments to:


Joan Bloom
Former Edmonds City Councilmember

  1. Well written thank you. I don’t expect a reply from the mayor he seems to be incapable of defending his asks.

  2. Thank you, Joan for providing your comments. What I find most objectionable with Mayor Nelson’s letter to the editor is his use of double speak. No, Mayor Nelson, the Edmonds Police are not going to call Uber. The police will use the bicycles you are going to provide them for all the walking streets because they will have no place to park.
    George Orwell coined the term double speak. Language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Double speak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., “downsizing” for layoffs and “servicing the target” for bombing), in which case it is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable. It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning. In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth.

    1. LOL. The police are not circling downtown looking for a spot to park. You know they can park anywhere they want, Finis. The point is that our police vehicles are run down. You are practicing the very “double speak” of which you speak. Shameful.

  3. I am pleased to see the “new” Council is reconsidering the 2022 budget. The “prior” Council majority not only ignored and prevented public input, which should have been the essence of the Councils’ budget deliberations, but they manipulated the budget approval process to exclude Council members who intended to ‘insert’ public input into the budget deliberations.

    Any and all spending of taxpayer money should be well justified with public support. When pre-planning is required, such plans must be made available and vetted with the public well before budgets are proposed.

    This is especially the case with the 2022 budget items for restoring Perrinville Creek. In March of 2021, the Mayor issued a Press Release on developing a Perrinville Creek Restoration Plan, with costs involved, for public review and Council approval. But instead, the “prior” Council majority approved spending of 3.5 million dollars with no detail on what the money would be spent on, how much a ‘fully successful’ restoration would cost, nor how much money the City of Lynnwood taxpayers would be contributing since the majority of the stormwater impacting the watershed comes from Lynnwood. This is extremely bad budget planning.

    The 2022 budget items that lack detail and adequate justification, including why prior year funds were insufficient, should be reconsidered and deleted from the 2022 budget, or delayed until adequate detail or justification is provided and approved by the “new” Council. This would include so-called green infrastructure and stormwater treatment budget items which “sound” environmentally responsible, but lack sufficient detail for an informed person to agree is a wise investment in protecting our environment.

    The bottom-line is that the reconsideration of the 2022 budget represents a great start for a “new” Council that hopefully is committed to actually listening to and considering public input in all of its deliberations and decisions, and following accepted public meeting and decision-making procedures (which is critical for good government).

  4. Joan, what a great letter demonstrating that citizens are not now nor are they going to be “uninformed” about issues. Thank you for all your time and effort to help your neighbors be informed. If we all take turns doing our part there will be less unpleasant surprises and, dare I say, slight of hand.

  5. Thank you Joan for your excellent points. Mayor Nelson continually makes false, divisive and inflammatory statements. I am appalled by his behavior.
    Many citizens wrote and spoke to city council requesting they not rush the budget through, but then city council president Paine ignored all citizens concerns. I’m hoping citizens will contact council or speak up to stop the increase in fundings with no clear plans.

  6. Joan – You eloquently and accurately pointed out how the Mayor of Edmonds, Mr. Nelson uses divisive, disruptive language to leverage what he wants. Who does Mr. Nelson answer to? – I don’t feel he listens to us the citizens of Edmonds. Mr. Nelson was able to get elected Mayor of Edmonds, by being part of the “Connector” protest in front of Edmonds City Hall and by having a few fake neighborhood town hall meetings, Mr. Nelson (was a council member at the time).
    A town hall is “an event at which a public official or political candidate addresses an audience by answering questions posed by individual members” *. In the (2) town hall meetings I attended he refused to answer questions from the audiences.
    The (3) words I associate with Mr. Nelson are:
    1. Disruptive
    2. Chaotic
    3. Leveraged
    *Merriam-Webster dictionary

  7. Joan,

    It is such a pleasure to read/hear someone “attack” the issues, not the person!

    Thank you,


  8. Ms. Bloom, thank you for taking the time to write and share your thoughts. Very organized, informative with facts and well written. I enjoyed reading it.

  9. Applaud your letter, Joan Bloom! Great attention to detail with respectful points is how democracy is supposed to work. Thank you for that!

    1. Theresa,

      This country was not conceived as even a “democratic republic” and I am thoroughly convinced that there are many – powerful – people in this country that vehemently – oppose – anything resembling “democracy.”

      That’s another discussion to which I look forward.

      Feel free to contact me, through Teresa, if you wish further explanation.

  10. Dear Joan, thank you for clearing up these (so many !!!) issues and for exposing the town’s administration superficial take on these issues. They seem eager to brush over things they don’t know or maybe don’t understand, and seem to have no respect for tax revenue… money we all have worked hard to earn.

  11. Thanks for writing this excellent Letter to the Editor. The process for the 2022 budget was subpar and rushed. A strong argument can be made that the process was inconsistent with both Council’s Code of Conduct and the Code of Ethics. The standing Finance Committee Meeting of November 9th was not held as required. The Edmonds City Council or a committee thereof never even scheduled hearings on the budget or parts thereof as required by RCW 35A.33.055.

    What a shame.

    The Budget Schedule was modified after it was publicly noticed. City Council, however, did not vote to modify the budget schedule.

    The 2022 budget process was painful to witness. It is still painful as the Mayor is lobbying for what he wants while referencing police using Uber and telling us a PIO plays an emergency management role. Mayor Nelson – does the City of Edmonds have a functional Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan? Why should we listen to you lobby about the budget you prefer when you have long refused to answer reasonable citizen questions? Please prioritize building citizen confidence in city government over emotional lobbying efforts.

    Citizens have another chance to try and be heard by City Council tonight. I hope many will take steps to be heard. There are 93 proposed amendments. City Council adopts the budget. It is one of Council’s greatest responsibilities. Hopefully City Council will consider every public comment made to be of value.

    1. Mike,

      Thanks for correcting my error. I’ve replaced “accountability” with “protection” as that’s how I saw the acronym in my head. Good catch.

  12. Couldn’t agree more with Joan Bloom. Thank you for this LTE that eloquently points out why many of us are concerned about the original budget proposals.

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