I used to be proud to say that I’ve lived in Edmonds for over 40 years; but it’s becoming embarrassing to admit I live in Edmonds.What happened to our slogan “It’s an Edmonds Kind of Day”?
For two years, I watched our mayor and the majority of our city council ignore what the citizens of Edmonds believe to be important.And now, the remaining city councilmembers, who were indeed listening to the public and trying to fix the fiscal planning problems in this city, are being bashed in the media and during council meetings.This is flat-out embarrassing for our city.
Further, the city is venturing into future planning and budget priorities for our parks and open spaces (which everyone in Edmonds cherishes) and again without listening to what is important to the citizens of Edmonds.Our new parks director used a very questionable survey and public input process to conclude that “community values have changed” in Edmonds away from preserving the “gems” in our city.Recalling the huge public uproar when the city was about to lose one of these “gems” (a large portion of a public beach) to the Waterfront Connector bridge, I’d say the new parks director needs to start listening to the public, and not biased surveys, before concluding community values have changed.
Shouldn’t the priority of the PROS Plan be to plan and prioritize how to preserve and enhance these unique city properties for future generations first, and then plan for new parks when possible?The city has already failed us with its lack of planning to resolve the stormwater issues in the Perrinville watershed, resulting in the destruction of a salmon-bearing stream (Perrinville Creek) — a problem that was predicted over 22 years ago in a report that admonished Edmonds and Lynnwood to develop effective plans and take action.And here we go again, with an inadequate parks plan that allows our natural areas to erode away.
Our community does have citizens who value our natural areas and they are willing to help the city; but there needs to be a plan for volunteers and public donations, and that is totally lacking in the revised parks plan.
Unfortunately, not only is the new parks director ignoring the importance of our natural areas, but so is our new police chief. This is evidenced by a recent incident on north Brackett’s Landing Park involving an out-of-control, unleashed dog chasing migratory geese – and an Edmonds police officer announcing in advance that he would only give a warning to the dog owner rather than a ticket for a possible repeat and flagrant violation of city ordinances (i.e., dog on prohibited beach, dog without leash, dog harassing federally protected migratory birds).And our new police chief supported that ‘no ticket’ approach in spite of the public and wildlife safety issues this created on one of our cherished public beaches.And to top it off, this and other problems on our public beaches, let alone planning possible solutions, aren’t even mentioned in the revised citywide parks plan.
It’s time for the citizens of Edmonds to speak up and say enough is enough.We want our “It’s an Edmonds Kind of Day” back again.This city needs to take a holistic approach to planning and undertaking actions to solve “real” and not “perceived” problems.The intentional exclusion of public input in our local government processes must stop.Let’s start with the draft parks plan (the PROS Plan) and demand it be revised now to reflect what’s actually important for planning and actions in our parks and open spaces.
— By Joe Scordino
A retired fisheries biologist, Joe Scordino has lived in Edmonds for more than 40 years. He also serves an an advisor to the Students Saving Salmon Club at Edmonds-Woodway and Meadowdale high schools.