Commentary: City council majority ‘taking Edmonds parks backwards’

Mayor Mike Nelson

The new council majority has rejected the voices of thousands of Edmonds’ residents. Voices who want more equitable distribution of our parks, more open space, more trails and more walking paths. They dismissed the community’s input as flawed. They say they want citizen input but reject any opinion that doesn’t align with their own.

Instead, some councilmembers have decided that it’s in the city’s best interests to create a small group of their hand-picked friends to decide the future of our parks system.

Tuesday’s action by council was a continuation of their ongoing efforts to block improvements, financial support and expansion to our city parks. Those council actions have included delaying hiring of key park staff and voting against the city from receiving $1 million in state park grants.

In contrast, our city parks department is helping move Edmonds forward by updating its Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan. The plan identifies future park projects and qualifies the city for state grants for outdoor recreation and conservation efforts.

Our parks plan process included an unprecedented outreach to residents throughout Edmonds to ensure that we have an improved parks system that captures the interests of our community. As part of that outreach, there was a substantial engagement program with a broad range of voices including those voices that are traditionally under-represented from our Chinese, Korean and Spanish communities. As part of this engagement program, extensive use of online and direct mail surveys; web-based handouts and presentation materials; and live translation during community meetings were provided to the public.

As a result of the city’s engagement and outreach efforts, 1,958 people responded. Based on input from the parks department and the community, the park plan recommendations included:

  • Acquiring new parks in south and southeast Edmonds.
  • Acquiring more open space to conserve unique natural areas such as wetlands, forests, and stream corridors.
  • Building more trails in our parks, and trails that connect our neighborhoods.
  • Updating our park playgrounds and restrooms, and adding more park amenities.
  • Replacing Yost Pool.
  • Improving universal access to our parks.

Implementation of these recommendations is necessary to ensure that our parks system continues to move forward, not backward.

Please contact your council and let them know you support our PROS Plan to expand and improve Edmonds parks. And tell the council to stop taking Edmonds parks backwards.

–By Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson


  1. Does anyone actually believe what the Mayor or the PIO has written here?

    The new Council sees gaps in the plan and wants to get it right. Hurrying up to approve it on a public hearing night is bad governance. We have yet to decide how to complete the plan, however, it doesn’t slow down anything.

    I am personally committed to a robust plan that serves our whole city providing significant guidance for the next 6 years.

    We’ll get this right because its that important.

  2. Since when was mud-slinging an appropriate form of local government, especially when it is distorted and non-factual (and coming from a Mayor?????).

    1. I didn’t put any input into the latest community outreach for suggestions.
      In the past, if an individual made a suggestion for improvements, they were told that the suggestion would have to make the ‘ Park Master Plan’…..
      I took it to mean that the mayor and council had to approve any suggestions….
      The suggestion was never brought up by the Parks Director when the parks were talked about.
      So, I got 200 neighborhood signatures around Pine Ridge Park and brought them back to her. We were asking the city( through the Parks Director) to dig out the mosquito pond in Pine Ridge, stock with fish, and extend a walking/ hiking trail around the lake, and put a picnic table or 2 on the south side of mosquito marsh ( after it was fixed up)
      Again, the next year….no response when parks were brought up.
      When asked why our request was discarded….we were told that we didn’t go though ‘ the channels’.
      Ok….it’s not as bad as living in Russia…..but people like to think that they actually have a voice in improving things around here ….
      Also……stop with the non-public meetings….they are illegal. It’s how they do things in Russia…

    2. Joe, I don’t believe mud slinging would occur if the council and citizens weren’t slinging it to begin with. You’re a very nice man, but again it’s like the pot calling the kettle black. City consultants won’t do what you want them to do And you insult them publicly
      Sigh ……..

  3. Nelson this Council is more balanced than your gang. This new Council does not all vote the same way. I actually get a response from Vivian, Diane and Neil but never Susan Paine or Laura A. Johnson.

    The community is tired of you and your foot stomping like a toddler when you can’t push through your agenda. I like so many others made a very bad decision putting you in office. You divide people and this article is an example of your poor tactics.

    You holler about graffiti, but gang graffiti you are silent.
    Citizens have to try to figure out how to remove it. Why don’t you care about gang graffiti? I don’t want to hear your opinion on Council, many people voted out your crew and more will be voted out soon!

  4. What is this new council majority? There should be no “majority “. The council represents all the citizens of Edmonds not the Mayors agenda. In all my 44 years in Edmonds, I don’t recall a Mayor sending out commentaries complaining about what the majority of the council agreed on because it didn’t fit his/her agenda. Shameful.
    IMO the PROS plan is lacking substantialy as pointed out in previous LTE. 1958 responses to a survey a
    Is a far cry from a majority of Edmonds citizens.

  5. Mr Mayor, while the Council and the Mayor may disagree at times (disagreement can actually be good since it drives a more balanced solution), we expect you to work together for an equitable solution. Your public callouts are not helping, and in the end the only one who looks bad from public callout is who initiates it (that’s you, if you weren’t sure). Tone down the rhetoric, be the intermediary and help bring the council together to form a policy that works for all.

    1. Expect the mayor to send these types of letters until the next mayoral election. The goal will be to pander to his potential base for re-election over and over again. He has been awarded for this behavior in the past. This letter has nothing to do with the parks or city council outside of creating political sides and boundaries. Don’t fall for this Edmonds it’s meant to divide us.

  6. I don’t even read his letters anymore. How long until the next Mayoral election? Perhaps MEN would be so kind to install a daily time clock.

  7. Thank you City Council for honoring public input and not unnecessarily rushing approval of the PROS plan. Half of the over 100 people who took the time to read the lengthy plan and to write to Council were concerned about a lack of environmental stewardship and a need for more specific steps and actual action items pertaining to sustainability. Some people even wrote action suggestions to help move the plan forward. What’s wrong with that? Failing to add these important steps would be a backwards motion. The Mayor’s own Climate Protection Committee wrote in asking for more leadership. How does the City expect to receive $1 million from the State when the use of those funds is not included in the approved Plan? We need concrete action plans to get ready to receive State and Federal funds for restoring salmon to our streams. Millions of dollars may be available to us, if only we had more of a plan. Look at what the County is doing for salmon at Meadowdale Park. Sure, we all want nice parks and the Parks dept did a huge job in putting that part of the plan together. Please be advised that public surveys are often biased by the way questions are asked. Did any survey questions ask about the importance of restoring salmon to our streams into Puget Sound? It is good governance to be thoughtful about all of our diverse populations – including wildlife populations. Salmon, birds and orcas were not included in the surveys and neither were my grandchildren who will inherit these parks and natural spaces.

    1. The PROS plan will not be revised again for another six years, so Council taking the time to consider ALL input, not just the 5% of Edmonds citizens who responded to the survey, is what will best serve our parks and open spaces and move the PROS plan forward.

      Isn’t the purpose of a public hearing to give more food for thought? To highlight important considerations that may have been overlooked? A significant number of citizens and local environmental groups submitted testimony supporting the need for stronger environmental restoration and protection. Steamrolling the approval of the PROS plan immediately following the public hearing would have eliminated any chance of these important requests being incorporated into the plan. We all know that it is much more costly and difficult to repair environmental damage than it is to prevent it. Taking the time to do this right is not only a good idea, it is the only responsible way to proceed. Our children and grandchildren need us to be good environmental stewards.

      One of the disappointing aspects of the PROS survey and the subsequent discussion has been the way that equity and environmental restoration have been pitted against each other. Of course everyone in Edmonds, regardless of where they live, should have easy access to parks and open spaces. In its current form, the PROS plan does an excellent job of highlighting that more needs to be done to achieve this goal. Without similar highlighting, though, we are in danger of losing the opportunity to restore salmon to our streams. We know that our Orca population is dwindling due to lack of food. Do we really want future generations to look back and see that we could have done more to save salmon, but didn’t? I believe that if properly informed of the environmental protections needed in the PROS plan, the citizens of Edmonds will overwhelming support these too. Let’s avoid false dichotomies and keep the thinking and discussion going. We need a final PROS plan that serves BOTH people and the environment.

  8. Mr Mayor,
    Please do us all a favor and resign. Edmonds deserves a mayor who loves our city and respects all its citizens, even when they don’t hold the same views.

  9. The Council’s discussion at the end of the public hearing did not “reject” the voices of those who participated in the community survey but rather to honor and evaluate all those who commented in historic numbers about the plan. Those who did not have the opportunity to be part of the community survey or did not feel that their comments were given due consideration are deserving of a fair hearing as well.

    The overall recommendations are good but the lack of details raised many concerns. Environmental stewardship of our parks was ignored until the last minute and more refinement of the new goals is needed. Finally while a new focus on equity and the underserved areas of Edmonds is long overdue, we cannot abandon our responsibility to the waterfront beaches, the Marsh-Estuary and underwater park.

    These types of conservation and recreation areas cannot be provided in other parts of Edmonds. They remain the city’s responsibility. Further evaluation and improvements to Edmonds parks plan is a step forward for everyone. Equity, protection and restoration is a responsibility and not a choice.

  10. Thank you CM Neil Tibbott and others who commented on this disjointed, babbling “Commentary” from Mayor Nelson. He hoodwinked many into voting him into office. Edmonds is paying the price.

    Thank you to our newly elected CM’s and CM Buckshnis, CP Olson, and Johnson who listen, do their due diligence, and work towards the best interests of all of Edmonds. The Mayor has lost his trusted minions who habitually voted his way following him, the Pied Piper, and taking Edmonds over the cliff. Those days are hopefully over.

  11. I am glad to see our new Council being thorough in studying the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan. This is an important document that will move our city forward and should not be approved at the whim of a few.

    This is truly a sad sad article. Our Mayor at odds with the majority of our Council because they do not bend to his agenda. Now we can all see the reason the new PIO could not be held to provide non-bias reporting…the position is propaganda tool for the Mayor.

  12. Absolutely silly comments, mostly from people that live west of 88th Ave., West, who want our money spent in their neighborhoods and areas. This council is most interested in developing half million dollar condominiums all over our city versus creating a livable/walkable city. They object to resources being spent along the highway 99 Corridor and neighborhoods. Again, showing through is our council special interest friends and the lack of support for our communities of color, families, single house neighborhoods. Diane Buckshnis and her cast of four are destroying our city piece by piece. Anyone hear Buckshnis speak on behalf of indigenous people last Tuesday regarding this pros plan without speaking to the tribes first? She will provide false information and do whatever she needs to do to create chaos in our city. We’ve already wasted five meetings redoing a budget where there was predominantly no change. But Diane and her minions will support Diane’s opinions at no matter the cost to our city. Should the mayor speak up when he sees injustice? Or as some of you believe he should just sit there and shut up. I and many other citizens appreciate the mayor letting us know what’s going on so we can affect change with this group of councilmembers who would prefer to listen to constituents/ Campaign donors and campaign volunteers regarding city projects than the paid staff and consultants who have no vested interest. Maybe we should just get rid of all the staff in the city and let council President Buckshnis bring in all of her friends to run our city. Be very careful because this is where we’re headed. We have lost some excellent employees over the past three months and have more that are about to leave the city because of our council leadership. So I agree with the mayor call In, write in and let them know how you feel about the discriminatory practices spending of our tax dollars.
    No mayor in our city before has reached out so aggressively to get all edmonds areas citizen input!

  13. How much did this pros plan cost? How much did the ineffective community outreach cost? I bet we could have had a number of parks projects with all the wasted money. How much time was spent by the mayor and council vetting it prior to public release? This is just another example of poor governance and mr mayor I put you at the top of the list of reasons why.

  14. AFM, I agree, Absolutely silly comments. Yours and Nelson’s. People like you and Mike Nelson are only good at creating division and never giving up what you consider your righteous cause to somehow make the world perfect. That’s why we get dumb stuff like hate portals, incompetent police chief appointments, self defeating tree cutting moratoriums, PROS plans that aren’t plans at all but a bunch of aspirational words created by an over paid and unneeded consultant, and all the other crap legislation and governance of the past two years.

    In fairness this isn’t all your fault. A governing system that puts the chief executive in charge of running the legislative branch meetings is an invitation to chaos, divisive politics, and majority/minority blocks forming, from the git go. Strong mayor / Weak Council is a relic of the past that should be done away with ASAP. Strong Council/City Manager is well recognized as the superior and fairer way to run any city (League of Women Voters, All American Cities Association, etc.).

    1. Gee Clint,
      Almost never heard a complaint from you from the 8 prior years administration, other than the freeway offramp onto the beach of course.
      I think you should run for office and try it for four years. Instead of being an armchair quarterback safely at home , not understanding what’s occurring in the background, I suggest you put your money where your mouth is and get to work for the city.

      1. AFM, your comments provide perfect clarity as to why Edmonds residents voted the way they did last election and you’re sitting on the sidelines.

        1. Pat Meyers……….
          yawn, can’t you come up with anything new?

          I know it’s been so awful, I’m no longer working 40+ hours a week and getting paid $350 a week for it. I travel all I want now, Volunteer my time to Credible organizations, sleep in as I please.
          oh and I get to communicate with such intelligent people such as yourself. I’m blessed!!

      2. A perfect illustration of exactly what Clinton was saying!

        You know, much as I disliked George W Bush, I honor him for having had the dignity to be silent once out of office.

      3. Trust me Adrinne, I didn’t have much use for that regime either, maybe a little less even, in some respects. No need to open old wounds on that though.

        As for me running for office, I’m too old and too outspoken to cut it. I’d probably get recalled before I could even get booted out in the next election. I’ll limit my activity to advocating for a different form of government.

  15. This. This commentary is what causes lack of trust, lack of respect and lack of pride in our city and our government.

    We have seen, and been victims of, the damage this type of behavior can do on a national and international scale. It has spread like a virus to Edmonds and I reject it as an outcome we must accept.

    I believe Edmonds residents are better than this, smarter than this, and more resourceful than this.

    I believe we have the capacity to disagree without being disagreeable. I believe we can actually talk to each other, face-to-face with the courage to work together and find solutions.

    Regardless of how you feel about the PROS Plan, elected officials talking through the media instead of to each other and trying to divide and anger residents is just embarrassing and damaging. Edmonds can and should do better.

    I want to make it clear that this is my opinion alone and does not reflect the opinion of any group I am affiliated with.

    1. Mr. Rosen you must be in your affiliation with the partisan round table, or is it the downtown elections group, or the egg? All the same group.
      Or was it the hit piece you put out on me in the election full of half truths and lies.
      I’d like to remind you Mr. Rosen then I am a private citizen of Edmonds right now and just as you say is you please I will say is I please and highlight what’s happening behind the scenes that the general public. You only want people to have civil discourse when you agree with the discussion. The rest of us should just sit back and be quiet and you as a non-elected get to still run the city from behind the scenes. I wish you luck with that. I might’ve been gagged as an elected as an elected but as a private citizen I will speak my mind.

      1. AFM if you weren’t drinking on the job and going on local TV calling Edmonds racist, you still might be in a position where people care about what you think. YOU and only you are to blamed for losing the people’s trust and not getting reelected.

        1. Just keep pushing that half truths Republican nonsense all you want.
          I and others that truly support the city know the difference.
          Bless you

  16. I very much agree with the council majority that taking more time is in the best interests of a well balanced PROS final plan. After inviting public coment to have approved it now indicates little interest in having taken time to review and carefully consider that input. I think there are a number or goals that can be mutually beneficial and well supported including expanding parks and their amenities such as trails, while respecting the need to preserve wildlife and habitat and in the case of the Edmonds Marsh respect this unique treasure by fully developing it to its full potential when it will be. an even more widely admired gem of the Edmonds outdoor experience and a valued part of the much treasured Edmonds waterfront/shoreline. This plan should incorporate the best of previous initiatives and expand beyond the somewhat limited input of the 5% of edmonds represented in the official survey. Instead of shifting any goals based on that minimal input I would appreciate the making as inclusive a plan as possible and start planning the most efficient allocation of resources. Purchasing Southwest County Park is not an efficiency. Either way it is here to stay. Pros should consider instead adding new habitat that will otherwise go away. And full support for planning on the environmental needs through what will be a pretty consequential six year span.

  17. Thanks for the suggestion, AFM. I agree that Clinton Wright would make an amazing Councilmember, and I will help him run if he is interested.

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