Letter to the editor: Diversity of opinion not welcome on Mayors’ Climate Protection Committee


Yesterday I was interviewed to be a member of the Mayors’ Climate Protection Committee. I was interested in being a part of the conversation about the care of our climate and environment. My husband and I own a small resort in a beautiful area of our state. We are lifetime residents of this state and I have never lived more than two miles away from my present home in Edmonds.

At our resort we have a large desalinization plant to make our own water. We contribute to the water table. All our irrigation is from retained water runoff. We are very cognizant of light pollution and have gone far beyond the growing changes in codes for dark sky. We did away with mini bottles years ago and have tamper-proof amenities for our guests.  Against recommendations, we choose not to supply guest rooms with bottled water due to the environmental impact. Our 1960s marina was replaced, removing all toxic products of the past and replaced with state-of-the-art environment protecting products. When we rebuilt the old resort, we repurposed all the materials possible, including moving old structures to be new low-income housing throughout the area. We believe in taking care of this beautiful gift of our planet and the humans that inhabit it.

However, when Mike and I discussed the need for going to all-electric vehicles in Edmonds, I could not agree. The true environmental impact of electric vehicles (and solar and wind) is devastating. The materials for these less-than energy-efficient modalities are mined, degrading the land of foreign nations, often using inhumane slave labor, have a very short use life, and cannot be recycled when that use life is finished. It takes more polluting factors to make an electric car than to make AND run a fuel-efficient gas car.

The average household cannot at this time afford electric vehicles.

Our electrical grid cannot power everyone in electric vehicles.

It is very unfriendly to our local car dealerships who provide a very large amount of our tax base.

Mike said I was not going to be a good fit for the committee  I’m not a mini Mike. He wants a panel of all like-minded people with no one to offer another perspective. I suggested a diversity of ideas could be beneficial to truly meet the needs of the climate and community, rather than pushing a narrative that does not support the free market and the free exchange of ideas. Nope. Mike said he wants a panel of only people who follow the same exact agenda.

No, he wants us out of our cars in Edmonds.

Disappointing, but not surprising.

Tamara Nelson

Publisher’s note: We gave Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson an opportunity to respond to this letter. Here is what he submitted:

We talked about a variety of issues about the climate crisis. Of course, I value diverse opinions and ideas. When joining the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee, there is an expectation that all its members agree that the climate crisis is actually real and that humans are the cause.



  1. This sounds like typical “Mike’s way or the highway” behavior from Mayor Nelson. Is anyone surprised?

    Mike takes out his disappointment at being unable to be king of Edmonds by creating wee fiefdoms like this committee. Heck of a resume booster, too! It will be wonderful to see him leave Edmonds, probably (sadly) failing upwards in local politics.

    As to Tamara’s points, yes! I love the idea of electric vehicles – cool as all get out – but building them is horrible to the environment and we have no way to charge even a fraction of the number contemplated. I seem to remember something about how big swathes of the U.S. may have rolling blackouts this year due insufficient grid capacity. Yeah, let’s add in electric cars…

    It sounds like Tamara and her husband made excellent choices to help the environment as best they could. More like this, I hope!

  2. Personally we need equal or greater focus on our lands, waterways and oceans. Pollution and over fishing is killing our waterways and oceans same for our lands. So mr mayor we need a more holistic approach to the crises of our future. Doesn’t do any good to stop global warming if our oceans are dead doesn’t do any good to drive electric cars if our pollinators die out. This single minded focus on something largely beyond our control may be very well our undoing. Just saying.

  3. The mayor’s comments do nothing to address the science of climatology. It’s entirely possible to not understand the science well enough to be that dogmatic, all while taking personal actions to care for the environment. Disagreeing on the benefits of renewable energy in no way detracts from the conversation. It challenges the proponents of renewables to reach higher standards. If the mayor would like to discourage the ridiculous amount of unnecessary driving in our area, I would be happy to serve on that committee.

  4. Tamara should not only be on the climate panel she should be running it. She actually exposes the hypocrisy of climate experts today. They are all rowing the same way because they are afraid to actually say the things Tamara is saying for fear of being cancelled. If Mike Nelson had half of a brain he would embrace what Tamara is saying. This way of thinking would actually help his political future and could help him become the actual leader he thinks he is.

  5. On just the part about electric cars – I have read similar information on how the rare materials needed to make the batteries and the waste from those batteries after they have lived their lives and how the power grid would accommodate all the recharging after folks home in the evenings…some problems.
    It is perhaps questionably Green on a large scale.

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. Tamara, Your well thought out and well presented points are just common sense. Unfortunately, common sense is not very common, in Edmonds, these days.

  7. This is just another example of our highly ultra partisan left wing infested Edmonds City Government and staff. What does climate protection have to do with what should be in the nature of a mayor’s duties to run a city? Why in the world would a municipality need or want to have a climate protection committee?

    Under this administration so far; we are protecting the climate, saving the homeless, solving the regional housing shortage problem, solving racism in America, redesigning our neighborhoods, and figuring out how to convert our streets into malls and meeting places. This is like watching a bad movie version of an Orwell novel.

    1. Clinton,

      You ask “What does climate protection have to do with what should be in the nature of a mayor’s duties to run a city?” Most are unaware that it’s not the “Mayor’s”, it’s the “Mayors’ Climate Protection Committee.” It is part of a nationwide program, started in 2005. Wikipedia article:

      Quote from: “Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels began the “U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement” in 2005 that seeks the pledges of mayors from all 50 states to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% from 1990 levels by the year 2012, in line with the Kyoto Protocol.”

      Description on the City of Edmonds website uses the proper title. Here is a link, with history of formation:


      1. Joan, plural or singular so what? Just because it’s in right now. doesn’t make it automatically a good idea.

        I think we’d all be better off if Mayor’s worried more about public safety and infrastructure and less about saving the planet.

        For example modern electric cars are new and unproven by the test of time as reliable and solving our need to stop using so much fossil fuel. Is it really responsible for our Mayor to demand we buy a fleet so soon? Would this be a good use of public funds right now?

  8. What Edmonds really needs is a fleet of busses(vans?) that would be continually running through neighborhoods, taking people downtown, to Westgate, grocery stores, Waterfront Center, etc. these busses would be available every 15 minutes or so for people to do errands, visit and eat with friends at the Waterfront Center, shop at the many amazing shops in our sweet town.

    This would be similar to the “hop on hop off” holiday bus that our family enjoyed in December.

    I believe installing sidewalks and bike lanes in our town would encourage the more mobile crowd to get more exercise and save the planet from those short trips in a car, that are so devastating to the planet.

    1. Buses through the neighborhood would be a very convenient solution, but unfortunately public transit is heavily subsidized by taxes, not user collected fare based. Anyone who thinks these kind of taxes are too low now is not paying them. Sound Transit’s tax collections is a prime example of dubious taxation. Unfortunately, for most there is no free ride. I agree we need to emphasize more sidewalks for safety and convenience.

  9. “Under this administration so far; we are protecting the climate, saving the homeless, solving the regional housing shortage problem, solving racism in America, redesigning our neighborhoods, and figuring out how to convert our streets into malls and meeting places.”

    Wow! I wonder how well his re-election campaign will go with a track record like that.

  10. I am very impressed with the work Tamara and her husband have done with their property and I am also skeptical that electric cars are the answer to climate change. On the other hand I am upset with the idea that free market and free ideas are the same thing. I also note in the comments the use of the word “cancelled” and the idea that the mayor represents the Left. We are not going to reach agreement on anything if people don’t go beyond the rhetoric of party politics. It would be great if the highly educated community of Edmonds could investigate and debate issues of national and international importance in an open-minded and non-partisan manner. Maybe the Mayor’s committee is not the right forum but thanks to Tamara for getting the conversation rolling

  11. Thanks for writing this Letter to the Editor and thanks for your many years of action to protect the environment.

    I would hope those making appointments would not be arbitrary and capricious.

    I wonder what the Mayors’ Climate Protection Committee is. I wonder how it differs from the City’s Advisory Boards and Commissions governed under ECC Title 10 BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS?

    This Committee is listed on the City’s Boards and Commissions website even though it is not a codified Board or Commission.

    Following are questions for Mayor Nelson:

    What City Code allows you to appoint people to something called the Mayors’ Climate Protection Committee? Is the Mayors’ Climate Protection Committee subject to the Open Public Meetings Act? Are Mayors’ Climate Protection Committee documents, emails and text messages subject to Public Record requests? Is the conduct of members of a Mayors’ Climate Protection Committee governed by the Edmonds Code of Ethics like the conduct of elected officials and appointed citizen volunteers serving in an official capacity (i.e. Boards and Commissions)? If not, why not?

    My concluding thought – As City Council has never voted to authorize this committee, I wonder if it is a legal committee to have in Edmonds. Sounds like something that City Council should consider codifying which would include establishing how appointments are made.

  12. So a science denier is big mad she can’t be on the Climate Protection Committee?
    Make it make sense.

    1. I never denied anything. Don’t put words in my mouth. Even though Mike made the insinuation, it is false.

  13. The City’s website is inconsistent and displays two different lists of those comprising the Mayors’ Climate Protection Committee. One list displays 10 citizens whereas the other list displays only 5 citizens.

    As this committee isn’t codified, who determines how many members there are on the committee? When there are vacancies, how are the vacancies advertised? The city’s website does not indicate any current openings. Is that true? Is membership now limited to 5 citizens? How are citizens to know?

    A quick review of the related meeting minutes indicates the mission of the CPC is to: (1) Encourage citizens to be a part of the solution, (2) Encourage City staff and citizens to conserve current resources, (3) Work with the City Council to implement ideas, and (4) Effectively address the future impacts of climate change.

    The February 3, 2022 Meeting Minutes discusses “Flyer: for hand distribution to potential committee candidates”. Hand distribution?

    The City’s Website indicates the last Sustainability Hero was identified February 16, 2017 the Students Saving Salmon Club.

  14. Hummmmmmm, who in this article owns a large car dealership in edmonds that doesn’t have a large fleet of electric cars to sell?

    1. Adrienne, you say that as if it were morally wrong or shameful that this unidentified car dealer doesn’t sell EVs. So what? What gives you the right to determine what is sold? Wouldn’t it be better to influence buyers than to force sellers to do something?

      Your comment feels like vague-booking and intended only to create strife, not invite informed discussion.

    2. I guess kind of a stupid question. But if we are in a climate crisis and stopping it is a emergency that means we should eliminate fossil fuel energy as fast as possible. The catch is green energy is front loaded with fossil fuel emissions. So the reality is we are using more fossil fuels to produce green energy things now. I guess my question is how do we slow the amount of emissions we use by buying things that contribute extra emissions in the short term, isn’t now the crisis? If we use record amounts of fossil fuel during a time when reducing it is the most important thing in a effort to be green wouldn’t it be counter productive to the crisis?

  15. Mike Nelson cannot prohibit us from driving, he cannot insist we all buy electric cars. He cannot. Simple as that. As far as these posts are concerned most agree with Tamara. What Barbara Joan Ford says we have so many parks in or near the Bowl where people can walk to their hearts content. We also have a lot of spaces in the Bowl on the Sidewalks and Beach where people can walk all they want. Trying to keep the rest of our city out of Edmonds Bowl is not going to fare well at all. And deciding for us what defines a short trip is not her business or Mr. Nelsons. Whether we exercise or not is not MR. Nelsons business. This is a free country. This should be a free city too. I feel like I am living in a city being ruled by a despotic ruler. Definition is this “of or typical of a despot; tyrannical:”
    BTW we need sidewalks in the rest of our city. Remember we have few and people are forced to walk in the streets. I say pay attention citizens of Edmonds pay very close attention. This Mayors constant placement of only those who agree with his philosophies is or should be over in our city. Many do not agree with THIS Mayor so what do we do about that??

      1. When you try and prevent people from having a place to park you are prohibiting people from driving to OUR city center too Sam. I am not being over dramatic at all. It is what it is. And we all see it.

  16. Mayor Nelson is creating a circle group of people engage in self-indulgent behavior, stroking each other’s egos as if they were extensions of their genitals, especially by reinforcing each other’s views or attitudes:

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