No, not THAT talk. But one almost as important.
At this Tuesday’s (Nov. 22) Edmonds City Council meeting, our mayor and council will be talking about a set of legislative agenda topics to send to our state representatives for the upcoming session in Olympia. It’s a rather extensive list. However, one glaring omission in my opinion is advocating for our right for self-determination. Particularly as it pertains to our land use and zoning policies and ordinances.
Over the last few legislative sessions in Olympia, our politicians have tried — in one way or another — to either change or eliminate single-family zoning regionally, or statewide. In the last legislative session, they once again proposed such a change, which eventually failed, but not for the lack of trying. Alternatively, what they did was to try to bribe cities, via a grant biased toward a predetermined outcome, to move their agenda forward. Wisely, our city council rejected pursuing the grant. But I’m certain our state legislators will try again.
They want to further urbanize our suburban community. Increase density at the expense of our single-family neighborhoods. Take away our freedom to control our city and turn it over to profit-minded developers. If enacted, we’ll lose our ability to choose to live in a single-family neighborhood because there won’t be any. If enacted, developers will quickly move in and destroy our community as they have in other areas of the region. If enacted, there would be no going back.
To make our position perfectly clear, I’m proposing that our city council draft a resolution to be forwarded to our state representatives to uphold our ability to control our own destiny. One where we retain control of our land use policies and zoning codes. Tell them to stop the nonsense. We know the council can move quickly when they want to. We need to let the council know that we want them to act on this resolution quickly and include it in the legislative agenda.
To this end, I’m also going to call out all want-to-be mayors and councilmembers. If you have intentions to run for office (or know someone who does), then you need to be part of the conversation now! Not waiting to gauge the political winds or alliances when it’s politically expedient. I’m not saying you must announce your candidacy now, but when we look back at these comments, we should be able to see your contribution to “the talk.” If not, that in itself will say a lot.
We, as a community, need to start to be proactive. The inaction of our elected officials on issues that truly affect the quality of life in Edmonds is disturbing. Get the word out and contact our city councilmembers directly at email@example.com and/or post a comment here to further the conversation. And if you’re so inclined, please talk to the issue at this Tuesday’s city council meeting. Be aware that they changed the start time to 6 p.m. (rather than 7 p.m.) for this Tuesday.
— By Jim Ogonowski
Jim Ogonowski lives in Edmonds.