Edmonds Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

The 2019 general election | Letters to the Editor

 

October 24, 2019

New source of revenue for the Beacon?

Given the length of several letters in recent issues of the Beacon, perhaps they should be moved to a "guest editorial" or "guest opinion" section? Or ... you could start charging the wordsmiths advertising rates.

While it is important for people to speak up FOR their candidates of choice, I admit to fatigue and usually I stop reading after around 200-300 words. One recent letter was over 600, only 34 of which were in support of the letter writer's candidate. Bbefore anyone has a snippy response, yes, I took the time to count words..

That letter was more like a "legal brief" against a candidate. Maybe consider taking out an ad instead? Your policy states letters should be 400 words or fewer, and yet it would appear that many letters are going far over that limit. Perhaps those letter writers do not use Word and its handy-dandy word count tool.

Picky, you say?

My response to that would be succinctness beats a lengthy "editorial" when it is supposed to be a letter. Obviously, the Beacon has the room for these, but lately it seems a lot like blowing into the wind. But the election will eventually be over and somebody will win, somebody will not, and hopefully this will end the epistles, at least for this election cycle.

225 words – see how quickly they add up?

Pamela Clerico

Edmonds

Candidate apologizes for campaign ad

As a newcomer to this process and without a consultant to point out what I did not see, I have mistakenly used a group photo of the Edmonds Citizens' Tree Board in campaign advertising to represent my involvement in our local environmental issues. Some have interpreted this as politicizing the board or the members of it.

That was never my intention, and I apologize.

The opposite is not only true but a source of pride, our members having views as diverse as the Edmonds citizens we represent. That diversity of thought, and the respect we have for each others' perspectives, is at the core of our Tree Board's great achievements.

Vivian Olson

Edmonds

Candidate, City Council Position 5

Alicia Crank has demonstrated leadership

Alicia Crank is the most qualified candidate for city council because of her demonstrated ability to lead. When she arrived in Edmonds over five years ago, she immediately got involved with the local community. This was nothing new for her. In the Bay Area, Alicia had participated in an equal number of activities.

In Mountain View, Alicia was the Director for Leadership Mountain View (a program very similar to Leadership Snohomish County) for six years. From an online newspaper: "Alicia's guidance and direction took the leadership program to a new level of awareness and physical sustainability. Alicia's talents, expertise and extraordinary energy will be missed in the community. She could always be seen around town making connections and sharing her knowledge."

This is exactly what she has brought to Edmonds, starting with her appointment to the Sister City Commission. She also served on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, the Senior Center and the Noon Rotary Club. She currently serves as the vice chair of the Snohomish County Airport Commission.

I first realized her talent while watching her on the Planning Board. Alicia always arrives completely prepared for the meeting. The questions she asks are always on point and clarifying.

I participated in the International Women's Day event that started as an opportunity for a few girls to attend a screening of the "Captain Marvel" movie and attend a panel with women in the community offering advice about the future.

This began as a small event for about 100 girls, with local women sponsoring. Eventually this became an event that included a networking luncheon for Edmonds working women and a screening for about 400 kids. Most importantly, she had managed to get sponsorship from the Seattle Storm, Alaska Airlines and Swedish Medical Center, among other companies.

Alicia's corporate connections enable her to draw on a large resource. She also has a large contingent of local people who are only too happy to follow her into the fray. Alicia left a career in corporate banking to pursue her passion for community involvement.

As a woman of color and a two-time cancer survivor, she has faced obstacles. Alicia doesn't make excuses. She just keeps moving forward in a quest to improve the community. These qualities make Alicia the best candidate for position 5 on Edmonds City Council. Most of all, Alicia is fearless.

Denise Miller

Edmonds

Nathan Monroe stands out in council race

It is election time once again. What makes this election particularly important is the number of City government positions in contention. Not only are we electing a new mayor, but there are four council seats being considered and only one incumbent among the eight council candidates. The face of our City council will be changing come January 2020.

As I consider the candidates, I consider their positions on key issues facing Edmonds: preserving downtown, housing, growth, and open space. All the candidates agree on these issues. No one is advocating for increased building heights in downtown or against affordable housing; they all support and will work to maintain and improve our open space and natural resources. Everyone agrees our infrastructure is in desperate need of repair.

So how does one decide?

Considering council as a whole, I believe we must choose candidates who will bring the most to our City government as a group. What combination of individuals will give us the most diverse set of skills and backgrounds to govern our city?

This is the reason I am voting for Nathan Monroe. He stands out from the other council candidates because he has over 15 years of experience dealing with city infrastructure issues as a civil engineer. He has designed and managed municipal infrastructure projects around this region and is currently working on the south section of Sound Transit light rail connection as the project manager.

Nathan has served and continues on the Planning Board, giving him firsthand knowledge of the issues facing our community and how to work effectively with City staff, He is well aware of the local, county, and state regulations that will impact choices we make.

He is fully aware of budget management issues, having managed multimillion-dollar projects with budget responsibility. These are going to be important skills to bring to the council, and there is no other candidate who provides this set of skills, skills that will be an important asset to our government.

Clearly all the candidates love Edmonds, but I believe Monroe can bring a set of skills to the council that not matched by any other candidate.

Vicki Clark

Edmonds

Laura Johnson and Susan Paine best and wisest choices

I haven't seen nearly enough material promoting Laura Johnson and Susan Paine, so I'm here to help that cause. Johnson is nearly an eight-year resident of Edmonds, and would bring a lot of great qualifications to city council position No. 7 if elected.

She is a small-business owner, very pro-environment, and advocates for careful and wise growth management. We all know growth is coming to Edmonds, so why not be smart about it? She was against the ferry overpass from the start, in some forward thinking that others running for council seats could have benefitted from.

Lastly, she's in favor of sensible gun control, and in a country gone gun-mad, this stance alone might save your life.

Switching to Susan Paine, she has been a resident of Edmonds since 2002, and is running for city council position No. 6. To her enormous credit, she has over 25 years of municipal and nonprofit experience, something no other candidate can offer.

She is a member of ACE, Sustainable Edmonds, and is a director on the Edmonds Tree Board. Her scientific background (her father was a world-famous biologist) serves her quite well, and she has stood up for the Edmonds environment and the Edmonds Marsh in particular many times already.

She also has grant-writing experience, and knowledge of the intricacies of grant writing/approval will be invaluable to her as an Edmonds city councilwoman.

I'm very glad to know both women, and I remain utterly convinced that they are both the best and wisest choices for City Council positions 6 and 7 on the November ballot.

Mike Shaw

Edmonds

Jenna Nand will be a positive change

I'm urging all Edmonds voters to join me in voting for Jenna Nand to replace Diane Buckshnis on our City Council. Nand is a newcomer to our politics, but we know enough about her and Buckshnis to have confidence that she'll be a positive change.

Buckshnis having been a "bank regulator" makes her believe that her financial skills are superior to most anyone else in our city – including City finance directors. That belief has contributed, I believe, to her causing the departure of two or three finance directors.

I must question how financially competent she really is. In 2009, when City Council was deliberating joining Fire District 1, and prior to her being appointed to council in 2010, she often spoke about the wisdom of our city making such a move – she stated that it wouldn't be a good financial move for us.

The truth is that since the deal took effect in 2010 our city's expenses have been reduced between $1 million and $2 million every year. To put that reduction into perspective, had those savings not been taken advantage of, City services would have had to be cut, or the City's financial reserves would have gradually been eliminated over the past 10 years.

Good thing Buckshnis was not on council in 2009, as she may have caused us not to join the fire district.

Our city lost two department heads this past summer and some citizens believe that Buckshnis contributed to those departures. In an interview a couple of weeks ago, Buckshnis said that the HR director, one of the two who departed, had been looking for a new job as early as February. That HR director recently contacted another councilmember to tell him that wasn't true – she only started looking immediately after council did not accept a salary study that she conducted.

We get more than enough untruths from Olympia and D.C.; we don't need them from our local politicians.

Buckshnis is completing her 10th year as a councilmember. Her attendance record is reflecting that her enthusiasm for the job is waning. Thus far in 2019, she has missed seven council meetings. The other six councilmembers have missed only an average of 3 meetings.

Prior to this election cycle, I was not acquainted with Jenna Nand. Initially I was apprehensive about how much Nand knew about the workings of our city. After monitoring her performance at the different election events during the past several weeks, it became obvious that she knows quite a bit about the various issues.

I am confident that her extensive formal education, intelligence, and superior interpersonal skills would very quickly bring added value to our city council.

Position 4 needs a change. Please vote for Jenna Nand.

Ron Wambolt

Edmonds

Councilmember Diane Buckshnis responds: Ron Wambolt's main criticisms over the years have been directed towards my financial acumen and oversight capabilities. I can engage in a "he said- she said," but instead let me start with exceptional news regarding Edmonds' current financial strength.

A priority of mine has been financial transparency, including financial reporting format, fund balances, reconciliations, and budget amendments. Throughout this effort, I worked with a number of finance directors, staff, citizens, and councilmembers.

Last week, we learned that our collective effort paid off as Standard & Poor's Global Ratings assigned a AAA credit rating to the City of Edmonds, a first in the city's history. Few cities and states have attained this high rating. Importantly, this credit rating will translate into significant savings in the upcoming sale of Civic Park bonds.

That said, I must respond to Wambolt's speculations by providing factual history.

It's true, I was persistent (along with others) in the efforts to revamp our financial management and reporting policies, so that Council and citizens could more easily understand how their money was being spent and if it was being spent wisely. Many contributed to this effort, but some resisted.

For example, Finance Director Lorenzo Hines refused to make any changes to the financial statements or amendments being suggested by the Finance Committee. He was insistent on having our general fund being reported as a "modified working capital approach," which led to unreconciled fund balances and lacked transparency.

Hines stopped coming to Finance Committee meetings and filed a lawsuit against Finance Chair Michael Plunkett and myself. After the lawsuit was determined to be without merit, he moved on to a new opportunity.

Finance Director Shawn Hunstock joined the staff and proceeded to work cooperatively with the Finance Committee, making significant changes to enhance financial transparency and reconciliations. New policies were created, reserves were established, and the budget amendment process was revamped, bringing clarity to council and citizens.

Hunstock left to relocate close to family, but we still keep in touch, and he endorsed my campaign.

Roger Neumeier took over as finance director, after most financial management processes were updated. Neumeier initiated a focus on the financial relationship between the Public Facilities District (PFD/Edmonds Center for the Arts) and the City.

While reviewing the 2017 state audit report, I noticed the PFD's net worth had doubled by $5 million, and a footnote indicated the City had removed a receivable of like amount via a prior period adjustment; council had not been made aware of this transaction.

The change did not seem proper, so I brought the issue up with the council president, mayor, auditors, PFD board, attorneys, and bond counsel to better understand its appropriateness. Many meetings ensued. Ultimately, I argued my case before the Governmental Standards Accounting Board (GASB).

GASB agreed with my analysis, and the City and PFD were required to restate their 2017 audited financial statements. Essentially, the prior period adjustment would have resulted in "forgiving" $5 million in payments from the PFD, requiring the City to pay the $5 million in bond payments.

Rather than being thankful that I had caught this error, the mayor (and Neumeier) made assertions in the media that communication between council and the administration had deteriorated so much that Neumeier was retiring.

Scott James became finance director shortly thereafter and, along with the staff and finance committee, we continued policy updates, including the important "fund balance" policy (a AAA rating requirement). I'm confident James would say that we have an honest, mutually respectful working relationship with collaboration and occasional disagreements, which we effectively resolve.

I'm very proud of James and his finance team for their dedicated efforts leading to the AAA rating.

Wambolt also suggested I was to blame for the recent staff departures of Mary Ann Hardie (Human Resources director) and Carrie Hite (Parks and Recreation director).

First, let me say that I have great admiration for women willing to take "risks" to advance their careers. I know firsthand that these decisions are multifaceted and difficult, but my career accomplishments wouldn't have been achieved without making similar ones.

An Edmonds Beacon article (5/22/2019) indicated Hardie accepted the position to become Human Resources director in the City of Lacey on 5/16/2019, and she was looking forward to the new opportunity as well as living in Thurston County.

Yet the mayor publicly alluded that comments I made during council's deliberations on 5/7/2019 resulted in Hardie's departure, and the subsequent media sensation was reminiscent of what occurred with Neumeier. Given the timing of Hardie's resignation, it seems improbable that Lacey's hiring process could have been initiated and finalized in nine days (from the Council meeting to her resignation).

Carrie Hite called to tell me her intentions to resign. We cried with both joy and sadness as she was offered a wonderful opportunity in Redmond but would be leaving Edmonds. We continue staying in touch and she is doing great, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

Finally, Wambolt baselessly speculated my enthusiasm for serving as a councilmember is waning; nothing could be further from the truth! Citizens who follow Council know I am always prepared. I may have missed some meetings due to family or travels, but that doesn't mean I've lapsed on my commitments to our wonderful city and its myriad of possibilities, our engaged citizens, and our bright future!

Character and actions matter when voting for our next mayor

A letter from residents to residents: We have an important decision to make regarding who we put in the mayor's chair. We have two candidates who could not be more different. The people who signed this letter could also not be more different.

Many of us have never met, and there are many things on which we would not agree. We each have reviewed information and accusations about both candidates and have summarized some of our findings below.

Pay taxes: Neil Tibbott, yes. Mike Nelson, delayed. Over six years, Mike owed the IRS $52,000 and had a lien placed on his property. He is current now.

Responsible for campaign finance violations: Neil Tibbott, no. Mike Nelson, yes. Mike is executive director of Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Washington's attorney general filed a charge against SEIU for campaign finance violations. The judgment was $233,205 in civil penalties.

Supports marriage equality: Neil Tibbott, yes. "I do and always have supported marriage equality, and would be the first to defend it if it came under attack in our city." Mike Nelson , yes. "I 100 percent support marriage equality and will do anything in my power to defend it."

Prevented conflict of interest: Neil Tibbott, yes. Mike Nelson, no. Mike served on the council while City employee SEIU contracts were being negotiated. Chair of his executive board was president of the union of Edmonds. His boss and part of his salary came from the union the city was negotiating with. (bit.ly/2OXvM1E.)

Changed vote on connector: Neil Tibbott, yes. He voted against it, indicating that the original task force study and recommendation never referenced marine sanctuary impact and that the size was substantially larger than initially forecasted. Mike Nelson, yes. Mike co-chaired the task force that identified 50 alternatives and recommended the connector as the preferred option. Mike then indicated he didn't support the connector because all other council members voted to save $1.36 million in fire department staffing.

Supports Edmonds police chief: Neil Tibbott, yes. Mike Nelson, no. Mike publicly accused the Edmonds police chief of inappropriate behavior when the chief encouraged the public to wait for facts before jumping to conclusions. A teen accused Edmonds police of stopping him for merely walking down the street because of his race. The teen later admitted that he fabricated the story because he was late to soccer practice.

Free from political party influence: Neil Tibbott, yes. Mike Nelson, no. Mike has received support from a political party. (bit.ly/2MSh89s.)

We believe that these topics represent important criteria for choosing a mayor to serve this great community.

Neil has been endorsed by five Edmonds mayors; current councilmembers; five former councilmembers; four Port commissioners; five Edmonds Planning Board members; four Economic Development commissioners; and the Everett Herald.

He has also been endorsed by almost every mayor from the communities around Edmonds, indicating his ability to collaborate on regional issues such as transportation, housing, crime, environment, and homelessness.

Mike has been endorsed by four state representatives; three Snohomish County councilmembers; the Snohomish County prosecuting attorney; the mayor of Mukilteo (no confidence vote by their council); the Sierra Club; the Snohomish County Labor Council; Snohomish County Democrats; and the 21st and 32nd District Democrats.

Mike has the backing of labor unions and the strong backing from a political party for a seat that is to be nonpartisan. Could his being a registered lobbyist and ties with special-interest groups influence his objectivity and be the invitation for outside interests to control the mayor's seat, if elected?

We strongly recommend that you also do your own research, and weigh what "character" and "actions" you want to align your vote with.

Those of us who have signed this letter won't and don't always agree, but we all do agree that Neil Tibbott should be our next mayor

Signed,

Mike Schindler, Steve and Shannon Bullock; Don Hall, Bill Herzig, Sharon Howard, Theresa Hutchison, Greg Gorsuch, Cheryl Gorsuch, Maureen and Jeff Lewis, Jack Loos, Philip Lovell, Jim Messick, Steve Pennington, Randal Phelan, Laura Phelan, George and Joan Ringstad, Mike Rosen, Art Jones, Carl Zapora

Support for Diane Buckshnis, Alicia Crank, Laura Johnson, and Susan Paine

I never meant to get involved in politics.

I only meant to work with those trying to protect our environment. However, the more I got involved with environmental issues, the more I realized how essential it is to have elected officials who understand and care about the issues.

Those of us working to protect our Edmonds environment need to have decision makers on city council who comprehend and respect the scientific data related to environmental protection. Unfortunately, some candidates have actively worked against science-driven action. That's why I am strongly supporting Diane Buckshnis, Alicia Crank, Laura Johnson, and Susan Paine for Edmonds city council.

The Edmonds Marsh is an example of an important local issue that involves significant scientific data. Both Paine and Johnson are longtime members of the Save Our Marsh group, which has been championed by Councilmember Buckshnis.

All three are fully informed of the issues and well prepared to lead us forward on marsh restoration. They are joined by Alicia Crank in working to also address climate change, smart development, and environmental justice.

These candidates have proven their environmental leadership through previous actions in community service and elected positions. Edmonds is fortunate to have candidates of their caliber running for city council. I trust them with the future of our wonderful city.

Marjie Fields

Edmonds

Keep our community authentically Edmonds

When my husband and I first visited Edmonds, we knew this is where we wanted to live. Edmonds has been our home for more than 30 years. Edmonds is where we have raised our children, created memories, and developed lifelong relationships. We both come from small towns. Edmonds encapsulates for us the feel and warmth of the small towns we grew up in.

This election brings us to a crossroads. Keep our community authentically Edmonds or lose our community voice and authenticity. Both candidates agree that Edmonds is at a crossroad. Supporters of both candidates have different views on issues. Looking at the groups supporting each candidate gives a glimpse into the future of Edmonds.

Mike Nelson has many supporters from outside Edmonds, who appear to desire to bring Seattle and Olympia polices with them. Neil Tibbott's supporters are local residents whose homes and hearts are invested in Edmonds.

Edmonds is at a crossroads with this election. As for me and my home, I choose to keep our community authentically Edmonds.

Deborah Lobe

Edmonds

Why I support Neil Tibbott for mayor of Edmonds

I have known Neil Tibbott for five years and served with him on Edmonds City Council for four of those years.

Over that time, I've come to know him well and have closely observed his leadership style on council. He is a humble man, but at the same time is highly intelligent, intuitive, patient, receptive to input, and has a deep love for Edmonds – having lived here for decades and raised his family here.

Further, Neil is a political nonpartisan and always acts in the best interest of our city rather than being driven by political self-interest. These are characteristics that make for an excellent councilmember, and Neil has served his Edmonds constituents well.

As Neil works toward the mayoral election in November, I've reflected on characteristics Neil possesses that are key to a mayoral role.

In essence, the Edmonds mayor is CEO of a $100 million corporation, and the skill set to be successful in that role needs to include all the attributes that made Neil a strong councilmember as well as these additional skills – the Edmonds mayor must also be a strong and effective leader of people in directing a complex organization, must be a consensus builder with City Council, and must be in tune with the wishes of Edmonds constituents.

The key personal characteristics that underlie success in these three important areas are trust, respect, and a willingness to collaborate. Neil has clearly demonstrated he possesses all three of these elements and is well prepared to lead the city into the future.

Importantly, former mayors are uniquely qualified to know precisely what it takes to be highly effective civic leaders. Five Edmonds mayors (current and former) and the mayors of Woodway, Lynnwood, Brier, Snohomish and Marysville have all endorsed Neil's candidacy for mayor of Edmonds.

It is noteworthy the mayors of neighboring cities are supporting Neil and know he is the superior mayoral candidate, as they understand there will be an even greater need in the future for Snohomish County cities to closely collaborate to tackle complex issues we share, such as homelessness, growth, and environmental pressures.

These mayors know they can trust and rely on Neil to work with them toward effective resolution of these issues.

As a fellow councilmember, I've grown to greatly respect and admire Neil, and I'm proud to call him my friend. Please join me in voting for Neil Tibbott as the next mayor of Edmonds.

Dave Teitzel

Edmonds

Wishy-washy is not an option

We attended the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce candidate forum Oct. 7. I was concerned by the self-aggrandizement and the indecision of one mayoral candidate. Mike Nelson claimed that he ("I") passed a number of measures as a city councilman.

As there are seven councilmembers, I know that it takes a minimum of four members to enact legislation. The "I"ism of Mr. Nelson brings into question his ability and willingness to work with others.

The mayor needs to work with the public and with staff and members of the council to effectively get

things done for the city.

The position of mayor is one of leadership and involves serious consideration of an issue and the longterm impacts of a decision. Wishy-washy is not an option.

Please vote Neil Tibbott for mayor.

Kathleen Dewhirst

Edmonds

Mike Nelson has the experience needed for mayor of Edmonds

We are voting for Mike Nelson based on his experience and accomplishments. At his own expense, he has prepared himself for the mayor role by studying law and working in law enforcement in a city larger than Edmonds. We admire him for showing initiative to accomplish those goals.

Developing the Edmonds section of Highway 99 will be a huge undertaking, and he has a track record for accomplishing big goals.

Crime is rising in Edmonds. Mike worked in law enforcement in California. His experience will be invaluable, especially as Highway 99 becomes busier and more dangerous. For that reason alone, we need Mike's experience.

Mike is a fast responder. When we sent emails to all of the City Council members about the reckless ferry traffic on our street, he was the first to get back to us on the same day. When we send emails to the City Council members about controlling the budget, Mike always responds. Mike is in favor of keeping our property taxes as low as possible.

In the summer of 2018, Linda asked Tibbott what could be done to redirect the ferry traffic to SR-104 where it belongs. He said he would ask the city to work with vendors of GPS vehicle navigation systems to redirect the ferry traffic. A few months later, when asked what had happened with redirecting the traffic, he said he forgot about it and would check. Traffic has only gotten worse with no response yet from Tibbott.

We are very fortunate to have Tibbott serving on the City Council, but given the challenges we face, we believe Mike Nelson has more experience to handle these challenging situations as our mayor.

John and Linda Niemi

Edmonds

Neil Tibbott will be an accessible mayor

I was downtown having coffee the other day, and a new friend stopped by. She saw my NEIL for MAYOR button and asked why I'm supporting him for mayor of Edmonds. This was an easy conversation.

After the City Council confirmed my appointment to the Planning Board this spring, Tibbott was the one councilmember who reached out to me. I was anxious to talk because of his long experience on the board prior to serving on the council.

Neil is an easy guy to talk with. He's refreshingly open and candid, and I found we agreed on most issues. He wants to put higher density development on Highway 99, where it belongs, not increase building heights in the downtown area, and preserve and enhance our natural environment, especially the marsh.

Our decision for mayor will shape the future of our city. Does Edmonds stay Edmonds, the calm and mostly smooth-running small city we know and love, or does it drift into turmoil and dysfunction like Seattle?

Public disclosure reports for our mayoral candidates are revealing – and troubling. We read that Mike Nelson has hired Seattle's political superstar, Christian Sinderman, to run his campaign for Edmonds mayor.

Sinderman is at the heart of the Seattle political machine. His people occupy half or more of Seattle City Council. Their disruptive and contentious politics are totally wrong for Edmonds. We don't need, we don't want, Seattle's failed programs and wasted money.

In contrast, Neil doesn't even have a campaign consultant. He runs his own campaign and makes his own decisions. Neil's only focus is Edmonds and making our city a better place to live and work and enjoy.

Neil will be an accessible mayor. He will increase public participation (regular town hall events) and make Edmonds a more inclusive and welcoming community. Most importantly, he will never, ever compromise the integrity of the mayor's office. And he pays his taxes on time.

I moved away from the Seattle political machine. I don't want it following me here to Edmonds. Neil Tibbott is the Edmonds candidate for Edmonds mayor, and he deserves our votes.

Roger Pence

Edmonds

Elect leaders who preserve environment

Like many longtime Edmonds residents, we wish to preserve the charm of the downtown core and the natural beauty of the marsh and our beaches. We also celebrate the diversity of our town, once referred to by local residents as "Deadmonds" due to its sleepiness and homogeneity.

As Christians, we care very much about the welfare of the poorer members of our society, and those newly arrived from other cities or countries. Their needs and opinions are as important as our own. It is ironic that city officials who are public servants would develop the downtown core in ways that are not consistent with the small-town feeling that we wish to preserve.

Proposals to move the library in order to build yet more commercial space and condos, or to build a massive concrete overpass down to our beaches, offer great revenue to private developers, but at the cost of destroying our natural beauty and noncommercial civic spaces.

In these times of inequality and climate change, it is vital to elect leaders who prioritize preserving our natural environment and creating a community with resources for members at every socioeconomic level.

Mike Nelson is the mayoral candidate who best embodies the spirit of public service. As a city councilmember, he has sought to proactively protect our environment. He will prioritize the daylighting of Willow Creek to bring back salmon and help our dying orcas thrive.

He wants to maximize the marsh's natural function as a stormwater filter, increasingly necessary as our population expands. Mike worked with council to pass a resolution to move Edmonds toward renewable energy. He also opposed the waterfront connector for over a year before the Save Edmonds Beach group brought it to the public's attention.

He has stated his desire to prioritize developing the Highway 99 corridor, which has great potential to be revitalized for the many families who find the cost of living in the downtown core prohibitive. Mike is sincere in his aims for all residents of Edmonds.

He has a proven track record in the areas of his campaign promises, and has the background and experience to lead our city toward these goals. We hope that citizens who share our concerns will consider voting for Mike Nelson for our next mayor.

Andrew Perry and Kassie Goforth

Edmonds

Neil Tibbott has a broad base and bipartisan support

Choosing a new mayor for our great city is like choosing a steady, experienced, protective captain of a ship. Neil Tibbott meets and exceeds those qualifications and qualities. Whether working on the Planning Board or as a City Council member, he comes prepared, he listens respectfully to the public, to staff and to the other members.

He asks thoughtful and relevant questions and, when he serves in a leadership role, moves the discussion along at a productive pace with the goal of finding viable solutions. Neil has represented all the constituents in the city, and this is one of his chief attributes.

He has kept an open mind to all ideas, and because of this I can trust that he has selected the most logical resolution to the problem, even if I didn't always agree with it.

His core beliefs make him an inclusive and collaborative colleague and leader. You only have to look at his endorsements from the elected officials, past and present from Edmonds and surrounding cities to see the broad base and bipartisan supports he has earned over the many years of service to Edmonds and our region.

Some people in town are using the classic argument that we need "new leadership" in Edmonds, that we need to get rid of the "old guard." In the same breath, they talk about what a great city we have and how we have to preserve it.

How can both statements be true? Neil has been part of the many different neighborhood, civic, educational, and government teams that have made Edmonds such an amazing place. He has my support, and I urge others to support him as well.

I offer this viewpoint as a very active member of the community. I've served as a board member for the Chamber of Commerce for seven years, serving on the Classic Car Show and chairing the 4th of July parade for several years; on the Economic Development Committee for three years, and currently serve as a Rotarian since 2007.

Since 2008, I've also served as past president of the Edmonds Police Foundation and currently serve on its board.

Darlene Stern-Rapp

Edmonds

Don't bargain away money you don't have

Edmonds City Council candidate Diana White casually mentions in her recent mailer that she is "fiscally responsible." In fact, the Seattle Times, the Everett Herald and many Edmonds citizens disagree.

I have been a lifelong advocate for public schools and teachers, including outreach to families of color and struggling students. I supported raises for teachers. However, White's actions as the president of the Edmonds School Board demonstrate lack of leadership, judgment, and fiscal management which should disqualify her from serving on the City Council. (Ms. White is running against Susan Paine for City Council Position 6).

In August, White voted to approve a teacher contract with double-digit pay increases when the district's own budget projections showed the district would quickly find itself in the red based on that negotiated contract. The result? Teacher layoffs and larger class sizes.

Th Seattle Times called out the Edmonds' school district specifically for this fiscal mismanagement when it recognized the dangers of giving teachers these double digit raises at the volatile time after the education bill in response to McCleary was passed. It cited several reasons that it believed the board's actions, under the leadership of Diana White, were fiscally irresponsible:

– Property tax levies were set to go down;

– Not all of the money was available as some was mandated for reduction in class size (8/17/2019); and

– The Everett Herald weighed in with its article entitled, "Layoffs, larger classes balance Edmonds' budget" (8/18/2019).

White's response has been to blame others and to fail to take responsibility for her actions. She has publicly attempted to justify her actions by blaming State Superintendent Reykdal's guidance as coming too late.

As one Edmonds' citizen put it, "The board should not have needed "guidance" to realize that the raises given were unsustainable. It was your responsibility to understand your budget, just as it will be if you are a member of the City Council. I believe Edmonds deserves better." (Bob Chaffee)

She has also opined that that the teacher contract was set to expire in eight days and, because of that, the "wise decision" was to sign off on the contract. That was not a wise decision. Given what you knew at the time, you should not have voted to ratify the contract.

Instead, you should have exercised leadership and renegotiated that contract. You and your board allowed most all of the McCleary money to be allocated to the current teachers without regard to the future, gambling on the fact that the legislature and taxpayers would pony up once again with more money.

That is not good fiscal management. Taxpayers, after substantial property tax increases, deserved to have that money spent wisely.

Edmonds' voters should take into account White's actions as Edmonds School Board president when marking their ballots. Edmonds needs councilmembers who can exercise leadership and fiscal stewardship.

Susan Paine's qualifications and experience make her the much better candidate.

Lynne Chelius

Edmonds

Diana White responds: I am responding to Lynne Chelius' latest letter to the editor, focused on the same issue of teacher pay raises in the Edmonds School District, of which she claims to support.

First, I take full responsibility and stand by my vote in support of Edmonds teachers earning a fair wage in the communities where they live and work. This was a difficult decision – a decision that incorporated the recommendations of our superintendent and financial professionals with decades of experience in school finance.

Contrary to Chelius's claims, I was not board president at the time the vote took place to approve the teacher pay raise. Chelius is also incorrect in stating that the vote took place August of this year, when in fact it was August of 2018.

The five doard members voted unanimously to approve the new contract. While the board faced concerns this year with potential layoffs, ultimately fewer than five teachers were not offered a position in our district. On the other hand, we were able to provide life-changing raises to over 1,200 certificated teachers while maintaining low class ratios as compared to neighboring districts.

I am proud of the outcomes, which include a balanced budget, a teacher strike avoided, and the ability to attract top talent in our classrooms.

In the end, the board's top priority is to improve student outcomes in the Edmonds School District – by increasing teacher quality and retention, we have positioned our district and our students for long term success.

 

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