Apology from City Council president? | Letters to the Editor
Last updated 11/11/2021 at 12:35pm
Council president should apologize for retweet
Edmonds citizens need to be aware of a tweet that Council President Susan Paine posted Oct. 29, three days prior to the general election.
The tweet came for a person using the name Edmonds Eats: "Know what'd be REALLY scary? Sleazeball Neil Tibbott, fake Janelle Cass, and unwell Kristiana Johnson making decisions about Edmonds the next 4 years. They've deliberately lied and skirted laws while trying to get our votes. Imagine what they'd do if they don't need them."
Is this how a City Council president should behave? Doesn't this go against the code of conduct Susan is presiding over? She should be removed from overseeing the rewriting of our City code of conduct and code of ethics, as she clearly does not follow them.
As an Edmonds citizen, I'm extremely disappointed in our council leadership. Shame on Susan for retweeting this trash talk about candidates running. She needs to be exposed for this and apologize to all involved, including the citizens of Edmonds.
Myself, along with many other concerned Edmonds residents, hope this poor lack of judgment, along with other codes she has violated, are made public. I believe it is the only way for Susan to stop these type of damaging actions, especially as council president.
We deserve so much better from our elected leaders.
Council failing residents on public transportation
I agree with Greg Babinski's Guest View Editorial ("Edmonds is being short-changed by Sound Transit," Nov. 4). It should not take Edmonds residents one to two hours and a minimum of one bus transfer to get to the new Northgate Light Rail Station via public transportation.
For those who don't travel at commuter hours, it's an arduous trip.
I've written to our City Council numerous times on this issue and have not received a response. The new Northgate Station is almost useless to us unless council advocates for improved bus service to and from there.
At present, Edmonds residents do not have good options to get to Seattle and SeaTac by public transportation at off-peak hours. Council is failing its residents on public transportation while focusing on parking issues.
New councilmember should have input on budget
If the City of Edmonds' budget is voted on and passed with current councilmembers on Nov. 16, as now scheduled, any move to reconsider it with the inputs of the new councilmember seated in Position 2 on Nov. 23 will be touted as a political move.
On the contrary, it will be the unwinding of one.
While there is no imperative to finish the budget process any earlier than we have in the past
(Dec. 5 to Dec 16 these last four years), some think doing so would be a better practice.
It is possible that the Nov. 23 finish the council president previously planned on the extended agenda – an extended agenda that continues to be advertised on the door of City Hall today – represents that thinking.
The second, more recent change, from Nov. 23 to Nov. 16, represents something else. It shamelessly changes a vote for approving the budget (from a councilmember elected by the people this month to an incumbent appointed two years ago by a 4-2 councilmember vote).
The assertion that the councilmember who prevails in Position 2 (and will be seated on Nov. 23) would be ill-equipped to weigh in on the upcoming budget is nonsensical. These two candidates have had the budget book as long as we have.
Both candidates for this seat run businesses with multiple employees and have created and managed budgets of their own. Janelle Cass has also worked in government agencies. Will Chen is an accountant and experienced internal and external auditor.
Perhaps most importantly, both of these candidates spent an enormous amount of time engaging with the public this year; their opinions on how to spend the taxpayers' money in 2022 are well informed – by the taxpayers themselves.
Choosing and adhering to the Nov. 16 budget finalization date intentionally shuts out the input of the people's choice. Any budget resulting from this timeline should be rejected.
Edmonds City Councilmember
2022 budget: Remember, it's your money
Our City Council is currently discussing the budget for 2022, and having a difficult time doing so.
I would suggest that they're making it more difficult for themselves than it needs to be. Certainly, budgeting isn't an easy process. We all struggle with it ourselves. Balancing our checkbooks, determining what we can afford to buy, knowing where and what to invest in, setting our personal priorities, all with a vision for where we want to be at some point in the future.
It's a process we all work through in one way or another. Fundamentally, planning a city budget is no different. What's different is there are more people involved, all with different ideas and perspectives.
And in this case, not rowing in the same direction. These individuals have been elected by us to represent us. Our mayor and City Council. They have been entrusted with our money to improve the city for all of us.
Since we have multiple representatives with different opinions, it's important that they work together under an umbrella of a well-defined process. I don't believe right now that any of our elected officials can explain the budgeting process that they're working through let alone schedule for it (I'll come back to this later).
This year, the Finance Department combined the Capital Improvement Plan with the Capital Facilities Plan into one document (CIP/CFP), which only seems to have compounded the confusion and reconciliation of the budget.
I would suggest that a flowchart of the entire budgeting process be developed to help the council and the rest of us understand the process better – a process flowchart where all inputs and outputs, decision points and decision makers are identified in an interconnected manner.
Some elements of the process can and should be iterative, but the flowchart should show that. It should start at the department level, where all project and budget requests are prioritized and are then sent through the budgeting process, culminating in the mayor's signature of a council-approved budget package.
Besides, once they write it down, they may determine where it's broken. Because right now, it is broken!
Considering that this year is different than past years (words spoken at a council meeting, not mine), I believe it was owed to everyone to lay out the process beforehand, not after the fact. It has become a reactionary approach (and at times incendiary) rather than a smooth and functioning proactive process to addressing our city's needs.
Mayor Nelson suggested in his budget message that the proposed plans and budget reflects our values. What are "our values" and vision for the city? I can't seem to find them to determine if the budget is in alignment.
At some point we should take the time and energy to state our values and develop a vision for our community. Once we have this then all future yearly priorities, plans and budgets should be more easily aligned to support our vision.
Without getting into the details, the mayor has proposed a budget for 2022 which is over $7 million more than expected revenues. The council needs to have a robust discussion about this, particularly with inflationary headwinds. I'm not saying we can't afford it – it's a matter of priorities and fiscal responsibility.
However, let's remind them, it's OUR money.
It's evident already that the Council is struggling with this proposed budget. The timeframe to approve the budget package has been accelerated considerably over previous years, giving less time for citizen input and thoughtful deliberation by council members. And with a $7 million deficit spending budget proposal to digest and understand, I would contend that we need more time, not less.
For whatever reason or motivation, the council president changed the previously posted decision dates (which were aggressive in the first place) to earlier dates, which further compressed the schedule. Now we have a disconnected schedule which seems destined to produce a budget which will not meet our needs. This is self-inflicted, and it didn't need to be this way.
Rather than airing a laundry list of budgetary topics and budget decisions here (because there are many), I would encourage you to either tune in to an upcoming City Council meeting or review the proposed budget. I'll forewarn you, it's lengthy and difficult to understand and get through, but you may just learn something that will affect you.
And please reach out to our council members at [email protected] with your comments and suggestions. Remember, it's your money!
Hope springs from secular roots
She was regarded as the last and best experiment of modern civilization. Born with a pledge to protect and defend the innocent and provide justice and opportunity for all – she grew to be a powerful and respected nation.
She is by name, America.
But in just a few hundred months, she's drifted back to the secular roots of those nations from which she fled. She has systematically replaced what her founding fathers believed to be the bedrock, the cornerstone upon which she was founded and proudly stamped on her coin of commerce – "In God We Trust."
Not yet stamped on her coin, but practiced nonetheless is an emerging motto: "In self we trust and tolerance of any desire."
America's envied freedom and liberty has gone far beyond what her founding fathers had envisioned. Ignoring the divine cornerstone. America the "The Shining Beacon on the Hill" is assuredly being reduced to a "flickering candle."
She has become vulnerable to the shifting winds of her greatest enemies – complacency and unbridled toleration of whatever makes her "feel satisfied." She has adopted a new god to govern her life, her purpose, and it is vain pleasure with little regard for consequence.
There is hope. Here is a prayer authored by the late Rev. Billy Graham:
"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
"We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
"We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
"We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from trespasses and set us free."