2 City Council seats are up for grabs in Edmonds

Kristiana Johnson and Adrienne Fraley-Monillas facing challengers from Josh Thompson and Alvin Rutledge
By Brian Soergel | Oct 27, 2017

All three incumbent Edmonds City Council members whose terms expire at the end of the year – Kristiana Johnson, Mike Nelson and Adrienne Fraley-Monillas – are up for re-election.

Nelson was appointed to council seat Position 2 vacated by Strom Peterson, who would go on to win a seat in the state Legislature representing the 21st District. Nelson does not face a challenger.

Johnson is up against challenger Josh Thompson for the Position 1 seat. Thompson served as legislative aide to Snohomish County Councilmember Stephanie Wright – who represents District 3, which includes Edmonds – for five years.

Position 3 incumbent Fraley-Monillas faces a challenge from local activist Al Rutledge, who has run for City Council several times in the past. He last ran for the position Nelson was appointed to.

The Edmonds Beacon provided some questions for the candidates.

KRISTIANA JOHNSON


Kristiana Johnson, 65, was appointed to City Council in 2012 after the departure of Michael Plunkett. She won a four-year seat the following year, defeating Randy Hayden.

Why do you want to retain your seat on the City Council?

I would like to retain my seat in order to hold the line against increased building heights in downtown Edmonds and in the waterfront area. We need to protect our historic downtown. We also need to protect our fragile shoreline areas from projected sea level rise and from the damaging consequences of king tides and winter storms.

Restoration of the Edmonds Marsh is critical for the future of juvenile Chinook salmon and for protection of birds and other wildlife. We are responsible to be good stewards of the environment for our children and future generations in Edmonds. Along with the majority of other councilmembers, I am opposed to the 55-foot-tall Harbor Square Redevelopment Plan presented by the Port of Edmonds Commission March 10, 2014. Port members have stated that they have no plans to redevelop at the current time.

Instead, they are waiting for the council makeup to change in order to be more favorable to their redevelopment plans. I will stand for the environment. This is one of my main motivations for retaining my position.

What are the top two or three issues facing Edmonds and what is your idea of how to solve or work towards a solution?

There are many issues facing the City Council in the years ahead, ranging from the crumb rubber moratorium to the national opioid epidemic, housing and homelessness. Three local issues are particularly important to me.

First, I want to protect the environment. The health of our lakes, streams and Puget Sound is crucial. The Students Saving Salmon, Beach Watchers, Earthwatch and other programs are taking measurements, walking our water bodies and removing debris and invasive species.

I think this is great, and I want to ensure that we are making a coordinated effort with the Tribes and Port of Edmonds in looking at a watershed basin perspective. The City Council is now in the process of hiring a scientific team to update a baseline document for the Edmonds Marsh.

Second, I think Edmonds has historic treasures that should be preserved, especially downtown. Our small town is unique, people are attracted to it, and we can do a better job of preservation.

When I was on the Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission, I learned about several approaches. One is through the Main Street USA program. Another is more direct: If 40 percent of the buildings are registered as historic, then Edmonds could create a Historic District.

It is not about saving individual buildings, but about maintaining the fabric of our downtown for families and businesses. I have talked to the planning manager about involving University of Washington graduate students studying historic preservation in graduate school to begin this work. I think it could be a small but meaningful budget amendment.

Third, I want to help promote Edmonds as an arts community, serving everyone from children to our most senior citizens. So much has already been accomplished. I want to focus my energies on making the Fourth Avenue North Arts corridor a reality. We have been talking about it for years.

I was on the artist selection committee for the temporary artist installation known as the Luminous Forest.

If we want to make the arts corridor a reality, we must first assess what needs to be upgraded in terms of sewer, water and stormwater. Then we need to improve the road and sidewalks to make it a more pedestrian-friendly environment.

Finally, with the 1 percent set aside for public art, we can begin to set the stage for an arts corridor on Fourth Avenue North connecting the Edmonds Center for the Arts to our historic Main Street.

All the new restaurants and tourists means parking is an issue. It’s a frequent complaint. What might help alleviate the parking issue?

Edmonds downtown is currently thriving, with a prospering business community, great restaurants, bars and places to visit. The Third Thursday Art Walk Edmonds, happy hours and the synergy created by having multiple restaurants on the same street have strengthened our downtown; however, parking can be a problem.

What might help alleviate the parking issue? I suggest two basic approaches, first to encourage employee parking away from the nearby storefronts and, second, to better enforce our current parking regulations.

We want our customers to be able to park close to our businesses. I think we should work with the Edmonds Downtown Business District and Economic Development Commission to monitor the problem and make continuous improvements.

The city of Edmonds has a parking permit system, but it is voluntary. We might also assess whether adequate handicap parking sites exist.

Edmonds needs enforcement of parking seven days a week. Without enforcement, there are no repercussions for parking longer than three hours. Last year, enforcement was made more difficult by the retirement of a senior animal control/parking enforcement officer.

Although the City Council also approved the addition of a part-time parking enforcement officer, recruitment for both of these positions has taken a very long time. We may have to look for additional resources for parking enforcement.

Why should voters vote for you?

I would like voters to re-elect me because I am the better candidate for the job. I have proved that during my past five-and-a-half years on the Edmonds City Council. I care passionately about this town and will continue to do my utmost to represent our 41,000 citizens, as well as those who visit, work and recreate in our community.

I think the voters would like to have someone who knows Edmonds inside and out, as I do, and who listens to everyone’s concerns. Over more than a decade, I have served on at least two-dozen boards, commissions, studies and committees.

I am a member of Rotary International, the Cascadia Art Museum and Friends of the Edmonds Public Library.

These community affiliations have given me insight into the strengths and needs of our citizens.

As the incumbent, I have developed excellent working relationships with all of the city directors. It takes years to comprehend all that they hope to accomplish for the city. I understand our various budget tools, the Transportation Improvement Plan, Capital Improvement Plan and Capital Facilities Plan.

I have had a key role in reviewing these plans as a member of the Planning Board and Transportation Committee.

Finally, I have the educational training and professional experience that has prepared me for the position. I have spent my 30-year career working with communities to solve complex environmental, land use and transportation problems.

Now retired, I am using all of my personal knowledge of Edmonds and expertise to serve on the Edmonds City Council. It has been an honor to serve. There is more work to be done, and I feel that I am ready, willing and able to continue.

My promise is that no one will work harder for you.

How long have you lived in Edmonds?

Edmonds is my hometown. My parents built our family home in 1954 and lived there the rest of their lives. So Edmonds is where I grew up, where I attended schools K-12 and where I always came home to visit family. It is also where I chose to build my own home. All told, I have lived in Edmonds for 40 years. I am lucky to call Edmonds home.

JOSH THOMPSON


Challenger Josh Thompson, 41, served as legislative aide to Snohomish County Councilmember Stephanie Wright – who represents District 3, which includes Edmonds – for five years.

Why do you want to win a seat on the City Council?

I have had the opportunity to meet with many different types of people this year and learn directly from them, often at their doorstep, about what concerns they have for the direction of the city and how local government affects their lives.

They want to know more about where their tax dollars go. They care where new houses and buildings are built. They need sidewalks in those places where their children have to walk in the street. They love their parks and their pool and want to see them stay open.

They worry about the safety of trains and access to the waterfront. They care about our critical areas and the marsh. They worry about homelessness, especially among children, and want to know what we can all do to help.

They want elected officials to set aside their frequent disputes and work better together. All of these conversations have reaffirmed my belief that government can and should do better. I have deep respect for the institution of government and the role I would play as a councilmember.

We will not always agree, but I see that as advantage, not a roadblock. The clash of ideas is what leads to better outcomes, but the policy process need not get petty or personal. I will work with anyone to improve our city and make the lives of our citizens better. I have the skills, education, experience and drive to make an immediate impact.

What are the top two or three issues facing Edmonds, and what is your idea of how to solve or work toward a solution?

For many years, the city has looked for solutions to access problems created by the at-grade rail line separating the waterfront from the rest of the city. Current rail traffic blocks waterfront access for at least 90 minutes per day, but the frequency of trains is projected to grow from 40 to 100 trains per day over the next 12 years.

With businesses, parks, the ferry terminal, homes and the Edmonds Senior Center all being on the west side of the tracks, this is a great public safety concern. There have been tragic accidents over the years along that rail line, but there is great potential for much worse outcomes.

The city formed a group to study potential resolutions and an emergency access plan has been created.

While the design phase is set to begin, long-term funding for the $30 million project has yet to be determined. I believe my regional experience and relationships with elected officials will help the city secure long-term funding for this and other projects.

The lack of affordable housing and the rise in homelessness are also problems in Edmonds. As housing prices skyrocket throughout the region, Edmonds is becoming unaffordable for young families and retirees on fixed incomes. To be a strong, organic city, rather than just a suburb of Seattle, we need to promote an economically diverse population.

People who work in Edmonds ought to be able to live here, too. Seniors should not be priced out of their homes. Encouraging the development of mixed-use buildings and multifamily units along Highway 99 is a great way to address this issue.

Permitting mother-in-law apartments on lots that can accommodate them is another way to both provide affordable housing and to help people with fixed incomes stay in their homes.

There are multiple routes Edmonds can take to address the homelessness issue. We need to do our best to increase affordable housing options to prevent those who are on the edge from becoming homeless.

We need to continue supporting cold-weather shelters during the winter and partner with organizations that donate services, supplies, clothing and practical things such as photo identification, mailbox and email addresses for those trying to find work.

While the creation of low-barrier and no-barrier housing options are more of a regional issue due to costs, Edmonds could do more to partner with other south county cities, the county and the state to help bring this type of housing to our area. We can’t really talk about homelessness without also addressing the issues of untreated health, mental health and addiction issues.

While not all homeless people are burdened by these issues, many individuals have multiple challenges that need to be addressed, along with finding them a place to live.

Housing with available services is long overdue in south county. Everett is too far for the homeless to travel when they need these services, and that is often the only option they have.

It is also alarming that there are as many as 750 homeless students currently in the Edmonds School District who are homeless, and many others who have housing instability.

This should be unacceptable to us as a community. While this problem is bigger than what Edmonds can face alone, we can be a more vocal partner in initiating regional action on the issue. We can and must do better.

All the new restaurants and tourists means parking is an issue. It’s a frequent complaint. What might help alleviate the parking issue?

Limited parking has been an issue in Edmonds for years, and can be improved in a number of ways. This year, the city instituted a pilot program that designated three-hour parking limits in areas that had previously allowed exemptions for those who purchased employee parking permits.

I believe we should expand that three-hour parking limit to additional streets in the downtown corridor. This would relieve the pressure on congested areas and free up additional space for citizens with mobility issues. We can work with more businesses to allow public parking on their properties during designated times.

The city could also consider increasing the parking requirements for all new buildings over a certain square footage within the downtown corridor.

Why should voters vote for you?

I have been a community activist in Snohomish County for almost 15 years, have volunteered with local schools and colleges, been active in Edmonds as a citizen on a number of city issues, and have served as a member of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee.

I have a master’s degree in public policy studies, as well as bachelor’s degrees in both English and political science. I put myself through college by working for and running small businesses. I know what it means to run a business in the middle of a city and to be responsible for the livelihood of dozens of people at a time.

The last five-and-a-half years, my work as a legislative aide for the County Council has given me great insight into how government action can affect people and how political maneuvering can distract from what should be the ultimate goal of government: making people’s lives better.

I am inspired by those office holders who approach policy in a studious manner. They may not always be the best public speakers and may even avoid the spotlight, but they approach their jobs in a manner that acknowledges how great a privilege it is to serve their community.

I’m also inspired by those unsung heroes who fight the good fight, year after year, to protect our critical areas and to reduce our impact on the natural environment, who may never get acknowledgment for their efforts but see their work as being part of something bigger than themselves.

How long have you lived in Edmonds?

I have lived in Edmonds for almost 18 years. I purchased a home that has been in my wife’s family since 1964.

ADRIENNE FRALEY-MONILLAS


Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, 58, won a seat on the Edmonds City Council in 2009 when she defeated Lora Petso. Four years later, she retained her seat in a race against a challenge from Ron Wambolt.

Why do you want to retain your seat on the City Council?

I want to retain my seat on the Edmonds City Council because I see my work as not finished. We need to continue the variety of work on housing as well as the growing homelessness issues.

What are the top two or three issues facing Edmonds and what is your idea of how to solve or work towards a solution?

I want to finish my work and input of the Highway 99 redevelopment. The subarea plan is mostly finished, but we have much more work to do with input from the people living along our major north/south corridor connection.

Housing variety is also an important goal for our future, in order to include affordable, low-income and senior housing. We need to continue the work of the housing task force to looking at zoning and incentive zoning to provide family, family low-income and senior housing.

Homelessness: Last year, I presented a budget item to provide an embedded social worker to work with our homeless population, giving them potential information for treatment, housing and medical assistance. This work needs to be accomplished using south county and city resources.

The cold weather shelter is saving lives, but only when temps drop below 34 degrees. We need to look at permanent and transitional housing. Together, we can make a difference in this population.

All the new restaurants and tourists means parking is an issue. It’s a frequent complaint. What might help alleviate the parking issue?

Yes, parking is an issue within Edmonds. In the downtown it’s a problem, but it’s a good problem, as that means people are in our charming town spending money. Currently, our two full-time parking/animal control officers spend 75 percent of their time managing animal-control issues.

This leaves a total of half-time for our full city to manage our parking issues. I presented a budget item last year for a part-time parking enforcement officer. That position was hired a couple of months ago, and businesses have reported an improvement.

Also, we can improve items within our control, such as marking out parking spaces to assist people parking in not taking two spaces. This also leaves time for our current parking officers to patrol areas out of the Bowl for parking-related issues such as abandoned cars and commuter cars in residential neighborhoods.

Why should voters vote for you?

Voters should vote for me because I will carefully listen to and represent all of Edmonds. I am the only councilmember to not live within the view corridor or within five minutes of City Hall. I understand the needs of working families because I live in the working-class neighborhoods along the Highway 99 corridor.

I have spent my life working to help others, and was employed by DSHS for 33 years (I retired in 2010). I deeply care about all of our citizens, no matter their economic situation.

I am 58 years old and was born and raised in Richmond Beach. I’ve lived in Edmonds for about 32 years. As the “hometown girl,” I’ve lived within five miles of the house I grew up in my full life. I understand the issues of our area better than most because of my lifetime connection to our area.

Please join Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and so many others in supporting my race for reelection to the Edmonds City Council.

ALVIN RUTLEDGE


Alvin Rutledge, 77, is a perennial candidate for public office. He has never won, losing City Council races to Gary Haakenson, Dave Earling, Deanna Dawson, Mauri Moore, Frank Yamamoto, Diane Buckshnis, Strom Peterson and Gary Nelson. He has a long history of volunteering in the community.

Why do you want to retain your seat on the City Council?

I want to see change. I’m opposed to (Adrienne Fraley-Monillas’) plan to put in a sanctuary city. The public should be involved in a vote.

What are the top two or three issues facing Edmonds and what is your idea of how to solve or work towards a solution?

My top priorities:

 

  • Neighborhood protection, neighborhood change. It’s better than letting it just happen.
  • Improve citizens’ awareness and communications.
  • Flat-out opposed to raising building heights in downtown Edmonds.
  • Development of Edmonds’ Highway 99.
  • Finding workable solutions to homeless issues.
  • Moving forward to a budgeting structure in the city that fosters transparency in all areas.

 

All the new restaurants and tourists means parking is an issue. It’s a frequent complaint. What might help alleviate the parking issue?

There should be parking in all corners of the city, such as a park-and-ride where you can take a bus to go shopping downtown. There could be parking in Aurora Village or along Highway 99. Denny’s is going to be torn down, with retail businesses moving in.

I was on a committee to put a parking garage downtown in the Safety Complex building. It costs too much money then, and today the cost is 10 times as much.

Why should voters vote for you?

For change. As a citizen, I have spent 30 years attending city meetings, and can use my expertise as well as knowledge gained from business. I’ve been a candidate for several years, and I look forward to working together to truly make Edmonds a great deal more. I’m also against crumb rubber on ballfields.

How long have you lived in Edmonds?

I’ve lived in Edmonds since 1986.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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