Courtesy in Edmonds; questioning Tibbott and Nelson | Letters to the Editor

Jul 14, 2019

Who enforces fireworks ban?

So much for the fireworks ban.

In addition to loud explosions throughout the night of the 4th, neighbors were startled by extra loud explosive reports in the area of Ninth and Cedar. I thought for sure the police would investigate, as ash was still raining down on nearby roofs.

But no response was to be seen. What gives? Do we have a fireworks ban? As of now, I have not read or heard of police action on events over the 4th.

I will wait until the next addition of the Beacon arrives.

Irwin Buchholz
Edmonds

 

Courtesy begins at home

My wife Monda and I have been residents of Edmonds for over 42 years. We are very proud to call Edmonds our home.

Over the past few weeks, there has been some challenging events in our town. The Waterfront Connector piled up a lot of angry words from both sides of the issue. And the sudden resignation of two prominent members of the mayor’s staff was very disconcerting.

The news reports about Carrie Hite’s resignation and her own letter revealed that there is, at the very least, a feeling of friction between some of the staff and members of the City Council.

I have been a somewhat infrequent attendee of our council meetings, but I have seen some indication of the lack of respect for members of the city staff during their presentations to the council.

As a former member of the Edmonds City Council (1995-1999), I understand how it may be challenging to remain cool under pressure, but let us not emulate what is happening on the national scene in our own backyard.

In my opinion, we currently have one of the most competent groups of senior staff personnel in the 42 years that I have lived here. The employees of Edmonds are, across the board, some of the most pleasant people you could ask for.

It is my hope that, with just a little extra effort, the Edmonds City Council meetings could become a model of civility and considerate deliberation.

Edmonds – the friendliest town on Puget Sound!

Dick Van Hollebeke
Edmonds
Former Edmonds City Council member

 

Call to action: Vigil against inhumane immigrant detention

We are in the midst of an immigration crisis that is the defining issue of our time. It is testing our patriotism, our empathy, our rule of law, our international reputation as human rights leaders, and the very soul of our nation.

I do not overstate the extreme nature of this crisis. I do not present my opinion here. When I describe the teen mothers and infants locked in cages without water or medical care, I describe a fact.

When I tell you about thousands (thousands!) of detained children not allowed to hug each other, play, attend class, consult with an attorney, or even have an interpreter, I do not exaggerate.

Photos, recordings, statements, eyewitnesses who are members of Congress, doctors, social workers, even Border Patrol agents themselves, are showing and telling us what our government is doing in our name.

Congress is gridlocked on this issue as the election of 2020 looms, but these human beings, these asylum seekers, cannot wait.

In the name of everything this nation is founded on, We the People MUST stand together and tell our leaders we will not tolerate these abuses any longer, and demand they stop the expansion of the camps, the illegal lengthy detention of the children, the inhumane treatment and lack of care for families and individuals, and the profiteering off the backs of asylum seekers.

You can take action to stop this. Join us Friday, July 12, at 7 p.m. at the Edmonds United Methodist Church for a unity vigil.

Leslie K. Brown
Edmonds

 

Before opposing connector, Nelson co-chaired task force

Beginning in 2015, Edmonds City Council member and mayoral candidate Mike Nelson served as co-chair of the task force that recommended placing the Waterfront Connector at Edmonds Street.

At the June 18 council meeting, Nelson stated that he need not review an environmental impact statement to know the connector would harm the beach.

His recent pronouncement led me to wonder why, if the adverse environmental impacts are so obvious, Nelson’s task force proposed the Edmonds Street location in 2016.

I was heartened to see the heightened level of civic engagement related to the political brouhaha over the waterfront connector project. And I was pleased to see the City Council make a decision that should preserve the beach near Brackett’s Landing North.

I was dismayed, however, by the tone set by several members of the council during the public hearing, and I appreciated Councilmember Thomas Mesaros’ call for professionalism and civility. I was particularly discouraged by Nelson’s hyperbolic and contentious statements.

He contemptuously identified a litany of emergency/public safety funding shortfalls in a manner that implied the Waterfront Connector would drain resources from other important concerns. The simplicity of this argument ignores how municipalities fund infrastructure projects and discredits our city’s ability to manage multiple public safety and health issues at the same time.

Indeed, each councilmember who voted against the connector last month supported it just a few months prior. And that is fine. Sometimes it is prudent for elected officials to change course after investing significant time, energy, and resources to tackle a project.

But Nelson’s role in this debate is unique now that he wishes to govern our city as mayor. He is the only councilmember to co-chair the connector task force. He drafted a 2016 memorandum that recommended the City move forward with the connector location he recently lamented as an environmental mistake.

Elected officials should account for the groundswell of public concern. But at the same time, they must decide when to exercise leadership and stand by a path once heralded as the best way forward.

Nelson’s lack of conviction in his task force’s findings raises the question whether he has the common sense and political will to adeptly and adroitly navigate Edmonds through the next municipal challenge of consequence.

Edmonds voters deserve to know how Nelson can so easily abandon his past work and how he reconciles that work with his recent desire to preserve the waterfront environment.

Tom Brennan
Edmonds

 

Mike Nelson’s union dealings, concealings are alarming

Candidate for mayor Mike Nelson doesn't mention his day job or his recent legal troubles in his campaign material. That is because he was recently fined $250,000 by Attorney General Bob Ferguson for concealed electioneering as the executive director of the union, SEIU Council 14.

This year, the attorney general's office found that Nelson's SEIU Council 14 was guilty of "failing to timely register and report as a political committee," and that they "made over $5 million in contributions to political committees."

Of course, union members will now have to pay the fine of $150,000 (with $100,000 more suspended) for SEIU's shady dealings with union money.

As a taxpayer hoping for effective government with transparency and integrity, I cannot support a union ideologue who is this shady. Even in the eyes of Ferguson, who was among the recipients of SEIU donations, Nelson has operated a concealed electioneering effort using dues money in violation of the law.

I'm alarmed that someone with such lack of integrity would expect to, now, run our great city of Edmonds.

Cliff Ruthrauff
Edmonds

 

Misleading, inaccurate comments on Mike Nelson’s union role

Editor’s note: The following letter was written with Mike Nelson’s approval, after he was shown a copy of Cliff Ruthrauff’s letter:

I am familiar with Mike Nelson and his work with SEIU, and I am surprised that the Beacon would knowingly publish misleading and inaccurate claims about the lawsuit filed by the Freedom Foundation.

The facts are important here: This lawsuit was brought by an extreme right-wing organization attacking labor unions throughout the country. Nelson was not individually sued in the lawsuit, and he was not fined by the attorney general.

This matter was a civil suit against a labor organization working to protect Washington workers that ultimately was settled (as most cases are) with no finding of wrongdoing or guilt.

The letter also claims that Nelson doesn’t mention his day job in his campaign material. In my experience attending Nelson’s campaign events, he has referenced his work at SEIU. He also states on his campaign website that he works for SEIU.

He does not hide who he works for. Quite the opposite, Nelson appears proud of the work he does in serving SEIU’s members, everyday people who work hard for our children, the disabled, and the elderly. This Trumpian-style brand of politics (of untruths and misstatements) has no place in Edmonds.

Nelson is committed to our community. His integrity and his passion to serve those from all walks of life is exactly why he would be a great fit as mayor of Edmonds.

Marjie Fields
Edmonds

 

Can we trust Tibbott’s flip on the connector?

Neil Tibbott claims he did not know the connector bridge went through a marine sanctuary and that, as mayor, he will protect the environment. Do not be fooled; his voting record is clear. Tibbott is no friend of our environment.

Tibbott has repeatedly spoken in favor of and voted for actions that would damage our marsh. He signed a letter and issued a press release, along with his colleagues Tom Mesaros and Dave Teitzel, to the director of the State Department of Ecology stating that the best way to save our marsh was to develop all around it.

And not only did Tibbott vote against the city Climate Action Plan and against a renewable energy resolution, he fired off a letter to the editor mocking Edmonds for supporting international commitments to fight climate change.

At a time when we are losing parks and green open spaces in our city, he opposed funds to help purchase these precious places.

After the connector vote, Tibbott publicly denied knowing the beach we are trying to save is a marine sanctuary. This statement came after he posted several campaign photos showing him walking on the beach, somehow failing to see the giant “marine sanctuary” sign on the pathway.

With just one exception, Tibbott has voted consistently for the connector bridge and against protecting our environment. That one exception was obviously because he realized doing otherwise would be political suicide.

So, ask yourself, with a track record like his, can we really trust him not to flip again for the bridge if elected mayor? A vote for Tibbott is a vote for the connector and against our environment.

Kathleen Sears
Edmonds

 

Neil Tibbott: Puzzled by characterization

Editor’s note: The Beacon gave Edmonds mayoral candidate Neil Tibbott a chance to respond to Kathleen Sears’ letter to the editor. Here it is:

I read Kathleen's letter, and was puzzled by her characterization of me.

I have spent my entire educational, professional, and community service career developing honest, transparent, and open communication. It is disappointing to me that Kathleen never reached out to me directly to talk about these issues, learn about my personal activities to protect the environment, or to understand my motives in any of my votes.

Rather, she chose to write what I believe is a significant misrepresentation of who I am as a person, what I believe in, and what I will fight for.

I am a proud environmentalist, and I take pride in my record protecting the environment while on the Planning Board, on the City Council, and as a parent.

Here are just a few examples of work I have done in the interest of protecting the environment for many generations to come:

  • I recommended that council improve the efficiency of our water treatment plant, which is the largest single electric user in the city and our largest contributor to carbon emissions;
  • I championed Haines Warf on the WRIA 8 work plan to make sure we were removing hazardous materials from our water;
  • I supported Meadowdale Beach estuary restoration through creation of a trestle bridge to allow the water from the stream and Puget Sound to flow naturally;
  • I have served on the transportation committee working to reduce congestion, make sure alternative transportation options are available, and emissions are reduced;
  • I have worked to ensure that we reduce stormwater pollution and stormwater runoff;
  • I have championed low-impact development on projects ranging from small-home remodels to large commercial and residential construction;
  • I have studied sustainable construction practices, including sample legislation other cities are pursuing;
  • I supported the reduction of plastic consumption within Edmonds;
  • I am an advocate and supporter of the work our Tree Board is doing, and believe we need to have the right tree in the right place to protect air quality, reduce greenhouse gasses, and stabilize our soil;
  • I supported ensuring that Civic Field become city property and an open space for all residents to enjoy;
  • I support salmon habitat recovery through the Students Saving Salmon program, including a field trip to observe their survey work;
  • I participate in volunteer park cleanup events; and
  • Every hour or day I get the opportunity, I am out in nature celebrating it and renewing my promise to be one of its protectors.

Twenty years ago, my wife and I chose to live in Edmonds specifically because of its environmental beauty and local charm. We wanted our children to benefit from these things and to learn to take personal responsibility for protecting it. And I have tried to lead by example.

I welcome the opportunity to talk to Kathleen or any Edmonds residents about environmental issues, my record, or any of the many issues currently facing our city. Our direction will be decided by your choice for mayor.

Neil Tibbott
Edmonds

 

Outsiders Influence Edmonds' campaigns

Candidates for elective office in Edmonds have begun the ritual of presenting themselves to the voters. It is important to evaluate all of these individuals as to their honesty, commitment, and understanding of our city priorities.

One troubling factor noted is that four of these candidates have their campaigns being run by expensive Seattle centric companies. Laura Johnson, Susan Paine, Michael Nelson, and Alicia Crank have aligned themselves with Seattle campaign management and consulting firms (Blue Wave Political Partners, NWP Consulting, and CD Strategic).

The direction that these campaigns are taking has a penchant for grandiose schemes that deviate from the traditional values associated with our community. This is in sharp contrast to the other candidates for Edmonds’ offices. It is sad to see our elections influenced by such outside forces.

It is totally expected that an affiliate with these campaigns will criticize my bringing these facts to the voters. Any criticism will underscore the seriousness of this invasion. Having previously occupied elected offices of Edmonds City Council, State Senator, and County Council, I have been subjected to attacks by those with protective opinions.

Please remember, when you see the products of these four candidates (mailings, sign designs, advertisements, disclosure reports, brochures, and strategies to influence your voting), the campaign contributions being paid to these Seattle companies is used to sway your normal thoughtful decision making.

I trust that the voters of Edmonds will continue to exhibit their attentive practice of electing persons who put Edmonds interests up front in lieu of being diverted by paid outsiders.

Gary Nelson
Edmonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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