Discounted utilities, former Beacon editor, Art Walk Edmonds | Letters

May 01, 2019

Discounted utilities could help cost-burdened households

I appreciated the article, “City’s deeper look into homelessness shows hidden problems” (April 18).

The piece cited an important fact: More cost-burdened households are homeowners, and not renters. As a homeowner, parent, and community member whose spouse (now ex) sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in 2007, I know too well how hard it is to hold on to your home in the face of ongoing physical and mental health issues.

I am all for affordable housing measures in the Edmonds area, and am pleased to hear that the Westgate Village building is offering 20% of its units to lower-income renters. Something that people should know – those who possibly haven’t faced serious financial hardship – is that it’s often the bills required to sustain a household as much as the rent or mortgage itself.

The message I always got from friends and family – and it’s true – is that keeping your home is the best thing for the kids’ stability. Here’s my one small but important suggestion I’d like to make for the council as they pour energy into this “invisible” problem.

I offer that Edmonds utility department – water and sewer – support discounted programs for families experiencing temporary hardship or households living on or below the federal poverty level which, for example, is $25,000 for a family of four.

This is the number used to calculate eligibility for Medicaid and food subsidies, for example. Negotiating these applications is at least a part-time job, trust me. But it helps, it really does. The Snohomish County PUD and Puget Sound Energy in Snohomish County offer this discount, but the City of Edmonds does not.

And why, when it’s such a large cost what with added taxes, etc.?

I have a large house and, in order to keep it, I sold it to my family, to whom I pay rent. I also have roommates. There’s no way someone like me can try harder to keep her home.

If we are to begin to answer the question posed in the article – “What can we do to keep people in their homes?” – then we need to first look at what we’re doing locally, right down the street.

Begin with a discount utility program in Edmonds, now. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Sarah Cannon
Edmonds

 

Citizen groups needed to keep eyes on height limits downtown

The current crop of candidates for Edmonds mayor and City Council is distinguished by the fact that none have declared their opposition to building height increases in the Bowl. It has been almost 30 years since height limits were lowered, and there has been an economic vs. city quality dispute since then.

Surely, everyone running for an Edmonds office is aware of that dispute, so why the silence?

Building height limits in the Bowl is not a dead issue, nor will it ever be, as long a there exists 40 acres of valuable, undeveloped and underdeveloped view properties east of the railroad tracks.

The 40 acres stretches from Main Street to the foot of Unocal Hill includes: Washington State Ferries’ 22 acres; the Port District’s 13 acres, and the area around the old Safeway store – approximately 10 acres.

The few development studies done of those areas have suggested six-story towers. That represents a lot of money to the economic development crowd, but it would destroy the Edmonds that its residents and visitors value.

The economic development crowd is well-organized, persistent and politically active. There is no resident watchdog group to offset that power.

I suggest that Edmonds residents assume that watchdog responsibility by establishing many small, independent groups of three to four people throughout the town. Just consider them “eyes,” as in I have my eyes on you.

The only goal of the small groups would be to maintain the 30-foot height limit. They would monitor council and Planning Board meetings – they are televised – and report, via the media, any actions that could result in height increases.

The “eyes” would be informal – no name, no regular meetings, no meeting place, no bylaws, and no dues – just a persistent alertness.

Meantime, ask mayor candidates Mike Nelson and Neil Tibbott whether they will veto any council actions that would raise Bowl heights. Ask council candidates whether they will oppose any proposal to raise heights in the Bowl.

Natalie Shippen
Edmonds

 

Thanks for recognition of former Edmonds Beacon Editor Laura Daniali

I’m just now responding to the article about former Beacon Editor Laura Daniali receiving a communications award but wanted to make sure I didn’t put it off any longer (“Former Beacon editor wins Rising Star communications award,” April 11).

I worked with Laura a few years ago as she wrote a story on the upcoming Edmonds Jazz Connection. As a member of Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary, I was tasked with getting out some PR on the upcoming student musician festival that Rotary sponsors.

Laura and I met for coffee, and I passed along information on some of the current student musicians who would be performing and some of the alumni who had performed in the past.

The article she ended up writing blew me away!

She followed up with one particular student who has made a career as a musician, went to the venue where she was performing, in Everett, took pictures and interviewed her. This jazz artist credits Jazz Connection with helping her make her decision to pursue music as a career.

Laura went above and beyond and her efforts were greatly appreciated.

My only nit to pick is she was awarded a “Rising Star” award. To many of us, I’m sure, her star has already risen.

Thanks for the update on where Laura is now.

Also, the 19th annual Edmonds Jazz Connection is right around the corner – Saturday May 18, all day and free. There are three venues to see talented jazz musicians from area high schools performing at Edmonds Center fo the Arts, Edmonds Theater and Holy Rosary Church.

Admission is free. Donations will be asked for to benefit scholarships awarded students.

Karen Shiveley
Edmonds

 

Art Walk Edmonds, jazz, smiling faces

I was out of town off and on this month, but happened to return on the third Thursday of April, which means Art Walk night!

I couldn’t resist the chance to go, especially when my friend, a local artist, invited me. It is fun to go with her because she knows everyone in the Edmonds art community, and now so do I.

It was so enjoyable to hear the jazz being played on Main Street, and a great reminder that the 19th Edmonds Jazz Connection Festival, sponsored by the Edmonds Rotary Club Daybreakers, is coming soon, on May 18 – and we will have the opportunity to help these young, talented kids get scholarships.

After checking out the art, we decided to check out what else is new in town. We were happy to see that Sante Fe Mexican Grill & Cantina will be coming soon to the El Puerto space. Sounds yummy.

As we crossed Fifth Avenue and continued up Main Street, we peeked into the new Maize & Barley, which smelled great and was packed full – a good sign that they will do well. One of the owners, Fortesa Kjeldsen, greeted us, and we assured her we would be back to try whatever it was that smelled so good.

Now we were hungry and decided on the Church Key Pub for a beverage and an appetizer. We were pleased to see such a nice variety of appetizers on the menu. Hmm, hard decision, but Beecher’s mac and cheese won out this time, and we made a pact to go back again and try the others that sounded so good.

Anyway, I am sure happy that it worked out for me to return home for the Art Walk and that I live in Edmonds. I suggest that you mark you calendar for the Third Thursday Art Walk in May. Call a friend and have a great time. You’ll be glad you did.

Linda Jewell Ross
Edmonds

 

 

 

 

 

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