An Edmonds councilman’s perspective on the deadlock

  • Thu Feb 20th, 2014 10:09am
  • News

By Evan Smith

Edmonds City Councilman Strom Peterson has been on one side of the Council’s 3-3 tie over whom to appoint to fill the council vacancy created when former Councilman Frank Yamamoto resigned at the end of December due to illness.

The deadlock continued despite 19 ballots at the council’s Tuesday, Feb. 18, meeting after 27 ballots at the Feb. 11 meeting.

Those 46 ballots exceeded the 33 ballots the 2009 council took to appoint Peterson five years ago. Since then, Peterson has won election to full terms in 2009 and 2013.

The Feb. 18 meeting ended with the same 3-3 tie between former Councilman Steve Bernheim and former federal attorney Stephen Schroeder despite attempts by Peterson and fellow Council members Diane Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson to introduce seven names during the balloting before settling on Schroeder.

Councilwomen Joan Bloom, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Lora Petso have voted for Bernheim on all 46 ballots.

After the 46th ballot, the Council voted to continue voting on the appointment at its Tuesday, Feb. 25, meeting.

Council President Diane Buckshnis said Monday that she doesn’t want to appoint someone who has said that he won’t run for a full term in the 2015 election.

But Peterson said Wednesday that he has other reasons for opposing Bernheim. While he and Bernheim agree on many issues, he believes that Bernheim is a divisive candidate.

“I have had many citizens express these feelings,” he said. “I think the real question is why Council members Petso, Bloom and Fraley-Monillas seem unwilling to consider anyone but Bernheim. We have nominated seven different candidates in hopes of finding compromise, yet the vote from the (three) council members has been the same 47 times in a row. I hope we, as a council, can find some compromise and not abdicate our responsibilities by sending this decision to the County Council.”

The pro-Bernheim council members describe him as someone who brings council members together.

The city council has until March 31 to appoint one applicant with a four-vote majority. Otherwise the five-member Snohomish County Council would make the appointment.