Edmonds council race is expensive, contentious

Former Edmonds City Councilman Ron Wambolt’s challenge to incumbent Councilwoman Adrienne Fraley-Monillas is the city’s most expensive November election, and it’s becoming one of the most contentious.

Wambolt has raised $17,026 and spent $7,444. Fraley-Monillas has raised $13,901 and spent $4,672. Fraley-Monillas said Wednesday that she is saving her money for late mailings.

The contentious nature of the race showed up at a recent forum where Wambolt accused Fraley-Monillas of being bound by contributions from labor unions and the Democratic Party.

Fraley-Monillas responded Wednesday that her union contributions come because she supports working families and that, while she has contributions from many Democratic officeholders, it’s because she has good relationships with county officials and local legislators, most of whom are Democrats.

She said that the only party organization that has supported her is her home 32nd District Democratic organization.

She said that none of the four labor organizations that have contributed to her campaign have the ability to influence decisions for Edmonds.

She contrasted this to Wambolt’s contributions from developers who she said want taller buildings in the Harbor Square area. Wambolt’s campaign donors include a construction company, an engineering firm, people in the real-estate business and the retired owner of a construction company.

Wambolt responded Thursday that no one would buy his vote, adding, “There’s no evidence that, at least in the last decade, anybody has ever been able to get something done in our city by buying influence.

“It just doesn’t happen. And there’s virtually no council member who hasn’t had contributions from developers or Realtors, and that includes (former Councilman) Michael Plunkett, Ms. Fraley-Monillas’ big supporter.”

Fraley-Monillas said that rather than developing taller buildings in the harbor area — buildings that she said would spoil views — she wants to concentrate on development outside of downtown Edmonds, particularly along Highway 99.

The two are running for the position that Wambolt held before Fraley-Monillas won it in the 2009 election.

In that election, Fraley-Monillas led then-incumbent Wambolt and now-Councilwoman Lora Petso in a close three-way primary, with Petso edging Wambolt after a hand recount for the right to qualify for the general election. Fraley-Monillas defeated Petso in the general election, but Petso won a seat by appointment in 2010 and won election to a full term in 2011.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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