Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

Edmonds’ newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Edmonds’ newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

EDMONDS — For Mayor-elect Mike Rosen, the best part of living in Edmonds is watching the sun rise over the mountains while he drinks a cup of coffee, or watching the sun set over the Puget Sound while he enjoys dinner.

He loves how Edmonds is reminiscent of a small town. Residents smile and engage in conversation with him as they pass on the street.

“You see locally owned small businesses here, as opposed to chain stores, and I think that feels very special and vibrant,” Rosen said.

Rosen, a political newcomer, defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson by about 1,500 votes this month, bringing an end to a four-year tenure that was marked by tensions in City Hall.

Here are three things, among many, Rosen wants to implement when he takes office in January.

‘Make Edmonds politics boring again’

The new mayor wants to restore trust in Edmonds city government.

Under Nelson, he said, residents didn’t feel “sincerely heard” or informed about why city officials made certain decisions. He pointed to when the city shut down parts of Main Street and introduced “streateries” during the pandemic.

Rosen thinks the city should have done a better job asking business owners and residents what they wanted.

“The decision was made when people were screaming for a seat at the table,” he said. “It seems to me the decision wasn’t made with the full input of all the stakeholders and or the consequences that it had.”

Rosen wants to be more proactive with direct outreach. He also wants to make it convenient for residents to get involved.

Rosen joked the city needs to “make Edmonds politics boring again.” His goal to reduce the contention previously associated with civic engagement here.

The new mayor has support from several City Council members.

“I’m pleased with Mike Rosen’s election as mayor,” council member Dave Teitzel said in an email. “He will bring a truly collaborative approach to better engage our citizens and build cooperation between council and city administration.”

Council member Jenna Nand said she hopes Rosen is ready to “keep his nose to the grindstone” to serve the city’s needs.

Nand feels that trust in Edmonds’ government “has been badly shaken by recent events,” and it is going to take “a lot of work and painful compromise” to restore that faith.

“I have high hopes that Mayor-Elect Rosen will be able to build a bridge between the Administration, Council, and the public,” she said in an email. “There needs to be a restoration of respect, communication and collegiality between the branches of the local government in the city of Edmonds.”

Strengthen neighborhood identity

Edmonds doesn’t have neighborhood associations similar to nearby cities — something Rosen wants to change.

He wants to meet residents where they’re at, he said.

“We’re looking at and doing things that define the future,” Rosen said. “Those neighborhoods and the people in the neighborhoods should have the loudest voices as to what their neighborhoods should look like.”

Neighborhood associations could bring more attention to parts of the city that deserve it.

“We are diverse in so many ways, geography is just one of them,” he said. “There are members of the community who also feel like they have not been given the attention or resources they deserve, and I would like us to get to a place where we can understand all those lenses.”

Rosen said each neighborhood group would:

• Promote citizen participation in government;

• Create a vision for their neighborhood;

• Collaboration on neighborhood projects;

• Increase social connections;

• Provide input on purchasing and maintaining property.

Sharpen the city’s organizational structure

Rosen plans to clarify the chain of command, to make it easier for the public to understand the city’s inner workings. That way, residents know exactly where to go with their questions and concerns.

His goal is “to start identifying the problems that we have that we can put our hearts together and our heads together to solve.”

Rosen also suggested creating committees where residents can offer input. He said people who are passionate about the city’s sidewalks, for example, could meet to stay up to date on what’s happening.

Many people in Edmonds have passion or professional knowledge that could benefit the city, Rosen said. He wants to use their expertise.

“How do I unleash the potential that is walking around this city?” he asked.

Ashley Nash: 425-339-3037;; Twitter: @ash_nash00.

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