Edmonds voters who are tired of a status quo that focuses too much on politics and too little on effective problem solving can shake things up this fall.
Besides choosing a mayor (we have recommended they elect the challenger, Dave Earling), they have several smart, committed candidates on the ballot for four seats on the seven-member City Council.
Position 4: In a close call, we endorse the appointed incumbent, Diane Buckshnis, over Bob Wilcox. Either would serve well.
Buckshnis, who lost to current City Council President Strom Peterson in 2009, was appointed to fill a vacancy early last year. She has had a positive impact on financial transparency and accountability, and vows to keep focusing on that area. Her professional background in banking is an asset. She notes that when the city is asking citizens to support tax levies, government must be able to show them clearly how it’s already using their money. If she wins a full term, we urge her to work on smoothing some of her rough edges, building more constructive relationships with fellow council members and city staff.
Wilcox is a strong first-time candidate. He was president of Wilcox Construction for 25 years, and would also bring a strong financial background to the council. Like Buckshnis, he has an impressive record of volunteer service in Edmonds. He believes a practical business perspective needs to be applied to the budget, including a full review of city assets and services with eye on improving efficiency.
Position 5: In another close call, we endorse Joan Bloom over the incumbent, DJ Wilson. Both are highly intelligent, committed candidates. Wilson, however, has often been at or near the center of conflicts that have resulted more in paralysis than problem solving. If he is re-elected, we urge him to work on resisting his propensity toward political gamesmanship.
Bloom, who owns a business providing care consulting for the elderly and disabled and their families, has been involved in Edmonds issues as a member of citizen committees and through a blog. She believes council members “should be stewards first, and politicians, a distant second.” That’s a fresh approach this council could use.
Position 6: Frank Yamamoto, a downtown business owner, is the clear choice to replace Steve Bernheim, who decided not to seek a second term. He has been a leader in several business organizations, and understands that developing a smart economic development strategy is key to providing fiscal sustainability and maintaining Edmonds’ high quality of life.
Yamamoto is running against Alvin Rutledge, who has run before and assisted on other campaigns. Rutledge is clearly passionate about Edmonds and its future, but Yamamoto has a far better grasp of issue details and offers much more specific solutions to current challenges.
Position 7: We endorse first-time candidate Darlene Stern over the appointed incumbent, Lora Petso.
Stern, whose late husband David Stern was Edmonds’ police chief, has a long record of community service, and recently retired after 32 years in the escrow and title business. She says she would bring a common-sense approach to the council, focusing on vital issues that are the city’s biggest challenges rather than getting sidetracked by smaller matters.
Petso, a lawyer and small-business owner, has shown competence since being appointed 15 months ago and during a previous full term on the council. We’re endorsing Stern as a breath of fresh air and positive energy who can help turn the council, and the city, in a better direction.