Letters to the Editor

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  • Monday, March 3, 2008 1:00pm

Election ‘07

There’s more to city than just downtown

In considering what is important for this election, here are some thoughts for our candidates. First, the “Battle of the Tall Downtown Buildings” is over! In fact, time given to downtown issues is done. Please do not talk about this ol’ dog during the campaign. What we need to hear are your plans for the rest of Edmonds.

For example, do not engage in the usual “drop and run” with your pamphlets; it’s not the best strategy. Try this approach — find two or three neighborhoods that you know little about and plan meetings in these areas. Ask home/condo owners, businesses (big and small) and renters to talk about their priorities, dreams and plans. Then when it’s time for the public forum, you can well describe these neighborhoods, and how you can then work for the success of neighborhoods throughout.

Another concern is how the council can show leadership with the issues about the aging population in Edmonds. As noted in other letters, Edmonds’ population contains a comparatively high percent of citizens over age 50, and it’s aging in place. Will affordable housing be maintained? How will the Senior Center, its programs and local partners provide a needed network of service to seniors and their families? Will a partnership occur with the League of Cities that has guidelines to adapt city functions and landscape to an aging population? Does anyone understand this issue and will they take charge?

Let’s break the mold during this pre-election time and agree to not say the word “downtown.” Instead let’s see an honest effort to bring all neighborhoods to the table for the good of Edmonds.

Jim Underhill


Letter writer needs to check the facts

In response to Laurie Dressler’s inaccurate letter published without checking the facts, I am neither of the mayoral challengers’ best friends, nor am I, as Ms. Dressler so quaintly put it, anyone’s “roommate.” Furthermore, I’ve contributed absolutely zero in campaign funds to any candidate for mayor.

With respect to full disclosure, will Ms. Dressler be letting us know how much she has contributed to Gary Haakenson over the years now, as he runs for an unprecedented third term? Will any of the others who have taken to these pages to cry crocodile tears over the departure of Haakenson’s self-serving column, also divulge their campaign dollars?

More importantly, are Ms. Dressler’s brand of untruths what any private citizen can expect if they dare challenge Haakenson and his backers?

Rita Flynn


‘Small-town charm’?

Orvis jumps the gun on criticism of foe

Before any opponent even announced for his seat on the Edmonds City Council, Dave Orvis sent around a fundraising letter asking for donations. He stated he needed the money or else his as-yet-unknown opponent would be able to “fabricate any lie he desires to get me off the council.” He didn’t even have a challenger but he was already calling that person a liar.

A few months ago Orvis and his cronies attacked in a letter to the editor Strom Peterson, his now-known opponent in the race for city council, as being “a special-interest candidate” for accepting a campaign contribution from a close friend because that friend is a Realtor. On May 13 Dave Orvis accepted a check for $500 from the Washington Association of Realtors.

The largest contribution to Dave Orvis’ campaign — over 10 percent of his total — is from a political action committee that has already spent almost $62,000 this year, and over $1 million in the past two years. His opponent’s money is from his family and residents of Edmonds.

It appears Dave Orvis has had a change of heart regarding Realtors, or at least their money. According to the Orvis camp, accepting money from a friend and active community member makes you a special interest candidate, but it is acceptable to take huge chunks of money from a political action committee. Is this change of heart greed, a sign of desperation or just blatant hypocrisy?

Dave Orvis’ campaign is based upon the premise that he is for protecting the small town charm of Edmonds. His pattern of unfounded attacks, misinformation, hyperbole and hypocrisy is indicative of big-time politics and has no place in Edmonds.

If this is his idea of small-town charm, I want none of it.

Michael A. Young


No ulterior motive

Focus on issues, not ‘conspiracy theories’

In the July 13 edition of the Enterprise, Ray Martin postulated a rather ridiculous theory regarding Don Fiene’s motive for running for mayor of Edmonds. Martin stated that Don is actually hoping to lose in the primary, throw his support to the mayor and then get a promotion to city engineer as a political favor.

Let’s not make wild speculations about the candidates that have no substantiation whatsoever. I understand that candidates have to pay a large filing fee and then spend even more on signs, fliers and other advertisements. According to Don Fiene’s Web site, fieneformayor.com, his campaign has been self-financed. There is also a large time commitment involved for all the campaigning. Why would anyone do all that for a promotion to a position that is not even vacant, according to the city’s Web site?

It takes a lot of courage to step up and run for political office. It is also admirable to see that an employee who has worked there so long and has so much knowledge about city issues take the challenge. Let’s focus on the issues, not name calling, personal attacks and conspiracy theories. Remember the candidates can’t submit letters to the editor, so it is difficult for them to publicly defend themselves. Let’s give each of them a fair shake.

Farah Zerafat


Kudos to Chamber

Elected leaders err in missing ‘best parade’

Another Fourth of July in Edmonds has come and gone and what a Fourth it was.

I want to thank the Greater Edmonds Chamber of Commerce for putting on the children’s parade, the main parade and the fantastic fireworks finale. It was the best parade to date, and the fireworks were awe-inspiring. The weather was perfect too, but I won’t give the Chamber credit for that one. The entire day showed the true charm, spirit and hospitality of our great town.

I do, however, have one disappointment. Where were all of our elected officials? It was wonderful to see Richard Marin walking with the veterans, Mauri Moore on her scooter and Mayor Haakenson and his lovely wife smiling and waving to all the children and families (there must have been thousands). They were clearly having fun as well as honoring their positions as elected officials (they weren’t even campaigning). I even enjoyed those candidates that were campaigning. It was obvious that they, too, were having fun handing out candy and balloons and simply enjoying the day. They all seemed very proud to be participating.

But where were the other five council members (Dave Orvis, Michael Plunkett, Deanna Dawson, Peggy Pritchard-Olson and Ron Wambolt)? Am I alone in thinking that all of our elected officials should feel obliged and honored to participate in such a great event? Edmonds has the best Fourth of July in the area and I would think our city council would enjoy showing that off. With all the talk about saving the charm of Edmonds, why did they not participate in the most charming and patriotic event of the year? Maybe they have good reasons for skipping one of the best days in Edmonds. I, for one, am sorry they missed out.

Shannon Sullivan


Edmonds development

PRD ordinance a windfall for developers

I love our neighborhoods in Edmonds. Landscaped yards separate family homes that are surrounded by woods because of the trees that grow on the few remaining steep hills and deep ravines that border neighborhoods.

These woods are home to wildlife like barred owls, bald eagles, quail and even the occasional black bear. These natural playgrounds for our children remove greenhouse gases from the air and restore oxygen.

The woods on hills and in ravines survived because they were difficult to develop per the standard subdivision development codes in Edmonds. Rules like setbacks, lot coverage, road width, critical areas and on and on made it impossible to develop hills and ravines as densely as the subdivisions already in Edmonds.

That is, until the Planned Residential Development (PRD) code was passed by the city council. It has been a windfall to residential developers and realtors. Here’s how it works.

Take the most difficult part of the property to develop and trade it for the right to ignore most of the standard subdivision rules in the remainder of the development. By decreasing setback requirements, increasing allowable lot coverage and minimizing road widths within the development, a builder can build homes equal to the number that can be developed in a standard subdivision. Over 30 PRDs have been developed in Edmonds since the rules were changed.

I received an e-mail message from Councilman Dave Orvis. He proudly states, with poor grammar, “I have been endorsing by Realtors and Masterbuilders in every one of my successful elections.” He goes on to tout the success of the PRD Ordinance and claims this is the type of infill development Edmonds needs.

Dave is a very smart man. (He’s a nuclear engineer.) I don’t understand why he prefers to cut down trees rather than redevelop old strip malls.

Don Kreiman


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