Letter to the Editor: The Polarization of Local Politics

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Editor:

This morning I received an email from Adrienne Fraley-Monilas and her biggest concern regarding the next board race. Here is an excerpt, “What are the challenges of the next race for city council?” Funding for social and community programs, the Democratic majority on our city council, and solutions to our homelessness crisis. “

This is both offensive and elitist to me and should be offensive to all citizens of Edmonds. We have seen our local politics and political climate flooded with partisan bickering and fear. We have seen a decrease in civility in the Council, a decrease in transparency at the executive level, and an administration that follows a national manual written by national interests. We’ve seen some candidates take money from special interest groups and then tout it as a good thing. What we don’t see is what local politics should be – non-partisan solutions to common problems.

The last time I checked, homelessness wasn’t a Republican or Democratic issue. Churches, veterans organizations, social organizations, and other non-profit organizations, as well as our own homes, are giving time and hours to trying to resolve this complex problem. Social programs are not a local Democratic or Republican issue. We want services that serve our entire community regardless of the label Adrienne Fraley-Monilas and the mayor have decided to give them. We want fair and diverse solutions for our city that improve investments, preserve Edmonds, increase understanding and increase opportunities to create generational wealth for all citizens. We all want Edmonds to be a place where individuals and families can both work and live here. The last time I checked, our moral and ethical obligations as humans weren’t labeled as Democrats or Republicans.

I would like to highlight some interesting facts uncovered in a study by Richard Florida, and highlighted in the quote below from the National City Managers Association (ICMA):

“Recently, local governing bodies have been asked to enter the political fray on issues such as the Second Amendment and gun control, the choice of schools, immigration and refugee policy, COVID-19 companies and mask warrants, and other matters not directly relevant to city / department services. These types of problems are incompatible with the usual missions of local authorities for at least five reasons.

  1. Local governments rely on relationships, collaboration and compromise to solve problems and provide services. Injecting the partisan divide into local decisions may very well degrade the crucial relationships and trust needed to solve local problems. In local government, our relationships are much more important than party and ideology.
  2. Local issues are almost exclusively non-partisan. Residents’ attitudes towards local issues are not influenced by partisan politics or party loyalty.
  3. Local government officials typically use their roles to build community trust and healthy relationships rather than contributing to disagreement and quarrels.
  4. Often the public is unaware of the limits of authority of city and county governments. The proposed resolutions may not have the impact desired or anticipated by its supporters.
  5. When governing bodies, individual elected officials or local government officials stray from their respective roles, things will quickly get complicated.

What we do in local government is not partisan or overtly political. Local governments do not decide everything with a vote but, on the contrary, operate much more with a consensus on community issues. This makes sense because, as Richard Florida has found, there is very little difference between the attitudes of Democrats and Republicans on local issues.

The playbook given to us by our mayor, Adrienne Fraley-Monilas and three other current council members is not representative (as widely studied, proven in results and evident in our local politics) of effective municipal government . It’s an inexpensive way to cover the inability to effectively manage and support local policies, funding and programs that increase Edmonds’ ability to fund programs that benefit everyone. Let us return to effective municipal government in this election time. Sewers, streets, sidewalks and utilities are not threatened by our party affiliation, they are threatened by the current inability to govern.

George bennett
Edmonds

Editor’s Note: All letters to the editors are the opinion of the author and do not represent the views of My Edmonds News. To submit yours, send an email to [email protected] No letter concerning political candidates will be accepted after the sending of the general election ballots from November 2 to October 14.


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