Former Edmonds City Council member and mayoral candidate Neil Tibbott launched his campaign to join City Council at a gala Thursday night at the Edmonds Yacht Club. The event took full advantage of Governor Inslee’s action to roll back most COVID restrictions, with more than 120 mostly unmasked supporters filling the ballroom downstairs, where they enjoyed light snacks, listened to live music. live music and heard remarks from key supporters.
After spending years on the Citizens’ Transportation Commission and Planning Council, Tibbott was elected to city council in 2016, he abandoned his plan to run for re-election in 2020, preferring to throw his hat in the mayor’s arena. , where he joined a field of three other candidates – town planner Brad Shipley and other board members Kristiana Johnson and Mike Nelson. As the top two voters in the primary, he and Nelson qualified for the November election, where he was beaten, winning 46.7% of the vote to Nelson’s 52.9 (the rest was paperwork).
The current race pits Tibbott against position 3 holder and 11-year board member Adrienne Fraley-Monillas. Since they are the only two candidates running, they are both guaranteed a place in the November ballot. (The final list of candidates for the remaining board races – positions 1 and 3 – will be decided in the August 3 primary.)
The evening began with a welcome from former Mayor of Emdonds, Dave Earling, who wasted no time addressing the key issue of the upcoming election: the need for change in city government .
âMany of you are paying attention to what is going on in our city and are uncomfortable with the current council and mayor,â he began. âWe now have a chance to change that with a good, thoughtful and thorough candidate – Neil Tibbott. I support him wholeheartedly. “
Earling then introduced Jeff Lewis to host the event. In addition to being an independent business owner, Lewis has 30 years in the banking industry and – significantly – was Neil Tibbott’s roommate at the University of Washington. After briefly welcoming attendees, Lewis introduced keynote speaker Jordan Monroe, Edmonds resident, business owner and college basketball star. She is also the wife of 2020 city council candidate Nathan Monroe, and a new mom since last month.
âI want to talk with you about two things tonight – leadership and legacy,â she began. âTrue leaders keep showing – they have commitment and compassion – and Neil Tibbott has both.
âTo be honest, I hadn’t given much thought to the legacy until last month,â she said with a laugh. âBut with the birth of my son and first child Archer just five weeks ago, I wondered what kind of legacy this town would leave him when I was gone. Neil and (his wife) Margaret raised children here. They know what it is. The future will be secure with them.
Next speaker was Mike Rohrbach, Tibbott’s neighbor, longtime friend, Husky linebacker on the 1978 Rose Bowl championship team, resident of Edmonds for 40 years and executive director of the Youth Sports organization Run to Win.
âI have been fortunate to know and work with a number of great people – and others not so great – over the years,â he explained. âLet me assure you that Neil is one of the great people. He is a neighbor, a friend, an influencer for change for what is important and good in our society. He will provide strong leadership, so let’s put him to work and change our community for the better. “
Next to speak was a friend, former mayoral candidate and 12-year Edmonds City Council member Kristiana Johnson.
âI have a simple message for you,â she began. âWe need Neil on City Council! “
After the enthusiastic applause died down, Johnson went on to say, âI have known and worked with Neil for 14 years. Neil knows how to communicate, he will talk with you about what you and the community need, he will read his board member dossier [this remark drew laughs from the audience], he will ask critical questions, and he will talk to his fellow council members. He is a gentleman, calm and hardworking.
Taking a serious tone for a moment, Johnson offered a personal apology stemming from the 2020 mayoral race.
âI’m here to say I’m sorry,â she said. âAfter being knocked out in the primary, I supported the wrong candidate – I supported the wrong horse. The current mayor has completely stopped talking to me. And why should he? He has his four voices all lined up. We need Neil to come back to the board for a return to effective checks and balances and good governance. I know he can do the job. He already did. He needs our support. I already wrote him a check for $ 500. He has my full support.
“And with that, it is with great pleasure that I present to you the man of the hour, Neil Tibbott!”
Taking the podium, Tibbott began by praising Edmonds as an “amazing place to live” and recognizing others in the public, including former Police Chief Al Compaan, former Mayors Earling and Haakenson, current and former members of council. Kristiana Johnson, Vivian Olson and Ron Wambolt, and former Snohomish County Council member Gary Nelson (âthis has nothing to do with Mike Nelson,â Nelson shouted from the back of the room), the harbor commissioners Jim Orvis and Steve Johnston, and current board nominees Janelle Cass and Will Chen.
âWe have some important things to say,â Tibbott began. âEdmonds is a great place to live, we love being here, we love the city. But we have a problem: the political climate has changed for the worse. Unfortunately, we have board members who mimic the partisan politics we see in Washington, DC and Olympia. They ignore the important issues that need to be resolved. There is a lack of civility. “
“We know what the problems are,” he continued. âProtect our homes, our homes and our neighborhoods. Police and firefighter support. Improve the environment. Maintenance of parks, shops, schools. These are the issues that reach the top and bring us together. “
He went on to speak of the situation exemplified by a few council members – “the gang of four” – who he said are more concerned with making political points than doing what is best for Edmonds.
âIt looks like they will do anything to advance their partisan agenda,â he explained. âThey’re going to push meetings forward, push back hearings, surprise us with last-minute orders that force late-night meetings, all instead of focusing on the priorities that lie ahead. Transparency is at its lowest. Could someone just return their phone calls! Wouldn’t that be nice. We need to clean up the mess at town hall.
âTherefore, my main campaign priority is this – political climate change for the town of Edmonds,â he said. âThe town hall has become a place of toxic waste. It is time that civility and people came first, not political positions. “
Targeting Fraley-Monillas, Tibbott cited Mayor Nelson’s request in December for increased emergency powers. Despite all other council members who oppose the measure, Tibbott noted that his opponent continued to advocate for giving the mayor more authority.
“This kind of political posture must stop,” he stressed. “And replacing my opponent holds the key to making this change.”
Moving on to other questions, Tibbott stressed the need to go back to things like storm water systems (“not a very sexy problem, but I’m a little wobbly about this”) and the Zones Ordinance. reviews.
He went on to describe his commitments, noting that there will be more as the campaign progresses. This includes improving the environment, with particular attention to the Edmonds Marshes (âwho ever knew it could take so longâ), to leave a lasting legacy to our city.
âI know I don’t have the greatest reputation for supporting the swamp,â he added. “But I took the leap, I apologize for my lack of total commitment and I look forward to playing an active role.”
Other commitments Tibbott mentioned include supporting the police and protecting neighborhoods and single-family homes.
“I could say a lot about the chief of police selection debacle, a sad situation my opponent has led us into,” he said. âIt took too long and cost too much. I have nothing but respect and praise for the men and women of the Edmonds Police Department who throughout this time have done their jobs with professionalism. Now is not the time to cut police funding – it’s time to increase their training budget, let them know we support them, and give them what they need to do their jobs.
On housing and housing affordability, Tibbott made it clear that this is a regional problem that requires a regional solution, and that Edmonds simply cannot solve it alone.
âI am ready to work with our regional leaders to resolve this problem,â he said. âBut I am not ready to sacrifice the livability of our city to this regional problem.
In conclusion, he returned to his central theme of political climate change for Edmonds.
“We cannot change the mayor in this electoral cycle, but we can change the composition of the city council,” he began. âWe must break down the wall of partisan politics that undermines effective government. We need to restore balance, civility and respect.
“We are fighting an adversary who is supported by a well-oiled political machine,” he warned. âThey are professional, experienced, at times ruthless, well funded and fully focused on one thing: getting their candidate elected. They will do everything to ensure the re-election of my opponent.
âOur goal is different,â he concluded. âWe’re doing what’s best for Edmonds. Remember, you don’t elect me to exercise political power. I am not interested in political power. You elect me to support an environment of respect, teamwork, communication, collaboration and to find the best solutions for our city. I’m Neil Tibbott and I’m asking for your vote.
Learn more about Neil Tibbott on his campaign website, reelecttibbott.org.
– Story and photos of Larry Vogel