Resident, councilmember comments dominate short Lynnwood council meeting

During a short July 10 meeting taken up mostly by community and councilmember comments, the Lynnwood City Council heard concerns from residents and approved the city’s six-year Transportation Improvement Plan.

Mike Miller thanked both Officer Neketa McDonald and Sgt. William Koonce for coming to his aid.

Lynnwood Food Bank Board President Mike Miller recounted a recent encounter where a mentally unstable man wielding a metal baseball bat attacked him and his wife as they were walking down 200th Street. 

“The first to arrive was Officer Neketa McDonald, big thanks to him; I’m probably alive today because this guy was on the ball,” Miller continued. “He [the assailant] was arrested, incarcerated and we’ll go from there but I also think that points out we have a wonderful police department, but we also need more mental health services.”

Edgar Fortune spoke about the use of fireworks and their jarring effect on local animals.

Edgar Fortune, founder of the nonprofit Global Insular Conservation Society, spoke next on the continued use of illegal fireworks in Lynnwood and the negative impacts they have on the local wildlife. 

“The fireworks are just getting way out of control,” Fortune said. “The police typically respond but they don’t really give a ticket; they give a warning. And for me, warnings are not good enough if the police can’t come out a second time if they’re overwhelmed with their job that particular day.” Fortune went on to suggest that the law should be changed to effectively enforce the fireworks ban. 

Community member and previous councilmember Ted Heikel commented that the Lynnwood City Council has given too much power to the Director of Development and Business Services, a position currently occupied by David Kleitsch. Heikel claimed that Kleitsch violated local code when he approved the development of an apartment complex that allotted too few parking spots for residents. 

During council comments, Council Vice President Altamirano-Crosby mentioned that she and other volunteers would respond to reports of abandoned shopping carts and invited others to join them. Those wishing to participate are asked to contact Altamirano-Crosby. 

Councilmember Patrick Decker referenced rising crime rates as a reason for councilmembers to be especially careful about their choice of the new Lynnwood police chief, now that current chief Jim Nelson has announced his retirement at the end of July. 

Councilmember Patrick Decker stressed the importance of picking a police chief that would prioritize safety for Lynnwood residents.

Councilmember Josh Binda said that he would like to use some of Lynnwood’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support an emerging artificial intelligence program at Edmonds College. Council President Sessions mentioned that councilmembers wishing to  request ARPA funds should have all their paperwork in by Aug. 2 and added that the reminder emails they’ve received can be used as a guide on the process.

Many councilmembers raved about the recent Celebrate! event at Lynnwood’s Alderwood Mall and thanked city staff for their hard work. 

Council President Shannon Sessions explains that police are working to implement new drug laws.

In other business, recent state legislation addressed the Blake court decision that decriminalized drug possession. This left officers with no grounds to apprehend people using drugs, which the City of Lynnwood attempted to patch in February with a local ordinance banning the use of illegal drugs in public. Sessions said that recent state legislation has addressed the Blake fix and that the Lynnwood Police Department would be working to reconcile the city’s legislation with the state’s. The council will receive a briefing and vote on adopting the police’s revised policy at the July 24 city council meeting. 

Members of the Sister Cities organization and the council gather for a photo after the proclamation.

Finally, the council unanimously approved a six-year Capital Facilities Plan and a six-year Transportation Improvement Program and read a proclamation acknowledging Lynnwood’s Sister City relationship with the City of Damyang, South Korea.

–By Jasmine Contreras-Lewis

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