Mukilteo passes resolution relating to religious freedom and attire

MUKILTEO, Wash., April 13, 2022 – During its April 11 Special Meeting, the Mukilteo City Council authorized the mayor to sign the City’s Stormwater Contract, passed a resolution supporting religious freedom and was briefed on other city matters, including an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Everett to evaluate road repairs for Mukilteo Lane.

To view the previous city council meeting, click here.

City Council authorizes 2024 Stormwater Comprehensive Plan

The City’s Surface Water Programs Manager, Jennifer Adams, presented the 2024 Stormwater Comprehensive Plan Contract to the Council. As part of the presentation, Adams broke down the $530,000 budget for the plan’s 12 different tasks. The tasks included Project Administration, Public Engagement, and Evaluate Outfalls on Steep Slopes. 

religious freedom resolution

Public Engagement, being the most costly task at around $106,000, was of particular interest to council members. Council President Schmalz asked Adams what the exact goals of the engagement would be. 

“Twofold: to align level of service with expectations in the community, as well as just the nuts and bolts of ‘are there drainage issues to bring those to the surface for us?’” Adams responded.

Council Vice President Elisabeth Crawford was also curious as to how Adams’s team would make the ostensibly “dry topic” engaging for the general public. Adams said she’ll bring the Vice President’s point back to her team for valid consideration and mentioned utilizing story-mapping and interfacing to help increase the allure of the topic. 

religious freedom resolution

Councilman Jason Moon suggested Adams collaborate with the City’s Diversity Inclusion and Equity commission to help engage with the community, saying they’d likely have some “creative ideas” on the matter.

Council President Schmalz brought the motion to authorize Mayor Joe Marine to sign the Stormwater Contract to the floor. Councilman Richard Emery seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

The “Promoting Religious Freedom and Supporting the Choice of Religious Garb” resolution

Councilman Riaz Khan presented the rationale behind the “Promoting Religious Freedom and Supporting the Choice of Religious Garb” resolution. Noting how the resolution mentions Muslim persecution in France and India, Councilman Khan simply said, “It’s about hate versus love. It’s about hate versus humanity.”

Public commentators voiced their concerns with the resolution. One expressed his support for religious freedom but found the resolution to be unnecessary due to the existence of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution

“This resolution as written appears discriminatory because it promotes one religion much more than others,” the Mukilteo resident said, warning that “promoting one group inevitably means relegating other groups to a lesser status.”

A second public commentator echoed similar sentiments, saying that because of the Constitution, the resolution is redundant and warned it might minimize other religions’ freedoms. She inquired about the context of the resolution and emphasized the importance thereof—specifically if there had been an increase in persecution against Muslims in the City. 

Another commentator asked why France and India were noted in the resolution while multitudes of other countries have banned hijabs

Executive Director of Muslim Empowerment at the association of Puget Sound Aneelah Afzali commented, explaining how the resolution “uplifts our shared American values of religious freedom.” 

“Those specific countries have been extreme in their oppression of hijab,” she said, referring to France and India, “but it’s not written as exclusive to those countries, so it certainly would cover other places as well.” 

Council members discussed the matter at length, each reassuring the public of their support for religious freedom, but some questioned the necessity of the resolution given that it is not illegal to wear a hijab in Mukilteo.

At one point, the Council asked Mukilteo Assistant Chief of Police Andy Illyn if there have been any recent upticks in hate crimes against Muslims in the City. Illyn responded, “To my knowledge, no, we have not been seeing any sort of increase in hate crimes in the city of Mukilteo.”

Some Council members suggested allowing the Diversity Equity and Inclusion commission to revise the resolution. Others said it was more of a preventative resolution that demonstrated the City’s solidarity with the Muslim community. 

After deliberating, Councilman Khan made the motion to pass the resolution, and Councilman Emery seconded it. The resolution passed unanimously.

Interlocal Agreement between Everett and Mukilteo regarding Mukilteo Lane

Mukilteo Public Works Director Matt Nienhuis brought the Council up to speed on the Interlocal Agreement (ILA) between Everett and Mukilteo regarding Mukilteo Lane. As the roadway is shared between the two cities, evaluating the road for upgrades and repairs will be a joint project. 

Nienhuis noted cracks and lumps on Mukilteo Lane and how the shared responsibility to make geotechnical improvements will be mutually beneficial. 

As far as costs go, both cities have budgeted $50k for the initial evaluation, and Everett has taken the lead on administrating the contract.

While sharing photos of the road’s deterioration, Nienhuis explained that the cities had shared crack-filling responsibilities over the years—one taking care of the waterfront side, the other overseeing the hill side. 

Nienhuis stated that the exact project costs are currently unknown and that this first step in the ILA will gather those estimations. He did say the costs will probably be “not very small.”

Other City Council briefings

Community Development Director Dave Osaki briefly explained to Council how Comprehensive Growth Management Plan Docketing is essentially the process of making amendments to the plan. 

The City’s docketing approach, according to Osaki, is a two-step process. First comes the “Preliminary Docket,” wherein the council can accept docket requests from the public. The next step is the Final Docket which is when, following the public hearing, the council can move forward with preliminary items for further review.

Osaki also made it clear that the Council was not obligated to make any amendments to the plan and that Council members and City staff were also permitted to initiate amendments if they so desired. 

Osaki further explained how the Comprehensive Plan comprises several other policy documents, including the Downtown Business Subarea Plan, the Japanese Gultch Master Plan, and the Shoreline Master Program to name a few. 

Regarding public initiated amendments, despite having advertised the public’s opportunity to suggest amendments in the Everett Herald and Mukilteo Beacon and on websites and social media from December 2021 to February 2022, the City received no docket requests.

Though the Council held a discussion and asked questions on the matter, no dockets were initiated. 

Director Osaki would later update the Council on the Downtown Waterfront Promenade Plan

In addition to the ILA with Everett, Public Works Director Nienhuis briefed the Council on Waste Water Treatment Plant Erosion Repair for the Big Gultch area and updated them on improvements for 61st Place W. Culvert.

To view the meeting in its entirety, click here

Bo John Brusco

Bo John Brusco earned a BA in English Education in 2018 and a MA in New Media Journalism in 2021. In addition to writing for the Times, he periodically contributes to considerthis.one. Brusco values local news stories and believes they play an integral role in maintaining a healthy community.

Bo John Brusco has 147 posts and counting. See all posts by Bo John Brusco

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