Ballots were mailed today and should be arriving in mailboxes on Friday and Saturday! You still have time to register or update your registration (online and by mail until October 28th and in person at the auditor's office until November 5th!)
Find out more at www.myvote.wa.gov! You can see the Whatcom County Voter Guide online here. OR contact the Whatcom County Auditor with questions at:
I've talked with a number of people who tell me that the issues I want to tackle on City Council, like addressing access to public transit and creating a watershed-wide plan for our water infrastructure will be challenging and will take a long time. The issues aren't going to go away just because they are hard to address. We are going to need to work together to do it. My response over and over - We'd better get started!
There are a number of occasions where part of the Council decision-making process includes conducting a public hearing. This is an opportunity for members of the public to share thoughts, concerns, support, or questions about a particular question placed in front of the Council. The Council listens to the comments from the public and can use that information to inform their decisions, or at least that's the idea.
In practice, however, public hearings often boil down to theatrics. Public hearings are routinely held immediately before the Council is asked to make a decision on a matter. This provides little time for deliberation or follow-up on public input by members of the Council, City staff, and other members of the public. The Council can agree by a majority vote to postpone a decision, but that means deviating from the default procedure.
When I am elected to the Ferndale City Council, I will propose and advocate for changes to this standard operating procedure. All members of the public should be provided an opportunity to share their comments, and the Council should be provided an opportunity to properly consider those comments when making these important decisions. I will propose that standard operating procedures be updated to allow for public hearings to remain open for written comment for a minimum of 24 hours following the in-person hearing and that at least a week is provided to Council for deliberation following the hearing, with a vote routinely scheduled for the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting. Of course, in specific situations, the majority of Council could vote to modify these rules in cases of emergency or other urgent need, however, it would reset the default procedure to not only allow, but encourage public engagement in determining how the City of Ferndale will approach decisions that ultimately affect all of us.
This evening I attended the Energy Efficiency and Home Improvement Fair hosted by Community Energy Challenge, Sustainable Connections, and the City of Bellingham. I met some great people who are working to make energy-efficient home improvements accessible and achievable. Wouldn't it be great if we could bring more from the Community Energy Challenge to Ferndale? Find out more about the Community Energy Challenge at http://www.communityenergychallenge.org!
Have you ever wondered what it is that our City Council does? According to the Ferndale City Website, "The Ferndale City Council is the legislative and policy-making body of city government. Council members are responsible for passing laws through ordinance and policies through resolutions, and approve the annual budget initially proposed by the mayor."
The Ferndale City Council is tasked with evaluating a broad range of issues that affect everyone who lives, works, or does business here. It is important for our City Council members to be informed on a broad range of topics and be thoughtful, involved, and independent. Council members need to be able to consider multiple perspectives when making decisions, remain open-minded about creative approaches to solving problems, and make sure that the best interests of the City and its residents are at the heart of the decision-making process.
I have been regularly attending Council meetings and reviewing meeting packets since the beginning of 2019. I have also attended all of the 2019 financial workshops in preparation for the 2020 budget. This means I will be in a position to start serving our city on day one! The decisions made by the Council now will affect our community for years to come. Helping make these decisions is a responsibility that I take seriously.
An actual application I assembled!
(yes, this is just one)
My professional background as a paralegal and office manager provides me with the tools and skills necessary for understanding proposals on a wide range of issues and making legislative and policy decisions, all while welcoming input and constructive feedback from Ferndale residents. I spent several years of my career reviewing financial records and business plans for immigrant investment projects. I am no stranger to sifting through piles of paperwork.
As in my volunteer work in Ferndale, my motivations for decision making are based on the wellbeing and success of our community. Through my work with the School Bond Task Force, Support Ferndale Schools Committee, Ferndale Auxiliary Communications Service, Whatcom CERT, and others, I have had the opportunity to hone my problem-solving and consensus-developing skills here in our community. I am willing to ask tough questions and work with and for the residents of Ferndale toward reasonable, well-balanced solutions and growth that works for our residents.
This is why I'm running for City Council and I believe I am the best candidate for this position. I would be honored to have your support on November 5th!
Water availability and affordability in our community are some of the most important issues faced in Ferndale at the moment. Addressing these issues will require a thoughtful, collaborative approach that prioritizes the needs of our current residents. I have been asked several times to respond to my opponent's recent water proposals. In short, I believe his proposals highlight the differences in our priorities.
While I do not know my opponent in this race personally, Mr. Llanos seems like a friendly and intelligent man. However, he has made it clear through the information he has put forward through his campaign that his priorities lie with developers over the wellbeing of the greater community.
My opponent's proposals on water conservation speak quite plainly to this. The proposals he has put forward are extremely costly and largely unachievable in our community that is already feeling the financial strain of a long poorly-managed, deteriorating infrastructure. His proposals primarily focus on implementing more financial incentives for builders and developers. The majority of his water proposals are expensive band-aids that do not work to broaden the conversation that must be had between the City of Ferndale, the other cities in Whatcom County, and ultimately, with the County as a whole about how we will all manage this critical resource together.
It is time for all the municipalities in Whatcom County to begin working cooperatively to find ways to manage our water supply together. It makes no sense to have one city struggling to ensure all its residents are able to access clean potable water, while the next city over has more than they know what to do with. We need a County-wide effort to address current and future issues with our water supply.
In the meantime, we need to focus efforts on achievable water conservation goals. This means not only making water-efficient fixtures and appliances available and affordable for current residents, but also encouraging and promoting the use of rain barrels and native plant species for residential lawns and gardens. These small measures will have a measurable effect in reducing strain on Ferndale's water, sewer, and stormwater systems, at the same time that they lower residents' water use bills.
As a legal professional, I take issues of ethics seriously and remain unconvinced that my opponent is presently in a position to adequately represent our community. While he does have experience as a licensed engineer, if elected to the Council in Ferndale, his ongoing business as a developer would present repeated conflicts of interest that would necessitate his recusal on many of the important decisions placed in front of Council.
Throughout the remainder of this campaign, and beyond, I will continue to work for the betterment of my community through my ongoing volunteer service in Ferndale. I hope to have the privilege of serving on our City Council and working together with community members, City staff, and elected officials at local, county, and state levels to achieve great outcomes for our community!
The annual Ferndale Street Festival is coming up this weekend! Come down and say hello on Saturday between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM, and check out the variety of local vendors, children's activities, and more! Let me know about your thoughts, ideas, and priorities for Ferndale's future. I look forward to seeing you there! Find out more about the Street Festival on their website at https://ferndalestreetfestival.com/ and at My Ferndale News!
On Wednesday evening, August 7th, I attended the North Whatcom Poverty Task Force meeting. If you aren't familiar with the task force, it is a seven-member temporary advisory committee formed by the City Council in February. The topic of this month's meeting was transportation, with two guest presenters from the Whatcom Transit Authority. They shared information about the metrics used by the WTA to evaluate and update service. Among their top considerations are the number of rides taken and rider hours on a particular route. They also shared that the majority of riders from Ferndale head to Bellingham.
During discussion about reducing barriers and improving ridership, I asked about whether or not they evaluate overall trip length when evaluating their routes and noted that it takes over an hour to reach the downtown core of Bellingham from the furthest part of the route through Ferndale. The time it takes to get to and from Bellingham by bus, makes it an extremely cumbersome, and downright inaccessible, mode of transportation for Ferndale residents.
I would like to see active conversations like these continue between the City and the WTA so we can improve how public transit serves our community. Improving transit services will improve accessibility to services for those who live in our city and will make it easier for visitors from around the county to come to Ferndale to see all of the great things we have to offer!
I attended the City Council meeting this evening and shared my thoughts about the City's proposal for acquiring Old Main. I do not support it, and ultimately the Council voted unanimously to abandon any further consideration of Old Main as the site for a future City Hall and municipal court. Read the comments I shared below.