Thursday, November 7, 2019

Thank you, and stay tuned...

While I will not be serving on the Ferndale City Council at this time, I am so honored by the support and enthusiasm I have received throughout this campaign. I have made new friendships, strengthened others, and found encouragement and strength in all of them. Thank you. My commitment to helping make our city a better place for all of us remains unchanged and I am looking forward to the next chapter.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Statement to Council on Banked Capacity

I attended the public hearing this evening about the proposal that the City draw it's banked capacity in 2020 and read the following statement: 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

City Banked Capacity

The proposal from City staff that we draw 100% of our banked capacity next year is yet another symptom of an administration that has failed for years to plan ahead for the future needs of our city and instead are now scrambling to find a way to react to a largely self-imposed emergency. It’s time to stop postponing the tough decisions. Why should we suffer a huge tax increase when the City was willing to give developers eight years of no property taxes. And was willing to forego hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential fees when we're still trying to determine how to pay for the wastewater treatment plant. Once again, this Administration would prefer to pretend residents don't have to pay for its excesses rather than face the truth of their own poor decision making.

We do need to fund the operations of our city, but it’s time for the City to stop backing our citizens into a corner with inadequate time or information for Council to make these serious decisions. It’s time for your City Council to take back its power to fight for you, the people paying the bills. With the right people in place, our residents’ interests can be brought to the forefront. The choice is yours. Vote for people who will fight for you.

A Public Hearing will be held by the Ferndale City Council on Monday, November 4th, at 6 p.m. at Council Chambers/City Hall Annex (5694 Second Ave.) regarding the 2020 property tax levy.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Doing this together!

It is an honor to be endorsed and supported by so many people I respect and admire.  Thank you to each and every one of you, and to everyone who has contributed or volunteered for my campaign.  You are the reason I truly believe that we can achieve great outcomes for our community when we work together!

Read the letters of support I have received here.

Now that ballots are arriving in mailboxes, the decision is in your hands.  As a voter, you get to use your vote to choose who will serve our community in public office, and I would be honored to receive your vote to serve on our Ferndale City Council. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

General Election Ballots Coming Soon!

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!)

November 5th!

Find out more at!

You can see the Whatcom County Voter Guide online here.

OR contact the Whatcom County Auditor with questions at:

Monday, October 7, 2019

We'd better get started!

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!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Public Hearings

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.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Community Energy Challenge

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

Sunday, September 15, 2019

What does City Council do anyway?

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!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Water proposals

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!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Street Festival

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 and at My Ferndale News!

While you're there, be sure to say hello to my friends with the Ferndale Auxilliary Communications Service at the FPD Communications Van and my friends with the Whatcom County Community Emergency Response Team trailer! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Getting from here to there

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!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Primary Results

The results are in and we've made it to the general election in November! Thank you so much for the support along the way. We really can achieve great things when we work together!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Old Main

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. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

MFN Voter's Guide
My Ferndale News has assembled a great collection of candidate profiles including video interviews.  They include links to MFN articles and letters to the editor that mention each candidate. I am proud to have received several endorsements from Ferndale community members that can be found there.  

View my candidate profile at

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Voter's Guide

Have you read through the Whatcom County 
Voter's Guide yet? 

Be informed when you cast your ballot with links to candidate websites and candidate contact information.  

Read my full Voter's Guide statement here!

You can read all of the candidate statements online now.

Also, check out the League of Women Voters guide here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ballots Are On The Way!

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 July 29th and in person at the auditor's office until August 6th!)
--See details on My Ferndale News.


Find out more at!

At you can also see your customized voter guide with candidate statements and ballot measure information.  

OR contact the Whatcom County Auditor with questions at:

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Start the Countdown!

Ballots will be arriving in the mail in about 1 week! We have doorbelling and sign waving opportunities coming up and don't forget the Old Settlers Grand Parade on July 27th! Check out the event pages or message me if you would like to help!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July!

As we celebrate the history of our country today, I am reminded of the rich diversity that makes our country stronger, and the people who have worked and sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy.  Let us not forget the part that each of us plays in keeping these freedoms alive and available for everyone in our country.  Happy Independence Day!

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” 
–Nelson Mandela.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Let's get those yard signs out!

More yard signs are popping up all the time! Many thanks to my friend Victor Boulos Jr.!  I had the great privilege of getting to know Victor while we worked together on the Ferndale High School Bond!  Thank you for your support, Victor!

If you don't have your yard sign yet, please let me know and I'll make sure you get one. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Hot off the press!

 T-shirts from Dagger Point Printing are here!  Make sure to check them out for local printing in Whatcom County!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Yard Signs Are Here!

I just started my summer sign garden! The best part is, it doesn't need to be watered! Let me know if you would like to add one of these to your summer sign garden and I'll get one to you!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Voter Registration

Are you registered to vote? Have you checked your registration status lately to make sure it is up to date? Now is a great time to make sure you're ready to cast your ballot for the August 6th primary election!

More information is available at the WA Secretary of State website at  Click on MY VOTE to check your registration information. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Meeting My Neighbors

Fellow Ferndale community member, neighbor, and friend, Erin Vincent, started a new project where she invites us to follow along as she meets neighbors and shares their stories.  I had the privilege of participating and reflecting on some of the things I love about living in Ferndale.  Check out my story and the growing collection of our neighbors' stories at Meeting My Neighbors!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Let's do this together!

Filing is done and the campaign is official! Now I need your help. Please consider donating to my campaign at whatever level you can afford. Any amount is appreciated and will go directly to helping educate the voters of Ferndale about how I will work for our community. We can do this together!

Find out how to donate here!  Thank you for your support.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Cleaning Up Ferndale!

We were out weeding, pruning trees, and getting to know some amazing people this morning at the Ferndale City Clean Up.  We had a great time and it was fun to see how quickly we could see the difference we were making by all chipping in! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Here We Go!

This evening I'm announcing that I am running for the Ferndale City Council. I'm planning to file for Position 7, currently held by Fred Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy announced at last night's Council meeting that he is resigning to take a new job out of the area.

I've been thinking about running for Council for a while, as I believe serving the people of Ferndale on Council is the next step in my community service. I have been active in our community since co-founding the Ferndale Emergency Resource Network (FERN) and I’m an active member of the Ferndale Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) and Whatcom Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). I also helped establish the Youth Emergency Services (YES) Club and served as the coordinator for that group. In addition, for nearly 18 months I worked with the School Bond Task Force and then the Support Ferndale Schools Committee to pass the much-needed bond to rebuild Ferndale High School. I have seen first hand that our community can achieve great things when we work together.

I moved to Whatcom County nearly 20 years ago and in 2011 I moved to Ferndale with my husband Brendon and our two sons. We have made Ferndale our home and are proud to be members of this community. I have made service to my community a priority in order to work for positive growth and promote opportunities for success for our fellow community members.

I hope to keep working toward these goals on the City Council, to continue working toward a healthier and more vibrant city for all of us. I am excited to start this new adventure with you, my fellow community members, and hope to serve Ferndale as one of our next City Council members.

Meet Maralise