Friday, August 09, 2013

A message to the People of Ferndale about the Fall elections for Mayor and City Council

I had been considering running for mayor of Ferndale since February, and have spent the past several months talking to hundreds of residents, business owners and voters about their feelings and opinions on such an action, as well as the issues affecting our town these days. The final deadline to have my name as a candidate on the ballot is in just a few days. I made my decision based on the conversations with Ferndale residents, neighbors and friends.
I turned in the petitions many helped me collect yesterday, and they have been validated. My name will be on the ballot November 5th, in order to give voters a choice.

I am not running against anyone. I am running FOR the people of Ferndale. Here are some of the reasons we are making this effort:

Spending and Budgets. Spending is up considerably on several fronts over the past couple of years. We need a conversation about the city’s constant proclivity to hire and spend large amounts of taxpayer money on surveys, studies, consultants, and management companies.

Budget deficits are once again looming on the financial horizon. Voters need to hear about and talk about this issue, its causes, and ways to cut spending and costs.

Bureaucracy. On several fronts, and from many examples, comes the feeling that some city government activities are getting more complicated, more complex, and less efficient.

Costs and Fees. The candidates for city council and the mayor’s office this election cycle must have an honest and frank discussion about rising city fees, charges, and rates, from water rates to parking fees, and everything in between.

The “new” City Parking System. Residents, visitors, and business owners have very strong feelings about what was done last winter with the city’s downtown parking system, and voters deserve to have a full airing of the issue. And we must talk about not just the mistakes made with rolling out the new system, but the entire decision to install this system in the first place and the costs involved, the responsibility for the decision and the continuing ongoing problems with the situation, and the need to explore further remedies.

Infrastructure. In addition to police and fire protection and safety, the maintenance of our water mains, sewers, and roads is critical. We must look beyond downtown improvements and begin to plan for residential street repair and replacement, and other infrastructure maintenance.

The coming Ferndale local elections are not about democrats or republicans, or liberals or conservatives, or who is popular or who gets the most endorsements. At present, all three candidates are Democrats, and liberal. It is not about gay rights or marijuana or noise. We have moved beyond those issues in our city. It is about plans and policies that will carry our great city into the next few decades, keeping it affordable, safe, and inclusive, for all, including our children, our families, our young adults, and our seniors.

There is nothing wrong with giving folks a choice. This is what democracy looks like.




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