Reality Bites in Ferndale

In this case, reality is taking a bite out of Jon Mutchler and his faltering campaign to be the next mayor of Ferndale. The one big problem for him is that even though he has lived in and around Ferndale for decades, his day to day reality is not the same reality occupied by most people in Ferndale.  And that living in another reality is especially true when it comes to large scale retail development in Ferndale. (aka Walmart)

In one of his Facebook comments Jon Mutchler said that the law won’t allow us to ban certain stores.

Reality Bites: Yes, cities can block large retail from certain areas. If we remember, Bellingham and Ferndale both had “big box” bans in place at one time and now they don’t. The City of Ferndale is tasked with managing growth for the people of Ferndale and rolling over for developers isn’t a management style I can agree with. We really can say no and I really don’t want Ferndale to be known as the “Walmart Exit”

I’ve also read on Facebook somewhere that Jon Mutchler is trusted to maintain a Ferndale that’s “open for business” in the fashion that Mayor Jensen has established.

Reality Bites: The people of Ferndale that I know don’t want Ferndale to be open for just any old type of business that comes along. The people I know want us to be open for businesses that bring positives to Ferndale like good jobs and needed services. Most people I know in Ferndale, don’t want a Walmart, especially next to Haggen near the already busy Main Street/I-5 interchange. The people I know recognize that large retailers, especially Walmart, will bring a whole host of problems with them when they come to town.

  • Walmart brings large traffic volumes and it brings them 7 days a week.
  • Walmart brings crime, parking lot theft, store theft, drug trafficking.
  • Walmart will burden our Police.
  • Walmart brings vagrancy.
  • Walmart will burden our EMS.
  • The deeper you look, the worser and worser it gets.

Several times I’ve heard and read from Jon Mutchler that large retailers will pay to mitigate the traffic problems they create and that Ferndale won’t experience any worsening of traffic. <<== anyone else’s spidey-sense tingling?

Again, Reality Bites: Large retailers moving to Ferndale will pay only a small fraction of the cost to mitigate traffic. A rough estimate that  was used in Ferndale City Council meeting, is that on a good day the business would pay only about 25% of the cost for traffic mitigation leaving the rest to us taxpayers. Another brutal reality is that the Ferndale City Council voted to additionally rebate half of the impact fees to large retailers after 3 years. You can be certain that any large retailer will be filling out that rebate coupon.

Ferndale is a great town, but to keep it a great town, or even make it a better town, we desperately need better city management.  I see Cathy Watson as the natural leader for that better city management.  On City Council, she recognized that Ferndale could do better than just accepting large retail and all of the financial and traffic burdens that it brings. She also recognized and voted against the flawed system where impact fees are rebated to developers, only to be paid for by taxpayers (that means you and I).  In decision after decision I see her working a balanced approach that doesn’t value business over people.

I won’t say that Cathy Watson will be a perfect mayor.  However, I will say that I believe she will be a darn good mayor with a tremendous heart for the people of this town and most importantly, she lives in the same reality as most of us in Ferndale do.

Money in the Ferndale Mayoral Race

“I will tell you that our system is broken. I give to many people, I give to everybody, when they call I give, and you know what? When I need something from them, two years, three years later, I call, they are there for me”
— Donald Trump

Even though The Donald is no rocket surgeon, he seems to have a fairly firm grasp on the proven process of purchasing political favors through political donations.

Technically a donation has no strings attached and most politicians will tell you that they will not be bought. However, I think everyone knows that the candidate who doesn’t cater to the needs of his donors, won’t have them as donors in the future. In drive thru terms, if you pay at the first window, you expect some food at the second window.

So one of the many things that struck me about Cathy Watson is that she is not accepting donations for her mayoral campaign in Ferndale. That is, no donations from anyone at all.  Really, I checked the PDC website  and it’s zip, zero, nada.

Copy of pdc 092115

And from talking with Cathy, her refusing donations is not because she doesn’t need signs and such, it’s because she wants to make sure that we know she will be there to serve all of us, not just campaign donors. I find that to be both admirable and gutsy.  Gutsy, because her opponent isn’t following suit. I’m sure we’ve all seen the tsunami of JonJon signs that has washed over Ferndale. I don’t think they were paid for from his own pocket.

pdc 092215

So signs seem to be mostly courtesy of local land development and construction donors. In fact, Jon Mutchler recently joked that two of his donors probably have single handedly financed the entire planning department for the City of Ferndale through impact fees.

Remember The Donald?

What do you think Jon Mutchler’s donors will be asking for?  Likely not the same thing you, I, nor most others in Ferndale will be asking for. Seriously, do we really need more development right now?  How about a more balanced approach where we improve access through downtown and to the hill, before adding more homes, businesses and traffic, but that’s just me isn’t it?

It’s clear to me that every person in Ferndale needs Cathy Watson as Mayor. Cathy is a broad focused, intelligent and gutsy public servant who will represent all the people of Ferndale.  Please check her out on Facebook or her website.  In fact, do more than check things out.  Ask her a question or two.

Cathy Watson Facebook

Elect Cathy Watson Web Page.

Sad Trend

I read the brief article in the Herald titled Whatcom isn’t No. 1 when it comes to marijuana sales.  They referred to pot sales per capita, not pot use per capita, so I guess I wasn’t surprised that Whatcom wasn’t in the top 5.  At least not any more unsurprised than I was unsurprised that 4 of the top 5 counties bordered on our neighboring states that coincidentally don’t allow pot sales.  I’m guessing that Washington’s “legal” pot stores are the source for Oregon & Idaho’s pot consumers.

The sad trend though is the attitude of this article and what I heard on KGMI.  Both seemed to follow the line that we really don’t use pot as much as you think and marijuana isn’t really as bad as you used to think.

Youth attitudes about pot

Marijuana use and access for students in grades six through 12 didn’t change much from 2002 through 2014.

But their feelings about pot have.

In most cases, the percentage of those who think regular use is harmful has been dropping since 2004.

Bellingham Herald

That is a sad trend right there.  At the same time that pot is becoming more and more available, especially through government sanctioned retail outlets, our youth are being led to wrongly believe that regular pot use is not harmful.   Whoa, hold up, newsflash, pot is bad for you and long term use is more bad for you.

Long-term effects

Marijuana also affects brain development. When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions.

Marijuana’s effects on these abilities may last a long time or even be permanent.

For example, a study showed that people who started smoking marijuana heavily in their teens and had an ongoing cannabis use disorder lost an average of eight IQ points between ages 13 and 38. The lost mental abilities did not fully return in those who quit marijuana as adults.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Why wasn’t that information in this cutesy Herald article?   Our biggest local paper makes no mention of the serious detrimental effects that long term marijuana use.  That’s sad all by itself.

My 2014 Election Picks

It’s ballot time.  For the candidates, I’ve had a chance to meet all of them that I’ve voted for and found them to be people who I think will represent my values.  That is, following the constitution, focusing on traditional core values of our nation, finding efficient direct means without growing government.  I left quite a few spaces blank this time, like only voting for 4 in the Charter Review position when it could have been 5, but I really didn’t want to just draw lines for the heck of it, or just go with the flow.

NO on 1351 – This is a wolf in sheep’s clothing initiative.  It would add around 7,000 new teachers to help reduce class sizes, but it will also burden us with the hidden cost of about 18,000 new administrators and support persons.   That ratio is messed up, bloated, and I think counter to a good education for the kids.

NO & NO on 591 & 594 – We don’t need any further restrictions on the rights of law biding people to defend themselves, and neither of these initiatives will mean a hoot to criminals so they are a waste of time and paper.

MAINTAIN on Advisory No. 8 Senate Bill 6505 – Senate made sure that marijuana industry didn’t receive benefits like they were part of normal agriculture and I agree with them.

Pedro Celis – U.S. Rep. Cong. District 1

Doug Ericksen – State Senator District 42

Luanne VanWerven – State Rep. District 42 Position 1

Vincent Buys  – State Rep. District 42 Position 2

Dave McEachran – County Prosecuting Attorney

Jeffrey McClure – Public Utility District 1

And had I been able I would certainly, without any doubt in my mind, have voted an emphatic NO on the Ferndale gas tax.

Whatcom County Charter Review Commissioner District 3

  • Yvonne Goldsmith
  • Karl Uppiano
  • Eileen Sobjack
  • Nick Evans

If I were in District 2, I would have voted for

  • Joe Elenbaas
  • Ben Elenbaas
  • Chet Dow
  • Delaine Clizbe