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.