Wally Wonders Why No editor, no publisher, you get what you get

July 6, 2011

Signs and Taxes in Ferndale

I had a chance to drop in on last night’s Ferndale City Council meeting. I was an hour late, but enough in time to hear a little public as well as council opinion on a couple of the latest news items: the proposal for an add on gas tax and political signs.

In my opinion the thought of boosting the retail price of gas in Ferndale by even 1 penny, is ludicrous. We already buy gas only as needed in Ferndale, trying to save fill ups for trips we are already making to Costco or Fred Meyers. The bigger the price difference, the more we’ll avoid Ferndale.

I’ve also thought it pretty chump of the council to consider this tax at all, because it is authorized as a way to fund road repairs from all the Canadian traffic. Well the Canadians are wearing out the roads around Costco and Bellis Fair, not here in Ferndale. Councilman Malpezzi was the only one I heard make reference to this fact, while the dishonest nature of considering this didn’t seem to bother others.

In the end the council tied on whether to propose this to the voters and then failed the measure after Mayor Jensen cast the tie breaker vote.

I found it a bit surprising coming from a mayor that has headed so much spending, but I guess that’s why Ferndale has so much debt. Politically it was probably a good move from a man who is campaigning to keep his seat as Mayor of Ferndale; nothing will kill a campaign quicker than stomping on small businesses and telling voters that they need to pay higher taxes.

On the other interesting topic in Ferndale, the Council voted unanimously to firm up campaign/political sign rules and allow 4′ x 8′ signs in areas other than residential. Since everyone there readily admitted that they never enforced the existing rules, ya gotta’ wonder why they are making a change at all?   And today in a FB post about the newly annexed areas, City of Ferndale made a special note that,

The City also will enforce the City’s sign code in this area. Offsite signs that were not permitted by Whatcom County are to be removed.

You wonder where all this is coming from and with the little tiff over Norbert Rojsza display, are they planning on starting signage enforcement now, and if so on who will the enforcement fall?

And did I mention also that at the Ferndale Council Meeting there was a point made that the fine for violating the sign code was not just $500, but $500 per day and penalty could include jail time?   And did I mention that this discussion brought a lot of smiles and a chuckle or two from the Council, City employees and Mayor?  Check it out Audio Clip

Where were the Ferndale Sign Police when the mondo casino sign went up off Slater?   Oh, that’s right the City worked with the Tribes to put up that sign which advertises gambling and smoking, yet they seem poised to come down hard on anyone seeking office in Ferndale.  What the heck?

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