By: Craig Covey, former mayor of Ferndale
EVERY TWO YEARS FERNDALE RESI- DENTS get to vote on a majority of positions on their City Council. This is the time for residents to make their opin- ions heard, and also the time when can- didates should step forward, and share their plans and ideas. With the mayor’s office and two council positions on the ballot in November, Ferndale really needs to find candidates and question them closely about the issues and plans that will shape our city going forward.
We have had our share of crises and drama over the past few years, so there is no shortage of issues that voters and candidates should discuss this summer and fall. From the chaotic and expensive roll out of the new “Luke” kiosk parking system in 2012-2013, to the year-long angst over the proposed and massive “360” project in 2014, to the basement floodings that have occurred the past three summers in Ferndale, we seem to lurch from one big issue to the next.
In May, we just barely passed a ten- year Headlee override that will keep our tax coffers full for the next ten years. And we passed a massive bond issue to fix the roads and parks through 2031 so, at least with regard to the city, we should have plenty of money. But now the school system is in tight financial straits.
The city has never looked so good, but candidates should be questioned about how many more bars and clubs they want to squeeze into the downtown. Ferndale used to lead the region in green issues and environmental promo- tion, yet other cities are now taking the lead on a wide variety of these issues. Should Ferndale be paying attention to green infrastructure and stormwater abatement?
Voters should be able to hear candi- dates’ positions on parking decks and development downtown. Do they op- pose the building of a stand-alone, mid- size parking deck, as at
least two sitting coun- cilmembers do? Will candidates support transparency in bidding such projects and will they collaborate with local residents and businesses to work together to find solu- tions? Do they support the kind of massive “360” style eight- or ten-story development project that we barely dodged in 2014?
Ferndale continues to have, unlike most cities around us, an all-white police e force. Candidates for Mayor and City Council should state why they think that is a good place to be or whether they will someday finally insist on diversification and better representation for our city.
You don’t hear our city leaders talk much about climate change, but that issue is affecting our city and our residents, and the symptoms of flash floods, heavy rains, and basement flooding are not going away. What actions will our elected officials take to deal with this looming issue? Even as we rebuilt the courthouse and police department a couple of years ago the city ignored the storm water drainage of that city property into the sewer system. When will they begin to focus on storm water the annual flooding in parts of the city?
Before anyone else asks me to run again, I do want to share with readers of Ferndale Friends that I am not a candidate for any office in 2015. I still work full time and am trying to lessen my involvement in charity and volunteerism. After 35 years of gay rights, AIDS education, environmental work and fundraising, I want to see more leisure time in my future. I did my thirteen years in local elected office, but I still love and care about our city. This is all the more reason that new people need to step up and run for office or ask the hard questions of local political candidates.
There is no charge to put your name on the ballot; just collect 100 signatures of registered Ferndale voters on city petitions. The deadline is Tuesday July 21.
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