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Whatcom County City of Ferndale Council Position 7

The City Council is the legislative body for the City. The Council adopts local laws (ordinances) to secure the safety and assist the well-being of the city residents, the city's physical environment and amenities, and the city economy. The Council is responsible for approving financial expenditures and adopting the city budget as well as establishing policies and regulations in order to guide the city's future. The elected mayor serves as chief administrative officer for the city.

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  • Candidate picture

    Maralise Fegan

  • Ramon Llanos

Biographical Information

What experiences have you had that qualify you for this position?

How would you describe your vision for your city?

What are the obstacles in the path of achieving your vision?

What do you think is your city/town’s role in dealing with issues surrounding the environment?

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastructure?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

How would you propose the council communicate with the citizens of your city or town?

Phone (360) 389-3007
Town where you live Ferndale, WA
Experience (300 characters max) No prior elected experience
I have made service to my community a priority in order to work for positive growth and promote opportunities for success for our fellow community members. In addition to my professional experience as a paralegal and office manager, I previously served on two United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) contract negotiating committees to secure improvements to employee wage and benefit packages for retail workers. With the Ferndale Emergency Resource Network (FERN), Ferndale Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS), and Whatcom Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), I work as part of a team of community members to accomplish our goals. On the School Bond Task Force and the Support Ferndale Schools Committee, I collected information, reviewed data, and worked to build consensus on a plan for the much-needed bond to rebuild Ferndale High School. I have seen firsthand that our community can achieve great things when we work together.
Despite Ferndale's recent population growth, our downtown remains stagnant. The City has made laudable efforts to promote Ferndale as a business-friendly city such as promoting local manufacturing through Ferndale Made and creating a development plan with WWU students. I hope to work with the City to build on these plans. To be successful, we have some tough conversations ahead about our priorities. We need to define how we want our city to be known, then support business development that promotes that identity. This requires development of infrastructure that supports business needs while working within the means of the City. I would like to encourage the development of maker and business incubator spaces that can be used by small and startup businesses to promote the abundant creativity and ingenuity of our residents. Small businesses fostered and developed in Ferndale create local employment opportunities for our residents.
Finding fair and equitable ways to fund the infrastructure required to promote smart, balanced growth for Ferndale is not a new challenge. The reality is that we are still feeling the effects of decisions made in response to the recession that started over a decade ago. While these decisions may have been necessary at the moment, they have left Ferndale in the position of trying to “catch up.” Providing timely information to the public about upcoming needs and projects, and encouraging feedback and engagement will help with the process of catching the city up and setting goals for our community as new priorities emerge.
Water conservation must be a priority for Ferndale. We have seen warmer weather and a growing population in recent years, leading to an increased strain on our water supply and local fish populations. While we will need to work on developing long-term solutions through conversations and cooperation with other nearby cities and the County, we have the opportunity to work with Ferndale residents to promote water conservation measures as a way to promote best use of this precious resource AND reduce consumption costs to residents.
As mentioned above, it is time for a County-wide conversation about our water supply. While that conversation is ongoing, I would like to see Ferndale focus efforts on promoting water conservation. For long-term planning, Ferndale needs a reassessment of the capacity for new development that can be supported by our water and sewer infrastructure to make sure development doesn’t outstrip the City’s capacity to support it. Additionally, we need to address the dire lack of regular/usable public transit in Ferndale which currently leaves Ferndale an inaccessible city for many.
I am excited to see the implementation of the North Whatcom Poverty Task Force to take a proactive and holistic approach to addressing homelessness in our community. I will be following their efforts closely. The most direct and cost-effective way to protect our unsheltered residents is to make shelter accessible. While the conversation regarding the details of how to achieve this is ongoing, I would like to establish this as our clear goal. Ferndale has an opportunity to lead the way in making sure all of our residents have access to shelter, which provides a foundation for access to other resources. I would like to explore opportunities to work with organizations that promote affordable housing, such as the Kulshan Community Land Trust and housing cooperatives. There will not be a single answer about how to tackle this regional challenge, but I would like to look to some of our neighboring communities to build on lessons they have learned as we adapt them to Ferndale.
I have worked as an immigration paralegal since 2011 and interact with our country’s dysfunctional immigration system on a daily basis. The reality is that there is little that local municipalities can do to directly affect the broader system; however, I hope to see Ferndale promote itself as a place that is welcoming to immigrants who wish to establish businesses and homes in our city. Many local businesses are owned and operated by immigrants, who in turn provide jobs to city residents, which strengthens our economy and our community.
I would like to see quarterly newsletters published in local papers and online, with an option for email delivery. Additionally, I would like the City to host in-person town hall events regularly at least twice per year.
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