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Letter to the Editor: Running for Mayor to bring City Council back into the process

I am running for Mayor of Ferndale because I believe there is a silent majority of Ferndale residents who are not happy with how our city is being run. They’re not happy their roads and sidewalks aren’t being cared for or that their water bills continue to rise. This silent majority might want a nice downtown, but they don’t want the city to give away millions of dollars in property taxes and water and sewer connection fees to make that happen. They want to be heard, not patted on the head and told to take their medicine like good children.

Like this silent majority, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the direction our city is going. Every land decision the Mayor and Staff promised us would lead to more affordable housing has only resulted in rising home costs and a growing population that needs more services. I have been on Council for 12 years and growth has never paid for growth, but the current Mayor keeps pretending it will!

Every new home or apartment complex means more people who need water and sewer services, as well as police protection. We are reaching the limit on what we can provide. How many people can we really serve with our shallow well, which we share with hundreds of other users, and one potential deeper well, which will cost millions of dollars to bring online? We don’t take care of what we have now, but we keep building new neighborhoods with more streets and sidewalks and water pipes and sewer pipes. And we can’t keep reaching into our residents’ pockets whenever we need more money to pay for all this growth.

As a Councilmember, I am unable to direct City Staff to do anything. In the last three years, Council has been shut out of the budget process and much of the decision-making process. Council is often presented only one option once the Mayor and Staff decide what they want us to do, vote yes or vote no. I often vote no but two no’s don’t win. It’s time to step up and change the direction of Ferndale and I can’t do that as a Councilmember.

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I am running for Mayor because I want to bring Council back into the process so the residents of Ferndale can have seven people fighting for them. I will also bring Staff and Council together to solve our problems, working as a team rather than rivals. I know I can do this because I’ve done it before. In more than 30 years in law enforcement, I managed and led 89 federal agents as a supervisor. I oversaw multimillion dollar budgets. Prior to being promoted to second in command I fought for all our agents for 5 years as their union president.

If you want the City to just keep doing what it has been, vote for someone else. But if you’re ready to hear the hard truth and do the hard things we need to do to fix what’s wrong, I’m your candidate. I am not anti-business or against business development. We are at a crossroads with this election, multifamily pro-development candidates are lining up for open council positions behind the multifamily pro-development mayoral candidates. If they win, you lose.

If you want to talk about anything, send me an email at Olson4Mayor@comcast.net.

Keith Olson
Ferndale
City Councilmember and candidate for Mayor


Letters to the Editor submitted to My Ferndale News are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher of My Ferndale News.


My Ferndale News welcomes your letters to the editor. There is no word limit although 800 word is a good target to stay under. We do not accept anonymous letters. Submit your letters online by clicking here.

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Slow Down, Move Over!

What does this mean exactly? The article below outlines the law and what you can do to help keep us and other emergency workers safe when we are working on the side of the road

Slow Down, Move Over!

What does this mean exactly? The article below outlines the law and what you can do to help keep us and other emergency workers safe when we are working on the side of the roadA recent change in the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law now gives more direction to drivers passing first responders – including highway maintenance, utility, solid waste and tow trucks with flashing lights – on the side of roadways. These crews work inches from moving traffic to help make the roadways safer, and we need everyone’s help ensuring they and everyone else on the road return home safety at the end of each shift.
If you see vehicles on the shoulder with flashing lights:
• Move Over one lane if safe to do so
• If unable to move over, Slow Down to 10 mph under the posted speed limit (the 10 mph reduction went into effect at the end of July)
It’s not only the safe thing to do – it’s the law.
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15 COMMENTS

  1. “The most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”
    Ronald Reagan

    BAD: Big government, big taxes
    GOOD: Small government, small taxes

  2. This is a great letter! It should be required reading for all Ferndaliens.

    As Keith knows, and as many residents know, I am a proponent of the multi-family tax exemption and the downtown catalyst projects. My reasons are based on my extensive work with affordable housing issues and the fact, as demonstrated in the recent report by the Washington Department of Commerce, that Ferndale is the “relief valve” for Bellingham not planning appropriately for population growth. This is a fact that cannot be ignored if we want to change our little town’s destiny. And that is where Keith differs from the current occupant of this office – he is approachable, seeks to understand all sides of an issue, and then pursues a course of action that is best for Ferndale regardless of personal ambitions or interests. Keith may not agree with me, but I know that we are united in our vision for Ferndale’s future.

    Keith understands that we are at a crossroads – will we succumb to being a bedroom community for Bellingham or will we fight to create a viable small city with an identity, economy, and citizenry that is separate and distinct from Bellingham? Personally, I choose the latter. But there is much work to be done and many debates to be had, and no one group, particularly the City Council, should be excluded from participation! More importantly, we need a Mayor who will make the tough decisions and fight for a better Ferndale without regard for personal advancement.

  3. What are the tough decisions and how or who does one ‘fight for a better Ferndale’?
    Which vision is ‘united’ with the candidate’s for Ferndale’s future?
    When does ‘understanding all sides of an issue’ lead to pursuing a course of action
    instead of simply identifying choices based on consensus?
    Most voters are wary of platitudinous nonsense,
    good luck.

  4. I see Ferndale in a tough spot. We are growing fast. Growth is tough. We don’t all have the same vision of the future Ferndale. No one wants taxes to rise, but when you jam more people into the same area, government gets more expensive, but the return on the investment soars, if, and this is a big if, government is efficient and aimed at the general welfare and not some sharpie taking advantage of the public trough. I, for one, don’t buy the simple-minded “small government is good” story. Complex situations require complex solutions. Anyone who tells you different ought to get out more. But complex solutions are often opportunities for cronyism and back room deals. If we, as Ferndale citizens, up our game and put an eye on our government and keep it honest and efficient, we stand to win big. I, for one, would like to quit cringing when I look at the way the condition of the streets change from county roads to Ferndale streets. We have an excellent location, fine people, many advantages. There is no necessity for us to be second class.
    I’m not exactly endorsing Keith Olsen, but he sounds promising.

  5. Marv,

    What do you mean “get out more”? I go to work every day (in Bellingham, admittedly) I shop locally. I drive on Ferndale roads. I walk around my west side neighborhood a few times a week. I pay rent in Ferndale. I pay my water bill to COF.

    That’s all anyone needs to understand that bloated government with a tax-tax-tax and spend-spend-spend mentality is not in the best interest of the taxpayer and is the fast road to fiscal disaster.

    Make no mistake, small government means less waste. Big government means massive waste. Of course, you can think big, bloated, wasteful government is justified by growth and the “complex problems” that come with growth. But not me.

    CUT TAXES NOW!

    • “That’s all anyone needs to understand that bloated government with a tax-tax-tax and spend-spend-spend mentality is not in the best interest of the taxpayer and is the fast road to fiscal disaster.”

      We will probably never agree, but the above is not all anyone needs to understand. I happen to be a fiscal conservative– I believe in careful investment that yields dividends not losses. That is what I expect from good government. Government is not always good, but with citizen oversight and dedicated public servants, it often is. By getting out more, I mean carefully examining the successes and failures of both government and private enterprise and not only in Whatcom County. Cutting taxes without examining what is being cut is the same error as increasing taxes without examining what they pay for. In the case of Ferndale, the town can’t grow without an adequate infrastructure. I include good streets, utilities, planning, law enforcement, education, and a lot of other things for the common good. A hard problem that requires competent people. We can disagree about priorities, but I believe blindly cutting taxes is the equivalent of looting a private enterprise by taking profits and not reinvesting in future growth.

      • You’re buying into the assumption that so-called “growth” is inevitable; it’s an obsession of government as an excuse to relentlessly raise “revenues” and so it’s incentivized at our expense. Once our politicians and policy makers look at tax receipts the way a private business looks at profits, they scramble for any excuse to increase what they take. Seattle has this down to a sick science, and the approach is encroaching North step by step…unless we stop it locally. Anybody here really believe that downtown Ferndale benefits by becoming a baby Bellingham? Bellingham is now a baby Seattle…

  6. Marv,

    YOUR POINT: Government is efficient, but needs more money, per capita, as population increases.

    MY POINT: Government is inefficient and should get LESS funds, per capita, as population increases due to Economies of Scale.

    The solution is transparency and accountability. Where is all the taxpayer money going? A detailed account, please!

    CUT TAXES NOW!

    • We agree on transparency and accountability. Absolutely. However, I reject the view that government is inherently inefficient. Often, government does important work that I feel should be funded. For example, I would much rather have a public water system answerable to me, the taxpayer, than some private enterprise answerable to a shareholder who could care less if I have diarrhea. I’ve worked with many government agencies that were much more efficient than private enterprises. I’m not against cutting taxes, but I am much more in favor of using current taxes more efficiently and increasing taxes if increased taxes are a good investment in our future.

      • The public water system is “answerable” to you? If you’re paying attention, it’s the other way around these days, unless you’re building an apartment complex.

Comments are closed.

- advertisement -
Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Heston Hauling shared a post.
Heston Hauling
Slow Down, Move Over!

What does this mean exactly? The article below outlines the law and what you can do to help keep us and other emergency workers safe when we are working on the side of the road

Slow Down, Move Over!

What does this mean exactly? The article below outlines the law and what you can do to help keep us and other emergency workers safe when we are working on the side of the roadA recent change in the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law now gives more direction to drivers passing first responders – including highway maintenance, utility, solid waste and tow trucks with flashing lights – on the side of roadways. These crews work inches from moving traffic to help make the roadways safer, and we need everyone’s help ensuring they and everyone else on the road return home safety at the end of each shift.
If you see vehicles on the shoulder with flashing lights:
• Move Over one lane if safe to do so
• If unable to move over, Slow Down to 10 mph under the posted speed limit (the 10 mph reduction went into effect at the end of July)
It’s not only the safe thing to do – it’s the law.
... See MoreSee Less

(360) 312-8697 hestonhaulingwa.com
 
Click for more information
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FerndaleParks.com - (360) 685-2353
 
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