Letter to the Editor: Takeways from school bond town hall meeting

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Last night I watched from the live Facebook stream [of the school bond town hall meeting]. Thank you for doing that, I only wish that it could have been advertised better.

Since then I have watched the recording two more times. My take away was that the overwhelming majority were bond supporters which led to more of a rally, than a two-sided discussion. I believe that the majority of Ferndale city and county taxpayers are favoring of passing a school bond. There is a fine line between educating the opposed voter, and the appearance of bullying them. As Riley Cornelsen stated, “The discussion of having additional meetings in homes was from an educational perspective on the details of the proposed bond not an ‘explain the errors of your ways’.”

Additionally and unfortunately, we have members in our community that enjoy “trolling” the raw feelings that this issue stirs. “Fake” information goes hand-in-hand with today’s world, and I caution readers to question everything they read or hear. No matter if you support this cause or not, all of us must remain vigilant to use true facts and accurate information to be considered an educated voter. Riley Cornelsen reinstated, “It was very clear through discussions after the bond that MANY people were unaware, or misinformed on the details. If someone has all the information and still feels compelled to vote ‘No’’ that is absolutely their prerogative and right.”

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There were two key factors that seemed to be missing at last nights meeting, could a school board member please address these in the upcoming December meeting:

1) As the superintendent covered at this meeting, and I am thankful that she did. There is bitterness about the previous approved School Bond and how the funds were allegedly misappropriated to other projects, and the over budget expense of Cascadia elementary. Voters do not forget things like this. Voters notice that it took a regrouping post-vote Town Hall meeting to publicly have the superintendent acknowledge this fact. Why was this handled as an after thought, and will it be addressed with clarity and honesty before the next vote?

2) This week I saw students holding signs that said, “$45 a year” and I have read many times on local social media sites that this School Bond was only going to cost Ferndale taxpayers forty-five more dollars a year. In many post and even on the Ferndale Support website there were charts promoting the same information, even suggesting it would become less than forty-five dollars in future years.
Math does not lie, unless of course part of the equation has been conveniently left unspoken. The following is an statement posted on one of those social media sites from a concerned Ferndale resident, “(1.33 pts) x ($300/pt) = $400. That is the true cost of the bond for a 300k home. It’s offset by expiring taxes(McCleary decision) but it’s not accurate to say it costs $45/year. The hypothetical 300k household taxes are going down by $400 next year due to the bond failing…please start using real numbers.”

Using the charts, and the information provided by the County, State and Ferndale School Board. What is your conclusion and position on the previous statement? Furthermore if you agree, how will your mailers and supporters be instructed to communicate this information?

One final take away that I had from all of this. The residents of Ferndale city and county need an avenue for better inclusive communication. Many of us rely on Facebook, and websites to find our local information. Many of us do not, and this disconnect is not healthy for our community.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

* Riley Cornelsen quotes taken from FB page called My Ferndale News
* Concerned resident quote taken from FB pages Ferndale Neighbors & Uncensored Whatcom County

Scott Rubright
Ferndale

Editor’s note: The writer is referring to a town hall meeting on November 15th.


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

 

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Joe is the founder of My Ferndale News. As a Ferndale resident, he hopes to empower the community with free access to news that matters and makes a difference in the day-to-day challenges faced while we work and live in the Ferndale area.