Sunday, May 31, 2009

Correction to last post on the $14,000

It is true the new contract that was recently approved by the council will end up costing the city over $14,000 more than what was originally presented to the Public Utilities Committee.

The correction is that it is not the whole council's fault but that of the three members of the committee led by council members Olson, who was filling in for another council member, Ingram and Zimmerman. The actions of the committee are what cost the city the additional money and put the whole council between a rock and a hard place.

If the council had not approved this contract at the last meeting, it would have cost the city even a lot more money, maybe as much as $100,000. The reason being that there is such a small window of opportunity for the disposal of the sludge via the proposal presented to council. If that window was missed then the disposal of the sludge from the treatment plant would have to be sent to eastern Washington for disposal thus costing the city the additional amount. So it was either approve the contract knowing that it would cost the city more this year or by waiting and thus end up costing the city a whole lot more than $14,000.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Council decision costs city $14,000

Our Ferndale city council strikes again. This time it cost the city over $14,000. What caused this? According to the minutes of the May 18th council meeting Director Cecile had made a presentation on April 29th to the Public Works and Utility Committee recommending the approval and forwarding of a contract to Fire Mountain Farms, Inc. in the amount of $59,724.75. This contract was an ongoing one and just needed to be approved this year with the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation increase. The committee rejected this and the contract had to go out to bid.

When the bids came back guess what, Fire Mountain was the sole responder but the amount of the contract went up to $73,945.00.

Recently our council has a trust issue. They seem to be questioning our city staff's recommendations every chance that they can get. I don't understand this. We have a great city staff and they have a lot of experience. So why the questioning and the confrontations both at committee meetings and at council meetings?

In these tough economic times we can't afford to have a council that makes these types of decisions. How are they going to pay for this mistake? Here is my suggestion; cut council's pay to just $1.00 per month! There are a lot of people who give more of their time for free to this city and they do productive work. Recently the council seems to be getting paid only to do blunder after blunder. They are even complaining about attending workshops where they could get additional information to help them make wise decisions.

I would love an explanation from any of the council members on this and I will post any and all of their responses. So, how much more will this council cost the city? Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Great Americans

Who are our great Americans? For some it revolves around their political party. To others it may be a current or past family member. If you listen to Sean Hannity's radio program is it either him or his callers. To me none of these are great Americans.
To me, the only truly great Americans are those that put on one of the various armed service uniforms each and every day. Those that serve voluntarily day after day, year after year are the great Americans.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting and working beside men and women who served during WWII. They're great Americans. I have been to Washington DC and walked amongst the memorials to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom that we have today. It is a very moving experience. Yet nothing compares to walking though Arlington National Cemetery. Those resting there are great Americans.
On this Memorial Day I hope each and everyone that reads this takes just a few minutes to pause to honor those that are the greatest Americans of all, the men and women of the armed forces - Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bellingham a "sanctuary city"?

Recently in the local news we hear & read that there is a group of folks wanting Bellingham to become a "sanctuary city" for AWOL military. This confused me because I have always heard the term used in reference to illigal immigration not the military. Either way, both are protecting a person who has done something illigal. Why would you want to condone that kind of behavior?

I support our military and as in any large group you will have people that do the wrong thing. As far as I know, no one is forced to join the military. We don't have a draft going on now like we did in the past. So why protect these people? They have committed a crime otherwise no one would be looking for them. If they were man or women responsible enough to step up, raise their right hand, go through boot camp, then they should also be responsible for their action of being AWOL.

I would like to here other's comments on this.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Great Planning Commission Meeting

Last night, May 13th, the Planning Commission had a great meeting. The main topic of discussion last night was the proposed changes to the city's UGA (Urban Growth Area) boundry. It was also nice to have members of the public there as well. Their comments on some of the proposed changes was very helpful and informative. The city staff, Jori, did an excellent job and having the power point slides to go with the discussion really helped.

For those of you that were not in attendence last night and have some thoughts on the UGA changes, there will be other opportunities to comment. The next one will be Monday, May 18th at the city council meeting. Well worth attending. Check the city's web site for more information.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Zimmerman Surprises All At Council Meeting

At the May 4th City of Ferndale council meeting, council member Zimmerman surprised everyone with his vote on the Parking Standards Ordinance. At the meeting city staff presented the new Parking Standards Ordinance that the Planning Commission had been working on and recently forwarded to council for the final public hearing and vote. There was no public at the meeting wishing to comment on the ordinance. Therefore, the council had their discussion amongst themselves and then a motion was made to approve the ordinance. When the vote came there were 5 votes for the new ordinance and then council member Zimmerman voted against it (one council member was absent). This was a surprise vote as he did not say anything during the discussion that he opposed anything in the ordinance or why he could not support the ordinance. In fact, his vote was such a surprise that a fellow council member's jaw dropped and the look on her face was that of "what?"
Council member Zimmerman did not stop there. Later in the meeting he did the same thing when the discussion was on the Grandview Annexation. Again there was some discussion by council members but when the vote came down both Zimmerman and Downey voted against moving the process forward. Again, this was a surprise as neither one had voiced any opposition to the matter during the discussion.
I am not criticizing their vote as they have every right to vote the way they did. My concern is with the fact that they did not enter into any discussion with other members of council or express any reason for voting the way that they did. Were they afraid to go on record as they did not have any valid reason for voting the way they did? Were they trying to make some kind of point by their votes? Were they supporting the citizens of Ferndale by their vote? We will never know as they remained silent.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Swine Flu - A Nation In Crisis

Have we become a nation in constant crisis? It seems like we just go from one to another with the Swine Flu being the latest. Look at what's happening now? Schools closing, the vice president telling us to say home if we have the slightest symptoms, don't use public transportation or fly. On the news I heard of one school in Washington closing because a child there had a cough and a temperature. The conclusion made was that he "might" have the swine flu. Therefore, before the facts are in, close the school. Could it be he was just a typical kid with any number of "bugs" floating around inside of him? Why is this such a national story and why are so many people worried? I don't get it.
The United States has a population of over 300 million people. As of the writing of this, there were only 100 cases of Swine Flu. 100 out of 300 million. World wide there are only 497 confirmed cases and only 13 deaths. The population of the world is 6.7 billion.
Compare this to other illnesses. An estimated 600 people die of tuberculosis, about 1,400 people die from strep and 2,704 people die from a common asbestos-related lung cancer in the United States every year. Last year the seasonal flu took the lives of 83 children and an estimated 36,000 adults in the United States, according to the CDC. Were schools closing then? No. Why not? Where was the panic? Where was the news media?
So why the panic now? My feeling is this is created to take our eyes off the real problems facing the country. It is the old ignore the elephant in the room, let's deal with this small thing we have over here.
Yet, a crisis sells but who is the winner. It is definitely not the American public. I would be interested in who you think the winner on this latest "crisis" is. Any guesses on what the next crises will be?