Five people are facing off in the Aug. 4 primary election to become the next mayor of Ferndale. The top two vote-getters will move on to the Nov. 3 general election.
Ferndale mayor is a nonpartisan office with four-year terms. The mayor makes 90 percent of the average salary for mayors in similarly sized Washington cities, and will earn $1,690 per month in 2016. The position is part time.
The Bellingham Herald asked the candidates a series of questions about their qualifications and key issues in the city. Responses below are verbatim as submitted. Other candidates’ responses are available at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog.
Candidate: Vicca Thompson, 43
Candidate background: I have spent my life working for freedom and justice. The last 6 years in Ferndale have been about healing physical and mental sickness for hundreds of Ferndale residents with nature.
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, 1994. Georgia State University.
Work Experience: Volunteer experience: The Human Solution, ACLU, Ferndale Community Garden, Ferntucky Medical. Corporate experience: Little Ceasars and IBM, 1990-1999. Owner at "Vicca's", "The Grow Shop", and "Ferntucky Medical", 1999-present.
Previous offices: This is my first venture into politics.
Why are you running for Ferndale mayor?
I Love Ferndale. I moved here for the clean air and water and the down-home kindness so freely shared by many Ferndale residents. I experienced some bullying and personal loss at the hands of the current City government. When I shared my experience with neighbors I heard that many other kind folks felt hurt, oppressed, and unheard.
I have spent my life enjoying and fighting for the Freedom we ALL deserve. When I found out my cute little town had a mean streak, I felt obligated to help shine the light of Love on the situation.
Have you attended any Ferndale City Council or other official meetings in the last year? If so, which ones?
I attended my first meeting in April to politely ask the city to treat me with common decency. I was met with verbal abuse and told to leave town. As I searched for help from someone in our government, I was enlightened to the fact that the city does whatever it wants without consequence. Many citizens were hurt by Ferndale's choice to unlawfully shut down The Grow Shop and Ferntucky Medical.
I learned that the council meetings were just for show, and the decisions get made privately. That's when I knew I should run for Mayor.
What do you think of the plan to ask voters to approve a 50 cents per $1,000 assessed value property tax for a Metropolitan Park District?
I am voting yes to give it a chance. I understand resident's primary fear that the city will act dishonestly. The more we each get involved and ask for transparency, the more we get it! Good Parks are important for humans!
What have you accomplished in Ferndale?
I inhabited an abandoned squat on Portal Way in 2009. Needles, human waste, liquor bottles, and garbage covered the property. I cleaned up the area; planted fruit trees, and flowers; and created a safe place for families, gardeners, and sick folks to come together and share what God gave us. Ferndale residents have cured cancer, addiction, skin issues, respiratory problems, infections, mental illness, and much more with flowers I grew.
A plan to levy a penny gas tax in Ferndale to pay for roads and infrastructure failed at the polls last year. How should Ferndale pay for road improvements?
I think residents would approve a road improvement tax if we regularly saw our dollars spent properly. The majority of people want the city to have plenty of money to get all the jobs done, we just don't trust our current government (with good reason). There is lots of money available for road improvements from other sources. We can seek out Federal dollars and spend them in a way that restores the good people of Ferndale's faith.
What does the city of Ferndale need to tackle in the next four years?
I notice that major health issues are common in Ferndale. It's time to be honest about our environmental situation and how it affects individuals, then act to clean things up.
I think we need to alleviate traffic around the trains and downtown too.
As Mayor, I intend to invite all Ferndale citizens to share their main concerns. We can overcome any obstacle and accomplish great things by working together.