Metropolitan Parks District

On the November ballot, Ferndale voters will get to decide if they want to create a new Metropolitan Parks District, which will raise their property taxes $0.50 per $1000 of assessed value to raise funds for maintenance and improvement of our City parks.

Though I think parks are an important amenity for any city, I don’t think creating another permanent taxing district is the best way to improve Ferndale’s recreational offerings. Our residents have a limited capacity to pay more in property taxes, so we must be careful to only ask them to do so when absolutely necessary.

To pay for specific parks-related projects, I would prefer the City apply for grants or set up a Greenways Levy system like Bellingham uses. Using greenways levies, the Ferndale Parks, Recreation, and Trails Board would work with our residents to determine which recreation-related projects are most important to them, then go to voters with a specific levy request to fund those projects. Residents can either approve or disapprove each levy request on a case-by-case basis. Another benefit of a greenways levy is that they only last 10 years, so the associated property tax increase goes away unless voters choose to renew it with another levy. The cost to send a greenways levy to the voters would also be negligible if the City places it on a November ballot with elected offices and other issues.

Unfortunately, greenways levies won’t help pay for basic maintenance, but individual neighborhoods could do more to help maintain their parks, and community groups could adopt the larger parks (similar to the Adopt a Road program for trash pick-up). Grants like the one the City received to help build Star Park (a playground for children of all ages and abilities that will be constructed next spring) are also a viable alternative, with community partnering an added bonus.

Finally, though I don’t personally think forming a Metropolitan Parks District is the best solution for fixing our parks or creating new ones, I didn’t think I had the right to keep the voters from having their say in the matter, so I voted ‘yes’ to put the issue on the ballot. The choice is yours and I will accept your decision.

Bellingham Greenway Program

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Majority of Council Endorses Watson for Mayor

Release Date: Sept. 17, 2015
(Updated Oct. 8 to include quote from Teamsters Union)

Ferndale City Councilmembers Endorse Watson for Mayor

The majority of Ferndale City Council announced today they are endorsing fellow councilmember Cathy Watson to be the next Mayor of Ferndale. Councilmembers Mel Hansen, Brent Goodrich, Keith Olson, and Paul Ingram believe Watson is the best person to lead Ferndale into the future.

“I am pleased to endorse Cathy for the position of Ferndale Mayor,” said councilmember Mel Hansen. “I have served with Cathy for the last four years and have found her to be always prepared, and her decision making is always what is best for the City of Ferndale.”

“During her four years on Council, Cathy has earned my trust and respect,” added Councilmember Brent Goodrich. “I trust her to be Ferndale’s next mayor and to lead our city with dignity and respect for others.”

“I am very proud to endorse Cathy Watson for Mayor of Ferndale,” Councilmember Keith Olson said. “Cathy works hard to find common ground with the six other councilmembers and always finds a way to make it happen. That’s the kind of mayor Ferndale has had for the last eight years and the kind we need now. I also commend her on not accepting a single penny to finance her campaign.”

“It has been my great pleasure to serve on this council with Cathy,” said Councilmember Paul Ingram. “She is the only candidate with the integrity, honesty, leadership and proven problem solving experience we need to move Ferndale forward. Cathy is a brilliant, proven administrator I am proud to endorse.”

“I’m so honored to have the support of my peers on Council,” Watson responded. “Though we may occasionally disagree on policy and solutions, we always find a way to move forward together and do what’s best for the people of Ferndale.

Watson has also been endorsed by the Teamsters Union, which represents more than half of Ferndale City staff, and the Whatcom County Association of Realtors, a 500-member nonprofit organization founded in 1908 to serve the real estate community of Whatcom County.

“With Cathy Watson, the voters have a unique opportunity to elect an intelligent, dynamic mayor who will work diligently to represent all the citizens of Ferndale,” said Rich Ewing, Secretary/Treasurer of Teamsters Local 231.

Watson has served on Council since January 2012 and was chosen by her fellow councilmembers to be Mayor Pro Tempore in January 2014 after only two years on Council. The Mayor Pro Tempore stands in for the Mayor whenever he is absent.

In addition to being Mayor Pro Tempore, Watson is Chair of the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee and a member of the Public Works Committee. She is also Council liaison to the Ferndale Arts Commission and the Ferndale Service Cooperative Board. Watson is also committed to community service, volunteering with the American Red Cross; Ferndale Auxiliary Communications Service, Boys & Girls Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Kiwanis Club; Friends of the Ferndale Library; Ferndale School District Graduation Advisory Committee and Vista Middle School Girls Robotics Club; and the Whatcom Unified Emergency Management Team.

Before moving to Ferndale, Watson worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center where she managed nine space shuttle and space station experiment teams helping scientists determine how living in space affected astronauts’ physical and mental health. Watson is also a veteran of the Coast Guard (active duty and reserves) and Navy reserves; a former NASA scientist, public affairs officer, and Webmaster; and middle school math and science teacher.

More information on Watson’s skills and experience is available on her campaign Web site,


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Watson Awarded Certificate of Municipal Leadership

Release Date: June 4, 2015

Contact Info.
Home Phone: [redacted for Web posting]
Cell Phone: [redacted for Web posting]

Mayoral Candidate Cathy Watson Awarded Certificate of Municipal Leadership

Ferndale City Councilmember and mayoral candidate, Cathy Watson, has received her Certificate of Municipal Leadership (CML) from the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). Councilmember Watson completed more than 30 hours of training credits to earn this distinction, including courses in Municipal Budgeting and Fiscal Management, Labor Relations, and Local Government Leadership.

“The CML program has helped me be a better councilmember and prepare myself for the additional responsibilities of the office of Mayor,” Watson said.

The CML program is designed to enhance the abilities of elected officials by providing them with the knowledge and skills to effectively operate within the law, plan for the future, secure and manage funds, and foster community and staff relationships.

“I’m committed to the continuing education required to be an effective public servant,” Watson added. “That’s why I’ll be attending the AWC Annual Conference this month to learn more about how other cities are reinvigorating their communities, share ideas for making our City processes more efficient, and build relationships with representatives from cities facing the same issues as Ferndale.”

Watson has served on the Ferndale City Council since January 2012 and is Chair of the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee and a member of the Public Works Committee. She is also Council liaison to the Ferndale Arts Commission and the Ferndale Service Cooperative Board. Watson’s varied career has included working as a Coast Guard electronics technician; NASA meteorologist, public affairs officer, NASA TV commentator, and experiment manager; and middle school math and science teacher.

The Association of Washington Cities is a private, non-profit, non-partisan corporation that represents Washington’s cities and towns before the State legislature, executive branch, and regulatory agencies. The goal of the AWC is to create and maintain livable cities and towns throughout the state. Though membership is voluntary, the AWC maintains a 100% participation rate from all of Washington’s 281 cities and towns.


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