Ferndale Patch welcomes letters to the editor.
The following was submitted by Ferndale resident and City Council member Dan Martin.
I appreciate former Councilwoman Helen Weber’s questions posed in her October 11th letter to the editor regarding City Council member’s endorsement of school board candidates. I have a great deal of respect for her and her accomplishments in the city, so I think it is important to answer her concerns. Considering the number of times that she and I have interacted over the course of the last few weeks I do find it disappointing she did not ask me personally instead of vetting her concern in a public forum laced with innuendo.
My endorsement of the CLEAR candidates for school board is a personal choice based on my own personal experiences. First and foremost, none of the candidates other than those associated with CLEAR asked me to hear their positions or for their endorsements. As an elected official in the city I will and have gladly worked with any school board incumbent on issues relating to our official capacities and have personally promoted a higher level of cooperation between the school district and the city. This commitment does not start nor end with any election and I will continue this work with whichever candidates are elected in November.
My personal decision to endorse CLEAR candidates Kevin Deegan-Krause, Amy Butters, Raylon Leaks- May and Jim O’Donnell is based on my agreement of their positions and experience with the candidates. I find all of them to be very qualified, provide a fresh perspective, not afraid to ask difficult questions and have the ability to listen to all residents in deliberation. In the past when I had the opportunity to address the school board prior to taking office I candidly felt discounted because I did not have children in the district and was directly told that I didn’t care about the district unless it was an election year. The fact that I have worked with non-profits (which Councilwoman Weber and I have collaborated on for many years) that have invested in the school district, in addition to my investment in tax dollars to the district demonstrates that my interest and care is not so narrow. I believe that we need better listeners on the Board and that is what earned my endorsement of these candidates.
The school district is too important to take a passive interest in its success. To suggest that there is such a coordinated effort by Council to remove the school board is just absurd. Council members are residents of the City of Ferndale and are free as other residents to act as individuals in their support of candidates and should not be discouraged from doing so by suggesting some “unspoken agenda.”
This is a serious election with high stakes. We need to take the discourse to a more appropriate level focused on the quality of candidates running for office and electing those who share our beliefs and visions. More importantly, we can then afterwards continue to build collaboration between these two great institutions.