City of Ferndale


Rep Luanne VanWerven

Riley Sweeney, who serves as communications director in the City of Ferndale, took a bit of time to blast Rep VanWerven on Social Media.

Riley Sweeney Communication/Recreation City of Ferndale

In a comment made on the 42nd Legislative Democrats facebook page Mr. Sweeney compliments the editor of the Cascadia Weekly, Tim Johnson, for ” drawing connections… between Van Werven and the pro-plague rally in Lynden and the Disintegration of the WA Republicans.”

The Fourth Corner is not sure what he means by pro plague rally in Lynden as this reporter did not see him there to be able to make such a statement.  So its obviously political dogma.

Since many know of his activism in the Democratic party this really comes as no surprise but there is concern among many that his spouting off of what can be called “democratic party dogma” can be seen as communication from the City of Ferndale.

If the reader will remember it was the Mayor of Ferndale who stated he would not attend a rally in support of the Intalco Workers because it was “a political rally”. See the article here.  Now his Communications director is making anti Republican comments on a very pro Democratic Party Web Site.  The message pictured below is written at 1:34 PM and was downloaded as a screen shot from a local Facebook page.

The Mayor’s position is  non-partisan and the Mayor is elected to serve all of the people.  Is this positive leadership for Ferndale?  You decide

Riley Sweeney has been involved as Communications director since Gary Jensen was mayor and he served under Jon Mutchler as well.

Riley Sweeney won the Paul deArmond Citizen Journalism award for his “political junkie” blog. A local journalism award presented by Northwest Citizen and others. Sadly I cannot easily find a single article from the blog posted anywhere.


  1. Riley Sweeney. At least you apologized for a stupid mistake. I’ll give you that. As far as Charlie Crabtree’s difficulty in finding your Northwest Citizen columns, you are still on the masthead of the NW Citizen, so he should have no difficulty accessing your articles. I just did. Riley, as you well know, Northwest Citizen censors Contributing Writers. John Servais, Dick Conoboy and Deb Gaber, who comprise the NW Citizen LLC, have censored my articles and removed me as a Contributing Writer without my consent. For absolutely no good reason. They have refused to participate in Mediation sessions over their actions at the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center, which I have scheduled and paid for. Twice. There is nothing in any of my Northwest Citizen columns over the past decade that merits any type of revision, censorship or removal. The myth that NW Citizen provides a venue for citizen journalists to express their views should be put to rest once and for all. They only choose to print what resonates well in their liberal echo chamber.

  2. When you accept a “public role” or become a “paid official” for a community or city, you take on a greater responsibility for your actions and words spoken/written. You become a representative of and for that community, and accountable for all your actions–public or private. That is how it works…and it has been that way for most individuals in public positions…especially in our modern social media-focused society today. The best at their positions understand this. Anything put in writing or spoken out loud…represents “how you truly think”…and can (and will likely) be used against you by someone.

  3. You are correct, a private email should not be made public. Whereas I agree it is not a “gotcha moment,” it is still a childish personal commentary of a powerful issue for the community that has come to public light.
    You have a job, and your task IS to serve your community. Your political conclusions are better kept to yourself.
    I almost (almost) feel sorry for you. As you stated, the email was sent to a “few people I know.” Apparently one of the few people you know…betrayed your trust.
    Just as you have tarnished the trust of those you serve.
    We know exactly how you feel…

  4. Riley Sweeney here. As you can clearly see, this was not posted publicly – not on social media or facebook but rather a private email that I sent to some people I know. That email was then screenshotted and distributed publicly.

    Let me be clear, I am extremely thankful for Representative Van Werven’s work on behalf of the City of Ferndale. She worked hard to secure funds for the Star Park Picnic Shelter, a dream project of mine and two years ago, we worked together to get funding for the Pioneer Pathways, which provided ADA access to Pioneer Park. As the project was completed, I had a nameplate with her name printed and installed in the pathways as a thanks.

    It’s no secret that I may have some private opinions about my neighbors here in Lynden putting my health at risk, but those are private opinions. This email wasn’t about Ferndale business and if I knew it was going to be shared publicly, I would have been much more diplomatic with my language. I apologize for the cavalier tone.

    Some folks think that this is a gotcha moment, but I don’t think everyone’s private email content should be screenshotted and dumped out for public consumption.


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