In the view of the Woodinville firefighters of the IAFF, Local 2950, Chief Daniels provided yet another example of poor leadership and obfuscation last week, when regarding the vote of no-confidence he stated (in "Fire Chief Responds to Vote of No-Confidence, July 25, 2011), "There are fire districts all over the country going through similar circumstances, where they have to re-evaluate the way they do business. It’s happening everywhere; it really is. This is not unique to Woodinville."
Those of us familiar with the issues and in union leadership were stunned: what could he possibly be referring to?
It seems unlikely that he is referring to the vote itself. No-confidence votes are quite rare in the public safety arena, even today, when budgets are tight and the public sector is stressed financially.
There are thousands of fire departments and police departments across the country and only a small percentage of these agencies experience no-confidence votes in their chiefs. This is the first such action in the history of the Woodinville fire district and is a clear signal that our firefighters are in desperate need of new leadership.
If not the vote itself, perhaps the chief is referring to some of the grievances listed within the Vote of No-Confidence Resolution. If so, he is mistaken.
These things are not happening "all over the country."
A couple of examples illustrate how far from "normal" we now are:
•Expansion of administrative staff — Clearly the trend is for public agencies to trim anywhere possible. Public schools, police departments and fire districts are certainly not adding administrators in tough times.
Yet Chief Daniels’ tenure has seen the executive staff almost double in size, from a group of four in 2009 to seven presently.
His plan even calls for one more full-time administrator, a human resources manager. This is all happening while cutting 10 positions that prevent fires, do public education, fight fires and provide emergency medical services.
• Loss of the fire district’s international accreditation — This is certainly not a national trend. According to the Center for Public Safety (formerly CFAI), there are only 153 accredited fire agencies, 43 applicant agencies and 16 candidate agencies.
Woodinville FD was clearly in a small, elite group.
It is extremely rare for an agency to attain its accreditation and then lose it because of the incredible amount of time, energy, and financial resources required to accomplish accreditation.
In fact, only nine agencies have lost their accreditation after attaining it, including Woodinville Fire and Rescue.
Regardless of what he was referring to, the statements made by I. David Daniels in the article seem to be an attempt to confuse the issues and draw attention away from the very real problems that are currently facing the Woodinville fire district.
The vote of no-confidence is a rare action that is taken only after all other efforts have been exhausted.
When Chief Daniels attempts to water-down the significance of the Woodinville firefighters’ unanimous vote and makes statements that illustrate his failure and unwillingness to be accountable for the shortcomings of his own fire district, it serves as additional confirmation that the members of Local 2950 did the right thing, for the right reasons.
It’s crucial that Woodinville citizens take action. We urge everyone to tell their fire commissioners what they think, attend meetings, write letters and call the main office.
It’s your fire department, and we’ve done what we can to tell you that change is necessary.
Wally Holstad, vice president, Local 2950, Woodinville Firefighters
An open letter to the citizens of Woodinville:
"Thank you" just doesn’t seem to cut it.
Our fundraising rummage and bake sale at the Lion’s Club last weekend was a huge success because people like you opened their hearts to a stranger.
We had hoped to raise $1,000. While counting it all out at the end of the day, someone squealed, "There’s $1,900 in 20-dollar bills alone!" Our final count was over $3,500.
People came in droves. They gave, and gave and gave. One teenager opened his wallet and donated its contents: $41.
A mom gave $40 before even walking through the door.
Another picked out a few articles of clothing and wrote a check for $50. Someone else slipped us a hundred dollar bill. And scores of people picked out a dollar or two worth of "treasures," handed us $10 and said, "Keep the change." We were blown away.
And then there were all those (most having never laid eyes on our friend) who donated the plethora of high-quality items to sell.
And those who gave cash long before the sale, all anonymously. (When I asked, "Whom should I say is giving this?" the most common response was something along the lines of "Just tell her it’s God taking care of her.")
And then there were those who baked all the delicious goodies (which our dear soccer girls sold all day long in the blazing sun) and all the kind souls who helped us set up, run and tear down the sale.
And don’t let me forget our wonderful husbands who picked up and delivered the furniture and who stayed all day and into the evening doing whatever was needed. And of course, there are the Lions Club members who generously donated the use of their building for two days, without which we never could have held a sale of this magnitude.
I have chills as I write this note of gratitude to the multitude of people who helped make this event happen in such a big way.
And our friend? Well, she doesn’t have the words to adequately express her feelings, either.
All of us involved have been so blessed to a part of helping her out. Please know that the generosity and efforts of the Woodinville community have given one of its own a sense of security that will help her in ways perhaps only those in her same situation can truly understand.
So thank you, Woodinville. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.
Cindy, Barb, Kellie, Kim, Christine, Alicia, Ann, Lisa, Theresa, Kristy, and Michelle
Fluoridated water was a topic in the July 25 Letters and I agree with the writer who said that it is way past time for this toxin to be eliminated from our drinking water.
Begun in the 1940s to address the dental problems of the poor, the program is one more example of the government mandating that everyone be tucked under one blanket.
In modern-day America, bad teeth and gum disease are still prevalent in spite of the fact that most of the nation’s poor live in cities where water fluoridation has been in place for decades.
I think it is not the lack of enough fluoride causing decay and life-threatening gum disease but from diets high in sugar and low in nutrition provided by fresh whole foods as well as knowledge and/or incentive to maintain a healthy mouth by brushing and flossing.
Fluoride doesn’t solve the problem of people’s access to fresh food and dental care.
Hopefully it won’t take decades for serious discussion on yet another toxin.
Those funny-looking lighbulbs PSE hands out contain deadly mercury. The feds have banned the cheap, safe and functional incandescent bulb, pushing us to use a more expensive product so toxic even waste management doesn’t want it.
Proponents say the bulbs use less energy and the amount of mercury in one bulb is miniscule.
Then why the need for hazmat protocol for a broken bulb?
It is illegal to throw them in the regular garbage. They require specialized recycling techniques so you must pack them into the car, gas up and drive to a special recycling place in the name of energy savings. Nonsensical.
Someone forgot the lessons learned from the use of lead and radium in everyday products.
They tell us: "Sure we are phasing out mercury thermometers because they are really bad.
"The amount of mercury in one thermometer is enough to contaminate a 20-acre lake — but hey, this lightbulb, don’t you worry your head over it."
I resent being treated like a child pointing to a sinister shape at the window whose parent keeps tucking her back under the blanket, telling her to be quiet, close her eyes and trust blindly.
But wait! I want to ask my big wise, government daddy how the workers put mercury in the lightbulbs without hurting themselves or the environment.
Don’t we care about the people and earth in the countries that are producing our new bulbs?
Mercury is high on the heavy metals list as a carcinogen.
What’s a little mercury added to benzene in the carpet where the baby plays? She’s already got a busy little liver trying to filter out all the other environmental toxins accumulating daily.
Washington should repeal the incandescent bulb ban, however once these bureaucracies and programs are in place they are a bugger to dismantle.
It is surreal trying to get my head around an issue such as this right now. Worry over lightbulbs — must I?
The future may reveal that a jump in the cancer rate can be partially attributed to increased mercury exposure.
It is up to us as individuals to seek out the truth on what affects our health and well-being and make sound choices for our bodies with the same tenacity as when buying a new car.
One question to ask while researching is: "who benefits?" Is it the earth, the public or in the case of energy, maybe the G.E. company which has a big global sandbox and is taking our jobs to China, or someone else?
Fact is, all the U.S.-owned lightbulb manufacturers have been put out of business, jobs gone, doors closed adding yet more people to the public dole who will eventually need cancer treatment.
Whose bright idea was this anyway?
Melinda Scott, Woodinville
A lawyer told me that if someone is caught with marijuana, chances are the police will add "intent to distribute," even in the absence of supporting evidence. The accusation of intent changes the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony.
This fills up our prisons faster than anything I can think of and it is flat-out wrong!
Let’s change the laws on marijuana and regulate its use and make some tax money off it!
Recently I was found with two grams of marijuana while hiking along the trail near Lake Washington. It was an unreasonable search, yet I was taken to King County jail.
The prosecutor declined to press any charges and I was let out of jail the next morning. I still wonder why. I wasn’t hurting anyone.
It was not fair and a waste of money!
Darral Good, Shoreline
PUT SUICIDE RACE OUT TO PASTURE
In 2011, why is a deadly spectacle called "The Omak Suicide Race" still permitted, much less promoted?
Part of the Omak Stampede held in Omak, Wash., the "race" sends horses plummeting 210 feet downhill in an almost vertical drop into the Okanogan River.
Horses frequently end up tumbling and falling down the steep drop after slipping or colliding with other horses.
Many have had to be euthanized after suffering broken legs, necks, backs, shoulders, pelvic bones and knees; some horses have even drowned.
The race has been rightfully condemned by animal protection organizations and caring people around the world.
The Wall Street Journal called the event "The Race Where Horses Die."
Former Mayor Dale Sparber, who admitted that he received 15 to 20 messages a day from people opposed to the race, said that he set up his inbox so that it automatically filtered out e-mail containing the phrase "suicide race" and forwarded it to his "delete" file.
People who don’t think that horses should pay with their lives for entertainment should ask the sponsors of the Stampede — including Wrangler and Pepsi — to pull their support until the Suicide Race is put out to pasture for good.
Colleen Weber Borst, Seattle