New commissioner at WF&R

  • Written by Don Mann
Woodinville Fire Commissioner Gerry Vucci. Photo courtesy WF
Former Woodinville Fire & Rescue volunteer Gerry Vucci was appointed to fill the board position vacated when Commissioner Randy Ransom resigned in June. Vucci was selected by unanimous vote after the board interviewed five candidates at its August 1 meeting, and will serve the remainder of Ransom’s term which will expire in 2013.

"Gerry’s been involved with the district for a long time," WF&R board chair Tim Osgood said. "He’s been a regular attendee of commissioners’ meetings and is knowledgeable and passionate about the issues. We think he’ll be a great fit."

Vucci sat down with the Woodinville Weekly recently for a Q & A session:

WW: How long have you lived in Woodinville?

GV: I’ve been a resident for 13 years, since 1998.

WW: Where are you employed?

GV: I am a technical service representative for Sound Propeller Systems LLC in Seattle. We work on propulsion systems for large vessels including Washington State ferries.

WW: What is your experience related to fire service?

GV: Other than being a volunteer in Southern California for many years I was the lead advisor for the Woodinville Fire Explorer program and I ran their firefighter rehabilitation program for four and a half years. I’m also a CERT instructor.

WW: What types of things were you asked in your interview?

GV: Mostly it dealt with finance and what’s ahead in the district as far as what we can finance and what we can’t, and what were my priorities. There were no definitives. It wasn’t like ‘If you had $700,000 what would you spend it on?’ There was also a question related to the Medic One levy, the basic life support provided by King County, and what would happen if that went away. They were generalities to see if you’re paying attention to what’s going on in the current economic climate in relation to the current economic climate of the district.

WW: These are challenging days at the district. What makes this job attractive to you?

GV: I’ve probably been to almost every commissioner meeting in maybe five years ... One of the things I said at the beginning of my interview is service is a calling and I like to serve. Like I said, if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem. Sitting here at meetings and watching the progression — the good and the bad — I threw my hat in the ring.

WW: What was your reaction to the union’s no confidence vote?

GV: I was surprised ... As much as I’m informed of what’s going on in the district I didn’t see it coming. I’ve tried to be unbiased — I have a lot of friends in the district and those friends are important to me. But to me it looked like they’d had enough, and whether they were or were not getting the response (they wanted) I believe that’s why they did it.

The hard part for me is we only get to see one side. We don’t have all the information. I wasn’t involved in the executive sessions or the other meetings between labor and management and the commissioners. But I’ll reiterate: I was surprised. Personally I can understand why they did it because I believe they had had enough.

WW: Do you know the chief personally?

GV: Just briefly through the meetings. We were introduced. The first year he was here I changed his air pack at the firefighter stair climb, but my only real interaction has been at the commissioner meetings. So, no, I wouldn’t say I know him personally.

WW: Some say district morale is at an all-time low. How does that change?

GV: It has to change from within, where everyone is working together.

There are struggles in everyday life, especially with this economy ... but it has to be a good place to work. There are extremely talented people here, and I was fortunate to be around them for a long time. But there has to be something positive about going to work and it doesn’t seem labor is enjoying coming to work. I can’t tell you why but the animus is palpable and there must be some reasons for it ... but it takes two or three to tango and it can’t be all commissioners, all management or all labor.

WW: How does it feel to be on the other side of the dais?

GV: I was extremely nervous the first night, I’ll admit it. Most of that was because I didn’t have a pen or a pad and they swore me in immediately and suddenly I was sitting up front after sitting in the back row all those years ... But I don’t mind that. Teaching in front of CERT classes or community service events I don’t have a problem being in front of people. It’s just not where I prefer to be. I’m a working guy; I like to work.


Hands on at National Night Out Against Crime

  • Written by Don Mann


Under the supervision of Officer Grijalva of the King County Bomb Squad, a young Kenmore boy uses remote control to manipulate the iRobot 510 Packbot, a tactical mobile robot used to neutralize explosive devices, at Kenmore City Hall during its National Night Out Against Crime event on Tuesday. It was a fun evening for the community with free pizza and refreshments, activities such as fingerprinting and ID cards for kids, and crime prevention information to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

PSRC steers $7 million to projects in Bothell, Kenmore

  • Written by Don Mann

Bothell and Kenmore will receive a combined $7 million for transportation improvements via action taken last week by the Puget Sound Regional Council.

"Helping communities secure federal transportation funding is one of the key roles of the PSRC," said PSRC President Josh Brown. "These projects rose to the top on their merits and can not only deliver improvements for the future but help grow jobs in the near term."

Bothell was granted $4 million for construction of its SR 522 multimodal corridor improvements as well as $535,000 for construction of a replacement bridge at 240th Street SE, while Kenmore was awarded $2.5 million for right-of-way acquisition for its SR 522 improvements.

"It’s terrific news and I believe it makes a positive statement about our project and our record of fiscal management," Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb said.

He said the $4 million would be directed toward Bothell’s Crossroads Project of realigning state routes 522 and 527.

Kenmore City Engineer Ron Loewen said the funds will pay for all right-of-way acquisition on the last portion of the SR 522 overhaul, which will occur from the western city limits bordering Lake Forest Park to 65th Ave. NE, involving 27 parcels. A design team has been preparing plans over the last several years and the city will begin the right-of-way process late this year and complete acquisition in the spring of next year, Loewen said. The overall project cost is $23.1 million.

PSRC develops policies and coordinates decisions about regional growth, transportation and economic development planning within King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. The council is composed of over 80 entities, including all four counties, cities and towns, ports, state and local transportation agencies and tribal governments within the region. In 2012, PSRC will select projects for the roughly $400 million in federal funds the region can expect to receive over the next few years.



Talmas new Woodinville mayor

  • Written by Don Mann
TalmasIt took two rounds of votes to get it done, but former Deputy Mayor Bernie Talmas is now mayor of Woodinville, replacing Chuck Price who resigned two weeks ago and has reportedly taken employment elsewhere.

Before round one Talmas nominated Councilmember Jeff Glickman for the position, Glickman nominated Talmas and Councilmember Scott Hageman nominated Councilmember Liz Aspen.

Glickman voted for Glickman, Councilmember Paulette Bauman voted for Talmas, Talmas voted for Glickman, Hageman voted for Aspen, Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders voted for Talmas and Aspen voted for Aspen, forging a 2-2-2 stalemate and a runoff.

In round two Glickman voted for Talmas, Bauman voted for Talmas, Talmas voted for Talmas, Hageman voted for Aspen, Boundy-Sanders voted for Talmas and Aspen voted for Aspen.

Talmas was elected 4-2, and Glickman was then elected deputy mayor by a 4-2 vote, and both will serve a two-year term.

Earlier in the meeting, after prolonged debate on whether or not Price’s handpicked successor on council would serve until the General Election on November 8 of 2011 or throughout the expiration of his term in 2013, the council chose to let King County officials make that determination.

Meanwhile, council will accept applications for the vacated position until September 26 and public interviews will take place at the October 3 city council meeting.

It floats — you don’t

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Life vest ordinance appears to be working

The ordinance passed just last month requiring personal flotation devices (PFDs — a.k.a life jackets) on major King County rivers appears to be working. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit estimates about two-thirds of all persons on the rivers are wearing life jackets. This is up "significantly" from prior years, according to deputies who regularly patrol the rivers. Since the ordinance became effective on July 1, sheriff’s deputies have issued over 100 written warnings, but no $86 infractions.

"This tells me the program is working," said Sheriff Sue Rahr. "Since we haven’t found any repeat offenders, the education process seems to be sinking in. And that’s our goal — to educate the public about the danger of the rivers and get voluntary compliance."

Warnings have been issued to floaters using inner tubes, small boats, inflatable rafts, a large pool toy and a "white and blue inflatable chair."

The ordinance only applies to unincorporated areas, but river users who go into the river in a city, then float into unincorporated King County, are subject to the ordinance.

Anecdotally, most of the people warned are in their 20s and live in the metropolitan Seattle area, rather than rural King County.

"The majority of rivers in King County are still running fairly fast and cold. With the weather expected to be good this weekend, folks should be reminded of the life preserver requirement," said Rahr.