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Letters to the Editor - May 30, 2011

  • Written by Readers

Time to speak up

I’ve been a Woodinville firefighter for almost 18 years, and I wanted to add my two cents to last week’s article (May 23, "Fire Brass, Union Go Toe to Toe") regarding firefighters’ dispute with WF&R Fire Chief I. David Daniels and the fire commission.

We firefighters have seen significant changes in our fire service over the last year and a half, and we’re not simply carping about the addition of administrators as we watch critical fire services being cut.

We are sincerely concerned about our ongoing ability to provide fire and emergency medical services to the community and we are concerned about the solvency of the fire district based on the district’s own numbers. We will continue to be vocal because we’re adamant about serving and protecting the citizens of Woodinville.

Other fire departments in the county, state, and nation are consolidating districts to eliminate overlap and waste in administration in order to keep more firefighters on the street. The Woodinville Fire District is actually cutting firefighters while adding new administrative positions that have never even existed in this district.

It’s well past time to re-prioritize the budget to reinstate the fire district’s focus on the delivery of fire and emergency medical services to the citizens of Woodinville.

Incidentally, the Woodinville fire district is set to begin interviewing candidates on June 7 for an Emergency Manager, another new full-time administrative position.

I invite you and all of your readers to come to the Board of Fire Commissioners Meeting on the evening of Monday, June 6, at 5 p.m. at Station 31 (17718 Wood/Snohomish Road) to voice your opinion about this and other issues facing the fire district.

Paul Peterson, treasurer, Local 2950 Woodinville Firefighters

 

Woodinville firefighters cancel time off

Recently, Woodinville firefighters were able to keep a fire engine in service by canceling their scheduled time off.

Six firefighters from Woodinville Fire and Rescue will transfer to the Kirkland Fire Department as a result of the recent annexation. Although the annexation does not occur until June 1, Woodinville Fire and Rescue Chief I. David Daniels sent the six firefighters to Kirkland effective May 16 so they could receive orientation and training from their new employer. The chief also decided to reduce the staffing at Station 34 for this two-week period from three firefighters to two. This action would have placed Engine 34 out of service but would maintain operations for Aid Unit 34. This meant that the Kingsgate and Hollywood Hill residents would be without the protection of a fire engine for two weeks.

When the fire fighters of Woodinville Fire and Rescue heard that area residents would be without a fire engine, they quickly mobilized to fix the situation. About a dozen firefighters canceled their time off in order to increase the staffing level at Station 34 from May 16 to June 1.

If there is available time off on the calendar, they will be able to reschedule this time for later in the year.

Several of the firefighters needed to cancel other plans and obligations they had in order to make this happen. This sacrifice compensated for the early transfer of the firefighters to Kirkland, ensured that the area residents were adequately covered in case of a fire-related emergency and was cost neutral to Woodinville Fire and Rescue.

Tad Wineman, Battalion Chief, E-board, Local 2950

 

Letter is fascinating and appalling

The May 16th letter-to-the-editor about more administrators than firefighters was both fascinating and appalling, especially in view of a Seattle Times recently published "Highest Paid City of Seattle Employees" of which 14 of 20 of the highest paid were fire department chiefs.

Their gross annual pay ranged between $199,236 and $238,919. (It would be educational to local taxpayers if the Woodinville Weekly would publish the gross annual pay of Woodinville district chiefs, as well as administrators and firefighters who are non-chiefs.)

I understand that firefighters are able to condense their work weeks into a couple of days at the station, because they eat and sleep at the station, with all time counted as work.

I’ll bet the average taxpayer would endorse lowering firefighters’ wages and benefits, especially in outlying areas where there are few, if any, industrial-type fires and a preponderance of emergency-assistance calls having nothing to do with fires.

Maxine Keesling. via e-mail

 

Trail rules need to be posted

As a long time resident and someone who has literally logged thousands of miles on the Sammamish River Trail (running, walking and biking), I’ve seen more accidents in the last few months than in the last 20 years. This is due mainly to the large number of new users who have no idea of the rules that used to govern the use of the trail. There used to be signs at each trail entrance with the rules pertaining to the trail. They specifically said: 15 mph speed limit, all users STAY TO THE RIGHT, pedestrians have the right of way. Bikers should announce when passing and King County helmet law BOH 9.10.010(A) is in effect.

I’ve sent letters to King County Parks without response. Can’t Woodinville do something to help families be safe on the trail?

Perhaps this would be a good Rotary project if there aren’t public funds available.

With summer coming (even though that’s hard to believe), it would be great to get everyone over to the right and not be grazed by speeding bikers who come flying by you without announcing themselves.

The trail is being used by more and more families and should be governed by safety regulations to help avoid accidents.

Streets are a better place for "Tour de France" training than a trail where children are learning to ride with training wheels. We really miss the signs.

Bill Phillips, Woodinville

 

Black bears in Bear Creek Valley

I just had the biggest black bear I have seen since moving here in 1957, wandering around my lawn and garden. He looks well fed, but certainly is foraging. I live on Bear Creek near the Woodinville-Duvall Road.

Needless to say, we have always had bears and are used to them. However, with the shrinking habitat and poor food supply, the bears are becoming bolder and more desperate. It would be good to alert folks in the Upper Bear Creek area to watch their bird feeders, as that is a big source of food for these bears.

Wendy Walsh, Bear Creek Farm, Woodinville

 

Countywide Community Forums

While some bright spots are emerging in our local economy, many communities continue to feel economic distress and local governments continue to deal with budget shortfalls that include cuts in services and vital programs.

Citizens throughout King County are asking the question, "How can we do better, especially in those communities hit hardest by the recession?"

Your county leaders want to hear from you about what you need to be safe, healthy, and successful – no matter where you live, your income level, your age, or ethnic background.That is why Countywide Community Forums (CCF) is providing both neighborhood-based forums and online tools for you to share your opinions with county decision-makers. This process is designed to give you an easy, educational, and enjoyable opportunity to be heard on important issues.

Community values and hands-on democracy have been a passion of mine for over 40 years. Our sense of community is about how we connect to each other and influence larger social trends through the choices we make. CCF is about making the democratic process more accessible and using technology in ways that strengthen our civic infrastructure ... . You can take the online survey and learn more at CommunityForums.org or call toll free at (800) 369-2584.

Dick Spady, co-founder and president, Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.

 

Postal workers are heroes

The postal food drive is very important in the life of a food bank. Our holiday donations are depleted and summer is right around the corner. We are deeply grateful to everyone who gave so generously to this food drive. We collected nearly 10,000 lbs. of food which will help us this summer. We are very grateful to the postal workers who take time to collect the food on their routes. We know it takes a lot of extra time to pick it up and make extra room in your trucks. You are our heroes. Thank you everyone who helped extend limited budgets with good food.

Fran Walster, Maltby Food Bank Director

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