Northwest NEWS

February 21, 2000

Editorial

Commissioners need diversity of opinions

   What kind of society do we have when a duly-elected Woodinville Fire & Life Safety Commissiner cannot state his feelings and beliefs about saving taxpayers' dollars and is removed from a committee (Ethics Committee: see Woodinville Weekly, Feb. 7th issue) as a punishment for speaking out, using his First Amendment right--the right to free speech.

   Commissioners, help me; I do not see where it says in the Constitution of the United States of America that every man woman and child has the right to free speech, except for one certain commissioner on the Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District Board of Commissioners.

   Speaking as a former commissioner, there were times when I did not agree with other commissioners, but I never considered bringing up a motion to censure or remove them from their positions strictly because of their statements and beliefs.

   Since Commissioner Callon has been removed from the Ethics Committee, who will replace him? I hope that that person is sinless. Speaking of ethics, Webster defines it as "the study of standards of conduct and moral judgement," and by this board's actions, it could be applied to anyone who speaks out against them.

   First, it is unethical to write a letter to your constituents, and next, it will be unethical to speak out at a public hearing as a commissioner. Be careful, commissioners or firefighters or citizens, you could be next. Where was it popular, in the not so recent past, that people were punished and put in jail if they were not in step with those in power?

   Why is it popular to attack someone that is trying to help the taxpayers keep some of their hard-earned money? These savings are not going into Commissioner Callon's pocket. It is sad to see someone put down, not for doing something bad, illegal, or immoral, but because his philosophy is different from the other board members.

   We need differing opinions, for without them we will not gain insight or wisdom. Do we need a board of all Dave Callons? No? Neither do we need a board of all Tim Osgoods or Frank Peeps or whoever. We need diversity and we need various voices.

   Dave Callon is the senior member of the board and has earned respect, as he has given many thankless hours for this community and for the Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District. He is and has been a good steward of our money and has worked very hard to bring other non-tax dollars (i.e. cell phone towers) to the department.

   I hope that these silly actions by the board will cease before we lose a person who is not afraid to try to slay the bad dragons of our society. And if we do lose him, what commissioner's head will be the next one on the chopping block and what will be the next freedom that will be stepped on?

Don Eddy, former commissioner, Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District