King County Fire District 28 must live within budget | Letter

Attending the “citizens meeting” the other night, I was amazed to see about two-thirds of the attendees being firemen; not all of them being from Enumclaw. The voters there were intimidated by this overwhelming influx of the firefighters. This did not set well with a number of those in attendance.

I noticed the “large” ad for our local politics, Fire Proposition 1 support sponsored by the firefighters union. I have no problem with the idea of funding our EMS and fire department. I will always support the people that put themselves in harm’s way for me, my family and friends and fellow citizens. I just don’t like the idea of how the union is going about this. The union is fighting for the jobs here and if there are less jobs, their dues will be smaller. A core problem with public sector unionism is that it creates a uniquely powerful interest group. In theory, bureaucrats are supposed to work for and be accountable to the elected representatives of the people. But suppose those bureaucrats organize into large, well-funded, powerful unions that can tip election results. In effect, public sector unionism thus means that representatives of the union will often be on both sides of the collective bargaining table like with our KCFD 28 commissioners. Not just influencing pay but how our dollars are spent in the department.

Now this particular meeting was basically against this proposition and yes it was biased. They kept bringing up the bad decisions that have been made in the past and that everyone is aware of. The past is not our future.

I believe in our American voting system. Let the people decide. But not like this. Not when they do not even mention that which has created the issue. The issue being that they need this money to replace what was unwisely spent. I would like to see more needed equipment, like new air packs, than buying a piece of land for a new fire station that is not needed at this time. Sell the land and buy the equipment.

It would appear to me that our KCFD 28 is trying very hard to pull the wool over the noninformed voter. And I do not agree with it. In the past I have fully supported the fire departments. But, our economy is forcing us to look at the financial responsibilities we have as citizens and to recognize that we cannot just keep saying “yes” to everything. It’s our money, it needs to be handled appropriately. The fire department raises were mandated by the union agreement, did the voters get a raise – I doubt it. They increased their own expenses. Without consideration of the voters. You may be able to afford to keep turning your dollars over to them, but I cannot, and neither can the voters of KCFD 28.

We all have to live on a budget; let’s make KCFD live within their budget. We need citizens on the fire board that will reflect the view of the voters.

Keith Mathews