New fire department leadership deserves support | Letter to the Editor

I wanted to put a letter out regarding the newest fire levy. I am sure many will disagree with my thought process, and I will gladly embrace that. This is America and we should be allowed to disagree in a civil manner.

  • Friday, April 22, 2016 12:54pm
  • Opinion

I wanted to put a letter out regarding the newest fire levy. I am sure many will disagree with my thought process, and I will gladly embrace that. This is America and we should be allowed to disagree in a civil manner.

To start, I voted no on the last fire levy. I will never be under the assumption that because someone is a firefighter, police officer, or soldier, they deserve more money. For credibility’s sake, this is coming from a OIF veteran (Operation Iraqi Freedom) who hails from a long line of war veterans and civil servants. I enforce fiscal responsibility within the company that I work for, and I expect our public servants to do the same. The last fire levy, in my opinion, sounded like the story I have heard so many times from various folks: I had a big chunk of change, I blew it, I ran up a credit card bill, and now I need a raise. There is no way I will endorse, accept, vote yes for, or embrace a leadership team that behaves the way the EFDs previous leadership team did.

Fast forward now to a new chief, a semi-new leadership board, and a few less firefighters who are handed the exact opposite of what the previous team was handed: a brutal combination of an accelerated demand for their most critical services, but little finance to pay for their required upcoming equipment replacements while trying to keep a minimum amount of life saving personnel on the clock.

As a citizen, I was interested in the new board positions. I asked the chief if I could take a few minutes of his time to understand the details of the position. Instead of a few minutes, he gave me a few hours. Throughout my conversation with Chief Fehr I realized that we now have a man of integrity and principal who truly wanted to give the citizens of Enumclaw the best bang for their buck. He is interested in making sure his employees are getting the equipment necessary (and legally required) to do their job, and that the citizens of Enumclaw have access to his employees when they needed them. In addition, as a lifelong resident of the area, he has a vested interest in quality care. I walked away convinced that Chief Fehr was open and transparent with me in not only his facts and figures, but also his intentions (a rare but treasured trait). For the record, I did not officially put an application packet in for the position and I truly do appreciate Chief Fehr’s willingness to meet with me.

In my lifetime, I have never voted yes for a tax increase. I’ve either felt they weren’t necessary (after reading into the details), or I felt they were presented in a manner that was missing transparency (i.e. the previous fire levy or last years’ school levy). For this levy, I feel that we have no choice. The EFD’s (Enumclaw Fire Department) previous leadership team made some pretty bad decisions in the last decade and we are all suffering because of it. While it frustrates me to no end to know that the money myself, my parents, and my grandparents paid to help out with these expenses was splurged, I recognize that these decisions were not made by our current leadership, and they still have legal requirements to meet.

As a community, I challenge us to recognize that we have a new leadership team at the EFD and give them the support they need. Many will say they need the money because they are heroes. Some will say that they need it so our home insurance rates don’t go up. I am likely with a minority group that doesn’t care about these matters. I am voting yes because if I don’t, the many citizens in our community who need access to life saving care will not get it. Meaning when they call 911, the ambulance or fire truck just might not show up in time.

To the EFD, I challenge you in another way: I am personally thankful for the group of citizens who exposed the financial decisions in the past, even if I disagree with the tone in which they did it. I ask that if this levy passes, you make decisions that don’t require the use of that groups services again. Understand that many citizens are going to be put in a tough place financially over this lid lift. A latte a month could be the difference between making it and not making it for a few. Consider these matters are serious as they sound and recognize them in every aspect of your financial decision making.

Thankfully, I’m confident you’re already doing this.

Curtis Twiggs


More in Opinion

Trickle-down equation may not add up, Dems say

A tax overhaul plan drawn up by Republicans in Congress will be a good deal for many households, though not every one, or nearly every one, as promised by its authors.

America’s monster

I’m not sure when it happened, but I recently realized I’ve stopped asking myself, “What are we going to do about mass shootings and gun violence in this country?” Instead, I now ask, “When is the carnage going to come to Enumclaw?”

Avoiding loss means more than gaining something else

Some studies have shown that losses are twice as psychologically powerful as gains. American history and our current political situation help reveal a great deal about the American/human psyche.

Congratulations, Jan Molinaro

In every election, one person must win and the other will lose. Now more than ever, it is important to show our children how to be gracious in victory and humble in defeat.

Don’t give into the pressure of driving drowsy

Eleven years ago, a drowsy-driving car wreck left me with injuries that still challenge me today.

Opening our minds can be a beautiful thing

As a leader of my church’s Sunday Adult Forum, I had a goal: to put a human face on Islam for the members of the congregation and community.

Baxley and Young should have showed up at public forum

On Tuesday, October 17th, was the Black Diamond Maple Valley Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum, where the Black Diamond candidates for Mayor and two City Council positions had the opportunity to talk with the citizens of Black Diamond, and to answer questions put to them by these citizens.

Issues to be addressed in Enumclaw elections

Who should I vote for in the Enumclaw City Council and mayoral races?

Enumclaw helped raise $3,500 for Special Olympics

The last couple of weekends the St. Barbara Knights of Columbus have been involved with our annual Tootsie Roll Program.

Court grapples with school funding

When the legal battle on education funding returned to the state Supreme Court Tuesday, the leader of Washington’s public school system was closely monitoring this installment of the McCleary drama from his office down the street.

Baxley is an important choice for Black Diamond mayor

Judy Baxley has been part of our local civics for years, and thank goodness because citizen involvement is critical to monitoring big developers.

Enumclaw chamber board supports Molinaro for mayor

In an election with significant consequences that will largely shape the future of our community, Enumclaw voters have a clear choice for mayor.