Well, it is official. With 468 or so signatures on a recall petition, the status of Commissioners, Fish and Rudebaugh becomes shaky. The key in this election issue is why people signed the petition. If as some claim, it was due to a false accusation of violations of the open meeting laws, then their jobs are probably safe.
My take on this though, is that the public is stirred up and righteously indignant over the transfer of management to another larger fire district. In our area, people are pretty conservative when it comes to local control. Even if it makes fiscal sense, the management contract puts control of assets and training into the hands of a department that is answerable to taxpayers from another area. This issue is going to bite the district in the butt, unless they promptly draw new district lines, allowing the higher population areas the proper amount of representation. We have a fresh census to draw on and accurate planning would go a long way toward equality.
While I have not taken a position on the recall, I certainly believe strongly that a move of that magnitude needed to go before the voters. Simply laying out what the per $1000 increase in taxes would entail in real money, rather than generalizations presented by the board of commissioners, would have been useful. While nothing can be done this year, I suspect that the commission, of whatever makeup, will let the voters choose their poison next time around.
Another related issue, is that Bayview, probably the largest venue in assessed valuation in Timberlake fire district, no longer has a commissioner. At the resignation of Kirk Quillan, a person from little blacktail, an enclave of maybe 30 families, if that,and even in another county, has been given that seat. While the law requires representation of the minority county membership, it doesn't intend to disenfranchise a population of the size of Bayview, including Cape Horn. I predict that this issue, once people become aware of it, will over shadow the other issue of management.
At this point the sides are drawn up pretty much with Bayview and Athol facing each other across a line of scrimmage, with issues that strongly differ from each other. This, of course will eventually play out, but not before a lot of blood is spilled, (figuratively, of course) Then there is the issue, of who would serve, knowing the can of worms that they would inherit. Unfortunately in these situations, thinking, principled candidates avoid, and power hungry individuals triumph through default.
The results of the November election will be very interesting. I wish the district well, but have strong reservations as to the purposes and goals of the serving commissioners.
Editorial Letter from Lee Zimmer
13 hours ago