Firefighter shares views on CWFD master plan
Thank you for giving my views and opinions on the Camas-Washougal Fire Department Master Plan a bigger voice and platform.
I truly love this city, and I really do want the fire department to have to a minimum of three paid personnel on all engines at all times — without any cross-staffing.
A couple things that came up in the Camas City Council workshop on Dec. 2 that bothered me:
1.) An emphasis placed on volunteers. A volunteer/student program is a valuable asset to any fire department, but should be prioritized after three-person staffing on engines is achieved. They should augment the career staff instead of occupying a seat on a fire engine that could’ve been staffed with a career firefighter.
2.) The ECSI financial analyst who stated the “problem” with the fire department budget are the salaries. While it is true that personnel costs make up the overwhelming majority of the budget, that’s true in almost every fire department around. It is absolutely not a problem that these highly trained individuals are paid a decent family wage salary for putting their life on the line all the time. A lot of people would say, “you can’t pay me enough to do that” when referring to fire/EMS.
Reader responds to Post-Record editorial about heated election season
In reference to the Dec. 12, 2019 editorial, “Lesson from a heated election season,” which stated that the voters should rely upon “facts in local newspapers like the Post-Record and our sister paper, the Columbian … before making critical decisions that will impact this community well into the future,” allow me to list the facts as I see them:
Fact 1: The Camas City Council voted unanimously to place on the November 2019 ballot Proposition 2 with the intent of spending not more than $78 million to construct an indoor pool/recreation facility and to renovate existing city parks. A pro-Prop 2 statement was submitted and a consultant group was paid by the city to provide “fact” information to the citizens.
Fact 2: A very small group of concerned Camas voters believed that the $78 million was an excessive amount, among other concerns, and submitted a con-Prop 2 statement. They then proceeded on a grassroots level to get the “no” message out to citizens by writing letters to the editor and purchasing “no” yard signs. For full disclosure, I personally made a $20 donation for several signs to give to my neighbors (I am probably a portion of the $300 anonymous donations alluded to in the Dec. 12 editorial).
Fact 3: The vote was taken in November. The results tabulated. Prop 2 went down in a decisive defeat. The election process worked. The citizens spoke. They are not the enemy.
Fact 4: The Camas City Council will have many important issues come before them in 2020. We, the citizens, elected the council to represent us and perform their due diligence on every issue. This implies a thorough study of each issue by gathering all the information that is currently available, asking the hard questions and waiting, if necessary, for satisfactory answers from the staff. It is a demanding responsibility but well worth the effort.