Monday, April 12, 2010

Makes Me Sick: Firefighters Stick Their Noses Where It Doesn't Belong

A Golder Ranch Fire District (GFRD) fireman lives in my neighborhood.

He's a supporter of Hiremath, Hornat, and Waters. His yard is cluttered with signs. Frankly, it looks like a junk yard.

So, I looked at one of his signs. Here's what I found.

Clearly, the Firefighters PAC is behind Hiremath. They are more than behind him. They are actively campaigning for him. Click here to visit their web site. See for yourself.

On the 17th, they are off to walk Rancho Vistoso with Hiremath.

Swell. Just what we need. Public servants on the street supporting a candidate; using all the respect they have gained as "first responders" and putting it behind a specific candidate.

It makes me sick.

This is an abuse of our trust.

Here's what I'd like to know.

Why have they taken sides? Why pick one candidate over another?

They are, after all, public servants, paid for with our hard earned dollars. I would prefer that they simply sit on the sidelines and let the citizens of Oro Valley make the best decision for themselves. Leave it to us. Get out of the way.

But nooooo....

They gotta stick their nose where it don't belong.

Mike Zinkin has voiced nothing but support for them.

So, I ask, what is the "hidden agenda". Because, there must be one. Otherwise, why would the NWFD firefighters weigh-in and actively solicit votes for Hiremath?

Even more reason to get the word out.

I'm thinkin' Zinkin'


Jay D said...

So I have to wonder...If the firefighters (or any other group) supported Zinkin, would you still be angry and complaining? I have no problem with any group supporting a candidate. It's their right.

artmarth said...

This is another blatant example of public service UNIONS trying to influence OUR election.

I thought it was bad enough when the Oro Valley police union---Fraternal Order Of Police (Lodge #53) came out with its support for the candidates.

Now it's the fire fighters union---the president who happens to be a Captain in the Golder Ranch Fire District.

PLEASE---- Don't let these Special Interest Groups run our town.


It's too important not to.

artmarth said...

Yes Jay, it is their right. That's not the problem.

The problem is not, in this case, the fire fighters supporting the candidates.

It's the candidates that become council members, supporting the fire fighters.

Perhaps you were not one of the thousands of Oro Valley citizens who saw their fire service bills escalate by up to 100% or more, that was precipitated by GRFD fire fighters supporting candidates in 2004, only to see these same candidates, once elected, returning the favor.

That, Jay D is the problem!

cyclone1 said...

Someone please explain to me why the GRFD thing is STILL such a big deal. Homeowner's had to annex into GRFD - meaning they had to sign a petition - which obviously enough people did or the annexations would not have gone through. Now I realize not everyone has to sign and those that did not are forced to abide by the majority decision - but how was this the council's fault? All they did was permit GRFD to solicit signatures and annex the Town complex into the district. GRFD had every right to request this permission and from what I know there was no reason not to allow them to try - same as when Mountain View (?) fire district asked last year. The firefighters union endorsing a candidate is not a vast conspiracy - it's politics as usual. Unions, newspapers, civic groups, etc. etc. (blogs) pick their horses and throw their support behind them. I know Art's answer will be with the blog there is no quid pro quo expected so therefore it's OK - but don't we all expect something from the people we elect in exchage for our vote. Isn't that the essence of campaigning?

ezek said...

Like Jay, I do not see what the problem is with the fire fighter union supporting a specific candidate. Is it not the right of the gentleman with all the signs supporting Hiremath to display them in his front yard just like it is your right to display Zinkin signs in your front yard?

artmarth said...

Cyclone1--- To me, it's a big deal because I was one of thousands of OV homeowners that paid Rural Metro a fee to have fire coverage.

That option was removed by the action precipitated by the OV Council that lead to RM effectively being removed as a fire service option.

As a result, my rates (and thousands of other citizen's rates)escalated dramatically PRIOR to any annexation.

To date, I never signed any petition to be annexed and I still will be in the GRFD without any choice.

Was this a "quid pro quo" by the council members that were supported by GRFD in their election bid?

You tell me.

All Special Interest Groups, whether it be the NPCCC, the police union, the home builders, etc, all expect something in return for their endorsements, support, or contributions.

That may be "business as usual," but we will let the voters know the facts and decide which candidates may be beholden to outside influences.

I can tell you, Mike Zinkin & Matt Rabb won't!

The Zee Man said...

Jay D and Cyclone 1, I am not challenging the Unions "right" to endorse a candidate or my neighbor's or my right to put up a site.

I am asking why the Firefighters are not merely endorsing Hiremath, they are walking the street soliciting votes for Hiremath.

Is he the "Dentist To The Fireman"?

Do they think that he is vastly superior to Mike Zinkin? Or they so afraid of a Mayor Zinkin that they feel so exorcised as to take to the streets?

Or, as Art suggest, is there a hidden agenda that makes them obligated to Hiremath.

They are, after all, not subject to the operations of the town. They have their own taxing district. Why meddle in purely town politics if not for "good" reason.

I simply want to know the reason.

Please Jay D, Cyclone 1 or others... Please enlighten me.

Jay D said...

This post is an example of the disservice this blog often does to the community. The headline alone is disgusting...It's quite the exaggeration to say "Makes Me Sick: Firefighters Stick Their Noses Where It Doesn't Belong." This is a free country, with free speech. How can this make you sick? And who is to say that their noses are in a place they don't belong? Ridiculous.

Art, you say this: "Perhaps you were not one of the thousands of Oro Valley citizens who saw their fire service bills escalate by up to 100% or more..." This is another exaggeration. Speaking personally, not only did my fire bill not escalate at all, but now that it's part of my property tax bill, I can deduct it from my taxes! The only people out there who might be seeing a 100% increase in their fire service fees are those who previously chose NOT to pay for fire service and risked paying the charges associated with putting out a fire!

Zee Man, you state "I am asking why the Firefighters are not merely endorsing Hiremath, they are walking the street soliciting votes for Hiremath." Why the heck are you asking the posters on this blog? If this makes you sick and concerns you, then go to the source...ask the firefighters! Any response on this blog to your question is mere conjecture and probably inaccurate!

As blog owners, you certainly can post whatever you want. But at the same time, you should do your homework and present facts, not misleading statements or ask questions that are easily answered by the people involved!

Victorian Cowgirl said...

Jay D,

First you say that the headline "is disgusting." Then you say, "This is a free country, with free speech."

Well, the headline falls under free speech.

Then you claim that Art was exaggerating when he said that thousands of OV citizens saw their fire service bills increase by 100%. Art is correct on this. I remember the citizen uproar over this fire service change and the resulting doubling of our bills.

I don't know why your bill was not affected, but mine was and it DOUBLED.

You claim that "The only people out there who might be seeing a 100% increase in their fire service fees are those who previously chose NOT to pay for fire service."

Wrong. I previously PAID FOR fire service with Rural Metro and I was FORCED into GRFD.

artmarth said...

Jay D--- Are you familiar with the OV community known as the Air Park?

These folks live on 7 acre minimum parcels, and were annexed into OV a few years ago.

They voted to be annexed after hearing all the promises from Loomis and others about the benefits they would see.

Well---one "benefit" they weren't told about was the fact that Rural Metro Fire was forced out of Oro Valley.

Why not ask the homeowners about their fire service rates offered by GRFD?

Actually----you don't have to. I'll tell you. They were looking at increases of 300%.

Self insurance was their only reasonable answer.

'nough said!

Jay D said...

Here's an interesting mystery...Earlier today, in a Zee Man post he claimed that I probably did not switch my fire insurance and that "all" people who were originally with Rural Metro saw their bills double. There was more, but of course I don't remember...I responded to him, callling him "Dude" as he had me...(Sounded like he wanted to duel.) My response was clear and full of accurate information, unlike Zee Man's. For instance, my fire service did switch from Rural Metro to Golder Ranch and my total bill is about the same. This is true for many of my friends!

So where did the Zee Man's post go? And where is my response to him?

It seems to me that he was called out on many inaccuracies and chose to delete his post rather than correct his errors!

VC, you say "Then you claim that Art was exaggerating when he said that thousands of OV citizens saw their fire service bills increase by 100%. Art is correct on this. I remember the citizen uproar over this fire service change and the resulting doubling of our bills." Where are your facts? I am sorry that your bill doubled, but I see absolutely NO evidence that thousands of people saw their fire service bills increase by 100%.

If in fact your fire service bill truly doubled, I stand corrected. But I can tell you that mine showed no change and neither did many people I know! Certainly, I didn't survey thousands of people or gain access to town research like Art must have done to make such claims.

artmarth said...

Jay D--- I'll solve your "mystery."

I unintentionally deleted The Zeeman's comment, and as such, intentionally removed yours.

You also recall, I'm sure that our new policy implemented "monitored comments."

It is up to us what we feel contributes to the blog. As you are well aware, we have allowed your comments to be posted, not because they add anything of substance, but in the interest of allowing you to be heard.

Keep in mind, if you have nothing to add as far as substance, your comments will not be published.

Opposing points of view are acceptable. Yours totally lack any substance.

As for the fire service rate hike, not everyone got increases. Keep in mind, OV homes are generally a lot more expensive than neighboring communities. The higher the assessed valuation, the bigger the rate hike the property owners saw.

It was no longer the size of the HOME, but the assessed value of the whole PROPERTY. (That's what "screwed" the Air Park people.)

That Jay D are the facts!

James said...

I certainly can understand the reasons behind your initiating monitored comments. However, I believe that you are doing a disservice to your readership by deciding what posts merit "adding to substance" as Art told Jay D. Doesn't each differing point of view offer merit? (I will acknowledge that at times earlier postings and their comments became attacks and were vicious and personal in nature and I agreed when the blogmasters removed the comments.) One of the reasons that I enjoy reading this blog is because of the differing point of views that surface during any discussion. However, since comments have been moderated, there seems to be less differing points of views and more of a group think mentality to the posts.
Perhaps those who moderate this will feel that it isn't adding to the discussion, but I wanted to air my views.

artmarth said...

James--- Thanks for your comment. When we took the action of going to monitored comments, we knew it would curtail the number of bloggers and the number of comments.

We only took this action out of necessity.

Perhaps, we will consider reverting back to where we were for the first three years of our blog, to see if those very few will learn to abide by OUR rules.

You may have noticed, although the comments have diminished, we still allow alternate points of view.

We won't promise you---but, we will consider your suggestion, and appreciate your comment.

Sheldon said...

I am a new poster, but have been reading this blog for years. I agree with James...This blog has lost something since the "comment moderation has been enabled."

Victorian Cowgirl said...

I actually prefer the blog the way it is now, with monitored comments. It saves me a lot of time since I no longer have to filter through caustic attacks and utter nonsense to get to the point of the person's argument.

Those who reveled in personal attacks were repeatedly warned to stop and they didn't. Now they have no voice on this blog at all.

If a person doesn't suffer the consequences of his behavior, then he has no reason to change his behavior.

So now they have a choice to make...change their behavior or suffer the consequence of not being heard at all.

artmarth said...

Sheldon--- As a long time reader, and 1st time blogger, I'm sure you're aware of why we saw fit to monitor the comments.

We would have preferred not to, but we did what we felt we had to do.

While others share your opinion, "Cowgirl." for example likes it better this way.

One last really important issue: We are not keeping records, but the overwhelming majority of the comments we get are posted.

In your case, the comment was posted just over an hour later.

Only one blogger to date has not seen fit to follow the rules, and has in essence lost his audience.

That one individual was primarily the reason why the "monitored comments" went into effect.

Hope you'll see fit to comment in the future.

Oro Valley Mom said...

I have to agree with Cowgirl. The blog is much easier to read and people are sticking to the points better with the monitoring in place. And Art IS allowing opposing views. Most of the posts on this thread are opposing views. I dont' see the problem.

I do understand Art's issue with special interest groups, especially those like the public safety unions who have a track record of supporting candidates who will extract more money out of me to give to them. No, there's nothing wrong with unions and their tactics, but it tells me everything I need to know about the candidates they support.

Anonymous said...

I have been employed with the fire service for many years; still am. I can tell you that fire department unions have done more to corrupt our communities than any other special interest group. Do the firefighters have the right to back a dentist and post signs in their yards? You bet, and we would be treading a very slippery slope if we said otherwise.

However, the community is clearly watching. This is what I am most enjoying. For years firefighter unions have been under the radar and now their political activism in raising eyebrows. I love that you have posted this article.

Why would firefighters support Hiremath? Usually unions try to win a majority council or board with candidates that support them. In this way, when firefighters ask for more money, time off, etc., it gets the head nod of those who elected them.

Make no mistake about it, local firefighters unions and the International Association of Firefighters are very politically active. Please click this link to see that clearly 74% of firefighter unions dues support Democrat candidates:

Also, for a very interesting read to see how fire department unions are bankrupting our communities, read:

What should someone do about this? Show up to your local Golder Ranch Board fire board meetings and clearly tell the elected board members that you do not condone the labor management process and that it is a waste of your tax money. It is. Managers are competent and co-management is not necessary.

Let's face it, there may have been a historical time when unions were necessary in sweat shops. Today's firefighter with a high school diploma makes $50,000 (Captains make +$80,000). Firefighters may retire at 20 years and draw 50% of their salary for the rest of their life. Most firefighters are hired are young, which means when I retire at 45 years of age, you the taxpayer get to work the rest of your life to pay my pension.

Did I mention that firefighters work 10 days per month, hold second jobs, and have some of the best benefits packages in the nations (health).

On balance, most firefighters are honorable and do a great job serving their communities. They initially join unions because they are young and impressionable. The union leaders and their ilk in are the monsters.

Pay very close attention to who firefighters support. I did not vote for Mary Snider for exactly this reason. I did not know a thing about her other than the fire department was supporting her. That was all I needed to hear. You can be for fire department community service and firefighters, but still not condone special interest unionism. You just have to be intelligent enough to separate the two.

Zinkin has my vote.


Nombe Watanabe said...

Cowgirl does not like "utter nonsense". First, why is she against cows? Second, nonsense is what made this blog worth reading. OVOT's fact free ramblings, and the Jihad against the OV Police department issuing traffic tickets helped pass many a day. I, for one, miss it.

N. Watanabe, blogger emeritus.