“The Olympian” is predictable

July 31st, 2008 by Ken

The one thing you can say about “The Olympian’s” editorial page editor Mike Oakland, is that he’s predictable.   Mike hasn’t found a tax hike he didn’t like and the July 31 edition of “The Olympian” is indicative of his profound love of government tax increases.

In the July 31 editorial, splashed across the top of the page, Oakland says that voters should approve a levy lid lift for Lacey Fire District 3.  It’s a matter of safety, he says.

Yet the editorial does a good job of pointing out the lack of financial restraints of the elected fire commissioners, including the fact that they gave significant pay increases to their unionized fire fighters, while at the same time decreasing the number of hours they have to work.  

And Oakland says it’s a matter of safety.

An accompanying article in the July 31 edition of “The Olympian” says that Fire Commissioner John Christensen was perfectly legal in approving the pay increases, totaling more than 50 percent over the last three years, even though his son Alex Christensen is a firefighter and the secretary of the fire fighters union.

What Christensen did wasn’t illegal, but what about the appearance of fairness?  Where is it fair to give away the taxpayer’s money to his son?  There’s a moral question here.   Christensen should excuse himself from any future discussion or vote on any matter having to do with staffing or pay for the unionized firefighters.

It’s not a question of safety Mike, it’s a question of fairness, of financial restraint, of representing the needs of the people rather than the wants of their employees.  The Lacey Fire District 3 Commissioners have failed in those regards.

Addendum – The Olympian again, under Oakland’s leadership, has endorsed another fire levy, this time for the City of Olympia.  The headline on the editorial read “Olympia needs fire protection.”   The fact of the matter is that fire calls make up less than one percent of all fire calls, and that no matter how fast a department responds to a house fire, it can seldom save the house.  Firefighters concentrate on stopping the fire from spreading to other houses.  So, the difference between an 11 minute response time and a 6 minute response time means very little.  What matters is how fast after the fire starts is the emergency call made.   Approval of the Olympia fire protection levy will not protect anyone against fire or loss from fire.

Posted in Government, Local Politics, The Real News

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