Chill for a while and save a life.

Is the weather getting too hot for you? Need a cool place to go for an hour?

How about dropping by the local blood bank? There is a critical need for all types of blood and platelets.

It would be a real shame for a loved one to not have this easy to donate liquid of life.

And, free cookies, juice and smiles with every visit!!

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When Prop One was rejected in April, many reasons for the failure were mentioned. But a common thread was the $53.7 million dollar price tag.

 

And those voters I spoke with expressed a bit of surprise it was so high, saying they may have voted for a lower bond.

 

But none of the people said, since it was presented as everything was essential, remove this item or that expense.

 

So what will the voters think if the fire district presents a $39 million dollar bond (sounds better than $40, doesn’t it?) and cuts out several major suddenly-not-essential costs?

 

The reason I ask is that is exactly what was approved last night.

 

Kicking several essentials expenses down the road, spending millions to remodel an existing station for fleet maintenance now just to build a whole new one later. And removing the boat from public vote altogether.

 

 

Let me hear from you.

 

 

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It is real dry this year. This sign appeared on the corner and I just had to share it.

It is really a twofer. First, save the fine, second, save putting out some nasty fire.

Des Moines Fireworks

 

 

 

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Have you had the chance to drop by my VoteJerry.net campaign website yet?

 

Please check it out. Schedule of events and other informative pages.

Also, read the latest article by Bob Roegner in the Federal Way Mirror.

Sounds like he is feeling a bit bullied by some of the commissioners.

What do you think of the article?

 

Can you help spread the word?
Signs, advertising, printed materials and booths at local markets all cost money.
Donations accepted.
Vote Jerry Galland
POBOX 1843
Milton, WA 98354
Get Involved!

 

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Captain Jeff Bellinghausen gave a presentation at the SKF&R commissioners meeting Tuesday and a disappointing statistic was cited.

 

The location of only 10-12% of all Automated External Defibrillators purchased in King County are known to 911 dispatchers.

 

Nearly 90% of these lifesaving tools are in the community, but may not be available when seconds count.

 

King County has the highest survival rate in the state for sudden cardiac arrest, and with the affordable automated devices becoming available at retail outlets, our residents are making great efforts to keep themselves safe.

 

But how available is it?

 

Did you or your company purchase an AED? Did you place it in a location known to all?

 

If you were in need, and someone that did not know where the AED was called 911, would the 911 operator know where to tell them to locate the AED?

 

Taking the initiative to have a lifesaving tool is admirable.

 

Knowing where it is when seconds count is essential.

 

Take that extra step now.  Follow this link and take just 15 minutes to register the location of your AED.

 

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) don’t work if you can’t find them. Registering an AED helps 911 dispatchers match the location of a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victim with the nearest AED. It also allows the dispatcher to alert emergency teams that an AED is onsite.

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Participation in opinion events leading up to the general election in November.

 

August 4th is the deadline for jurisdictions to file measures for the November ballot.

 

Back in April the fire commissioners promised to have public meetings, even mentioned forming a Citizens Advisory Team, to get a pulse on what the public really wants.

 

That time has running out. With the special meeting on June 30th, there is not enough time to advertise for, organize, meet and form meaningful sessions with members of the general citizenry.

 

A lot of effort and money is being used to influence pushing the existing bind without seeking feedback as to why the last one failed. Or seeking serios conversation about how to pass another full blown request for higher taxes.

 

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Budgets and reserves

 

Not that many years ago South King Fire & Rescue was able to responsibly buy new fire trucks.

Without asking for more taxes.

Not that many years ago they also used to hire full time firefighters.

Without asking for more taxes.

What happened to force an exceedingly irresponsible $53.7 million dollar bond measure on the ballot?

 

The Operating Budget and the Capitol Budget set the tone for spending each year and the district is supposed to set aside Reserves for predictable major expenses.

The separate divisions generally categorize people, structure, equipment and associated maintenance with the Reserves acting as an accumulating savings account to cover the equipment replacement and outstanding maintenance as necessary.

A responsible budget would include spreading revenues over the all sections of the budget to maintain a safe and adequately staffed fire district with the vital tools and buildings to serve our community.

For decades this district has balanced staff with equipment and structures to provide the excellent Class 2 rated services our citizens have come to expect. Administration and commissioners worked well to forecast and identify vehicles ready for moving to stand-by status, and decommissioning while timely purchasing new ones.

 

Sadly, for the past few years, the Reserves account has not been adequately funded, leaving less and less money for needed fire trucks, aid cars and service vehicles, as well as basic and major building maintenance.

 

So what is different now? Why is the district suddenly $53,700,000 short of meeting its obligations?

Yes, we had a few bad economic years, bring real estate values down and fire district revenues with them. But isn’t that exactly what Reserves are intended to cover? Taxes collected but not spent on the everyday costs to provide service?

And the economy is recovering very well. Housing prices are back to 2010 levels, and beyond, bringing fresh property tax revenue to the district in increasing amounts every year.

Who decided, at the expense of responsible planning and learned financial forecasting, that taxes be diverted away from decades long recognized obligations and saving practices?

 

Every citizen and homeowner has the same budget standards.

From your income, you pay regular living expenses (Operating Budget) and put some money into scheduled maintenance on the house and vehicles (Capitol Budget) and set something aside for predictable repairs. And have an account for the new roof every 20 years, furnace or water heater replacement, and that new car every 5 years (Reserves).

Accountable and responsible property owners make wise choices and never have to seek gifts from their neighbors to maintain all three of the legs of the financial stool.

So what has happened to make your fire chief and the commissioners come to you begging more money?

 

Is the first step out of economic depression to spend more money on Operating Expenses?

Or is it to focus on our Reserves and so we can quickly get back on track purchasing the equipment needed to keep our district functioning at a Class 2 Rating?

These goals could, and should, have been met before asking the public for more taxes.

 

So, what happened to our Reserves Account?

And is the dismal performance with Reserves having a negative effect on our Class 2 Rating?

 

 

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I am reminded of a commercial where a family cherishes their boat and the elderly woman, pictured in a home of modest means, just could not see the benefits. Begrudgingly she goes for a ride, while muttering about the waste of it all.

 

Are we that little old lady? Are we being taken for a token ride on the rich mans safety blanket? Are we aware enough of the situation that we should be muttering? Or do you own a boat moored at the Des Moines Marina?

 

Every day we hear someone talk about the 99% subsidizing the elite 1% rich folks eating caviar or jetting off to places of  luxury, but how does that apply on a local level?

 

A while ago, through a fortunate twist of fate, the fire boat owned by SKF&R responded to a major fire at the Des Moines Marina. We commit hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintaining, staffing and training so this boat can be pushed from its trailer into the waters of Des Moines once or twice.

 

But I ask you, how many voters in this district benefit from the now proposed spending on another $700,000 fire boat? Why are we subsidizing the rich yacht crowd? Why don’t they pay for this insurance themselves?

 

When the battle cry ‘Tax the Rich’ echos across the Occupy Federal Way camp, do they mean it? Is it your responsibility to miss your morning latte so the rich can sleep safe knowing a $700,000 boat awaits there distress call?

 

This is a clear case of the rich few benefiting from the many taxpayers subsidizing their lifestyle. I say that the operators of the Des Moines Marina be solely responsible for purchasing and maintaining their own boat. And that means that the city of Des Moines needs to step up and fund this extravagance themselves.

 

It has been over a decade since the Federal Way and Des Moines fire departments merged, and well enough time has passed for the city to take action. But, because the current administration and commissioners of SKF&R you don’t care where that waste your taxes, and the city of Des Moines has been grateful not to be burdened with the expense, our taxes go to serve their tight little community benefit.

 

Here is a small portion of the district wagging the tail of the dog, sort of like that junior taxing district debacle that was cleared op in less than a month a few years ago. You, remember it, right? After threatening the taxpayers with doom and gloom should the 60% tax increase Service Benefit Charge fail, (which it did to no marked devastation) while holding the hospital taxing over our heads, it took less than one month and less than $1,000 to remove the shadow forever.

 

Do we need a boat? It is just one factor of the $53.7 million dollar budget that should be seriously reconsidered for elimination from the backs of Federal Way taxpayers.

 

 

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So what makes the Troy Kelley / Jason Jerue story so tantalizing?

 

Is it because he was paid $22,884 in public funds for little work product?

 

Is it because possible corruption took place?

 

Is it because it was at the state level?

 

Or is it because a Democrat is calling out a Democrat?

 

The Office of the Attorney General has sided with the governor to ‘investigate’ a $22,884 job-for-friends deal between Troy Kelley and absentee buddy Jason Jerue.

 

I am not real happy with the lack of accountability at the state level. And even less delighted with the complete whitewashing at the local level.

 

Other than my expose, not a single publication asked even one question, printed even one word or cared even one breath about Chief Al Church’s hand picked second fiddle turned absentee gold-digger Patrick Kettenring’s $200,000 gift. But some guy in California gets a paltry by comparison $22,884 and everyone races to their podium to make a statement. Some to condemn, some to defend.

 

Where were they when the assistant fire chief took nearly $200,000, plus generous benefits, of your local taxes? Rumor has it Patrick Kettenring enjoyed his nearly two year paid vacation gift from Chief Church for hiring his then girlfriend into South King Fire & Rescue.

 

I am sure his wife was not happy, but the taxpayers were raped.

 

There was not a shred of outrage. Kettenring not only got a fat paid 2 year vacation, he was obviously given a glowing letter of recommendation to pursue his City of Tacoma fire department job. Which some say ran partially concurrent to his SKF&R ‘special assignment’ job.

 

Presumably at the sole direction of Chief Al Church, Kettenring kept his retirement, was paid to ‘stay home’ for 22 months, and was told to not step foot on district property without express invitation from Chief Church and supposedly given the sole task of ‘updating’ a policy booklet. (I am pretty sure none of the commissioners condoned this activity. Wink wink)

 

Nothing of substance to benefit the district was done while the checks just kept rolling in.

 

And Kettenring still kept up with his friends in the district. He joined up with Ed Plumlee to become two of the older ranking members of SKF&R to climb Bank of America fundraiser Firefighter Challenge just a month prior to severing employment with SKF&R.

 

But did the Attorney General give a whit about $200,000 of your taxes then? Hell NO! Not enough political posturing to get the AG involved.

 

The cover-up was nicely out of the spotlight because of the Grant Gaspard issue. Remember him? Another fine choice for administration by our illustrious Chief. Garpard was found guilty of embezzlement and ‘misuse’ of over $775,000 of your tax dollars. Gaspard was also to pay $959,200 in restitution.

 

Ironic, isn’t it, that Gaspard and Kettenring share the same last day with SKF&R? Both left their positions with the district on July 31, 2008. How tidy.

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On these pages are my years of dealings trying to get open and accountable government working for you.

 

Now I need your help becoming an elected official having even more impact.

 

Please visit my campaign blog for information about how to support your fire district with an advocate for accountable and open government.

 

 

VoteJerry.net

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