Remember the board member who objected to my video recording of the fire commissioner meetings? And the now famously wrong finding by the district attorney that the video recording was illegal?

Well, they are back at it again. Commissioner Fossos, and Chief Church,  can be heard clearly on this video saying that the district has a policy which violates your rights. And Attorney Joe Quinn once again employs the wrong logic to re-enforce the illegal policy.

Commissioner Fossos, whenever a legal fact is presented that conflicts with his viewpoint, says “I know the law”, then just continues to break it.

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New signage added at station 62 (photos taken 2/24/11)

The current state of affairs

The commissioner meeting Tuesday was lively. Once again the commissioners and their hired attorney walked all over your rights. If they say it enough times, then it must be true, right?

Consider the source though. This is the same attorney that, last November, told an emergency closed door executive session that it was illegal for me to video record the meetings. Shining the public light on the issue quickly changed their attitude.

What caught my attention

Listen to the recordings

Consider the issue of the right to bear arms. For some reason unclear to me, while discussing video recording of the public meeting on February 4th, Commissioner Fossos made this statement “I want to make sure that our policy is there is no weapons brought into our fire stations by the public. They are not authorized” followed by the reply from Chief Church “They are not authorized

Here is the mental process that these elected officials are working in. They seem to think that a policy for the employees extends to a member of the general public. They are wrong and will not admit it when faced with the clear and supportable facts by a private citizen. Only after the media shine a light on the absurdity of it does the district acquiesce.

Clarification of the illegal practice

At the February 22nd regular meeting during the first Public Comments session, I asked for clarification and the department document supporting this incredulous declaration. Once confirmed of its existence, I put the department on notice that the policy is in violation of state law.

The attorney, for whom the board caters the meeting start time to, was eager to weigh in on the issue with his learned opinion, so he had the chief pass a note to the chair and Commissioner Gates called upon counsel to respond.

Cherry v Metro City of Seattle

When the attorney started his defense of the district policy by citing Cherry v Municipality of the Metropolitan Seattle, I knew it was a smoke blowing bluff. Apparently what the district is relying on is a decision that impacts employees and thrusting that onto the general public.  Toss in a few more court cases and you have what sounds like a convincing argument.

However, there is a difference and the courts, as well as the State Attorney General, clarifies this clear and obvious difference quite finitely.

Pass any policy you want to impact your employees, but those policies can not and do not impact the public.

The Attorney argument debunked

At the second public comment opportunity to talk to the hand, I expressed thanks to the attorney for sharing his opinion and pointed out that Cherry v Metro Seattle indeed only dealt with employees and not the general public.

What he implied by his reasoning and his example was that if a company, the Municipality of the Metropolitan Seattle, has a policy to restrict weapons possession by an employee, in this case the bus driver, then all passengers were indeed restricted also. Not true.

I also stated a desire to see just how they were going to enforce this illegal policy. Another abject glare and the meeting was summarily adjourned.

The proof is in the YouTube

YouTube clips of the video shows clear intent on the part of the district to squelch your right to carry a weapon in an open public meeting.

While the camera is stationary, some of the speakers are off camera and the video clip boring to watch, turn up the volume and hear for yourself every unedited statement in proper and complete context of the commissioners, the chief and the attorney arguing their ill conceived reasoning to deny you your right to carry.

Video Clip 1 – February 4, 2011, Commissioner Fossos discusses weapons policy

Video Clip 2 – February 22, First public comment session

Video Clip 3 – February 22, Attorney response

Video Clip 4 – February 22, Second public comment session

 

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The Policy

 

By a public Records Act document request, I obtained The Policy by which the district thinks a private citizen can not carry weapons. Clearly the policy applies to employees, and this is a legal position for the district to take.

However, trying to extend a condition of employment onto a member of the public is illegal.

 

 

South King Fire and Rescue Policy SOG C-12 states:

 

Personal Property in Stations

B. “Firearms of all kinds are positively prohibited at any time in the fire stations, on apparatus, or on Fire Department property unless stored in a privately owned vehicle. Firearms stored in privately owned vehicles shall not be displayed, handled or shown. The restriction does not apply to firearms carried by police officers.”

 

Read copy of policy here: SKFR SOG C-12

 

For details of the case that trumps the district policy:

 

Gun Rights Organizations File Lawsuit to Stop Seattle Ban

The Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and five local residents filed a lawsuit challenging a Seattle parks regulation that bans firearms, arguing that the ban violates Washington State’s long-standing preemption statute. They are joined by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the Washington Arms Collectors.

Click the links below to read the lawsuit filings and ruling by Judge Catherine Shaffer:

02/23/11 @ 17:55

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