Remember back in July of 2010 when we were threatened with impending disaster if Proposition One failed?

Chief Church was using scare tactics like increase in response times, then estimated to be between 4 and 6 minutes. (quite a margin, actually)

And risking our excellent and coveted Class 2 rating.

Or how about the certitude promise of an adverse impact in emergency staffing?


A tale of two meetings and how they play today

Let’s revisit two public board of commissioners meetings from last year and see what surfaces.


First was the July 30th 2010 Special Board Meeting

Several  musings were aired but two were of particular note. Chief Church was upset with statements in the voters pamphlet:  “The Assistant Fire Chief states that Emergency Response WILL NOT BE REDUCED!! The budget will be met with no loss of safety services.”


In the July meeting, there is some confusion about which ‘hat’ Chief Church is wearing. He carefully waits until the Public Comments session to speak ‘as a member of the public’. Seconds later though, he identifies Ed Plumlee as his assistant chief. Private citizens don’t have assistant chiefs, so the hat must have slipped back on.

On the recording, the Chief Church can be clearly heard forcefully saying “My assistant chief was misquoted by an individual that quite frankly was an absolute liar in what he stated”.


(When he identified Ed Pumlee as “my assistant chief”, by inference he must have been calling himself the chief. Ergo, he was speaking in his capacity of chief. Otherwise he would have said “my friend” or something similar)

Of course, the individual he was referring to is Jerry Galland.


 Commissioner Gates thinks (not) highly of the voter

Also, without taking off his commissioners hat, and without bothering to pretend that he is speaking as a member of the public, (or even if as a member of the public, not very supportive of his fellow citizens) here is what Chairman Bill Gates thinks about the voters of this district making an informed decision based on the facts presented:

“If people are dumb enough to vote against the benefit charge, hey, they’re gonna get what they voted for. They are gonna get reductions in personnel, in the number of pieces of apparatus out there, they’re gonna get reductions in programs. The only thing they’re gonna see an increase in is response times.”

(We know that, while some could disagree, these statements were from commissioners and the chief, not pretend members of the public. There was even some advice given, but not taken, that speaking frankly should not be done.)

Then, right in the middle of the supposed public comment period where one doffed his hat, Commissioner Fossos returns to commissioner business with a motion to write a letter to the editor from all of the commissioners to convince the voters that the district is right and can be trusted. Business that is highly irregular during a Public Comment session and about a letter that was never written.)


August 19, 2010 Regular Meeting


Then at the August regular board meeting of the fire commissioners, in the wake of the failure of Proposition One, a sobering yet very revealing discussion transpired.

Chief Church said the failure of Prop One was because of a lot of “mis-information” and that “the public voted against a concept that they didn’t understand”.

In response to a question from Commissioner Fossos about where “they came up with the 66%”, Chief Church states that “it came from the RCW which is a mathematical equation that if you maximize every single penny you could potentially take with the benefit charge it could equate to that”


This clip is but one of several that conclusively Proves the board and Chief Church were completely and strangely aware of, understood and agreed that the supposed  ‘mis-information’ they kept talking about was actually irrefutable facts.



Zip forward a year

Interesting what a little time will do, isn’t it?


One year later and guess what?

  • NO reported increase, in response time.
  • NO change in the Class 2 insurance rating.
  • NO layoffs of emergency personnel.


All this with absolutely NO increase in your taxes!

A savings of $5,000,000


Despite all of the scare tactics, the district found a way to keep services and still collect millions less in revenue.


Amazing what some pressure and incentive will bring about.


But who is the Liar here?

Let’s review some Facts about Proposition One from Chief Church’s Perspective.


Chief Church said passage of Prop One was crucial to keeping response times between 4 and 6 minutes. Prop One failed and response times are……..not reported change, still between 4 and 6 minutes. Does that make Chief Church a LIAR?


Chief Church said passage of Prop One was crucial to keeping our Class 2 rating. Prop One failed and we still maintain a Class what? YES we still have a Class 2 rating. Does that make Chief Church a LIAR?


Chief Church said that failure of Prop One could adversely impact emergency staffing. Prop One failed and not even one firefighter (emergency staff) has been laid off. Indeed, has anyone been laid off as a result of budget?  Does that make Chief Church a LIAR?



What about the conversation at the meeting? Where is the liar in the room now? The Assistant Fire Chief was correct when he said that “Emergency Response WILL NOT BE REDUCED!! The budget will be met with no loss of safety services.”


These words have borne fruit, and it looks like the assistant fire chief was right on the mark, so no liar there.


Further, Jerry was correct when he supplied this information in the voter pamphlet. So no Liar there, either.


So, where is the Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?


 And about Commissioner Gates high regard for his constituents

 While one could interpret this as a threat to punish the voters for their wise fiscal decision, I think it is really just some more ‘mis-information’ from another elected official.

Let’s parse it out:

“They are gonna get reductions in personnel” (NO reduction in firefighters)”, in the number of pieces of apparatus out there “(NO reduction in usable equipment)”, they’re gonna get reductions in programs”(Tell me what was reduced?)”. The only thing they’re gonna see an increase in is response times.”(Wrong, again. still 4 to 6 minutes.)

Is it possible that I was wrong? That there is actually more than one person in the district intent on spewing mis-information to the public and hoping you never wise up?


Prop One Failure

What with all of these unfounded scare tactics the district was using, no wonder that Prop One failed so miserably.



Full recording of the July 30, 2010 and August 18, 2010 meetings can be heard by simply clicking on the date.


Add a few more


Last fall at a public meeting, did the the $200 an hour district attorney lie to you when he said that video recording was not allowed in an open public meeting?  It took public awareness, pressure and an article in the Federal Way Mirror to almost bring the policy into compliance .


When in February 2011 Chief Church attempted to deny your rights to you that members of the public carrying weapons were not allowed on district property, was that a lie? .(even put up signs saying that)

And at the next meeting, when the $200 an hour attorney cited bad case law to reinforced the position that Chief Church told about members of the public carrying weapons, was he lying then?

Consider that it took another show of public support and another article in the Federal Way Mirror to get this brought into legal compliance.


(Why is it that common sense and readily available laws are not enough to get this board and administration to do the legal and proper act? Must it always be a public outcry?)





Did you get good value from your real estate purchase?

 I want to discuss the overpriced and ill-advised timing on the real estate deal these commissioners got you into, but will save that for another day. I hope to get around to it before the district sells it. After all, for the next 5 years, we will pay $233,000 for the dirt and then it goes up to $490,000 per year after that.

Can you tell me if the decision to promote Prop One had anything to do with covering the costs for this irresponsible decision?


Does any of this have anything to do with the nice fat $339,000 severance package that Commissioner Gates presented to Chief Church at the November meeting?


Nah, that’s just a conspiracy theory.



*In order to provide accurate and complete information that is not taken out of context, click here to listen to the entire audio of the July 30, 2010 and August 19, 2010 meetings.

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