Issues committee opposes recall
In less than a week since the filing of the petitions to recall all five of the directors of the board of the Evergreen Fire Protection District, a number of citizens from diverse areas of the district have expressed their strong view that this recall needs to be opposed vigorously. We expect the resident component of this effort to expand quickly. To support this expansion, we have formed an issue committee registered with the Colorado secretary of state with the purpose of opposing these recalls. The title of this committee is Committee to Save the Evergreen Fire Rescue District — No Recall
In the coming weeks we will provide information so residents can express their support in various ways via e-mail, letters, contributions and social media.
Based upon preliminary contacts, we expect the overwhelming support of the firefighters and the Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department. The department strongly supports the district board. They stand united to prevent the dismantling of this 65-year-old organization.
As the election process progresses, we will address each and every one of the issues raised by the proponents of the recalls on a rational basis with science and with common sense.
We will expand upon the damage this recall will do to the district and the provision of rescue and fire service in the Evergreen Fire Protection District — an area of about 125 square miles and 40,000 residents.
We will address the qualifications and experience of each of the current board members, and also those proposing to replace them, in the context of being entrusted with the operation of fire and rescue services for the 40,000 residents of the Evergreen district.
Why are the petitioners recalling? It seems as if the position of those favoring this election is to recall every board member and leave five empty chairs? From our view of the public record, they have identified no replacement candidates. How can a group suggest recalling a serving board member, let alone all five, without having individuals they consider better qualified already identified? We intend to prevent the destruction this reckless approach will inevitably cause.
We will continue to expand upon these issues and many more as the election process proceeds.
We will also explore their rationale for calling for this election in the context of the resultant expenditure of about $200,000 in taxpayer money to fund the recall election process.
Committee to Save the Evergreen Fire Rescue District — No Recall
Training building jeopardizes safety
The EFPD recall is in the process of being reviewed by the election official. The committee and the citizens driving this recall seek to replace some fire district board members because of what they believe are irresponsible decisions, lack of leadership and subpar interaction with the community These concerns have risen in the context of the plans to erect a burn building at Evergreen Fire Rescue Station 2. As a concerned citizen, I think it’s important for the community to understand on what basis the erection of this facility is opposed. These are the four main concerns, one of which I’ll drill down on in this letter: health and safety for the community; training for the firefighters; quality of life for the community; and fiscal responsibility
While the risks are hard to quantify, there is reasonable doubt that the planned substances and procedures are 100 percent safe for the many impacted parties at this central high-risk location. There is also reasonable doubt on whether the fire department has the knowledge, resources and dedication to properly operate an industrial burn building.
While nobody questions that a new training facility is needed, adding live burn capability to the facility poses unnecessary and hard-to-predict risks. The fire department has chosen to no longer work with the community against the recommendation of the Jeffco health department. Furthermore, what the fire department told Jeffco Health about what it is going to use for live fire exercises differs significantly from what it told concerned community members.
The current intention is to train only Monday nights and Saturdays when school is not in session. With the facility being planned at this central location, these restrictions will not solve all concerns. There are many residences almost as close as the school, there are businesses similarly close on the other side, and there are recreational trails passing close by the location. The school fields are used by multiple sports clubs and are — during season — occupied every night of the week (including Mondays) and every Saturday.
The back-and-forth of the fire department on which methods/substances are to be used to produce smoke and the displayed lack of knowledge of the risks associated with these chemicals does not give a warm feel. And the fact that procedures to properly maintain and clean the smoke generators have been neglected for years don’t give the impression that health and safety are as high of a priority as one would expect.