Letters to the Editor

EDH Fire Department needs new board members

By From page A5 | October 03, 2012


Sherry and Craig Petersen care about the future of our fire department and want to bring their business and medical backgrounds to the fire board.

As the Sacramento Bee stated last year, El Dorado Hills needs to “rein in a fire agency run amok.” Sherry and Craig are excellent candidates who have stepped up to be our voice for responsible budgeting. The vast majority of the department’s emergency calls are for medical attention. Sherry and Craig will work to improve our response times and ambulance services to our community while reducing the unnecessary spending identified by the El Dorado County Grand Jury.

I am supporting Sherry and Craig for the two contested board seats. Please join me in voting for Sherry and Craig Petersen to bring fiscal responsibility to our Fire Board.

Bob Luca
El Dorado Hills

Letter to the Editor

Discussion | 7 comments

  • Shea BeleachOctober 13, 2012 - 7:43 pm

    Mr. Luca states, "Sherry and Craig Petersen care about the future of our fire department and want to bring their business and medical backgrounds to the fire board". If thats the case, why are the numbers they post on their website, publish in the local newspaper, and publicly say are completely different from the actual facts? As a local taxpayer,I have attended several EDH Board meetings and the Petersens have been proven wrong almost every time by either the Chief or a Boad member. Instead of listening to the Chief or Board member, follwing their questions, they are looking down at their notes and not paying attention to the answer that is being given. First off, that is rude and disrespectful, and second, they may hear the REAL facts. And they want to replace fire engines and Truck Companies with Quick Response Vehicles (Pick ups)? Really? If a fire happens at my house, I do not want a Quick Response Vehicle, I want the current response model that the EDH Fire Dept currently has. Experienced medical backgrounds? You are telling me that being a Nutritionist and a Retired Medical Executive holds the same water as a FireFighter/Paramedic? How is that possible? Please don't fool the readers by saying she/he has "Medical experience" simply because she is a Healthcare Executive and he's a Nutritionist. Thats like calling you a security guard. Lastly, I was treated with a Pro-Peterson Flyer (with nothing but lies and opinions written on it) located on the inside of my garbage can; I just want to say thank you for helping me throw it away with just a flip of the lid. For more information regarding the EDH Fire Dept. and getting nothing but the truth about your local fire dept. I encourage all readers to attend a Board Meeting. Come experience transparency and integrity. I know I will be there to support Hidahl & Hartley & my local Fire Dept. Shea Beleach

  • John PetersonOctober 16, 2012 - 2:00 pm

    Balleach is a fireman in disguise. I'll play along though. First, let me tell you about a very nice family down the street that recently lost their house and life savings due to foreclosure. They were a 30-something couple with 2 young children aged 2 and 4. They were the first to stop by and welcome us to the neighborhood when we moved in. The husband had a 4 year college degree in Construction management, but due the the economic downturn, had been out of work for nearly two years. His family was suffering, but they kept up with their house payments and property taxes for 2 years. Finally they had to choose between caring for the kids' needs, such as keeping their house warm in winter, and their mortgage and property taxes (of which the Fire Department received around $1000 per year). The stress showed on the faces of each member of the family. Sadly, they are gone now. I heard they were living in a small apartment somewhere in Folsom. Unfortunately, their situation is quite common here in our own community, and everywhere for that matter. So with the Fire Boards insightful guidance, what did the Fire Department do with the money that that family really could have used? The Fire Department spent it on Bag Pipes. And that makes me sick to my stomach. They also wasted it by overstaffing, and allowing even entry-level firemen to make $200,000 per year. So, fed up with the type of caviler waste that even the last Fire Chief described in a recent Grand Jury report, 3 very well educated and qualified challengers to the Fire Board of Directors have come forward. So, how have we seen some members of the Fire Department responded? Just read the postings from them or their "friends". They've taken it upon themselves to criticize and insult the challengers. These Firefighters criticism should have been directed at those folks in the Fire Dept who thought that these struggling families money ought to be spent so ridiculously. So Fire Dept people, rather than insult those folks from our community who have given generously of their own time and money to help everyone in our community, honor and respect those who take it upon themselves to donate their own time and money to try to help our community. So before you fire-folks go on another insult spree, think about that family rummaging through couch cushions and jacket pockets looking for enough money to take their kids to the doctor. Then think of those kids money the Fire Department spent for Bag Pipes. If using money that way sounds reasonable, keep pushing for your incumbents. Because every time you do, you send a clear message to the community of what you really care about. Finally, "Shea Balleach", I've had enough of the Fire Dept folks insulting our citizen's and their efforts to prevent the irresponsible spending. If I so much as smell one more effort to criticize any challenger, I will do my best to make sure our community has the full story of your selfish motivations.

  • Jim MichaelsOctober 17, 2012 - 9:09 am

    Mr. Peterson, I have been folowing this event closely as I have family members who live in EDH and I have suffered through a fire department that has struggled.(SPFD). If you read the article a few weeks back in the village life that introduced the fire departments "pipes and drums" you would have seen where it stated that the money that funds this group comes from the firefighters and volunteer firefighters associations. These groups do not have ANY access to tax payer monies. Their funds are raised via pancake breakfasts, honor guard classes, fill the boot drives etc. None of the money involved in funding the Pipes and Drums came from taxpayer dollars. I think it is proper that you get your facts right before going to war. And honestly, you accuse these firemen of "critisizing" the people running for office. Is that not exactly what you are doing to them? Politics are not fun everyone knows that. As someone who has had a family member treated by this fire department I can honestly say that their care was above and beyond. They follow-up with their patients, they dont forget about you. And just so I understand, how is it that when a fire department person explains their side of the story that you are in a position to judge and call it insulting and critical? Have you ever done their job? Have you ever spent any time at El Dorado Hills Fire Department? Sincerely, Jim Michaels

  • John PetersonOctober 17, 2012 - 11:48 am

    Jim, I was a Fireman for 9 years, as was my father who retired after 26 years. I About 60% of my life (I'm 51) has been spent around the Fire Dept. I have said many times publicly that the firemen here are as good as any you'll find anywhere. That being said, I have little tolerance for their continuous insults of the board challengers who are giving freely of their own time and money to help their community. Criticism is one thing, but the fire dept's attacks on the challengers are clearly aimed toward discrediting anyone who would challenge what many would consider a puppet board. Having been a fireman and learning the system, the EDHFD has the unusual advantage of helping to elect the people who will determine how much money they will make. Normally the FD spend is overseen by a mayor, city council, and especially a city manager. Those officials keep a check on all the city's departments, and make sure everything work for everyone fairly (or try to anyway). In EDH, there is no such unbiased checking system. Mr. Hartley told to pick on him, not "his guys". That's the problem. The incumbents want to be one of "the guys" instead of being the body responsible to keep "the guys" in check. Again, having known hundreds of firemen in my life, these folks are as good as any you'll find. I just couldn't stomach, what was in my mind, a greedy insistance on salaries extending above and beyond $200,000 per year for even entry level firemen, and control of the board that determines that. They can provide spin all they want, and they can dress their kids in fireman coats and have them stand on busy boulevard street corners holding up election signs (that seemed a little careless), but their motivation is clear. Also, as a former fireman, I just can't support the callous disregard for our citizens tax dollars the firefighters union has had. And it's one thing to ask for the things they have, but it was up to the board to work harder on the citizen's behalf. So for those FD people to personally attack (with insults - read their postings) any folks in our community who would challenge the FD's spending habits really bothers me. I'm assuming their bad-natured attacks are out of character, but it is still bad character. Plus, the insult-laden attacks are directed at citizens who have far superior education and professional experience, and frankly are the people who pay them. That disrespect is inappropriate and unappreciated. Finally Jim, I apoligize for poor grammer and spelling, as I'm on my iPhone. I also really appreciate your interest, and please reach me by email if you wish, and I'd be happy to further our discussion as much info as you'd like. John

  • Jim MichaelsOctober 17, 2012 - 12:14 pm

    John, Thanks for the reply. I guess my only concern is you point out what you believe is the firefighters putting their "spin" on things and you call it unprofessional and insulting. But, is it not more insulting to the people of EDH to be lied to by some of the challengers? In my opinion doctoring credentials and using comparison cities, which are not comparable, is more insulting and more careless. The men and women who are supporing their candidates are doing so on their free time, with their own money and are hoping to keep the best fire department they can for their community. Also I looked back at an article here that was from the Fire Chief Dave Roberts. he cites the grand jury investigation as the average salary this year for employees is $137,000.00. If you add benefits it comes close to $200,000.00. So you stating that their salaries extend well above and beyond is slightly skewed. Some might say that your views are insulting and careless. Additionally there are no new employees, meaning noone is making bottom step wages. So you stating that an entry level fireman is making above and beyond $200,000.00 is not correct, because there are no entry-level fireman. If you have issues with the benefits package, I would ask you this: As someone who was a fireman, and whos father was a fireman, do you not think that these men and woman deserve to have good benefits to care for them while they serve EDH and are exposed to thousands of illnesses and cancer causing items each year? Finally, as people who are available around-the-clock, whose soul purpose is to render aid to those in need, I dont think that these men and woman have been bad-natured. They are passionate about their beliefs and are making a stand for them. Isnt that what this country is all about? I would suggest that you and the others running are just as passionate for your beliefs and could be seen as just as bad-natured. Again I am just an outsider looking in and trying to help my relatives and ensure they continue to get the best fire and medical care they can. As far as emailing you, I think there is no reason why things shouldnt be said right here where the public can read it. Sincerely, Jim

  • Dick CallahanOctober 18, 2012 - 7:28 pm

    Here are the facts right out the 2012/13 Budget. The average wage (money in the paycheck) is $137,394. The average taxpayer cost per firefighter (pension, health, dental) is $197,346. The real problem that the current Board is either oblivious to or choses to ignore is the Pension and Retire Health Liabilities. Our EDH Pension/Health liabilities are at least $14 million and that number is going to rise when CalPERS issues its next report. For the benefit of our firefighters and taxpayers, the Board should set aside money in the reserves to ensure we can meet our commitments. To date, they have ignored my requests to do this - they believe that the pension problem will be magically solved. If the State did nothing but use tax dollars to fund the Pension deficits, that is shut down - it would take more than 4 years to catch up - yes, 4 YEARS! Of course CalPERS will never go bankrupt - just like GM, United Airlines, AIG, Lehman Brothers, etc will never go bankrupt......

  • J MillerOctober 20, 2012 - 6:48 am

    I am voting for the Petersen's or Peterson because our current board is out of touch with reality. Our firemen and women are compensated way above what the market will bear!



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