City Government

Boise Fire Union Favors Bisterfeldt-Simmons

We got a letter from a source within the fire union today urging members to vote for Vern Bisterfeldt and Roger Simmons in the upcoming Ada Commish race.

This Boise City fire union activity to support the County candidates is deeply rooted in the ongoing feud between firefighters and paramedics. They apparently don’t trust their brothers and sisters at Stations 3,8, or 10–or perhaps it is just that those stations house Ada EMS ambulances as well.

The message ended with the warning: “PS – lf you are in station 3, 8, or 10, please be careful with who sees this email. Thanks”

Chief Dennis Doan told the GUARDIAN city computers are not to be used for union activity and all messages on city computers are public record. However, when someone from outside sends messages TO city computers, it is hard to keep them out. The union message was SENT from a private account.

In another Bisterfeldt-Simmons campaign endorsement, we find it a bid odd that Councilor TJ Thomson encourages his followers to support Bisterfeldt’s bid for the Ada Commish job–which would elminate Vern from his current job as a colleague of Thomson on the City Council.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Casual observer
    May 20, 2010, 12:25 pm

    Feud? Seems perfectly in keeping with the standards of the position. The three incumbents have been feuding with most of the cities in the county for the last several years. And, lately they have also, via the R Central Commitee, been feuding with any other R who might want to exercise their right to seek election.

    Vern and Roger may not be perfect but they are a lot better than the pair of back room schemers they are running against.

  2. I vote against the union pick to keep the taxes lower.

    Is the true public income of these canidates available? Including public pensions for former jobs and such? Pumping money into the goose that lays the golden eggs could be real important to some of them.

  3. Regarding the Boise Fire Union’s support of Councilman Vern Bisterfeldt through e-mails, etc.: This is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in any campaign. Nothing new or out of the ordinary unless local, state or federal elections or other laws are somehow breached. I support the Ada County Paramedics. Regarding Councilman TJT’s support of Vern Bisterfeldt: Vern supported him, Vern supported former Commish Paul Woods, Tilman and Yzaguirre supported Paul Woods, Tilman supports Bob McQuade’s opponent for Ada County Assessor, Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd endorsed Woods, the R-central committee endorsed the incumbents, yada yada yada. I couldn’t vote for TJT, because I live in Meridian. I woulda if I coulda. I can vote for Bisterfeldt-Simmons in the general election if they win the primary because it is an at-large county seat. In the primary I have to vote as a Democrat to vote for myself. I also might vote for Larry Rincover in the general election because he is a Democrat. I might not if he doesn’t meet my standards. The point that I tried to make in my SELL VERN AND ROGER spiel in a previous post is that people vote based on what strikes close to home — signs, pets, open spaces, EMS, transit, ethics, experience, the economy, VETERANS status, job status, political preference, and a host of other reasons. I generally don’t make up my mind until ELECTION DAY when I am in the voting booth and have all the facts before me to make an informed choice, which is why I am not a big proponent of absentee and early voting and am an opponent of closed primaries.

    I’d hate to vote for someone else and find out later I coulda had a V and R!

  4. The fire departments historically will endorse anyone out of office who will promise more pay and better benefits.

    It would be interesting to know WHY the BFD is endorsing the people mentioned.

  5. Tell us oh great G-ster, what evil lurks behind TJ Thomson’s Verndorsement?

    EDITOR NOTE–Not, lighten up. The humor question is: “If he likes Vern so much, why is he trying to get rid of him? 🙂 See, if Vern wins he leaves TJ’s council and…..never mind you wouldn’t understand.

  6. While I would hate to see Mr. Vern Bisterfeldt leave the City Council, where he is doing the citizens of Boise immeasurable good with his widespread knowledge and sound reason, I know that Ada County needs him more. It would do our entire County an injustice to keep him to ourselves here in Boise. His heart is good and his vision is strong. He has unfinished business to attend to. Together, Vern & Roger Simmons will move us forward and change the face of the Treasure Valley.

    Besides, the Ada County Courthouse is not too far from Boise City Hall, right? I know where to find them.

  7. The little I know of Vern is from watching him in action. Notably, in a couple of failed attempts to get Ada County and Boise City to work together, rather than at odds with each other. He may have failed in those attempts, but the fault is not his. That claim rests with two sitting county commissioners and one former commissioner.

    He didn’t have to embark on those missions. But, the fact that he chose to is a mark of his willingness to reach out and find consensus. That is a rare thing in politicians, especially today. I admire him for his sense of probity and his willingness to act for the benefit of area citizens. I intend to vote for him.

    I know Roger less well, but I know this. The Foothills Policy Plan took the better part of 35 years to come to fruition. It is the product of 7 state, federal and local agencies, including both Boise City and Ada County, coming together to protect the foothills. It is one of the best, and most popular, acts of governmental cooperation this area has ever seen. Under Roger’s tenure as commissioner, the Plan moved forward. His successor, and current opponent, was instrumental in decimating the plan. Roger’s is the better path. I intend to vote for him as well.

    Tony Jones

  8. Just a comment on the recent Boise Fire Union e-mail backing the Simmons/Bisterfeldt ticket for Ada County Commissioner:
    (I was actually one of those people at Stations 3, 8, and 10 that wasn’t supposed to see it!)
    The email circulated by Jim Walker, PAC Chairman for the fire union, made two interesting assertions:
    1)That the union had “sat down” with Simmons/Bisterfeldt and “earned their commitment to work with fire departments in the county on the EMS system”.
    2)That the Association of Idaho
    Counties was “one our biggest enemies in the legislature” and implied that Simmons/Bisterfeldt would deliver Ada County (the strongest county in the IAC) for the fire union.

    We don’t have to look very far in recent history to see examples of elected officials being “beholding” to the unions that helped elect them (Mayor Bieter and the selection of our present fire chief). Hopefully Mr. Simmons and Mr. Bisterfeldt have not “sold out” to the fire union, and if elected,(I am supporting the incumbents), will make objective decisions in the best interest of all of the citizens of Ada County, not the special interests that bought them.

  9. Personally, I see a lot of wasted tax dollars every time I see a full size fire engine followed closely by an ambulane rolling to a medical call.

    I’m not a medic or a hose dragger but I deal with both on a regular basis. I’ve been told that there are Federal rules that govern fire and ems response times and that they can lose funding if they don’t get there fast. That’s all well and good, but if I call 911 because I fell off my bike on the greenbelt, does it really take three firefighters and two paramedics to handle it? I doubt it.

    I suggest training current firemen to the level of paramedics (or absorb medics and give them fire training) and give them a smaller, cheaper rig they can drive instead of an engine or ladder truck to medical calls. Those trucks can’t be very fuel-efficient, not to mention the taxpayers are shelling out a lot of extra bucks to have 5 or more first responders on every call. This seems redundant to me and a waste of money. In these tight times, we can’t afford to throw more money away on government services than we already do.

    Hey Editor, maybe this issue would be a good one to dig into since I’m sure its costing the taxpayers millions.

  10. IdahoN8V

    Interesting, but I guess that you have to ask yourself that if someone (hopefully not you) falls on the green belt do you need a firefighter at all? Paramedics are not cheap and there seem to be plenty currently working for Ada County. If someone was to go into cardiac arrest (or something similar) however then everyone should go. Otherwise I also don’t see the need for all the people either and the paramedics currently arrive in a smaller vehicle.

    I think a dispatching priority would be appropriate and would leave those firefighters ready to fight a fire.

    I also would prefer that the paramedic that is taking care of you or I strictly focuses on being a paramedic. Not a firefighter that moonlights as a paramedic or vice versa on a house fire.

  11. Like I said, I think the Feds mandate a fire engine to go on all those calls because of response times. Boise doesn’t have an ambulance in every fire station. Boise Fire has done a great job locating their stations throughout town and they seem to be the first ones at the scene most of the time. So why not have a BFD ambulance in every station if they are already going to respond anyway?

  12. IdahoImmigrant
    May 27, 2010, 8:11 am

    “Boise Fire has done a great job locating their stations throughout town…”
    ummm…. you want to qualify that with some data?? If they’ve done such a great job why are they moving Engine 9? A great job to me means not spending 14 million dollars on Station 17. Just a thought.

  13. IdahoImmigrant
    Nice handle, but my original point was the redundancy involved in sending 3 firemen and 2 medics to every medical call. Like I said earlier I am neither, but speaking as a taxpayer this seems like a waste of money.

    I am not debating the specifics of each station ,etc. Its clear you have a personal stake in this issue, which is fine, but my point is that times are tight and gov’t needs to look closely at what we really need.

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