Thursday, May 31, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Lockwood Fire has Elections?

Lockwood Fire Protection District, located in the upcountry area of Amador County, is having an election. When was the last time that happened?  Does anyone remember?  We’ve seen the signs for the two candidates, but has anyone actually sat back and wondered why there is an election?  How come there hasn’t been one in the past 18+ years, or as far back as anyone can remember? This might just give you a clue as to who you should vote for. 

Typically when a Board Director quits, an announcement is put up on the web site, advertised in the newspaper, and posted at the fire department. Word of mouth usually brings forth one or two interested people, and on rare occasions three. Once they all discover that it will cost this small fire department more than $4,000.00 to hold an election, interested parties withdraw their letters of interest, all but one, so that the fire department can save money. They all full well know that there will be another opening on the Board within 2 to 4 years, sometimes sooner. They will apply at a later date.  That was back when we lived in a civilized world.

So what happened this year? A Board Director quit. Announcements were made including the deadline to submit a letter of intent.  One person came forward. Just one. Not two or three. Just one -  Lois “Cookie” Stevens. Keep that name tucked away in your brain.

The application period ended, all letters to be submitted, according to the announcement, no later than November 20. All applicants were invited to attend the November 27 Board meeting whereby a Board Director would be appointed. Mind you only one applicant applied – Cookie Stevens.

On November 27, two of the four Board Directors did not show up to the Board meeting. A quorum could not be established and the meeting was closed.  The next day, it was decided to hold the meeting on that Friday, Dec. 1. Despite the fact the announcement deadline had passed, someone attempted to apply for the position on November 30 and expressed displeasure during the December 1 Board meeting.  Two Board Directors were “uncomfortable” voting.  The same old “two against two” prevailed once again, halting all progress at Lockwood Fire. This is all documented in the minutes posted on the Lockwood Fire web site. Mind you, after all this, 90 days has passed and the matter now must go to an election.

Funny thing – the same woman that screamed “foul” is not the one running against Cookie.
Following through, Cookie filed her nomination papers when the Election Department doors opened on February 12 and declared her candidacy. It was not hard coming up with signatures as Cookie has been around the fire department and the Auxiliary dedicating her time to helping the community.  That’s all she wants to do. And a whole lot of people would like to see her do it. Many were hoping that no one else would come forward and file a candidacy for the position. Cookie would be appointed and there would be no election, saving the fire department over $4,000. Alas, a former Board Director and Treasurer filed her candidacy a few days before the deadline.

While this election is costing the fire department $4,000+, the upside is that it has brought Lockwood to the forefront. District residents are attending the Board meetings and expressing an interest. This is great. Maybe more people will start coming forward to help the department thrive again.  The fire department needs community involvement. There are major problems, of which Cookie Stevens has seen in the last year. And she is ready to tackle those problems and has been from the beginning. She has attended Board meetings, is a member of the Auxiliary, and has been listening to her constituents on the campaign trail. Her fresh face, new outlook and determination are what I am voting for. Let’s see her get to the finish line.  Vote for “Cookie” Stevens.

Jackie Vaughn

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