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Comment on firehouse closure

The other day Madera County Fire Station 3 closed. I am told they hang around their response area during the day but sleep at station 6 in Madera city.

The reason it closed is the problem, a problem the firefighters have lived with for a very long time. The last time I worked out of Station 3 was almost 20 years ago.

At that time it was a bit unnerving to hear the critters moving around in the walls and floor of the old trailer we slept in, prepared our food ate, and used as the office to great the public. There were soft spots in the floor even back then. We learned to walk around them.

The firefighter who worked there begged for something better or at the very least an extensive repair.

The answer was always the same — the lease is up in a year or two and we will need to move the station, no point in dumping money into this thing.

The trailer belongs to the county, the garage was built by the county. We have been paying well over a thousand dollars a month for the bare dirt the thing is setting on. (You could rent a decent home for that.)

Station #3 is one of the reasons I fought so hard against the coffee stand in the Granite Palace. The board was ready to invest several hundred thousand dollars in that project.

The most adamant supporter of the Starbucks in the Palace, Supervisor Rogers, claimed he was doing for the employees. Why don’t employees who put their lives on the line every day they work deserve a little love from their supervisor?

Another issue making the closing of Station 3 even worse is the status of Station #4 in Dairyland. It is hard to pinpoint the date because it was not closed, but all of the equipment was removed and I believe reassigned, about 2 to 4 years ago. There was no fanfare, no press coverage. The old station went out with a whimper not a bang. I am betting very few in the area realize, their station is gone.

For one district to lose two stations, one temporarily condemned and the other simply abandoned, is putting a lot of farmers, ranchers, residents and taxpayers at risk. I have seen emergency declarations for flooding, drought, fires, and even bug-killed trees. Can we the taxpayers of Madera County declare an emergency because of a board who have lost all perspective about what is important.

It took a lot of long hours to kill the Starbucks fiasco, and the OHV facility and it’s unlimited liability the County would be in. The half a million dollar sign project is still lurking in the shadow, Our solid waste disposal system back in October 2016 was on track to lose seven plus million dollars over the next five years.

As you look through the agenda backup documents you see land mine after landmine just waiting to blow up our money. It is time for a new board and a new CAO. Now is the time to start looking.

Most new board members don’t accomplish much in the first couple of years, but I have to hand it to Supervisor Poythress, he has done more good in his short time on the board than all the rest combined. Simply my opinion.

— Dale Drozen, Madera


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