For several decades my wife Connie and I have enjoyed visiting Cannon Beach, initially as casual once or twice a year visitors. Over the years those visits grew in frequency, until it made sense for us to buy a second home in one of the world’s most beautiful places. For over 20 years that home became our treasured escape from the daily rigors of our professional lives in Seattle.
During that time we made many new friends in Cannon Beach, marveling at the community’s collective commitment to maintaining a livable town, and the volunteer hours contributed by so many to ensure that status would be in place for future generations.
We watched as the community wrestled with growth and social issues, always seeming — after sometimes heated debates — to arrive at solutions reflecting the mutual goal of making Cannon Beach an even better place to live. A perfect example of that process in action is the Cannon Beach Fire District Board of Directors, a group of five dedicated citizens who every four years submit themselves to the scrutiny of the electorate, at least those citizens who participate in our democracy by voting.
During the past two decades that board, with the assistance of a dedicated team of volunteer firefighters, has grappled with a myriad of issues that ultimately improved service and kept insurance rates low throughout the district, including relocating the fire station from inadequate space in downtown to the midtown area, replacing aging equipment with modern state-of-the-art tools, and improving the service available to Arch Cape, among others.
In addition to those fiscally responsible actions, the board has functioned as the district’s personnel manager. It is the exercise of that fiduciary responsibility that has led to the current effort by the family and friends of the former fire chief to lodge a recall election against three current members of the board, a recall effort based on as yet unproven allegations that the former fire chief was wrongly terminated.
That recall effort should be answered with a resounding rejection from district voters. The board, in executing its fiduciary personnel oversight duties followed, with advice from counsel, the applicable statutory process. To have done otherwise would have been a breach of their sworn obligations. The board is to be commended for its action, not condemned by heated rhetoric that tests the bounds of libel and slander.
Vote no to recall at the April 5 election.
Phil and Connie Winberry