I am a member of the IAFF and I am both enraged and disappointed with the action that was taken by my organization. This is truly a sad day for the entire fire service. Once again, politicians used this one funding event to divide the fire service but significant blame must be shouldered by the IAFF. As I understand it, Tom Daschle inflamed the delegates by saying that President Bush slapped the American Heroes in the face. Given that action, it apparently was like a feeding frenzy as though raw meat was thrown into a sea of piranha. Then it was pure mob mentality.
Unfortunately one small man 'seized the moment' to grandstand and make a big name for himself. The result is a black eye and divisive action that serves in no one's best interest. What does the Oct 6th Memorial Service have to do with any of this? The answer is nothing! What impact does this have on the NY families that already committed to attend? Does anyone care? Shouldnít those family members receive the nations sorrow from the President? Didnít the NFFF just spend a great deal of time assisting FDNY? Where was the consideration in that? Did anyone stop and say -- wait the IAFF President is on the Board of the NFFF and we sponsor the event??? If a strong message is not sent and followed by strong IAFF attendance, then the IAFF should not play a role or have a rep on the BOD of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation!!! Dont just say it, prove it. Everyone will be watching. If its a sham, the IAFF will be seriously damaged as being truly credible other than for its own selfish interests. I dont believe that will be the case. I truly hope and believe that the IAFF will learn from this very serious misfire.
Furthermore, blame should be focused in all the areas. Why is President Bush getting all the blame when he made it clear what he would and would not accept in the bill?
What about all those legislators that added their own special interests that resulted in the Presidents action?
Dont you think that they knew the risk and perhaps it was orchestrated to achieve this very result? There are not many things/actions done in DC that are by accident.
It seems to me that most of the $5 billion is not for us. If we should be arguing anything we should be arguing for full funding to meet the Fire Act grants NOW as a substitution for all these other $5 billion. Then if the President doesnít sign it, go all out for continuous demonstrations in DC. ALL OF THESE POLITICIANS SAY THEY ARE ON OUR SIDE - PUT THEM TO THE TEST - ASK THEM TO DIRECT ALL OF THE $5B TO THE FIRE ACT GRANT. THEN BOYCOTT ALL LEGISLATORS THAT DO NOT SUPPORT AND THE PRESIDENT IF HE DOES NOT SIGN.
The day after, I have been hearing that the News media got the wrong message, but with this quote how can the news media be blamed for 'getting it wrong', especially from the one who made the motion:
Excerpt Reuters News - Firefighters and survivors will be urged to skip the Oct. 6 event in protest, said R. Michael Mohler of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Local 774.
Mohler made the boycott motion before about 2,000 union leaders convening in Las Vegas for the IAFF's first national conference since Sept. 11.
"The president has merely been using firefighters and their families for one big photo opportunity," Mohler said. "We will work actively to not grant him another photo op with us."
To get it right -- we should be picketing both the Whitehouse and the Capitol for them ALL to get it right and show us that they support us! Damn the politicians for playing this deadly game with the lives of living firefighters and desecrating the memory of those that made the ultimate sacrifice. Shame on the IAFF for letting them be used as this very destructive political tool. Everyone knows its all about upcoming elections and we should be aware of that. As I understand from my fellow members, we did know that and we moved on it anyway. You canít tell me that our leadership is not very well aware of politics. President S. has been in the legislative field for too long and is very well ordained to this maneuvering.
I will also have to say that I am dismayed as there has been an undercurrent with our local discouraging attendance at the NFFF memorial service and recommending attendance at the NYC event. A bus has been chartered and filled to go to NYC but no effort to do the same to DC which we are closest. I, as many of you, started as a volunteer then became career. The NFFF service honors all LODD be it volunteer, career, forest service, etc. Several other members said they wanted to make the NYC event a bigger event. I have also been told that no matter what is decided and done regaring PR, that the undercurrent regarding attendance will remain. I am dismayed that there should be any competition. We should try to send as many people and attend as many of the services possible.
I strongly urge the leadership of the IAFF to move us out of this controversy into an effective direction. Its time to muster the fire service into DC, during the week with firefighters and fire apparatus and shut down DC. Stay there a week if necessary and keep this issue in front of the news media and the nation. We deserve to be heard, to be supported and to be remembered - NOT USED
The IAFF has failed to recognize the difference between supporting the fire service and supporting. The money that will not be spent ont he fire service due to the arrogance of the Congress amounts to about 3.4% of the total. This issue is bigger than the fire service. It is about out of control federal spending and the blind support of the Democratic party by the IAFF.
George, I have to agree with you. Captain Gonzo once said that we as a Fire service are looking way to high up for funding. Funding is a local issue not a federal issue. If we can each keep more of our money in our state/county/city isn't that better for us than sending it to Washington D.C. and never seeing it again?