Resolution to reprimand commissioners not on March 21 Fire District 1 meeting agenda

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David Chan
Bob Meador

It appears that the Snohomish County Fire District 1 Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night will not be revisiting the racially-charged remarks made by Commissioners David Chan and Bob Meador, which resulted in a failed effort to reprimand the two commissioners during a special meeting called last Friday, March 17.

According to Fire District 1 spokeswoman Leslie Hynes, the item was not added to Tuesday night’s regular meeting agenda. At the time of the 2-2 Friday vote, with one of the board’s five commissioners absent, there was speculation that the resolution would be revisited during the March 21 commission meeting.

At issue was a conversation recorded on video during a break in the Fire District’s March 7 commission meeting, when Chan and Meador were heard discussing the challenges related to hiring paramedics.

“Could we hire a Mexican paramedic?” Chan asked. “I dunno,” Meador replied, laughing. “It’s cheaper,” Chan responded, also laughing. “I don’t wanna,” Meador said. “I don’t want those immigrants. They can’t do the job.”

Chan and Meador both apologized for their remarks, describing the conversation as “banter” that wasn’t meant to offend anyone.

The topic of the fire commissioners’ behavior is expected to come up at Tuesday night’s Edmonds City Council meeting, where both Mayor Dave Earling and Councilmember Neil Tibbott said they planned to offer comments on the matter.

But three councilmembers offered their opinions via email.

“I am shocked by the offensive comments made by the two Fire District 1 commissioners,” said Councilmember Mike Nelson. “Their discriminatory remarks have no place in our society and they should be held accountable. It does not matter if they consider them ‘jokes’ or ‘banter.'”

“As elected representatives, we each have a duty to speak out and protect our residents against the rising discrimination happening all over because of their race, their religion, their gender, or that they are an immigrant,” Nelson added.

Councilmember Dave Teitzel noted that the city council recently passed a “Safe City” resolution “memorializing our strong commitment to acceptance and support of all our neighbors — regardless of ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation or immigration status.”

“We fully expect our city to be a model for those values and will do all in our power to support that vision,” Teitzel added. “Any entity doing business with or providing services for Edmonds should be expected to honor our commitment to diversity through its statements and actions–whether it may be a fire district, a water district or a provider of sanitation services. Behavior falling short of that standard is simply not acceptable.”

Added Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas: “Really it was so shocking there are no words.”

A two-term Fire District Commissioner, Chan said he plans to seek re-election this fall  despite the controversy over the comments.

— By Teresa Wippel with reporting from Evan Smith and Natalie Covate

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. Another example of “locker room banter”? These two guys need to clear out, then they can have their degrading chats far, far away from any civic responsibilities. Their sensibilities are appalling.

  2. What’s somewhat shocking to me is the strong reaction to the commissioners remarks by some who obviously haven’t spent enough time in the real world. I’m pleased that we have commissioners who know what it takes to get the jobs done and hire qualified people to make that happen, as opposed to hiring unqualified people simply to have diversity.

    • Ron, you seem to be implying that a Mexican or an immigrant could not possibly qualify as a paramedic. Is that what you meant to say?

      • Commissioner Meador commented that Mexicans cannot do the job of paramedic. Meador is a retired fire chief, so what he said is obviously what he experienced during his career.

        • This is a clear example of why the great people of Edmonds retired Mr. Wambolt from the council. Mr. Meador is part of an “old boys” network, as is Mr. Wambolt, and these beliefs that someone’s ethnicity affects their ability to be successful at a job are old fashioned, ignorant and irrational.

  3. I respectfully disagree with you, Ron. I have lived, and do live, in the real world as do a good number of people. I also don’t agree that there are not qualified people, without prejudices, who aren’t available to do the job. I believe it is unfair to say that if we have diversity, we then may have unqualified people. That also could be applied to white males and females. David Chan is one of the “diversity” people, but I believe he has disqualified himself; and he is not a very good representative of diversity.

  4. No question, these two are not worthy of our respect and I firmly believe there should be some serious follow-up. As a full-time inhabitant of the “real world,” I am well aware that bigots exist, however, I do not choose them to represent me nor do I condone their bigotry.

  5. I’m disappointed that this will not be on tonight’s agenda, but encourage those who can attend to express their concerns during Public Comments.

  6. I have recently had to look for a new doctor, since Edmonds Family medicine no longer takes Medicare. I have been astonished at the number of doctors who are female (formerly thought incapable of studying medicine) and the large percentage who are of foreign birth (so clearly in Mr Wambolt’s view, incapable of studying medicine). Gender and ethnicity (and orientation) are irrelevant: the only thing that matters is the individual’s capability and his/her qualifications and experience. That there are still people who do not believe this in 2017 is deeply discouraging.

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