Many have recently received a mailing from the Coalition. It looks like a membership application but really is just another fundraiser. We recommend you ignore it. We detail our reasoning here.
We have been quiet for some time. There are reasons for that.
First there was not much to report since the last session of the legislature. We managed to get HB 2051 passed. (https://leoff1.net/2020/03/13/hb-2051-passes-both-houses/) That was the only LEOFF 1 item in the session—it took two sessions to get it through and it allows for an expansion of who can serve on Disability Boards. Right not it does not affect many boards, but it does forestall the threat of not having enough people to staff those local boards. It does not solve the problem caused by the dwindling number of LEOFF 1 folks but should ensure that it will not soon become a problem. That gives us time to define how to deal with the problem over time.
As of now there is not much going on with the pension system. Dick Warbrouck and the RFFOW has been looking at the problem with some boards requiring the prepayment of bills and only reimbursing expenses. That becomes a problem when a nursing home insists on a prepayment of the first month of care (often as much as $10,000). That carries forward each month so that our members must essentially fund in cash the cost each month. We do not believe this was the intent of the legislature but rather reflects a change in the way certain vendors handle their billing. No bill has yet been written to deal with this but we have asked the Select Committee to work on the problem.
So, things were quiet—then came the coronavirus and shutdown. Not much has been capable of being accomplished during this shutdown. We have all been imprisoned in our homes. Overtime that has contributed to being cranky and argumentative. At times I think my wife would like to throttle me but chokeholds have been eliminated.
One outcome of this has been a contest between the Coalition and other organizations that has gotten somewhat personal at times and further deteriorated the progress we had been making in an effort to get us all on the same page. I strongly believe that such bickering is counterproductive.
At LEOFF1.Net we have always said that the Coalition does not have any membership and therefore falsely claims to represent people who are not members. Finally, the Coalition has started to make some structural changes to allow general membership. That is a good thing, but the first effort is still inadequate. ( see https://leoff1.net/2020/06/17/coalition-creates-membership/) The real bottom line here is if you trust the Coalition to properly represent you, then join. If not, then join an organization where you have a vote.
Some of this arose out of an effort by the Retired Firefighters of Washington and the Retired Seattle Police Officers Association to reach out to all LEOFF 1 members in hopes of getting good contact information for everyone. There are currently large numbers of members who do not belong to any organization and are not regularly informed about pension issues. The idea was to identify the unrepresented and to assist them in finding an organization that could be helpful. The Coalition was frightened by this effort and launched an attack (with a fund raiser) against the RFFOW and RSPOA. Unfortunately, the attack was personal and insulting. That generated ire among members of those organizations and emails began to circulate each detailing the faults of the other.
I think this fight has gone on too long. We need to put these spats aside and form a unified effort focused on protecting and enhancing our pension system. Hopefully, that will begin soon.
Then came the riots. These became a direct attack on police officers and at least an indirect attack on fire fighters and other first responders. Our elected officials quickly either rolled over or dug a deep hole and crawled in. They have violated their oath of office and have abandoned their responsibility to protect the public and property. It does not look like this storm will end soon. I guess we just wait it out and hope that some responsible people get elected. It as always seemed to me that if you want to seek out such an important position you need to stand up when the going gets tough. Where would we be if fire fighters and police officers refused to act and did not run to face the challenge. Unfortunately, that is starting to happen and unless we change things quickly our society will crumble into total anarchy.
One of the demands of the rioters is to defund the police and police pensions. As of now we do not think that can happen and that our pension is safe. We must, however, remain vigilant. (See https://leoff1.net/2020/06/17/can-they-defund-the-pension/)
We have also posted the most recent newsletter from the RFFOW. It has a lot of information about the things I have mentioned here and is worth a read. (https://leoff1.net/2020/06/17/rffow-presidents-message-june-2020/)
And, in case you have not seen it you might want to look at an open letter from Ken Crowder. (https://leoff1.net/2020/04/17/open-letter-to-leoff-1-members/)
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