I still think the fire commission is fully responsible. For months, before the general election, it should have been warning us of crisis.

Instead there were only a few editorials in the paper (by our Crumrine) and letters from Jeff Smith. Buchanan (now commissioner) at the debate said not to vote for the increase, until money on hand and money to be paid was discovered.

Even after the increase was voted down, Capparelli made light of the half-million dollar increase, calling it business as usual. The voters rejected the incumbents and rejected the increase out of distrust for the commissioners.

Chief Walker thought the people would recognize the need and pay for it (even after the election, his bet was through grants, a new board, and a supported increase, he could maintain quality service).

But Idyllwild is a strange town. It would rather have a swimming pool than a ride to the hospital.

We all pay a lot for health insurance. Living on the Hill, far from a hospital or 24-hour clinic, is worthless without triple-A emergency response. Our fire insurance is worthless, if the whole town burns down.

Chief Walker fought for the pay of his men. They face far greater risks than Hemet or the average Forest Service firefighters. While we are evacuating, they will be staying to fight.

I bet they face greater risk than a Marine in Afghanistan.

Now we have a smooth-talking, money man for a Fire Chief (Sherman). We’re in a panic and he has the answers; short-sighted severe cuts to our emergency preparedness.

Repeal Capparelli (we voted him out), reinstate Chief Walker (go by the fire station, talk to Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council), see all the improvements he’s done for us in just the last 17 months.

Norm Cassen
Pine Cove


  1. Too bad our local editor isn't asking valid questions to the board. How long was the search for an incumbent in process? Who initiated the process? Did the board "unofficially" meet behind closed doors to discuss their ousting of Chief Walker? Who was the head hunter for Sherman? Why wasn't the public made aware of the "new direction" before they unilaterally decided what is best for the community? Why didn't the board show united public support for Chief Walker when he proposed the measure?

    RECALL the entire board!

  2. hope the town doesn't give up on reinstating Chief Walker. I'm gravely disappointed by the lack of disclosure from the board, and the inept reporting by the local newspaper. Who is this guy Sherman? i want to know what qualifies the board to oversee operating a fire department. What the heck are their qualifications?!!!!! This Sherman guy, what does he know about wild land fires? we live in a Forest.

  3. My gosh people, if you want a wildland firefighting agency, hire a wildlland firefighting agency!!! IFPD has no jurisdiction nor legal responsibility to put out even a pine needle fire within Idyllwild. When IFPD responds to a pine needle fire, they are merely responding to assist the USFS and protect the structures within Idyllwild, which IS IFPD's responsibility!!

    Before spouting off calls for recalls, qualifications, etc., research what IFPD does (their legal mission, legal responsiblity, etc) and what they are responsible for…protecting structures YES, puting out piine needle fires NO!!!! The USFS is the best wildland fire agency in the world, let them (and make them) do their job, and get qualified staff to do what IFPD IS paid to do. The former chief was a wildland firefighter (pure and simple with no other qualifications), we now have someone that understands and knows what IFPD is legally responsible to do.

    If you don't like what the USFS does for wildland firefiighting, walk across the street from IFPD and complain there!!!!

  4. No complaints about USFS… they do an amazing job so no need to "walk across the street" to complain!!!!!!!!!

    We want a QUALIFIED BOARD, and you can rest assured when the next round of voting comes around….there ain't a one of them that I'll be voting for!

    What we "don't like" and disagree with is what the IFPD BOARD has done!!!!

    • The qualifications to be on the board is to be a registered voter from within the district…if the current board doesn't meet that MQ, then recall them, otherwise, propose to the Board a new set of qualifications be established….if you want firefighters to be on the board to "run" the department, then the "Chief" issue would be solved since you wouldn't need a chief to run the department, just the board to handle everything from hiring/firing to toilet paper purchases.

      Let the current board do their job and see what happens in the next several months….if they fail, fire them thru the power of the vote….