Election 2010: Interview with Truckee Fire board incumbent Joseph Straub | SierraSun.com

Election 2010: Interview with Truckee Fire board incumbent Joseph Straub

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE and#8212; The Truckee Fire Protection District Board of Directors has been getting a lot of attention over the last few months, and looking to the November election, a handful of new candidates too.

Two of the three incumbents and#8212; Ben Malone and Joseph Straub and#8212; are filed and in the race, banking on their experience and knowledge of the district’s issues.

The two were on different sides of the vote to not renew Chief Bryce Keller’s contract and to put him on administrative leave; Malone voting for, and Straub having the single vote against.

Both agree that one of the issues of recent controversy and#8212; an exclusive operating area for Truckee’s ambulances and#8212; is still of key importance to the district’s future.

Below is a recap of an interview with Straub; visit http://www.sierrasun.com on Tuesday for a recap of an interview with Malone.

Joe Straub has been on the Truckee Fire Protection District Board for about 40 years, and was a volunteer firefighter for six years before that.

and#8220;Each time I come up for election I wonder why I’d do something like this again. But if the public wants me to perform, I’ve always looked at myself as a representative of the public,and#8221; Straub said. and#8220;I’ve got a lot of experience not only on the board but in major catastrophes from train derailments to large accidents on the freeway, large fires and the tram incident at Squaw Valley.and#8221;

Regarding the ambulance exclusive operating area, Straub said it should never have been an issue.

and#8220;A grandfathered EOA should have been granted by (Sierra Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Service Agency) and#8212; there is no reason in the world we shouldn’t have one,and#8221; Straub said. and#8220;We asked Chief Keller to get us the EOA, and one of the ways for us to get one was to be the closest ambulance, so he placed one in Squaw Valley.and#8221;

As for Keller, Straub said he did what he was supposed to do.

and#8220;We hired a man to do a job, and he was getting the job done. Some people didn’t like it,and#8221; Straub said.

When the board voted to not renew Keller’s contract, Straub took issue with the fact that some of the discussion happened in a committee, not with the entire board and#8212; a bone of contention he said he has with the way the district does business.

and#8220;I think committees leave too much of the board out of the discussion. To me, it’s almost a violation of the Brown Act,and#8221; Straub said. and#8220;Two board members and the chief or manager making all the discussions, and the rest of the board isn’t privy to all that information.and#8221;

He said he’d like to see less of that, starting with the selection of the new chief. Instead of using a committee, or chief’s from other districts, he said he wants to have each candidate come before the entire board.

And when it comes to public participation, Straub said he’s open to more of it.

and#8220;I feel I’m the spokesperson for the people, also for the people who don’t have anything to say. I’m a strong believer in the silent majority,and#8221; Straub said.