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Turlock Firefighters-Local #2434 have never tried to control elected officials
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It troubles me to hear that my organization has been referred to as the source of a fictional disease, “Power Grab Syndrome” (PGS), in an attempt to control the Turlock City Council, in an opinion offered on Oct. 30 by George King.  I would like to take a moment to educate the readers of this forum about the political practices of the Turlock Firefighters- Local #2434. 

The Turlock Firefighters- Local #2434 take great pride in being a very educated and values based organization, which is very transparent in our political practices.  When gleaning, selecting, and endorsing candidates for political races, specifically those in political races involving council members and the mayoral seat, we look for the candidates who have the greatest attributes to offer the community of Turlock, which we serve.  We look for our candidates to be honest, knowledgeable of how city government works, knowledgeable of what is needed to keep this community safe, and a visionary who has a plan to promote our city as a destination for businesses who want to set their roots in the City of Turlock.

We very seldom, if ever, give lump sums of money to political candidates’ campaign funds. We choose to exercise our right of the first amendment and voice the choice that our organization has made in support of a candidate — which is done through our signs and advertising.  We believe in a fair and clean political race. You will never see Turlock Firefighters put out any negative campaign information against those whom we choose not to support.  We make it crystal clear to the candidates who we do support that if, in the course of an election or seated term, they themselves engage in negative campaigning that we will immediately withdraw our endorsement and public support.  We believe that the facts and past actions of the candidates we support speak louder than any campaign promises. 

To read that we have bought and are seeking to buy council seats is very disheartening and another statement based in opinion and not fact.  We have no expectations that a council member we support will ever be beholden to us.  We simply ask of those whom we support that they offer a listening ear to our concerns and if ever they have a question in regard to the fire union and its membership that they educate themselves through open dialogue between themselves and us.  I ask that any member of this community ask a council member or candidate that the Turlock Firefighters- Local #2434 have or have not supported in present or past elections, if it was ever implied and/or expected that they be beholden to us.

Please take time to educate yourself and make a decision based in fact then voice your decision in the voting booth on Nov. 4.

 — Mike Harcksen, president, Turlock Firefighters-L #2434