We see their signs around the island, but what do they mean? In an exclusive interview with a Distorter reporter, the Mercer Island local of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) clarified its endorsement policy.
“A common misconception is that an IAFF endorsement is based on a candidate’s qualifications or positions on issues of interest to firefighters,” said Arsenio Flambé, shop steward of IAFF Local 1762. “In fact, the IAFF evaluates candidates based on their compliance with fire safety best practices.”
“We visit the candidates’ campaign offices and homes and do a thorough safety assessment,” explained Flambé. “Do they have fresh batteries in their smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor? Have they conducted emergency drills? Do they have a disaster preparedness kit? After all, if you aren’t prepared to protect your home, how can we expect you to protect our city?”
“We met with one city council candidate who used an ungrounded adapter to plug a power strip into an extension cord,” said Flambé, who declined to identify the candidate for the record. “Into that power strip they had plugged an espresso machine, popcorn maker, and convection oven. We endorsed [the candidate’s opponent] on the spot.”
While these endorsement criteria strike some voters as surprising, Mercer Island voters find the IAFF endorsements useful. Said one: “I’ve talked to my neighbors and I’ve read the letters in the Mercer Island Reporter. Most people have way more idiotic reasons for deciding whom to vote for.”
Next week: The Mercer Island Distorter announces its 2015 candidate endorsements.