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Residents take offense at board member’s essay  ridiculing citizens as “farm animals”

By Miriam Raftery

April 2, 2013 (Julian) – The Julian Fire-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District’s Board will hold a special meet this Thursday, April 4 at 9 a.m. to discuss the proposal to turn over firefighting services to the County Fire Authority. The meeting will be held at the Julian Women’s Club. 2607 C Street.

At the last meeting, numerous residents rose to voice opposition to the plan and concerns that dissolving the volunteer fire department could lead to longer response times and decreased public safety.

Captain Stowers made a surprise announcement that an anonymous donor had pledged to erase this year’s budget gap.  Residents also expressed willingness to help with fundraising for the future.  Despite these pledges, however, the board did not back off from exploring a potential handover of firefighting services to the County.

Now some vocal opponents of the plan are bristling over a message published by  board member Janet Bragdon in Julian Jottings. Bragdon, also president of the Julian Woman’s Club, derisively likened town residents to farm animals.

“At a recent five-hour event, I zoned out,” she wrote. “Have you ever noticed that  a large group of people take on the mannerisms of animals at such events. You have the peacock who struts around at the podium spreading his feathers for everyone to see. He never says much but an occasional loud squawk which no one really pays attention to.”

Bragdon went on to describe other meeting participants as a mule, an old bull, and a gaggle of geese who “gossip and giggle, ignoring what is going on around  them” as well as spreading rumors. 

She then alluded to the “gentle work dog who pays attention, does the work, and helps solve the problem,” then urged community members to offer a “nice pat on the head and a small bone for a reward of a job well done” to work dogs in the community.

Residents irked at the comparisons are posting flyers around town asking, “What if we lost our fire department? This is exactly what will happen in Julian if we don’t all act now.”   Residents are urged to attend Thursday's meeting and make their concerns heard.

The flyer concludes wryly, "Farm animals welcome too.”