Fire Station No. 107 shows impact of a vote

Here's a reminder for the 29.1 percent of Sun City Summerlin homeowners who, during a special election in February 2009, either failed to vote or cast their ballots in opposition to the city's plan to build Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Station No. 107. Their action and inaction almost succeeded in killing one of the most important initiatives ever undertaken in Sun City.

It's also a reminder for the other 70.9 percent, or 5,518 homeowners, who voted to permit construction of the station at the corner of Del Webb Boulevard and Sundial Drive. As it turned out, the number of favorable votes was a fairly close call.

Had 331 of those 5,518 homeowners voted in opposition to the station ---- or had they not voted at all ---- we wouldn't be singing the praises of this state-of-the-art emergency facility. Indeed, there would have been no Station No. 107.

So what do these numbers reflect? Moreover, don't they represent an ideal illustration of why every vote can be so crucial in any election and certainly the one coming up just three weeks from today?

The numbers are about the fact that 1,606 Sun City homeowners did not cast ballots in the special election. Additionally, 657 residents voted in opposition to the station, which has been getting as many as 15 emergency calls daily since it opened four months ago ---- a far cry from the five calls a day that were initially estimated.

The numbers are also about the fact that under Sun City's official covenants, conditions and restrictions, a minimum of two-thirds of the resident homeowners, or in this case 5,187, were required to vote favorably before the station could become a reality.

Never mind the 1,606 homeowners who didn't vote. There's a percentage of non-voters in every election. But I dare say that these days you couldn't find anyone in Sun City who would speak negatively about Station No. 107, and that includes the 657 who voted against it, many of whom openly expressed loud criticism at the time.

"As it turned out, the need for this place is undisputed," said David Steinman, treasurer of the Sun City Summerlin Board of Directors. "We have residents who keep telling us how gratified they are to have this facility in Sun City."

An effervescent Steinman was doing the talking while he and several firefighters took me and my wife, Fran, on a personal tour of their home away from home.

Ironically, during the hour and a half we spent at the station, there were two emergency medical calls from Sun City residents. The response time for both was well within the expected six minutes from the time of the call.

The station's living quarters, technology and general facilities are impressive, containing the most modern advancements. And if you had to choose one person responsible for making Station No. 107 possible it would unquestionably be Steinman.

"I have spent four and a half years on this project," he said. "I went to every construction meeting. I met with every public official who was involved."

That included former Fire Chief Greg Gammon and current Chief Mike Myers, County Commissioner Larry Brown, former Mayor Oscar Goodman, City Councilmen Stavros Anthony and Steve Ross, planners, architects and other officials.

"I was a member of the city planning commission when this all began," Steinman said. "Larry Brown was our councilman. He and Greg Gammon wanted a site in Sun City for a fire and rescue station. We all felt it was a critical need, and it was then that we decided on the ninth tee at Palm Valley Golf Course."

Steinman moved to the community in 1999 and became active in its affairs almost immediately afterward. He has served on the community's Architectural Review Committee since 2000 and has been elected to the Sun City Board of Directors for seven years.

He was appointed to fill out Brown's vacated seat on the city council for six months after Brown was elected to the board of county commissioners. It was during that crucial period in 2009 that the special election was held in Sun City, whereby approval was required under the community's CC&Rs before construction could begin.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His newest novel, "All For Nothing," is now available. Contact him at