Home Opinion Opinion: Roberts Continued Assault on Firefighters with Altered Graphic is a New Low

Opinion: Roberts Continued Assault on Firefighters with Altered Graphic is a New Low

by ECT

An altered photograph is making its round on social media and websites that mimics a recent informational flyer sent out by the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.

Posted on the Contra Costa Times website, here is a look at the flyer posted by Dave Roberts, a known advocate against the fire departments parcel taxes.


The actual flyer looks like this.


In reviewing the photograph presented by Mr. Roberts, I find it to be a disturbing mindset and disgusting portrayal of firefighters.  Its unfortunate Mr. Roberts has crossed the line with his rhetoric because it’s simply not true in terms of the message it sends by opening up ones wallet for service.

He also changed the fire district name to “East Contra Costa Protection Racket” which says a lot about his character which has not changed in the two-plus years of misinformation he has spread about the fire district, salaries, overtime pay and pensions. His lies and misinformation he spread helped defeat Measure S as well as Measure Q.

While we certainly can disagree about a parcel tax with the pros and cons, we cannot assault and defame a firefighters character with lies. That is the lowest of lows.

The reality is the opposite of the flyer is true because of a firefighter’s personality will not allow death to intentionally occur based off an outcome of a tax measure. I’ve been around firefighters to know that even when they mentally down from the politics behind the scenes, when that alarm rings all is forgotten and they go at an incident 100% focused only on the task at hand.

In fact, all firefighters in all of Contra Costa County will actually work harder when stations are closed later this year to ensure public safety needs are met.

I say this with the most utmost respect to my firefighter friends when I say firefighters are their own worst enemies when it comes to a tax measure because they work to hard to protect the public and the public sees little to no change in service when layoffs occur and stations are closed. This has why East County has not felt the pain of previous station closures because of the outstanding job firefighters have done when with just a five station model. Remember, the District used to have eight stations just a few years back.

Why can I say the public has not felt the pain, because a recent poll says so. They have a public approval rating of 75% according to polling done presented at the February Board meeting.

Considering the graphic used the ECCFPD logo to defame the agency, I would encourage the Fire District Board to seek legal action against Mr. Roberts. As a former journalist, he should know better. Even worse, the Contra Costa Times has left the graphic up on its website and has not removed it.

Going forward, lets have an honest debate the funding of a fire department, but lets leave the assault on a firefighters character out of it.

Burk Byline

By Michael Burkholder
[email protected]

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JimSimmons42 Feb 24, 2014 - 9:42 am

Thank you ECT for saying what needed to be said. I would not have been so nice. Mr. Roberts should issue an apology at the next board meeting.

Christine Feb 24, 2014 - 9:43 am

That is terrible!

Jill Thompson 55 Feb 24, 2014 - 9:51 am

Mr. Burkholder
I see you have grown in two years where you would have ripped him into a new one whereas he has not grown and continues to lie and mislead people. Shame on him. This is so terrible. I agree with the previous comment, he needs to issue an apology.

Erin Plume Feb 24, 2014 - 10:01 am

Roberts is a wannabe Daniel Borenstein-I believe he idolizes him. They both suffer from Firefighter~Pension envy. Neither wants to be bothered with the facts. Too bad they cannot find better writers or editorial board that wants to report the news without adding their bitter, personal agenda.

They are both sour because they drew the short straw in life and are stuck in “pension-less” dead end jobs (both in the publishing business). I wonder how much longer we have to endure that crappy rag in contra costa? I haven’t taken it for years, besides the good writers with integrity including Lisa Vorderbruggen have left. Last time I saw a copy which someone had left behind, I noticed it has shrunk and was nothing but ads for Frys and buying gold coins.

Richard Ambrosino Feb 24, 2014 - 10:18 am

Well you can either pay the firefighters or the insurance company you cannot vote on an insurance raise or do anything to control them .I would rather have a quality fire dept with properly staffed stations and response times ! Thank you firefighters! Richard Ambrosino

p5ret Feb 24, 2014 - 10:24 am

Did anyone expect anything different from him?

Stan Feb 24, 2014 - 11:00 am

Two questions for Mr. Roberts: Is saving lives, protection of property and providing medical aid a “racket” in your world? If so I think you are out of touch with the human race.

How is your job working out for you?

Barbara DuMont Feb 24, 2014 - 11:19 am

Since Mike won’t allow me to print what I really think, I will go with–what a complete jerk!

joe blow from idaho Feb 24, 2014 - 4:15 pm

I have managed several different types of businesses. When the corporate heads would cut my budget, I would have to make due with the cuts. It didn’t mean I closed a couple of stores. It means I moved around responsibilities and sometimes cut middle management. I did this without cutting services to my customers. ANY competent manager can do the same. The heads of these fire departments choose to use the SCARE TACTIC everytime. They would rather close stations and put people in danger. If the heads of these department don’t know how to be competent managers, fire them and get managers who can.

Anon Feb 24, 2014 - 4:44 pm

Hey Mister Blow,

Do you ever do any research before you open your yapper? There are NO more positions to cut. There is no middle management left to cut! What is it about bare bones level service do you not understand? Do you have potato’s stuck in your ears? This is not a scare tactic. You are about to find out what doing LESS with LESS really means. There are no managers so there is no one to fire. You are claiming you have managed several different types of business? Now that is scary. Do us all a great big favor and name the companies for which you have managed so we can avoid them like the plague. Make due? With what??? You can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shiet!!!!!!

Wait, are you Dave Roberts???? You are giving Idaho a bad name!!!!!!!!!!

Righteous in the 'Wood Feb 27, 2014 - 6:46 pm

Well Joe, you see, we’ve already done that. So, I guess the next phase according to Joe’s world would be to sell all the fire engines, mortgage out the fire houses, and trade in all the fireman’s boots for running shoes. That way, they’ll be comfortable running to fires, accidents, and other emergencies they’re needed at.

Yes, I’m sure that is the answer. Maybe we could also have the Fire Fighters pay rent on the nights they stay in the Fire House? Could save a buck or two here or there with that idea.

Cathleen Mann Feb 24, 2014 - 4:17 pm

I posted this on my facebook at the beginning of January.

What is a firefighter worth?

There has been so much talk recently about things like containing costs, lowering taxes, and those who work in public safety being overpaid – particularly firefighters – which could make your head spin. We’ve all done the “simple math,” crunched the numbers, and it all seems to boil down to a simple question. What is a firefighters worth?

I guess that depends. We live in a country that seems to have forgotten what our priorities are. A man can be a skilled athlete who happens to throw and catch a football well, and make millions and millions of dollars to do so. And we as a society are not only OK with that, but we gather in front of our televisions and cheer that man on. Meanwhile, a firefighter kisses his children goodbye before every shift knowing the harsh reality that it very well could be the last time he will see them, and he is fighting tooth and nail for decent health coverage and substantial pay to support those children.

He is the man that you call when your elderly father has a stroke. He is the person that will extract your 16-year-old son from a mangled vehicle on the highway in the middle of the night. He is the person that will be there in a heartbeat when your newborn infant stops breathing. He is the person who is exposed to countless dangerous scenarios and has seen horrific things during his career that would psychologically haunt most of us for the rest of our lives. We trust him to save our homes and belongings in the event of a disastrous fire, and we trust him to keep us breathing and our hearts beating when we face our most critical moments. What is he worth to you?

He sometimes will go days without sleep, and make life altering decisions on every call he shows up to. He has missed family meals, bedtime stories, Christmas mornings, school plays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving dinners, and his own children’s birthdays. We all know that life is so very short, and firefighters sacrifice precious time with the most important people in their lives to save the lives of the most important people in yours. And now they have to defend and protect their pensions, well deserved health benefits, and their paychecks. It has been proposed by some that they lose many of their benefits, and work extra shifts that they will not be compensated for. There seems to be a serious misconception that firefighters are in it for the monetary gain, and more and more often have been portrayed in a negative light for actually expecting to be compensated for the sacrifices that they make to do their job. For an individual that has chosen this selfless career, it begs the question: Is it worth it?

Most of us are willing to pay a little extra for something if it is important to us, whether it be the shoes we wear, the doctor we choose to treat us, or even the cup of coffee we drink. It is something that we value; therefore it is worth the cost. Most would agree that our safety and protection is of immeasurable value. Those of us that are skilled in math may look at the numbers and think that stripping those who serve our public of their way to earn a decent living is an answer to a financial equation. But firefighters and their families are not numbers on a piece of paper. They are human beings that are doing their jobs every day to the best of their ability, and possibly sacrificing their own lives for the life of a stranger. Not many of us in our right mind would do that for free, and no one should have to.

So before making our minds up that firefighters are the financial problem, sit down with a local firefighter and ask him about his job. Ask him about his wife and his sons or daughters, what kind of house he lives in, and what type of car he drives. And then ask yourself, if you were to take on such a career, what would you expect in return?

Buy a Clue Feb 25, 2014 - 3:49 pm

Cathleen, I see on the Times site you asked ole Pete what his occupation is. It will be interesting to see if he responds to you. If he does not include his position, current or past, within the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, that information is readily available.

It’s fascinating to watch the opponents run from the questions over there. Not unlike they do here.

Bill Hogan Feb 24, 2014 - 6:28 pm

Wow!!! The Contra Costa Times even goes so far as to censor comments that would dare say anything that goes against their one sided beliefs. What a garbage newspaper. Go ahead and post something against Mr. Dave Roberts, it will be taken down immediately. Vince Well’s comment was. What a joke.

Sheldon Feb 25, 2014 - 11:11 am

D.Roberts, D. Borenstien, W. Lack, K. Hammbrick and Khunt are simpletons who think counting beans is more important than the protection of human beings.

Life must be unimaginable for this little flock of penny pinchers.

Buy a Clue Feb 25, 2014 - 3:15 pm

Collectively as a group, dangerous to the future of public safety. Not a one of them, to my knowledge, has any management level of experience in the delivery of public services. Yet they continue to shout about reinventing the delivery model.

Sorry, I don’t call a carpenter when I need open heart surgery. I’m certainly not going to call the CCTPA on how to reinvent the fire department.

It’s absurd some of the garbage that these people preach and they can’t even be honest. Near as I can tell from the brainless talking points is they are expecting:

Elimination of pensions – they’ll say reform. That’s BS. They want them gone. Not just in the future. They want to take away what’s already been earned.

Reduction in compensation – Forget that this is a young person occupation or that pushing people in this occupation to age 60 and beyond will result in a flood of workman’s comp claims and a new, massive financial liability for the districts. You can’t reason with these CCTPA people.

Shift to volunteer – Some of them advocate for it including some vocal ones here. But not a single one of them will talk about the negative consequences. Would you even buy a used car from one of these people when they won’t give you the full story?

Mostly just a bunch of ill informed ideologues carrying water for the corporations who fund them. They have a bottom line profit interest first and only. Yours and your family’s safety really don’t fit into their equation. It’s an attack on unions and a race to the bottom for the middle class.

Keep in mind the next time your Comcast, AT&T, Shell gas, Chevron gas, etc goes up. Those are the behind the scenes people who give K.Hunt her marching orders. They are the ones who fund the operations and sit on the Executive board of the CCTPA.

B-Wood Feb 25, 2014 - 8:37 pm

Buy a clue,

Nailed it.


CCCVoter Feb 25, 2014 - 9:46 pm

Can’t find a way to chalk the difference in opinion to something other than you being better informed, more socially responsible, and less ideological than the other side who happen to be in majority in this case?

Until people can find it within themselves to understand where their opposition is honestly coming trom, they will be hard pressed to forge a meaningful solution and compromise.

The same holds true for the anti-tax people. We would see more progress on this issue if everyone would consider their purpose in posting their thoughts here. Is it to move the conversation forward, or enjoy personal satisfaction on putting their opponents down. Often it appears to be the latter.

Why bother?

ECV Feb 26, 2014 - 11:34 am

Certain individuals, when losing debates, choose to claim personal attacks are being leveled on them or that they are being “put down”. Unfortunately for them, most often its nothing more than them, being beat down with facts. It only becomes personal when they make it that way. If they don’t like the rules of debating fact versus opinion, then they are free to not participate. However if they choose to, then they are subject to whatever outcome is dictated by the debate. For those that can’t handle it, crying foul is their only way out.

It is unfortunate the under informed have been able to vote down the necessary funding. In most cases the “other side” doesn’t make up the majority.

I understand there is legislation underway to lower the threshold for passing taxes where emergency services are concerned from a supermajority of 66 percent down to a simple majority of 55 percent.

This one needs to be reviewed and possibly changed. Why should school districts have a 55 percent threshold for tax passage? Why should the minority dictate the level of emergency service available to my family?

There is no shortage of reasons that our emergency services are spiraling downward. We really don’t need the fabricated ones, offered up by the anti tax people to confuse an already complicated situation. If you don’t think so, then read P Conrad’s commentary regarding dangerous jobs as it applies to the firefighters and the recycled “volunteer” example. Either he is ignorant or purposely trying to mislead.

Follow the debate in the comment section of the times on this subject and you can witness firsthand the dumbing down of America. IMHO the D Roberts, K Hunts and P Conrad’s (Contra costa tax payer’s cult) are getting their collective @sses handed to them. When they get questioned, they replay their debunked & dated assumptions, cry foul (claim they were put down) or go noticeably silent. In a debate, that is classified as a loss.

As for Dave Roberts and his effort, that guy already lost a long time ago. He has only himself to blame for his actions. His reputation speaks volumes.

Dan Colbath Feb 25, 2014 - 8:33 pm

It’s really hard to hear that kind of character assassination on a group of people who work so hard. Politics are one thing but attacking us on a personal level is a new low. I am disgusted at what he has written.

Sheldon Mar 1, 2014 - 11:42 am

I just stumbled on an example of what krazy looks like. Check it out.


Are people really this confused about the issue? The term “willful ignorance” come to mind.

Comments are closed.