Home CONFIRE Times Editorial Board Continues To Promote Anti-CONFIRE Agenda

Times Editorial Board Continues To Promote Anti-CONFIRE Agenda

by ECT

The Contra Costa Times can claim it wants to be fair and balanced all it wants, but I requested information last week and received confirmation of my suspicion that the Times Editorial Board is making decisions before it already has the information in hand.

More importantly, the Times is ignoring and withholding information from its readers it has been given by request from CONFIRE.  Ultimately, this is not a fact finding mission because the facts are not being provided, it’s a witch hunt by emotional appeal against Local 1230 and the Board of Supervisors.

It’s stunning to me that the Contra Costa Times Editorial Board wants to continue picking on firefighters and change the message from fire services and it’s operational budget discussion to a be about pensions—news to the Times, pensions are not on the ballot and any meaningful pension reform it claims it wants, won’t have an effect for decades.

Below, you will see three things of great importance.

  1. Daniel Borensteins email to Chief Louder with his multiple requests (AKA Demands) for information
  2. Chief Louders response to Borenstein
  3. I go through the Times editorial and show how wrong it is

At the conclusion of this post, you will see for yourself, that the Times already had its mind made up while attempting to force Chief Louder to jump through hoops in the process. You will see the Times is taking a page out of CoCo Tax with their blanket statements and accusations without providing any proof to mislead voters. You will also see that the Times failed to do its job, while attempting to tell others how to do theirs!

As I mention many times, what in the world is the benchmark for “meaningful pension reform”?  I believe this to be code word for eliminating pensions and changing services models.  This is nothing more than the Times (Borenstein) picking on firefighters and telling them how to do their job, which is something he is not qualified to do.

As I mentioned a few days ago, the Contra Costa Times made an official endorsement against the proposed $75 parcel tax that will ultimately reduce fire services that CONFIRE provides by closing 1/3 of the current fire stations.  As I wrote a few days ago, Dan Borenstein did not share with its readers the entire story and ignored key information in their editorial that Chief Louder provided to them.  Note the “tone” of the letter!

From: Borenstein, Daniel
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 11:29 AM
To: Louder.Daryl
Cc: Borenstein, Daniel; [email protected]
Subject: Ballot measure endorsement — information needed by Friday morning


I want to let you know that we will be making an endorsement decision on the ballot measure very quickly. The reason for this is that the list of candidate races is huge, so we want to get key ballot measures we know about done before candidate filing closes next week. Also, on this one, there is much information out there and we have already indicated in a past editorial the criteria we will use to evaluate this.

In our June editorial, we said: ³Going forward, we expect the district to present objective information about the proposed tax, current and long-range district budget projections, the specific dollar amounts of personnel costs, the anticipated rise in the cost of retirement benefits, and creative alternatives to the tax-increase, not just scare tactics. In these financially difficult times, it’s also essential that government leaders examine whether services can be better delivered in new and different ways.²

We have seen your five-year budget projections. They raise numerous issues. Specifically, would you please address:

  • Retirement costs. Your numbers show that retirement costs in 17/18 will represent roughly 32 percent of total expenditures. Please explain what steps are being taken to control this. Be specific as to the proposals being considered and the dollars amounts associated with any savings.
  • Delivering services in new and different ways. Please provide explanations of what alternatives you have considered and provide any reviews or analyses of these alternatives that have been produced during the past three years within your department or by an outside consultant. Please be sure to address the issue of paramedic service, including any review or analyses. (Consider this a public records act request on this bullet point.)
  • Workout plan: The tax on the ballot would be for seven years. Your budget forecast only covers five years. Please provide forecasts that not only cover the entire seven-year period, but also show how the district will function after the tax expires. In other words, we would like to see a workout plan that ensures this is not essentially a permanent tax.
  • Any other information you would like us to consider.

Please provide me the information by Friday morning. Given that this ballot measure has been discussed for months (years?) now, and given that we signaled in June the information we would be seeking, I would hope this information is readily available.

I would appreciate if you would please immediately acknowledge receipt of this email.

Thank you,


Daniel Borenstein
Columnist and editorial writer
Contra Costa Times
Oakland Tribune
Bay Area News Group/East Bay
2640 Shadelands Drive
Walnut Creek, CA  94598
(925) 943-8248
[email protected]

Keep in mind, Borenstein demanded his laundry list be submitted to within 72-hours as if the Chief has nothing better to do. Chief Louder did respond. By sending the email, read it closely as its not a request for information, its simply a request for information that will back up Borensteins opinion.  The way he is demanding information is arrogant, degrading, and clearly has his mind made up before he received any information.  Below is the response to Borenstein from Chief Louder.

Again, note the obvious difference in tone between Borensteins “demand letter” and the Chiefs reply letter.

Greetings Dan,

Per your request and our conversation earlier this week, attached is our updated 10-year financial projections and information on controlling retirement costs.

I’ll be forwarding you the information on alternative service delivery models shortly.

After you have had a chance to review the documents, I’d like to speak with you to determine if you have any questions or need additional information.

As I noted before, we are working to address the current operating costs for the District as well as the structural components. We cannot solve all of the issues in a compressed time period, but we are making substantive and incremental progress. It is important that we remember the significant consequences to public safety if this measure fails. We should not sacrifice good for perfect when the stakes are so high.


Based off this exchange and information provided, the CC Times Editorial Board (really just Dan Borenstein and Dan Hatfield) wrote the following “opinion”. Due to the recklessness of this editorial, we must dissect what was written because the Times has a political agenda and is not interested in providing facts under the byline “Times Editorial Staff”.

Contra Costa Times editorial: District voters should reject false choice offered in fire tax

Posted:   08/09/2012 11:21:24 AM PDT
Updated:   08/10/2012 10:34:21 AM PDT

Residents of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District are being offered a false choice: Approve a $75-a-year parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot or face the shutdown of nearly one-third of the district’s stations.

Burks Comment: Why is it a false choice? It’s reality and all one has to do is look at East County where half its stations were closed.  The only thing false about that line is the Times did not mention the reduced level of funding due to property tax revenue being decreased.

It’s political blackmail. And it ignores potential savings that could have, and still could be, attained if fire district officials make meaningful pension changes and seriously examine ways to restructure, especially when it comes to providing emergency medical services.

Burks Comment: Pay attention to what the Times is saying because its dangerous–and journalist blackmail. Nowhere in this article does it state what meaningful pension reform is nor does it use any facts or figures. It’s a blanket statement and code word for “elimination of pensions”.  It also throws in the restructuring of services which is also code word for no longer responding to medical calls.  I’ve hit on this many times and most recently you can read the The Relationship of First Response to EMS from the Contra Costa Health Services Emergency Medical Service Agency (EMS). Essentially, this is an open ended statement with no bench mark to allow for a discussion to even begin because they do not offer facts or figures.

The tax measure affects property owners in much of Central County as well as Antioch, Pittsburg and San Pablo. It has been under discussion for at least two years.

The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, which runs the district, should have made every effort to find savings before going to voters. It didn’t.

Burks Comment: Mr. Borensetein, your contact buddy Kris Hunt of CoCo Tax provided a document at the last board meeting. Director Gioia reviewed Ms. Hunt’s document on scene to state that her numbers proved the Board of Supervisors have been reducing spending and making cuts.  The statement about going to the Board of Supervisors is a fib because they have been dealing with this issue since 2002. Local 1230 was guaranteed a total of four pay raises at 2.25 % which they agreed to bypass two of those four pay raises.  The Times lied big time with this smear of the Board of Supervisors.

There has been no serious discussion of options. Should firefighters continue delivering emergency medical services? If so, should they continue to receive extra pay for that, or should it be part of their basic salary? Should at least some of the county’s 10 financially strapped fire districts be merged to save on administrative costs?

Burks Comments: Another fib or the Contra Costa Times has been asleep at the wheel, you pick! We can pull up via the Times archives their many articles proving this statement false.  There have been many discussions and the Board of Supervisors has the hours of video to prove these types of discussions have occurred. Simply put this is a temporary tax to bridge the loss of property taxes which fund fire services, not an opportunity for Mr. Borenstein to reinvent emergency service delivery.

More to the point, why does Mr. Borenstein get to decide what is considered a “serious discussion of options?” Why can’t I decide? Why can’t you decide? How come he gets to decide (while using a phony byline as a paper) as to  what is considered serious or not.  Ultimately, this is his opinion and only his which does not make it true. Want proof, go to the video or did he forget that those exist?  Again, he never does state what would classify as to what serious discussions of options are. It’s open to interpretation.

A reasonable person would have thought Mr. Borenstein would at least attend a Fire Board meeting with all his concerns he apparently has while maybe asking a question or two.  From what I have observed, he hasn’t! Instead, he is chosing to hide his personal opinion and agenda behind the masthead of the Contra Costa Times.

Should fire inspectors continue to receive pensions at rates that were intended for people who put their lives on the lines? Should current employees be asked to agree to reduce pension accruals for their future working years? Should newly hired employees continue to be promised the same sort of pensions that are helping drive this current financial crisis?

Burks Comment: Okay fine, I’ll give Borenstein this one on the fire inspectors, but this is an easy fix and should be fixed. But moving onto his next line, if Mr. Borenstein would watch the last couple of fire board meetings, his questions were addressed by Supervisors Piepho, Gioia and Mitchoff.  This is simply a case of Mr. Borenstein not doing his research and being lazy.  They already agreed to a second tier, however, it’s stuck in the legislator which is needed to move forward with it.

Moving it forward prematurely would be illegal, violate labor law, and would get the county sued. To make this simple for Mr. Borenstein, this illegal act which he recommends would cost the taxpayers dearly!

There has been no serious evaluation of alternatives. Instead, voters are told to either pay more or watch homes burn.

Burks Comment: Again, there is no mention of alternatives and why does he get to consider something serious or not? But he is correct, voters do get to decide to pay more or watch homes burn–that is what the parcel tax is, not a discussion for other items that he is bringing up in this editorial.

It has been stated several times-this is a tax to fund operations.  The voters are not voting on pension reform-they are voting on the operational level that the fire department will fulfill.   A no vote means 7-10 fire stations (approximately1/3) will be closed-insurance rates will rise, emergency response times will increase, and lives will be UNNECESSARILY be put at risk.

They’re told the district plans to implement serious pension reform for new hires. In fact, the new pension formulas under discussion are just slightly less generous than the current ones and far more costly than the ones in effect a decade ago.

Burks Comment: Again, he mentions “serious pension reform” but fails to state what this is. No facts or figures. How is a reader to know what current employees get compared to the new hires if he fails to show it? This is a dirty trick by the Times because a decade ago the National Price of gasoline was near $2.00 per gallon–meaning costs have gone up!

Yes Mr. Borenstein, the cost of living and the cost of doing business has gone up, while in turn taxes which fund Con Fire have gone DOWN.

To be sure, the district’s finances are teetering on a cliff. Even if voters approve the new tax, the district’s budget projections show expenditures exceeding revenues until fiscal year 2022-23. To balance the books, the district plans to continue depleting reserves that should have gone to pay down the district’s pension debt.

Burks Comment: What number is Borenstein claiming has the district teetering on a cliff? The Times is talking about projections 10-years from now. Projections do not mean a thing. We don’t know what laws will be in place 10 years from now, we don’t know where the economy will be. If projections meant something, people wouldn’t have lost money during the economic crash!  His assumption that using reserves to pay for pensions is incorrect because that would have meant a loss in service.

Once again, Mr. Borenstein is talking finance, and making economic predictions which changes from year to year.  I find this way beyond the scope of a newspaper columnist.  I think readers would be shocked to know just who is behind the curtain of the Contra Costa Times editorial board.  They are not exactly economic scholars.  The level of research that some of these ‘journalists’ provide to back up their “opinions” is dismal at best.

But where do those expenditures go? For every dollar spent on salaries (excluding overtime), the district currently spends 88 cents on pension and retiree health care costs. By fiscal year 2017-18, the district will be spending substantially more on retirement costs than salaries.

The board and Chief Daryl Louder have had plenty of time to prepare for this, to negotiate meaningful pension changes and seriously examine new ways to deliver services more cost-effectively. They have done neither.

Burks Comment: Once again, what is meaningful pension changes? What is the bench mark that will satisfy Borenstein and the Contra Costa Times? As I mentioned Friday, Chief Louder provided a document showing changes and what has transpired in order to help control retirement costs, the Times just chose to ignore that document as if it didn’t exist. Its reckless for a paper to claim that the District has not made changes because they have–there is a document with five bullets proving they did something!

We recognize that residents might need to pay more. But, especially in these tough economic times, that should be the last line of defense. We hear supervisors saying they will make more changes in the future. That should come first.

Burks Comment: What is this “might” stuff, its fact people need to pay more because there is a shortfall thanks to people’s property taxes being reduced for three years straight. Supervisor Mitchoff stated it beautifully a few weeks back by stating if she had to pay $75 back because she received a $1,000 in a property tax reduction, she would be okay with it. I hope voters feel the same way.  $75 is cheap compared to the alternative.  The Times is essentially making the”what came first argument, “the chicken or the egg?”

As the Contra Costa Grand Jury said, “Simply asking the taxpayers for more money to fund old service models and support burdensome labor agreements is not the answer.” That’s why we urge voters to reject the parcel tax.

Burks Comment: By stating the Grand Jury report, the editorial lost all credibility because changing the service model is simply off the table based on the County EMS plan.  More importantly this was a cherry picked line out of a recommendation by the Grand Jury.

The line above it states, “Fire protection and emergency response service providers (fire agencies) in Contra Costa County are under pressure to align their reduced revenue basis, severely depleted by lower property taxes, with the cost required to operate at a level consistent with citizen expectations—meaning the Grand Jury recognizes the reduction in funds that are tied to property taxes!

This same Grand Jury report states they recognize Contra Costa County Fire has had to reduce salaries for all current firefighters by 10%–oops, I guess Borenstein left that one out as well. Once again we have a text book example of Borenstein and the other member of the Editorial Board cherry picking information to fit their agenda.

Taking this Grand Jury nonsense a step further it is important to know who makes up the Grand Jury and the level (or lack of) expertise that exists within the Grand Jury.  For the most part, agencies that are reviewed by the Grand Jury disagree with their findings.  While it is admirable that citizens “volunteer” to serve on Grand Juries, they are by no means experts about the issues they report on.

My final thoughts on this topic are straight forward.

This is a case of the Contra Costa Times (mostly Dan Borenstein) trying to tell firefighters how to do their job and how to restructure when he is watching from afar and sitting behind a desk.  It’s stunning to me that Borenstein wants to pick on firefighters and tell them how to do their job when he is doing a poor job himself by failing to provide facts and figures to back up his opinions.  Maybe it’s time we discuss how he is providing service to his readers and talk about reducing his salary and see how he likes it.

After all, it is no secret in Contra Costa that Borenstein has a chip on his shoulder regarding public safety.  It would be nice if he would report the news, rather than try to make it up as he pleases.

The Times Editorial Board are frauds and it’s time the readers hold them accountable and begin cancelling their subscriptions in response to this shotty yellow journalism they are providing to what little readers they have left.

Don’t take my word for it as I encourage you to visit “Boycott the Times” on Facebook.  Apparently Mr. Borenstein is creating quite a legacy for himself.

Photo was a screen shot taken from the Contra Costa Times website

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JAJAMES304 Aug 13, 2012 - 9:07 am

Another world class piece by EastCountyToday! Nice job Burk. Thank you for going through this piece by piece. I thnk if I am Chief Louder, I ignore any contact with Borenstein going forward. I also thank you for pointing out the tone of the emails–what a jerk!

If the Times had any balls, they would replace Borenstein with Burk!

JimSimmons42 Aug 13, 2012 - 9:10 am

The way you broke down the editorial is amazing to me. Very nice and I hope people now realize anything this paper says should be rejected! I love how you hold this editorial board for their blanket statements and not providing fact or figures behind their statements. These guys are dirty at the Times!

Not to be off topic, but the video they have of Meuser and DeSaulnier is proof they have an anti-union and political agenda by just the way they spoke to Meuser compared to DeSaulnier.

Tim Blake Aug 13, 2012 - 9:16 am

Borenstein and the Editorial Board got what they deserved in this piece. I am with James on this one, Louder should ignore any request by Borenstein going forward. No one should have to put up with that arrogance from someone who thinks so littel of public safety.

It appears to me based on the editorial the Times simply made their recommendation based off a Grand Jury report as opposed to information provided by Louder? Nice point in bringing up just who the Grand Jury is or isnt!

JimSimmons42 Aug 13, 2012 - 9:27 am

I wonder how the folks over at Bill Gram-Reefers site will react to Burk exposing their hero? Those are some major trolls over there and who will CoCo Tax run to now that Borenstein and his editorial board have not only been exposed as plagorists by the LA Times, but now Burk just did a number proving they are making stuff up even when given the information.

What I think is very telling abut this situation which may get lost in such a long piece is Borensteins email to Louder highlights an opinion was already formulated before the facts were provided.

Jeff Brown Aug 13, 2012 - 9:23 am

This is flat out awesome!!!! This little turd got exactly what he deserved which is to look like a complete idiot. Thank you for not only supporting fire, but seeking to find out the truth as well in the process. It’s refreshing for a change. Consider my subscription cancelled!

Tim T Aug 13, 2012 - 9:26 am

Way to go Burk! I am glad someone finally was able to put Borenstein and the Times in their place.

BenSmith Aug 13, 2012 - 9:34 am

As if plagorism wasn’t bad enough for the Times, you have to go out and bury this editorial board. Very nice Burke, they deserve it for the hell they have caused to so many people with their “opinions” as opposed to fact. The email to Louder is all one needs to highlight their clear biased behavior. Going through and tearing up their editorial was priceless!

Jill Thompson 55 Aug 13, 2012 - 9:46 am

Burke, you give journalist a bad name when you print garbage like this. Borenstein and the editorial board have how many years of experience compared to you? You are pathetic! To question their research and their agenda is hypocritical when you write terrible articles like this which says nothing except you hate the Times.

I hope you can live with yourself.

burkforoakley Aug 13, 2012 - 9:55 am

What you are accusing me of is actually what the Times has been doing. But thanks!

JigsUp Aug 13, 2012 - 9:57 am

What flavor is the kool-aid today?

You obviously have an emotional connection with danny that prevents you from objectively reading the facts. If you cannot see what he wrote in advance of receiving the documents, you have no credibility on this one.

Once upon a time, and not that long ago, under editorials such as what danny wrote they noted that it was the OPINION of the editorial staff. It’s not purely fact based reporting.

That tagline is no longer included in Times editorials and a critical thinker would be asking why.

EastCountyReader Aug 13, 2012 - 10:26 am

Jill, I have been reading your posts for a while. Obviously you are either a plant or a very confused individual.

The editor of this site exposed the disturbing behind the scenes activities of the newspaper and you think you can actually defend it? In case you were wondering, this makes YOU look bad, not Mr. Burk.
It makes you look even worse when you deny the fact that the reporters and editors did not do “research” and don’t have the credentials to tell the industry professionals how to do their jobs.

Let me ask you, do you think an entire industry such as public safety (police and fire) should drop all of their principals and take direction from Dan Borenstein?
You really should be asking what his credentials are? How much does he make a year? What are his benefits? What is his retirement? I think once you had these questions answered you would realize two things; His opinion is under-qualified and his motives are very suspect.

Vilifying firemen and the service they provide to people in need is pathetic. One might ask you or Dan Borenstein; How do you live with yourself?

Duane Aug 14, 2012 - 8:07 pm

Wake up Jill. The paper is owned by the conservatives who are owned by the rich. Borenstein is owned by the paper and you’re owned by Borenstein. YOU’RE A SHEEP.

Thomas Aug 19, 2012 - 7:06 pm

Yeah Jill, you’re right…. We should never question any thing. Just accept what a journalist (whose job it is to sensationalize and sell papers) says is 100% truth…. that way decisions can be made for me…. it’s easier that way….and much less intelectual…

JigsUp Aug 13, 2012 - 9:47 am

The propaganda rag that the Times has become is starting to unravel. It’s worse than even this piece exposes.

Throughout the Measure S campaign in East County Vince Wells and representatives of the union attempted many times to offer counter commentary to the relentless attacks the Times ran to carry the agenda for CoCoTax. The proponents were constantly and summarily rejected. Letters to the editor submitted to the paper were repeatedly denied. Comments posted under their articles to offer support for the measure were, and still are, taken down. I’m aware of comments within just the last week on this topic that have been removed.

The same was true with candidates who the Times did not support in the primary election cycle. They were refused rebuttal space for attacks directed at them.

It’s a very clear campaign to control the message with blatant censorship.

The Times can no longer be taken as a serious newspaper. Their tactics and their policies with respect to opinions from the readership have evolved to being no different than than Pravda grade behavior.

Members of the Lesher family must be horrified at what this paper has evolved to since they sold it.

burkforoakley Aug 13, 2012 - 9:49 am

Well said, I had a comment deleted this week.

B-wood Aug 13, 2012 - 10:00 am

This issue along with the censorship and plagiarism should be reported to the CNPA (California Newspaper Publisher’s Association).


B-wood Aug 13, 2012 - 9:55 am

This is stunning. Borenstein’s arrogance is appalling.

I’m happy that many others are seeing and reacting to the Contra Costa Times hit pieces. The paper has continued to spiral off into the weeds from once being a source of credible information to nothing more than a media vehicle for a journalist with a personal agenda.
Do the owners of the Times really think anyone feels they provide good journalism anymore? “Fair and balanced” are not words I associate with that paper.

As far as I am concerned the Times has lost all credibility. I would love to see a local TV station pick up on this issue and an expose the antics that are occurring behind the scenes at the paper.
Citizens and readers need to know they are being played.

Thanks for the updates Mr. Burkholder.

Damon Aug 13, 2012 - 10:13 am

Burk, I think the people are CONFIRE owe you a beer for this one. Excellent work! As for that miget Borenstein, you have just lost what little credability you had left.

Dawn Phlynt Aug 13, 2012 - 10:46 am

Someone as qualified as Dan Borenstein should be looking for additional work. Are they hiring over at halfway to concord? Those people will believe anything they are fed. It’s hysterical reading the commentary and posts.

It’s a regular kool aid factory over there.

KelleyM Aug 13, 2012 - 12:30 pm

Phenomenal! The time and effort you put into breaking down the one-sided information that has been spoon to the citizens of this county by the CC Times and its editorial staff, is very much appreciated.

Bob Aug 13, 2012 - 3:02 pm

Nice to see the reading public becoming aware of this problem.

EastCountyReader Aug 13, 2012 - 4:33 pm


It looks like the problem has been evolving for some time now. The times is a shell of a paper, with very little substance. The content has become questionable and comes across to everyone that I know as desperate and often poorly researched. Borenstein and the editorial board are simply expediting the eventual demise.

I don’t think it will be missed.

Moses Aug 13, 2012 - 5:58 pm

This is so refreshing to see that someone covering this parcel tax has looked at the big picture and will not let people lie anymore.

Tank Kim Aug 13, 2012 - 6:00 pm

I was forwared this article and I am very impressed with the time taken to go through such a complex issue and break it down in simple terms to provide actual proof the game the Times pulls. Ultimatly, this occurs on most of their editorials but no one takes the time to correct them. Great job! I hope to see more of this in the future.

Ted Aug 13, 2012 - 8:22 pm

Interesting stuff here. Many do not understand that editorials are opinion pieces. Some don’t understand that the same set of facts can lead to different opinions from people with different experiences and outlooks.

Get as rabid as you like folks, the electorate will decide and you may not like the results. Calling people on the other side of an issue name helps neither you argument or your credibility.

But please, for your own good, remember that Burke has an opinion….nothing more. Many people believe these taxes are just good money after bad, and a more complete solution – yes, even something that makes the current regime uncomfortable – is necessary.

JimSimmons42 Aug 13, 2012 - 8:56 pm

Ted, I think you missed the point of the article which was the Times purposely is leaving out facts and not telling the entire truth to present an opinion against public safety. Different opinions are fine, this is American and it’s healthy to disagree, but doing what the Times has done is inexcusable.

Burkes article is much more than an opinion, he proved Borenstein and Hatfield had an agenda before they even wrote their editorial and endorsement against the measure while making Chief Louder jump through hoops. You shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the effort Burk did on this one to provide facts to dismiss Borenstein!

Type2OK Aug 14, 2012 - 8:14 pm

Jim, I have read both the Borenstein and Burk view. The difference is Burk just like Borenstein avoid sending the part of the facts that disagrees with the message each author sends. Ted is right on the mark. I want to see mathmatical facts displayed to back each argument. Math does not lie. A fix is needed and mathmatical dollars and cents is the only true solution. How much and who pays are the real questions. The direction taken will be dependant on the publics ability to keep shelling out more cash.

EastCountyReader Aug 13, 2012 - 9:07 pm

Ted, you seem to be a little off base with your opinion.
I cannot speak for Burk but I can say with a certain amount of certainty that the point that is often lost is this;
You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

The facts remain that the critics of the tax, believe (opinion) that this vote has something to do with pension reform. The fact is, it does not. Not opinion, but fact.
The Con Fire tax is similar in nature to the one that failed in East County (Measure S).
For whatever reason (probably strategy) the newspapers and the Contra Costa Tax payers are using verbal arson, to confuse the issue and confuse voters. They realize that at the same time, they also keep the professionals and policy makers-the ones that are trying to educate the public, unnecessarily busy putting out their “spot fires”. Make no mistake, this is nothing more than a shady strategy that works similar to negative campaigning.

You need not to look further than the failure of “Measure S” in east Contra Costa County;

Vote YES and you are replacing some of the lost revenue from decreased assessments in Property Taxes. Replacement dollars to continue a basic level of emergency services.

Vote NO and you will force closure of fire stations resulting in increased response times, certain life and property loss and increased homeowners insurance rates.

Fact; Neither a yes or no vote forces any pension reform. Not only is that a fact, it has been made clear numerous times. Repeating the question (as the Times and the Contra Costa Tax club does) has no bearing on the reality.

Fact; There is no “good money after bad”. This current situation has occurred due to the massive tax revenue lost due to taxes across the county being LOWERED for three consecutive years. It is simple math. Math is not an opinion, it doesn’t care about opinions. 2 + 2 will always equal 4 no matter how you try to rearrange the figures.

It isn’t rocket science.

Jeff B Aug 14, 2012 - 5:40 pm

Glad this issue has turned into a math equation, I love math. Math definitely leads us in the right direction. Glad to know a pro special interest-taxer wants to take this FD/ems issue to a higher level ..that being math.

So this is the math I have largely based my FD/ems out look on…..(hint, it is a story problem): A county, lets call this county CCC, has a sum of money to provide a set of services; the people who run CCC have a choice, they can pay some of the employees a certain amount while paying the majority of the employees way way more than the first set who do the same job. If this unequal method of distribution of money (for the same job) leads to diminished service what would be the mathematically correct way to improve service in CCC? Would it be to equally distribute the available sum of money under a new organization using the lower pay scale to a greater number of employees or would it be to continue to use the money distribution method that has lead to the diminished service while trying (with a high likelihood of failure) to get even more money for the already higher paid group and in so doing no additional employees would be added?

I know this is way hard math/logic for some readers of this forum but the good news is you have until Nov 6 to figure it out. And yes, it is ok to use your fingers and toes.



DoTheMath Aug 14, 2012 - 10:18 pm

Here’s some math

1 angry, confused little man who had a vote – 1 angry, confused little man who no longer lives here, no longer has a vote and should be ignored



Frank S Aug 14, 2012 - 4:18 pm

Ted, Burk used facts to prove the Times wrong. Not sure what your problem is but its difficult to deny how screwy Borenstein is.

Frank S Aug 14, 2012 - 4:15 pm

Can’t really say what hasn’t already been said but good job Mike. This was much needed and I hope the Times has read it and changes their tune going forward.

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[…] goes out to Mr. Wells, for some background, I went through the Times Editorial and dissected why it was wrong and full of misinformation while i… Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this.Tagged as: Vince Wells « […]

Vince Wells Educates Times Readers on Irresponsibility | East County Today Aug 31, 2012 - 6:54 am

[…] Louder provided Dan Borenstein with a document of what had been done to reign in retirement costs. On August 13, I go a step further and completely reject Mr. Borensteins views by providing his original “political agenda” request to Chief Louder, while going […]

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