Home CONFIRE CC Times Still Being Dishonest About CONFIRE

CC Times Still Being Dishonest About CONFIRE

by ECT

Let’s go through this slowly so that many folks can understand just exactly what the Contra Costa Times Editorial Board tried to do with yesterdays editorial against Contra Costa County Fire. In a nutshell, the Times are trying to trash the fire District and the Board of Supervisors on this issue in order to get enough public outcry to force them into changing service models, pay, and pensions.

While the Times is entitled to their opinion, they need to stop making such blanket statements that bad mouth the District because their statements are pretty much failing to show the big picture while leaving out a ton of information. This is such a complex issue that these little editorials the Times puts out benefit no one and keeps the debate dishonest.

So here is the editorial from yesterday that is in bold with my rebuttal immediately following.

Contra Costa Times editorial: Fire district must find creative ways to ensure public safety
Contra Costa Times editorial
Posted:   11/09/2012 10:00:00 AM PST
Updated:   11/09/2012 04:53:57 PM PST

For more than two years, officials of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District have claimed they need more money.

The firefighters are speaking the truth. Over 90% of the revenue for fire comes from property tax. When revenue goes down, so does the funding.  It is not a claim, it’s a reality.  We’re basically paying 2002 prices for fire service we receive today. That’s about where the property values reset to after the crash and they haven’t recovered much from the bottom. Since the fire department gets 90+% of its revenue from that stream, there’s your problem.

If you don’t believe me,  ask where was the Contra Costa Times and Contra Costa Taxpayers Association prior to 2002 pointing out this so called problem? Their was no issue until revenue went down with the economic recession.

The reality is, prices go up but rarely go down! Just look at the price of a cup of coffee in 2002 and compare it to today’s cost. How about a gallon of gas? Medical insurance premiums? Electricity? The same principal applies to fire services which you would think those at CoCo Tax would understand being MBA’s and all with numbers.

But rather than embark on a serious examination of how to deliver services more cost-effectively, Chief Daryl Louder and the county Board of Supervisors have done nothing, hoping that voters would simply agree to tax themselves more.

A flat out lie. Via Vince Wells, some of the actions taken:

  1. Put together a labor/management team to reduce expenditures (things we could live without).
  2.  Reduce salaries, benefits, delay capital purchases and improvements.
  3. More pay cuts, close two engine companies, lay off personnel.
  4. Utilize grants for capital, watch the economy specifically the housing market and property values.
  5. Evaluate other service delivery options (all reduced service level).
  6. Pension changes to reduce costs (legal changes), and will are now working on the implementation of the governors reform plan that takes effect Jan 2013.

All the above has been going on since and continues. Each year the situation was reassessed. The chief and the Board of Supervisors had to decide on service reductions, utilizing the reserves, employee cuts and layoffs. Again, the District is funded by property taxes alone. Their revenue source is not diverse and they are not part of the county general fund.

I would like to add to Mr. Wells comments that Local 1230 put out an informational piece in early October that highlights much of what has been done which disproves this bogus statement by the Times. Here is a link to the information that I posted on October 9, 2012. The Times did not provide an accurate history lesson to its readers. The Times also might have missed the second piece of literature that went out explaining “Why Do We Send a Fire Engine to a Medical Emergency?”.  Maybe the firefighters can send the Times a copy?

There is even video that begins in 2008 from the Board of Supervisors which can further disprove the Times statement.

It was a cynical, political and irresponsible move, blackmailing residents, telling them to cough up more money or watch stations close and homes burn. But voters on Nov. 6 said no, rejecting a $75 annual parcel tax.

There was no blackmail, voters had the option to pay $75 or close stations. That is a choice in service levels.  CONFIRE is a $102 million dollar department that now has to operate with $88 million. Changes to the delivery model are inevitable.

Their message was simple: First show us meaningful efforts to cut costs, to contain out-of-control pension expenses and to provide emergency medical service more cheaply than sending high-priced firefighters.

Pay attention to the word “meaningful” because its undefined. The Editorial Board has never said what would satisfy them. They also never provided a cost analysis to prove keeping engines in stations is a cost savings–for the record, even if engines are stuck in stations during medical calls, you are still paying firefighters to sit around and play cards or watch TV.  Meanwhile, AMR’s contract would have to be amended and would cost the County more to ensure they can handle the call volume. Finally, many incidents would require an engine anyway. Making this change simply increases response times during life threatening incidents.

If the Times wants to continue using the word “meaningful”, going forward they are going to need to define what it means with their own plan.  Rather than continue to tear down fire, the Time has come to sit down with fire and figure out the numbers that would make the papers editorial board happy.  Right now, its an unknown.

Louder and the supervisors should not be surprised. The election outcome was predictable. But now that the tax has failed, their first move will probably be to close stations. They’ve backed themselves, and residents, into a corner because they have made no meaningful efforts to find alternatives.

Is the Times not paying attention? CONFIRE has been telling everyone in public the first thing they will do is close stations.  It’s not “probably”, its it will happen.  See my comments above on this claim about no meaningful efforts to find alternatives as the Times is ignoring history. Again, the Times or CoCo Tax have never provided alternatives of their own.

Louder’s response has been particularly disappointing. He’s fixated on his conventional fire protection model. To use a worn cliché, he’s unable to think outside the box. His presentations have been nothing more than boosterism for business as usual.

Nice try Contra Costa Times, the service model that is in place today has evolved over the past fifty years. What the Times is suggesting is actually a reduction in service and going backwards in time. That is irresponsible!  Thinking outside of the box is what gave us the fabulous coverage we have come to expect of well-trained and highly skilled firefighters and paramedics—throw in the EMT’s, we had it made!

I actually happened to enjoy Louders response to the situation and presentations because he was honest and straight forward. They were thoughtful and full of wonderful information that the Times and CoCo Tax ignored even when given to them.

Meanwhile, the supervisors, apparently unwilling to risk the political wrath of the firefighters, have similarly shown no initiative or creativity. They seem unwilling to even take responsibility, even though they are the directors of the fire district, which serves much of Central County as well as Antioch, Pittsburg and San Pablo.

Not true, they simply don’t share the same initiative or creativity the CC Times Editorial Board wishes to impose on its readers—which again, is a reduction in service.

For example, go back to July of this year at the Board of Supervisors meeting,  those who have done nothing are Kris Hunt from the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association who failed to provide any type of plan when asked by Supervisor Federal Glover. She also could not answer Supervisor Mary Pipeho’s questions.

The Board of Supervisors have been willing to take responsibility and have had years of talks with firefighters and the state, but IRS laws and other rules have prevented the change. This idea that the Times is suggesting about a lack of responsibility is a fib. Here is the discussion from August of this year during the Board of Supervisors meeting.

Here is the dialogue from yesterday’s meeting on this.

Anderson: We can’t impose changes on existing pensions, but they can be agreed to change.

Gioia: We need to be 100% accurate here. There is 1 of 2 ways for change.

1. Negotiate with union and union agrees to having prospective service under lower pension tier. All it takes is 1 or 2 members who disagree and they can sue and it falls apart. Means union cant bargain change.

2. In case of those members who want to change going forward (volunteer), we are prevented from doing that from IRS.

Gioia: Vince can correct me, but I would bet firefighters would agree to that. But Federal Law prevents us from that. So its really important for the public to realize this is a change under State and Federal Law. We are trying to get the most we can get by working together.

Anderson: Explained again how she has been exploring this with the IRS and a decision is coming that may address this problem

Piepho:  We have been waiting for that same IRS decision for 5 years. We keep waiting and waiting.

The Board of Supervisors have tried, its just not on the Timeline the Times wishes.

(As an interesting aside, we note that the fire district’s web site makes no mention of the supervisors as the directors in charge. The organizational chart shows Louder at the top, as if he has ultimate authority.)

Really? This is no big deal.

Serious action is long overdue. Louder has failed to deliver meaningful policy analysis. If he doesn’t show more initiative, supervisors should replace him with someone who will.

Just like the Board of Supervisors requested CoCo Tax to come up with a plan they refused to actually deliver, I’d like the Times Editorial Board to come up with a plan of their own so we can finally get their definition of “serious”. What type of service models and what type of pension reform are we talking about? What type of pay checks should firefighters receive?  Without a serious plan, I’d suggest the Times be replaced with an Editorial Board who will actually come out with a reform position instead of blanket statements where the starting line in a discussion is undefined.

Meanwhile, they must bypass him and bring in independent outside experts to evaluate new ways to deliver services efficiently and effectively. As we said before the election, the questions that must be asked include:

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?

Now back up a minute, this is where it gets interesting because for the past year, the CC Times and CoCo Tax have been the major opposition of Measure S and Measure Q and acted like the experts. They called on pension reform, service model changes and now all of a sudden hey are requesting an expert?  They have proclaimed they had the answers and now they are suggesting consultants which will cost taxpayers.

For the record, before the Times ever suggested a change in service models or provided an opinion,  they should have withheld an opinion until a “consultant” makes a recommendation.  A fire chief is an expert and in many cases these consultants are former fire chiefs anyway. Does a consultant have a magic wand that once they give an opinion, the Times Editorial Board will then agree to do what a consultant suggest? Consultants offer advice, but it doesn’t mean the advice is always good advice.

To me, this is the way the Times gets out of ever having to put their own solution forward in public. Same goes for CoCo Tax. With a failed Measure, now we get to hear the rhetoric that a consultant is needed.

Should fire inspectors continue to receive pensions at rates that were intended for people who put their lives on the lines? Should current firefighters be asked to agree to reduced pension accruals for their future working years rather than watching more of them lose their jobs?

These answers should have been included in the CC Times and CoCo Tax plans, but they were never provided. Now they are putting it on others to answer so they can come back and slam the plans later.

These questions must be seriously analyzed. The answers are long overdue.

These questions the Times are throwing out there have been answered many times, the Times simply doesn’t like the answer and will not admit it.  The only thing that happened with Measure Q going down is service levels will be reduced and that is a shame.

If the Contra Costa Times wants to continue to disagree with how fire services should be provided, that is one thing, but to blatantly continue to put out misinformation is reckless and irresponsible.

If we are going to continue to have a public debate, the least that the Times can do is provide correct facts and history to its readers. If they are unwilling to be honest, then no public debate should be deemed necessary and they should be ignored.

I’d encourage the Times Editorial Board to just stop with the rhetoric and simply put out a plan they would happy with. At leas then an honest debate could occur.

By Michael Burkholder

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JimSimmons42 Nov 11, 2012 - 6:58 am

Considering your tone in the past, this is nice to see a solid argument without the attacks even if they are funny. I think you make the solid point that the Times continues to tear down but have never stated exactly what they would be happy with. Instead, we get the same blanket statements which when you think about it, its absolutely true, they have never provided a plan. Same goes for the CoCo Tax people who are on record for failing to do their homework as you pointed out.

Not sure how anyone can take an editorial board seriously when they are calling on a reduction in emergency response. I hold the Times responsible for reducing my service here in Antioch.

JAJAMES Nov 11, 2012 - 7:01 am

Burk, thank you for being so supportive of fire. You get it, apparently the Times does not. Thank you for all of your support and your spot on in this piece.

Firefighter Bob Nov 11, 2012 - 7:17 am

Sad that the Times turned a revenue enhancement discussion into pension and service model reform. It’s very different topics. The only one’s who lose are the citizens in need of service.

Monty the Mountie Nov 11, 2012 - 8:27 am

Should fire inspectors continue to receive pensions at rates that were intended for people who put their lives on the lines?

Should fire fighters earn extra pay for providing EMS services?

Barbara DuMont Nov 11, 2012 - 9:02 am

Since a couple of the fire inspectors that I know are also fire fighters, they take a couple of the over time shifts, this is a moot point. Just another way to try to stir up the “sheep”

East County Reader Nov 11, 2012 - 12:14 pm

Maybe it is time to launch a class action lawsuit against the CCTimes & The CCTaxpayers assoc., for reckless and knowing endangerment to the public. At this point in time both entities have crossed the line and are purposely promoting an agenda which puts the public at risk.

Something must be done to stop the ridiculousness nature of their actions. Enough is enough.

If I was a member of Con fire or East co fire I would be asking my union to begin legal action to put an end to the misinformation distributed by both (DBorenstein and KHunt).

It has been years since I have consider the Times a “newspaper”. They lost that status a long time ago and is likely the reason the circulation has fallen off of a cliff. Does anyone actually believe that a lowly reporter and a 2nd rate accountant know how to administer emergency service better than dozens of experts? What has been missing from this exchange is that neither Borensten or Hunt have demonstrated real world experience or professional qualifications that qualify their “opinions”. They are both “paper tigers”, who need to be called out.

Unless the firefighters want to continue taking it on the chin, it is time to step up their game.

MF Nov 11, 2012 - 1:13 pm

East County Reader and his other two stooges are just plain stupid. To blame any of this on two people like Hunt and Bornstein when the public voted the result shows how small minded you really are. The county needs to cough up some more dough from health services to offset the tax loss and supplement the medical response. This is the only legal and immediate solution. Tell that union to use its prop 32 dollars to influence the supervisors to apply general fund dollars for medical response until the tax revenue recovers. Quit blaming selective people for the entire electorates decision. Grow up and get off the short bus.

East County Reader Nov 11, 2012 - 2:00 pm

@MF, your post and overused reference indicates that you are a patron of “the short bus” where you obviously spent many hours licking the windows clean. Your attempts to defend Borenstein and Hunt galvanizes it.

It is obvious that both Hunt and Borenstien have used they positions to forward false information and duping uninformed voters. What also seemed to slide by you (and them) is that the most recent measure was supported by a majority of voters despite their debatable actions. Borenstein and Hunt are 100 percent responsible of abusing their titles and positions to advocate their personal positions which resulted in putting all of us at increased risk.

In case you missed it, there is only one action that was prescribed by the outcome of the vote; Close stations, and reduce service. That is only change in the service model that was ever on the table, but apparently you failed to understand that.

You suggest the only “legal and immediate” remedy is to divert money from health services to the fire district? You are sure that is legal right? I suggest you get more informed about what is legal and what isn’t.

You are a funny guy, with an adolescent mind. I would never confuse yours as an educated opinion and ask that you keep on posting and qualifying mine.

B-Wood Nov 11, 2012 - 5:09 pm

MF, what are you 5 years old? You are hysterical. Defending Kris Hunt and Dan Borenstein on this topic is comical! East county reader was right, you are a funny guy. And not “ha-ha” funny…..

All I have to say to you is adios “MF”.

MF Nov 11, 2012 - 5:03 pm

East County Reader is not only under educated on current events and issues, his mind is that of the childish others who feel they are owed something they have not participated to receive. Everything in EC’s statements is that of a Marxist socialistic attitude. Responsibility has been lost in our public sector society. It is the ideological thoughts that you and your other two stooges display that erode civility on these blogs. This is why you attract responses such as mine. The reality on this issue is that the public should launch a class action lawsuit on the county and 1230 for endangering the public due to mismanagement of millions of dollars that are intended for the safety and protection of the public. Health services dollars in the millions are already spent for medical purposes in this county, There is no reason at all that this service should be reduced unless the union and county are retaliating against the public for their failed attempt to extort more money from the poor people.

B-Wood Nov 11, 2012 - 5:38 pm

MF, Let me get this straight, Burk exposes Kris Hunt and Borenstein’s flat out lies and you are still attempting to defend them? Then you go so far as saying a lawsuit is in order against the county and 1230 for telling the truth and living within their means (dictated by the latest vote)????

The fire department and county stated, a no vote means reduction in service. What is it about that which was lost on someone as smart as you? Now you want us all to try on your foil hat and claim there is retaliation going on???? Paranoid much? C’mon MF, tell us how you really feel! You are doing a fantastic job of outing yourself as a fricken nut job.

Dude, you should be grateful that the county has available “Heath services” which more than likely includes a qualified mental health department. You seem to be fixated on county health so there is nothing holding you back from demanding their services.

MF Nov 11, 2012 - 7:21 pm

This is an expected response from one of the three stooges. It appers by the comment before this one you can help but to try to justify your questionable behavior. The people spoke quit crying like the loooser you are.

East County Reader Nov 12, 2012 - 10:27 am

What’s wrong MF? The cold sting of reality got you down?

B-Wood Nov 11, 2012 - 7:54 pm

MF, it “appers” by your comment that you share a common trait amongst the known kooks in East county. Hint: it’s called habitual denial. By the way, how’s that been working out for you?

It is unfortunate that voters were misled, but in time they will figure it out. Getting what they voted for (less service) will expedite the learning curve. My educated guess is that you are one of the few that will continue your denial of the situation by embellishing your own ignorance. By my count there are a lot more than 3 who agree with me, but less than three that agree with you. Numbers must not be your thing, it’s no wonder you have a comprehension problem.

In the meantime, good luck with the rest of your issues and frustration. Stupid should hurt.

JigsUp Nov 11, 2012 - 8:55 pm

First of all, someone needs to buy Kris Hunt a $3 calculator and a box of #2 pencils. That might start her on the road to offering some concrete figures of her own that shows those MBA skills she boasts of can actually run projection figures. All I’ve seen her do is parrot the work of others. At no time during this campaign or the Measure S campaign did we see anything original from those people. If the Chiefs of both districts hadn’t put out the 10 year projections, she wouldn’t have had any figures to twist for all those contradictory talking points of hers.

Like the CoCoTax page that opened with bullet points in opposition. With the top one being the district hasn’t been spending enough on CAPEX. So Ms. Hunt’s answer is to cut them off from any sustenance funding? What hack MBA school teaches that budget tactic? Perhaps the reason she’s parked in the slot as CoCoTax Director is she couldn’t cut it in the private sector? That lack of logic and a complete lack of effort in offering supporting figures for her cause would seem to suggest it.

Let’s not forget another of the favored talking points over there at CCTPA. That people simply can’t afford the $75/yr. Well, let’s look at that one for a second. That suggests that these people have such a tight household budget that anything that comes along which puts additional pressure on those budgets risks putting them over the edge. Even something like, I don’t know, a major jump in gas prices in a very short period?

For those who don’t know, the CoCoTax Executive board is heavily populated with major corporate interests. To include 4 or 5 representatives from the refinery interests within this county. Yes, big oil pulls their strings. Yearly “membership fees” and other contributions from those interests are what pays Ms. Hunt’s salary. $5k per corporate account is it Ms. Hunt? That would put oil as paying close to half of your annual salary.

Remember what happened a couple of months back to cause our recent spike in fuel prices? What is widely becoming viewed as gross negligence on the part of one of those refineries with their maintenance program. Though it affected only one vendor, ALL of them have since bumped their prices on the order of 40-50 cents or more per gallon at the peak. Some parts of the Bay Area even saw gasoline jump above $5/gal for a time. All because of an accident brought on by negligence. But it’s you and I get to pay for that stupidity. I’m guessing oil company profits will be up this quarter even with the reduced capacity, just like they have been for many years running now.

What does that have to do with this topic, you’re asking? Real simple. For a commuter family who might drive an hour or more one way to work, it’s likely your household budget experience more than the $75 annual fire tax hit in just the last 60 days for your fuel bills. So if your budget is really so tight that anything like a $75 hit will upset it, then you’re hurting right now. And really, who isn’t?

But the insult to injury is this; the same people who took a vote as the Executive Committee to send Kris Hunt on her little hit piece campaign against Measure Q and earlier against Measure S to effectively cut public safety protection for your family are the very same people who are trashing your household budgets through their own negligence. Ain’t that special?

When it comes to the people who control CoCoTax, they screw you coming and they screw you going. But because most people don’t know the people behind the scenes over in that pay-to-play group, most are none the wiser.

Be sure to send Kris and the crew a thank you card this holiday season. Especially if you find yourself struggling to find holiday money for your family because your budget, like ours, has been squeezed by her handlers over in that lobbying organization she heads.

The CCTImes knows all about this incestuous relationship, but you’ll never see them run a story on it. So if you’re thinking the crack Editorial team over there is looking out for your best interest by bird dogging the fire department, think again.

These people are a hazard to public safety as they pursue these sociopathic agendas of theirs. It’s that simple.

East County Reader Nov 12, 2012 - 10:33 am

Great post “Jigsup”.

Given enough time, most voters will realize they have been lied to by CC tax (Hunt) and the CC times (Borenstein). What goes around comes around.

Julio-Antioch Nov 12, 2012 - 12:46 pm

Unfortunately I have been around long enough, before most of you were born, to know they are all not telling the truth to some extent. Yes the Supervisors are ultimately to blame but Louder and Wells have lead them all around by the nose so long you cannot believe anyone.

East County Reader Nov 12, 2012 - 7:52 pm

Julio, I came here in the early 60’s so I too have been around for a while.

Personally, I have not witnessed Louder or Wells lead anyone around. Since they both work for the Board of supervisors, do you have examples to back up your comment? Hard for me to believe the employees are leading the employer around by the nose. I’m not trying to be antagonistic, but the truth is Louder hasn’t even been the Chief that long and this is exactly how rumors get started.

I think under the circumstances of this particular topic, it is important to keep the commentary as factual as possible. Fair enough?

Jeff B Nov 12, 2012 - 10:43 pm

Has anyone seen my soapbox?

Oh now I recall, it is over at the NEW consolidated county Fire Dept.

………that would be the consolidated FD that pays a sustainable wage the county can afford and the one that fully incorporates the county EMS function (and its $$).

JigsUp Nov 13, 2012 - 9:53 am

Hey, aren’t you the guy who used to complain about tax revenue from your town being used in other parts of the county? Now you’re demanding dollars from Richmond and west county fund your cheap ass because you don’t want to pay the same rate for fire others do? EMS funds are already included in the current budget. You didn’t know that?

East County Reader Nov 13, 2012 - 11:15 am

@Jeff B

*Thud*. That’s the sound coming from you as you fall from your soapbox and hit the ground.

Sorry little buddy, but from where I sit, nothing even close to what you suggest (predict) is going on over at the fire district. In fact, just the opposite.

Impact to the public; The public will get the service that we pay for, which will be less because we are paying less. Therefore stations will close and response times will increase. This will predictably have a direct impact on lives, property and insurance rates.

Impact to the department; they will have to do more with less. Stations will begin to close and personel will be re distributed. That will be the “new service delivery model” which is far from your speculation.

The good news; Impact of the new statewide retirement formula will cause a greater amount of early retirements (in both police and fire). Coupled with current unfilled positions there will probably be no layoffs.

The bad news; Impact of the new statewide retirement formula will cause a monumental spike in employees retiring tax free on work related injuries. Current predictions show there will be no realized savings to the taxpayer. If anything, retirement costs will rise.

Unless that was the NEW consolidated model you were striving for, then I think you mistook a shovel for a soapbox. You might want to stop digging.

Jeff B Nov 13, 2012 - 10:21 pm

the situation is what it is and every point you listed above plays directly to starting a NEW FD that pays what it can afford and takes on the entire county EMS role.

I really don’t get the ‘return to source’ issues being brought up as time and time again CCC has put that argument to rest. Small dense places like Alamo, overall, never get back what they put in and many places in the county get back way more. if specific return to source was alive and well, with respect to fire, I can name off hand a bunch of places that would not have the coverage they have been getting.

I have not read of any other solution other than cutting service. new taxes with a 66% threshold are destine to fail. doing nothing when there is a solution(s) shows a lack of leadership on the part of the BOS.

there are other ways of doing things beyond what goes on CCC. for example, I just learned that in a county near mine the deputy sheriffs are also paramedics. in this county if the deputies are first to arrive they provide BLS and some aspects of ALS until the FD ambulance arrives with an additional paramedic. In this county the full-on fire engines are also capable of transporting patients if the situation is bad and if ambulance is not available. I’m not saying this is the way to go but I am saying there are lots of ways to do things beyond the way they are done in CCC.

JigsUp Nov 14, 2012 - 9:00 am

Jeff, you seem to struggle with basic concepts, while mixing up others. If you pay $50 for your water bill to your local water agency, that money is spent in “return to source” fashion. Now if you pay that same $50 and the money is transferred to another community outside of your own and it’s put to use filling potholes, not only is it not return to source, it’s now a misuse of public funds.

You appear to be stuck on the idea that it all just goes into one big pot that anybody can draw from and that’s not the way it works. Near as I can tell that’s the root of your comprehension problem. The “M” in EMS is for medical. You can’t use that for fire suppression regardless what community you’re talking about. Hasn’t that been pointed out enough times that you should have picked up on it? While the incorporated cities may have charters that say different, as far as the county goes, they are not mandated to give you fire service. That legal fact is huge here. Because it means if you attempt to move EMS money in a way that clearly shows it’s then being used for fire suppression services, it’s a misuse of public funds. Agencies will get sued and people will lose their jobs. The facts are not that complicated here. Unclear why someone who claims to be so smart isn’t getting it.

ConFire already receives money to cover the Paramedic/medical portion of what they do. You can make an argument for whether or not they are getting every dollar they should for every medical call. But under no circumstances are you going to be able to make a legal case they should be receiving funds sufficient to fund the $14 million dollar deficit. The facts won’t support that. You have money for an $88M fire department. You’ll get an $88M fire department. Not a $102M one. If you remove them from rolling to medical calls, you might be able to shave that to an $85M department. That reflects the salary differential for the Paramedics and the fuel savings. But as AMR has already told you several times, now you have a medical calls need that you’ll be paying many, many multiples more for a private company to cover.

Tell me, do you go down to buy a car and decide in your mind you’re only going to pay for a Fiat 500? But when it’s all done, you decide you want a Mercedes instead and then beat up the sales guy for what you expect to be driving home? Why are you treating this any different? You showed, through your vote, that you’ll pay for the Fiat. Now hop in the driver seat and be quiet about it.

I’m still sitting here waiting for one of you claimed experts to explain how we’re paying 2002 equivalent prices for this service and you expecting it never to change. You insist you have all this business expertise. Can you show me another business model where costs have remained constant over the same 10 year period? If you can’t then what the hell are you doing thinking the fire department should keep costs flat on what they do?

The bottom line here is you haven’t offered a solution. Just some pie in the sky idea that can’t pass legal muster. One which you appear unable to critically analyze for the merits or even discuss with any objectivity. Telling us how they do it out in the sticks really doesn’t further the discussion for the urban/suburban mix served by ConFire in CCC. Risk/reward seems to be another concept that eludes you. All this strangely dysfunctional dialog trying to save $6/mo completely reinventing the fire department based on the ideas of residents with no professional or formal training in emergency response? Can you take even one step back to see how ridiculous that sounds?

When you can bring to the table legal opinions from people versed in municipal law that what you demand is legit, let’s talk. When you can bring to the table service delivery examples from other areas that are more apples-to-apples comparisons with all factors considered, to include the legal ones, then let’s talk. But to this point your overly simplistic ranting solves nothing and it passed the annoying stage quite a while back.

East County Reader Nov 14, 2012 - 9:21 am

Jeff, Smaller shovel perhaps? While you have substantially lightened your tone you still continue your useless rhetoric. What you refuse to grasp, is among the many powers that be, there is no desire to make a functional change. This is especially true when the few bean counters (including you), repeatedly demand a model of change because they are soley focused on costs rather than human lives, safety and property.

Obviously emergencies services are delivered in a variety of ways across the country because some communities have unique needs. Each municipality uses a model which they believe works best for them, however there appears to be an accepted industry standard which is what we see here in our county and those that surround us.

As for your example of law enforcement delivering paramedic services, I think I’ll pass. Those boys in blue have enough on their plates without taking on additional duties-just to save you a few dollars. Police and fire are two differing jobs and utilize two completely different skill sets, just as doctors and dentists are different. My dentist is called a Dr., but I don’t want him operating on me just because I might save a few bucks and he is in the same “field”.

I think it is time for you to face a few facts; while we the voters have voted, we don’t get to recreate what it is we voted for. Several reporters have stated it eloquently- Pensions and changing the service model was not on the ballot. Even though cost saving changes have been implemented, the revenues collected through taxes went down. The ballot measure(s) asked us if we wanted to sustain service by replacing monies that we were no longer paying in property tax. We are paying LESS, in fact a whole lot less. As the county, fire chief and firefighters explained, a no vote would result in reduced service.

JimSimmons42 Nov 14, 2012 - 9:35 am

I like my service the way it is and had no problem with the $75 increase. Who is to say the new Fire Dept. will be any better? There is still a revenue problem thanks to Prop 13.

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