Human Being Extraordinaire: Dee Berry. You’ll just have to watch last night’s council meeting….there are no words. Mr. Zack was a “gentle giant” who would never be violent or dangerous and moreover, would—because of his extremely strong Catholic faith—never consider suicide. He was doing exactly what he was reported to say he was doing on Memorial Day: praying. And he’d done something similar before: APD had previously brought him home one morning from Crown Beach when he’d sat on the beach overnight praying…. Continue reading
I finally had time to read the Grijalva Report—you know, the output of the “independent investigation” into the City of Alameda’s response to Mr. Zack on May 31, 2011, when he went out in to the water at Crown Beach to pray, perhaps to commit suicide but this is not certain. The city council meeting is tomorrow/Tuesday night (10/11/11) at Alameda City Hall, 7p, to discuss this report. Be there. Why?
The Grijalva Report is a sham. … Continue reading
Juxtaposed events (below) are proof, self evidence, of the immoral and substantive failures of both our city management and pubic safety services on Memorial Day 2011. It is then nothing less than appropriate for the City of Alameda’s citizenry to demand practical changes in our city and particularly in our fire department. Given the series of extreme AFD failures in recent years, it’s appropriate to demand revolutionary change of the AFD. Why? To address the evident and endemic substandard systems in the city’s fire organizations. I cannot imagine that our firefighters and paramedics disagree here: the department’s marginal and minimum requirements to perform have been dumbed-down for far too long by the outdated, incomplete, substandard and probably obsolete, Alameda Fire Department’s protocols and procedures….they cannot outperform under the AFD management’s current general operating bulletins (GOBs) because the GOBs do not even begin to describe—-let alone support and cause—even contemporary levels of performance.
Fire Engineer/Paramedic Dave Manzeck; Contra Costa Fire Protection District
On April 11, 2010 a 9-1-1 caller reported a vehicle upside down in the Walnut Creek flood channel with victims trapped inside and other victims possibly floating downstream. The Incident Commander immediately called … Continue reading
Props to the city and the APD for being responsive and cleaning up blight within 2 weeks of my reporting it to CM Russo’s office: a broken down truck with a camper shell and a tarp over it parked in someone’s yard (not even in a driveway). It’d been there for at least 5 years. So I’m wondering why, if this is illegal—to have broken down cars on a property in front of the house forever—, that the APD doesn’t regularly initiate these sorts of clean-ups on their own? If they did, we’d know the city cares about the conditions we live next to, right? So why hasn’t the city cared until now? Evidence: in my neighborhood there have been several broken down cars for years with tarps over them and they have never been required to be moved, until now. Until I complained.
Maybe it’s all the blighted front yards we all have to view in our West End neighborhoods and that everyone drives past. That’s right: far too many West Enders really don’t care….the evidence is in the number of front yards left to overgrown weeds, trash, and trash containers.
Now, I’m not asking for upscale landscaping, just a neat clean yard, litter-free, .. Continue reading
I found Corinne Lambden’s Op-Ed in the Sun earlier this month so important, I want to republish it here (below). She calls for a Blue Ribbon Commission to be formed to investigate Mr. Zack’s death. I agree, don’t you?
There is widespread concern that an investigation into Mr. Zack’s death by a single man will be insufficient. Moreover. that a single man with decades of fire service behind him investigating a fire service, will be biased or conciliatory….a way for city council to dodge responsibility to act .
No matter how bright Mr. Grijalva is, we need a commission formed from the Best and the Brightest from several fields of expertise, not just the one, not just public safety (fire/police). We need independent experts and academics, and perhaps a smart ROC, with no political ties to our city council members, the IAFF Local 689, or any fire organization. … Continue reading
Red’s speech to the Mayor and City Council Members at the July, 19, 2011 City Council Meeting
Mayor Gilmore and council members
Your recent secret dealings with two unions bring to mind an incident in which Winston Churchill asked a lady if she would sleep with him for a million pounds.
Well, I suppose so, she said.
Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
What kind of a woman do you think I am?!
He replied – We have already established that; now we are just haggling over price.
Following acceptance of the fire union contract it was clear that the police contract would also be accepted, but sliding it into the consent calendar is disingenuous at best. I am annoyed that either union would continue to demand benefits they knew would force dismissal of other city staff. But I am completely disgusted that council members – who have taken an oath of office – would accept payments from the people with whom they were negotiating a contract. The most fitting word I can find is corruption. And that your constituents can tolerate such conduct is beyond belief. … Continue reading
Tonight. City Council Meeting. AGAIN. Mayor Gilmore’s put both police contracts—Alameda Police Officers Association and the Alameda Police Managers Association both—-on the Consent Calendar. HUH?
70+ pages of contracts that we’ve been given since last Thursday to read, become familiar with, and understand. Worse: Mayor Gilmore yet again plans for no public discussion! Unless we intercept tonight and demand one and even then, like before, despite our very real concerns and no matter what we say on the podium, the city council will simply nod, Gilmore will say her meek ‘thankyou’, and then we will be 100% ignored.
Ain’t no sunshine…. Ain’t no representation either….. Continue reading
About the Zack Assisted Suicide.
I do NOT understand why the police did not use a bullhorn to communicate with that poor man, or use a rope—or a canine leash—to walk out and talk to Mr. Zack more personally. I was not there. I did not see what transpired. But it doesn’t make any sense at all that they did not go out, right?!
But I have watched the local police for years do damn good work in my neighborhood taking down a drug house. That required repeated, monthly, daytime SWAT-type raids until the drug house was completely shut down. The teams I’ve seen working here in broad daylight and at night too, have been impressive, worthy of our civic pride. Hell, I’ve even backed my car smack into the trailer hitch of a parked APD SUV (seriously, that’s pretty bad, right?!), and incredibly, the officer was polite, even kind and unalarmed. I was just another foolish Alamedan, and it was nothing serious. (Cops in other cities would have gone all half-cocked on a resident who backed up into them.*)
At the same time, I have watched for years, YEARS, as the AFD fails to perform again and again at critical emergency events, Continue reading
Hope all yawl are having a happy Fourth!
And enjoy these two small, but important, news items:
1. Chief Noonan has scheduled the APD Patrol Boat to be out working the estuary Sunday and Monday, July 3rd and 4th. Give them a wave hello if you’re out there too. And you best not be working it as Captain Anejo*. On sea or on land for that matter.
2. City Manager Russo makes a move to improve the discussions at city hall on both sides: on the dais and from ROCs**. Starting in September, all documents for City Council Meetings must be published twelve (yes, that’s 12) days prior to each city council meeting. That translates into ….. Continue reading
“I hate to be the first speaker after the lovefest but I’m afraid I’m not going to follow in their shoes….as I said at the last meeting of the city council….you continue to nibble around the edges of the problem: the elephant in the room is the 70% of the budget that is eaten up by the emergency services.” Corinne Lambden, 6/28/2011 City Council Meeting
It’s pretty hard not to see the very real problem ROCs (regular ol’ citizens) are appropriately and repeatedly addressing at city council (to deaf ears!):
Police budget comprises 33% of total city budget and gave a 5% cut. A $26M budget has been cut by $1.3M, $734K of which is from the elimination of Animal Services. That means the concessions gotten from the police total $566K, which is 2% of their total budget. TWO PERCENT.
Fire budget comprises 33% of total city budget and gave a 3.5% cut. A $23M budget has been cut by $800K. No staffing cuts, no pay/benefits cuts…none. ZERO PERCENT.
Libraries, Parks & Rec, and Public Works combined comprises 12% of total city budget and gave an 8% cut. A combined budget of $8.7M has been cut by $700K. All services to residents. Cut. EIGHT PERCENT.
Let’s go over that again: …. Continue reading