Organizational failures.

If the Alameda Fire Department were private, wouldn’t it be bankrupt? The same question applies to the hospital.  And the city is headed towards bankruptcy.

But Alamedans are paying attention to routing out individuals, blaming them for the city and fire organizational woes. (Not sure why everyone ignores the healthcare district; they do deserve the same scrutiny.)

Anyone see a pattern here?

In Alameda, we’ve been living (it’s heavily promoted) the “Dan Marino fallacy”. You know, when people blame the quarterback for losing the game instead of the whole, failing organization? Anne Marie Gallant was blamed.  Before that, Chief Kapler was blamed.

It’s easier to blame individuals at the helms than to address the badly needed and substantive changes.  Organizational failures are supposed to be rare events. But they seem to be commonplace here in Alameda. Why is that?

The city government. The healthcare district and our hospital. The fire department. The stories are not that much different. And they seem to have a lot in common: substantive organizational failure.

We should be coming together to create radical solutions. But Alamedans divide & conquer again and again in order to continue doing business as usual. And business as usual is not working!  You know that billboard on 880 that says the end of the world is coming on May 21st?  That’s the kind of writing that’s on our proverbial walls, and we’re ignoring it.

Why are people least motivated to cooperate when things are the most dire and cooperation is most needed?

In 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank knew something was really wrong. But rather than act to prevent a financial sector meltdown, there was little action until a domestic and global financial melt down was imminent. There was little action until they were forced to do something. And by that point, it’s really really late to sit down at the fixit table, and fixin’ take far longer.

San Carlos, facing a $3.5M budget deficit, is considering privatizing their fire department.  Milbrae, San Bruno, Burlingame, and Hillsborough are merging their fire departments to become more efficient.  These are cities that are late to the fixit table, but they are still getting to the fixit table before everything falls apart.

Alameda County Fire Department covers 506 square miles serves nearly 400,000 people in the following cities: San Leandro, parts of Berkeley, Castro Valley, Dublin, Fremont, Livermore, Newark, Union City.

When you merge fire departments into a multi-city or county FD, the savings look like they run around 10%.  And that’s millions of dollars each city can save.

Alameda seems to be waiting—for the city, the healthcare district and hospital—for absolute failure before acting.

People, it’s time to wake up: cities that are far more wealthy than Alameda have way less downward pressure on their residents and housing market (smaller school parcel taxes, no hospital tax) and other city mayors have their eyes wide open about just how unsustainable the city fire departments are….and they are doing something about it.

We need to look at moving to Alameda County Fire Department. It’s past past time folks. Our mayor needs to talk this talk and do the right thing here despite her personal and political allegiance to the AFD.

My next post has gotta be about the crime wave we’re having…. With that in mind, can anyone guess who I’m quoting here?

“‎”…poverty is the chief cause of immorality and crime. Theft, violence, hatred, cruelty, all result from poverty.”


About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

5 responses to “Organizational failures.

  • alameda vigilante

    umm…Richard M. Nixon?

  • Tomcharron

    Current Police and Fire staff will be brought to task. There are many qualified young persons who are willing to work for reasonable pay who are ‘chomping at the bit’ for a chance to be protectors of our citizens. Unfortinately the safety and fireUnions have been succesful at limiting entry to those who would work for more ‘sustainable’ pay from our city coffers!

    Hopefully our City Mothers amd Fathers will open the ‘Sunshine’ of negotiations to us and make the hard and correct decisions needed to “Corral” the outrageous salaries and benefits currently bestowed on this segment of public service employees!!!

    • DHL

      Tom: “Current Police and Fire staff will be brought to task.” This is what AMG was trying to accomplish and she got shut down/out by those in charge now. What makes you think this will change?

      • tom charron

        If our city Mothers and Two Fathers don’t do it then the courts will do so in Bankruptcy process.

  • Denise Lai

    City of San Jose sent out pinks slips today. Mayor Chuck Reed says the era of public service employees retiring in their 50s with six-figure pensions is unsustainable, and over. Go Reed!

%d bloggers like this: