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.”