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. … Haven’t we been subjected to enough at the hands of AFD failures (and city failures to manage AFD)?!?!?  Given the quality (poor) of the report, the deliberate smoke/mirror that it contains to put us off the scent of what’s really wrong at the AFD….it looks like tonight’s meeting is—like so many meetings before this—to instruct us on what went wrong, ignore us when we point out the obvious failings of this report and of the AFD (and years of failed city leadership and management), and send us home us with our tails between our legs.

Grijalva’s report contains inconsistencies, contradictions, constructions that mislead the reader, vague references, discoveries with zero support documents (allusions to facts that were ‘discovered’ with no documentation or sources for those ideas), and a lot of cherry-picked cut-and-paste from various documents, one with a really sketchy header, to show how the Alameda Fire Department failed because they had to: their “unfamiliarity” with the situation wherein a “suicidal” man might drown caused their inability to perform. HUH? Battalion Chief Zombeck said in the news that he himself (on scene that day) had all the skills to rescue Zack if only his management and protocols would have allowed him to get wet!   ….and the report get worse from there….

I am extremely disappointed in City Manager Russo. That fact that CM Russo approved this output from Chief Grijalva tells me volumes. Apparently he has gotten his $20K worth (and please, read between those lines dear reader) because he has published it and scheduled a public city council meeting to discuss it. Apparently CM Russo expects us to accept this pablum as a serious attempt at fixing what’s wrong at the AFD. HUH?

Join me. Tomorrow night (Tuesday, 10/11).  6:30p in front of city hall. We will no longer tolerate the level of risk that city leadership & management are subjecting us to from the ongoing failures at the fire department!

Tell City Manager Russo that the single most important issue facing us is the delinquent and dangerous problems at the AFD and years of our city’s own failed management of the AFD.

The only solution to update, improve and provide fire services *at a price we can afford* is by moving city fire to Alameda County Fire Department.  


WHAT WE KNOW about the Zack Assisted Suicide  and the Report titled The Crown Beach Incident”

Raymond Zack was despondent, calm & harmless (a kiteboarder circled him), and in distress (he had both arms above his head). Mr. Zack was standing in 5.25 feet of water give or take, and the water was 61 degrees F with no swells.

Grijalva’s report says Zack was threatening and dangerous (wrong), standing in rough water  with swells of 1 to 3 feet (wrong) that was cold, a 54 degrees F (wrong), and hundreds of yards out from shore (wrong again):  the bystander who retrieved the floating, unconscious Zack only had to go out 40 or 50 yards (per Grijalva’s report).

Per Grijalva’s report, the most successful efforts at protecting despondent people putting their lives at risk (deliberately or not), is to engage them in dialog with a trained negotiation. The Wade Out proved that Mr. Zack could have heard someone onshore speaking from a bullhorn and that women 60 years old can wade out there safely with no protective gear whatsoever! Yet our APD did not initiate any verbal communication with Mr. Zack. None. Didn’t put one foot in the water or even try to use a bullhorn.

But the APD did initiate a request for mutual aid before they even arrived on scene that day and then when on scene, tried to engage several other agencies. And our infamous Alameda Fire Department?  They initiated not one single call for mutual aid.  << Did you read that?!  Incident Command System requires that firefighters initiate more than one call for mutual aid within the first few minutes of establishing on-scene command.

Etc. Etc. Etc. I don’t have time to finish my critique of this inane report.


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

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