Quick note to address the misinformation published in The Alameda Sun recently.
There is no group of local activists called Raising Hell for Good. There is no RHG acronym. Raising Hell is merely my blog. D’oh.
Letter to the State AG: The group of people who wrote and signed a request for an investigation into the city corruption to CA AG Kamala Harris are a group of friends who have HAD IT and thought it appropriate to engage the state AG and expedite a letter thereto. The signers are unaffiliated with my blog; I just happen to be one of the signers; and the letter was sent quite a while ago, not last week. Our primary issue is that we have a right as residents to expect our fire services to at least meet contemporary standards in the industry of firefighting and actually, oh, rescue us and protect us and our environment, and we gave proof that we have been receiving substandard fire response and performance in the City of Alameda repeatedly, year after year, that is correlated deaths in years past, recent extreme toxic pollution to individual, public, and environmental health, and culminating in the death of Mr. Zack. It’s gotten worse, not better. We are not safe, people have died, and we need help because we have repeatedly asked for help from fire management, city management, the county DA, the county grand jury, and all have been unresponsive.
Dom Weaver (local fire union president) wants you to think that all those who signed this letter are all DeHaan supporters. He’s trying to get you to believe that there’s a politically split faction at play here. That couldn’t be further from the truth. … I myself did not support DeHaan in 2010. And I have no idea who each of the signers did support. We did not come together because we are politically aligned in any way. We came together because we fear for our safety and the safety of others in our city. And rightfully so! We came together because we could not sit here and do nothing; we could not NOT do something because fire services failures in our city have been escalating the harm to us year over year. What type of harm will we see and suffer from the next AFD failure?!
Dom Weaver (IAFF Local 689 President) thinks the Letter to state AG Harris is a political action. Okay, so let’s follow that line of thinking. Being polluted by 50,000 square feet of extremely toxic friable asbestos contaminating our children, families, land and water was very real. Recurring for years, if not decades, pollution to our lungs, air and water with extremely toxic crude oil was very real. The unnecessary death of Mr. Zack was very real. The placement of a retired captain and prior IAFF Local 689 President to the top management position, and without any recruitment process whatsoever, is the very real; this puts all of us at increased risk from the very real fact that Acting Interim Chief D’Orazi has zero fire or public management degrees, certificates or experience, and he’s coming out of retirement after 5 years (usually a disqualifier for fire management positions). Rank and chain of command in fire and police services organizations are key to our safety, is it not? We-the-residents as well as our firefighters are the ones put at risk whenever those at the helm are unqualified for the position. Bringing these wholly unacceptable events AFD failures, and the AFD’s substandard management and responses/performances to the attention of those in charge is not political. It’s our obligation as residents to seek help when all else fails and from those who have the authority to do something about the problems.
BUT, since Mr. Weaver, a firefighter himself, perceives these complaints about very real AFD failures to be political in nature, then it would follow, would it not?, that the IAFF Local 689’s failures to perform technical, water, and toxic rescues in recent years have in and of themselves been political acts. (!) This is something that is quite unbelievable to even consider, yet everything appears to indicate that this is true, does it not? And this is why we asked for AG Kamala Harris’ help; we need an expert investigation into the causes of the continued failures of our fires services and solutions therefor. It has been shown that we are not safe and that fire responses have exacerbated harm to us, not protected us. We have a right to be safe. And if those in charge won’t do their jobs to protect us, we have a right to have that investigated and our safety restored.
Questions: why hasn’t the city and the AFD be ALL OVER these series of distinct and extreme failures doing everything possible to prevent each type from happening in the future? Why wouldn’t the IAFF Local 689? (If Mr. Zack had not died, things still would be business as usual; despite the hailing of the Grijalva report as significant, it has done little to change anything.) Why wouldn’t the mayor, city manager, and IAFF Local 689 want to do a proper recruitment for a qualified fire chief? Why would they place a retired captain at the helm of our fire services? Why would none of them evaluate and consider a move to County Fire when that would provide us with significantly improved ability to serve and protect and save our city millions per year? I want to know the answers to these questions; don’t you?
It’s a known fact that organizations and humans tend to evolve to lower their risk. The only thing that would sustain unacceptable levels of risk within any organization is either ignorance or corruption. Since everyone tells me that those in charge of this city and her agencies are smart (even when they do dumb things), then we have to assume the latter, corruption, right?
We are not a ship of fools. I’m also, personally, am not fooled by the firetrucks that have headed west past my house, full sirens and lights, just for the one block, going nowhere. For five years, all firetrucks head east and only east down my street and only when there is an event on my street. Why have fire vehicles recently then, gone blazing headed west past my house, then turn off all their sound/lights and quietly zigzag over to Buena Vista Avenue? I’ll leave speculation to the reader.