Category Archives: Alameda Fire Department

TUE + WED CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS: BE THERE

GUEST BLOG from: SpeakUpAlameda@gmail.com

ATTEND THIS WEEK’S MEETINGS   •   SPEAK OUT   •   PROTECT OUR CITY’S FUTURE!!

CITY of ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS THIS WEEK

TUESDAY, APRIL 28, 6:30 PM SPEAK BEFORE CLOSED SESSION

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 5:00 PM SPEAK BEFORE VOTE / AGENDA IS HERE.

Where’s the fire?

Why the rush to approve Mr. Russo’s proposal???

THE ISSUE YOU WANT TO SPEAK OUT ON                                                         

  • Fire and Police Contracts expire December 2017 (in 2.5 years)
  • City Manager Russo recently negotiated 5-year contract extensions of our fire and police unions, and put it on the April 29th City Council Meeting for approval
  • Russo did not include our elected City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy and City Auditor Kevin Kearney (“The Kevins”) in the negotiation process
  • Russo gave The Kevins and our city council exactly 2 weeks (!)–during tax season—to assess the contract extension.
  • City Council Member Oddie and the Alameda Fire Union and Firefighters are pulling out the stops to get this approved: promoting it in newspapers and online in social media.
  • Despite Mr. Oddie’s credentials (B.A. Finance, MBA) and in his recent op-ed, he got the numbers all wrong: Russo’s extension doesn’t reduce our OPEB liability “by $47 million over the next 30 years”.
  • In fact, after 30 years of implementing this proposal, the city will still have $252.6 million in unfunded OPEB* liability that we cannot afford

*OPEB: Other Post Employment Benefits

OVER THE NEXT 2 YEARS, WE NEED TO:
1)   CAREFULLY ASSESS OUR BUDGET
2)   CAREFULLY CRAFT PUBLIC SAFETY CONTRACTS  IN CONTEXT OF OUR BUDGET FORECASTS (See graphics below)
WHY?  Read on.
THE CITY BUDGET PROJECTIONS SHOW THAT DEFICITS BEGIN BY THIS SAME TIME NEXT YEAR.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.47.00 AM

SOMETHING’S VERY WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE.
80% (!!) OF OUR BUDGET IS SPENT ON PUBLIC SAFETY SERVICES!

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.51.07 AM

 

 . . . AND SOMETHING IS VERY, VERY  WRONG
IN OUR CITY FIRE AGENCY.

Some firefighters earning $90K/year, earn another 40%  ($36K) in overtime pay per year!

 Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 11.11.37 AM

Our city leadership and management should WANT to know what’s wrong before approving any extensions to the existing contract!

ATTEND WEDNESDAY’S CITY COUNCIL MEETING!

SPEAK OUT!!!

PROTECT OUR CITY’S FUTURE!!

MORE INFORMATION: SpeakUpAlameda@gmail.com

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Bob Sullwold

Bob Sullwold is doing a great job reporting on why our city continues to head in directions that do not make sense. He has sources, he explains past events that tie to current ones, and he’s a good writer.

HEAD OVER TO BOB’S BLOG HERE where he’s written a great expose on the how we got and lost the Rockerfeller Grant.

Bob has coined the most apt logo ever for our city: Fire Knows Best

Let’s help him get that changed by helping as many Alamedans become informed as possible.

Please read and share Bob’s blog articles far and wide.

THANK YOU!


Alameda Loses the Rockefeller Foundation Grant It only Just Received

reprinted from NPO (Non Profit Quarterly)

Alameda Loses the Rockefeller Foundation Grant It only Just Received

April 3, 2014

What is a “resilient city”? Whatever it might be, in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program, it no longer includes Alameda, California. The Rockefeller-funded program, with a grant review panel including former president Bill Clinton, had selected Alameda for a $1 million two-year grant, with a purpose described in December by city manager John Russo as to “help the city continue an ongoing effort to help the city weather an earthquake, fire, tsunami or other disaster.” A few months later, Alameda learned that it lost the grant it had only recently been told it was receiving. The explanation, according to an email from the director of 100 Resilient Cities, Michael Berkowitz, was that “it is clear to us that Alameda’s strategy is incompatible with 100RC’s vision for our network of cities.”

For nonprofits and foundations, that is an unusual sequence of events. It could be that Rockefeller discovered that Alameda’s actual resilience strategy did not comport with what it submitted as its grant application, though one would have expected that the foundation’s due diligence process would have tested the substance, depth, and commitment of the city’s proposed strategy. It could be that the Rockefeller Foundation had second thoughts or cold feet about some aspect of Alameda’s strategy or politics. Or it might have been neither.

The 100 Resilient Cities website defines building resilience as “making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events—both natural and manmade—and able to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger from these shocks and stresses.” Alameda was one of the first 33 cities for the program, but the 100 Resilient Cities website has quickly been amended to eliminate Alameda in its list of grant recipients and to reduce the count to 32. The remaining 32 are international and high profile, with the likes of Bangkok, Da Nang, Christchurch, Melbourne, Durban, Dakar, Mexico City, Rio, Glasgow, and Rome—and, interestingly, Ashkelon in Israel and Ramallah in Palestine.

With Alameda off the list, the remaining North American grant recipients are Boulder, El Paso, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Norfolk, and three other larger Bay Area California cities: San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. Berkeley’s program seems to include strategies “to deliver critical city services for seven days without outside power in the event the region experiences a major outage” and “for a distributed energy microgrid to power buildings should the electric grid fail.” Oakland’s program apparently is built on “groundbreaking community partnerships…[for] effective community-based climate resilience planning.” San Francisco’s builds on the “city’s innovative use of financing and building codes has dramatically improved building safety, and their use of social media to educate and motivate the public.” What might have done in Alameda, the fourth of the Bay Area cities selected by Rockefeller, so abruptly?

It may have been over a disagreement between Rockefeller and Alameda over what appears to have been a core commitment of each funded Resilience city, the authority to be given a new “chief resilience officer.” In a statement quoted in the Alamedan but not attributed to a specific foundation or program representative, the “crucial” resilience officer is meant to be a mandatory component of each city’s program: “The importance of such a silo-busting role is why 100RC committed to fund the (officer) for each member city for two years.” Back in December, the Alamedanattributed to Russo a statement that the “resilience czar’s” role would be to put together and execute a plan that would help the city get back on its feet after an initial disaster response (Alameda has been long concerned about dealing with a possible tsunami). As described by a Rockefeller vice-president, Neill Coleman, “We know this person will need to be a networker, a connector…We also expect them to play the role of an evangelist for resilience thinking.” Half a year earlier, Rockefeller president Judith Rodin made it clear that the key to the foundation’s funding was paying for “Chief Resilience Officers” at the heart of the program. A disagreement over the concept and power of a CRO seems likely to have been the instigation of the Rockefeller reversal.

As of mid-March, the Guardian had published a piece about the activities of the four Bay Area winners of the Resilient Cities grants, including a two-day seminar involving all four at the Presidio on topics such as a rising sea level, seismic events, and wildfires. Most of the article addressed the programs and initiatives of the three bigger cities, referring only to Alameda as “quaint and low-profile,” with no reference to any of Alameda’s resilience strategies. Only a few weeks after the Presidio meeting, Alameda was on the outside looking in, informed that the Rockefeller grant was no longer. There’s a story here for sure. NPQ would love to hear from the principals in this dynamic, especially from the small city of Alameda, to learn about their experience of interacting with a high profile foundation initiative.—Rick Cohen


Be advised:

LAST WEEK our city argued in court last week the our public safety services (police and fire) did not have a duty to rescue Mr. Raymond Zack (who did not know how to swim) when he was despondent and standing in 4 to 5 feet of extremely calm water at Crown Beach while his elderly mother stood on the shore begging for action.

TODAY the judge ruled for immunity of firefighters over duty. And the judge finds further that: “under the circumstances presented there was no moral blame attendant to the conduct of responding officers and firefighters.”

I have been told that this ruling impacts all cities in the state of California, not just the City of Alameda.

I’m wondering why our fire and police are some of the highest paid in the SF Bay Area . . .    I’ve argued for years that because the fire procedures and protocols are so exceedingly substandard for the industry of firefighting (and I’ve shown this), that the fire staff cannot be held to any performance standards. Hell, our city has worked multiple times, year after year, to cover up fire failures . . . Continue reading


City of Alameda: Villainous

Our city took a position in court yesterday that our public safety services did not have a duty to rescue Raymond Zack.  Our elected officials and city manager should be ashamed of themselves.

See the story on last night’s ABC news here; excellent reporting by Alan Wang.

Mr. Wang, however, was provided false information. He reported that our fire department did not have funding for water rescue training. To do that, Mr. Wang had to have believed what he was told, which means that disinformation had to have come from a source he believed to be credible. So who gave him the disinformation? Was it our city? Our fire department? The firefighter’s union, IAFF Local 689?

The City of Alameda funded water rescue training and re-certifications to be completed in 2009 (source document is here).

The City of Alameda budgeted for the AFD to perform 8 to 10 water rescues per year for 2009 -2012 (source document is here).

Every resident and visitor to the City of Alameda has a right to expect to be rescued by our public safety services.

Given the information in the source documents noted above: Without a doubt (it is incontrovertible that) we all—

Mr. Zack, his family, and all residents and visitors to the City of Alameda—

had a right to expect Mr. Zack to be rescued by our public safety services.

Our city is arguing that they had no duty to perform. How perverse. It is unconscionable that our city should argue this. And it is villainous . . . Continue reading


Redundant and unnecessary

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 • The Alameda Sun

Redundant and unnecessary

Editor,

Charles Fasso’s op-ed (“Closing Fire Station No. 3,” Sept. 13) can only be politically motivated as it could not be further from the truth! There are no reports that contradict the 2009 ICMA report.

Moreover, the ICMA report based its findings on national fire industry standards: each fire station needs to provide a 1.5-mile radius of coverage.

What the heck does that mean for us exactly? It means that out of all of the fire stations we have in Alameda, Fire Station No. 3 is the only fire station that we do not need.

Why? Because every other fire station perfectly and slightly overlaps to provide service for the entire city. That’s right: the coverage provided by Fire Station No. 3 is redundant and unnecessary.

So why is our city leadership and management hell bent on spending millions on the redesign and expansion of the Fire Station No. 3 facility and staff and exacerbating the annual multi-million dollar overspend on overstaffing of fire services? One needs only look at the political donations made by the firefighters’ union, IAFF Local 689, to figure this one out: the local fire union has been averaging $50,000 in donations per election to local candidates and measures.

Our city’s citizen legislature is anything but.

— Denise Lai


Walker’s 3 Criteria

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s three criteria upon which the relationship between public workers and taxpayers should be evaluated, adapted for our city:

  1. Equity in employment benefits and burdens between public and private workers
  2. The preservation of core government services for all Alamedans
  3. Linked to both these goals: the improvement of the City of Alameda’s economic competitiveness.

Like Scott Walker, our city government needs to stop hiding from our budget plight, begin managing our general fund properly and that means first and foremost a.) reduce fire overstaffing b.) reduce top-paid city worker salaries across the board, and c.) negotiate in earnest with our fire and police unions for real concessions (not the meaningless kind you can splash across pricey mailers for sounds bites).

If the city laid off the 15 excess/unnecessary fire captains, we’d save nearly $4M just in salaries/benefits alone.  That’d be an immediate solution to our short-tem budget woes, would be a first step toward optimizing fire services, and give us time to map out a responsible long-term budget. It’s a win-win. There is no good reason for not doing this; so why isn’t our city leadership and management considering this?!