How much more or less will a stand-alone Coastside department cost the community?
According to their own budget, a standalone Coastside department will cost the community approximately $1.7 million more each year. This amounts to about $120 a year for each of us. Our communities would also be responsible for an additional two million dollars in “transition costs” which have never been adequately documented. The proposed standalone budget for the next year’s wages and benefits is $8.5 million while the CalFire bid is “not to exceed” $5.6 million. The proposed standalone budget for wages and benefits is 98% of our expected revenues leaving essentially nothing for needed reserves or new equipment. The cost to our community is illogical and unacceptable. We must recall these Directors and save CalFire.
How is the level of service of CalFire better or worse than the level of service of a stand-alone Coastside department?
CalFire is a professionally trained fire and emergency service that has provided the Coastside with excellent service for the last six years. Because CalFire has the state’s highest standard of training and trains for all types of fire and medical emergencies, its firefighters and EMTs gain extensive experience beyond the local structural fires on the Coastside. They are ready for anything. CalFire's medical and emergency response is first rate—ask anyone who has been rescued by them in the six years that they have served the Coast. A standalone department would introduce inexperienced, untrained staff at an unacceptable cost for our residents.
Our current paramedics and firefighters take their lifesaving duties very seriously, and they take pride in doing their jobs well. Visiting the fire stations, I found that many were deeply offended by Alifano, Mackintosh, and Riddell's claims that they do substandard work. Even with lavish raises, they do not want to work in the proposed new system under such disrespectful directors.
Why Vote Yes or No on the Recall?
Vote yes. A recall is the only way we can keep CalFire’s cost efficient and excellent service available to our community. The recalled Directors are all committed to non-renewal of our contract with CalFire on June 30, 2013. Unless we recall these three Directors, on July 1 we will all be left with a poorly trained, expensive and understaffed fire department. If you were here before CalFire, you can remember how dysfunctional that standalone department was—rotating fire chiefs, labor unrest, excessive salaries and overtime, etc. The only way to prevent a return to that disaster is to vote YES on the recall.