Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 1, 2012

Somethin’ on some of this realest…um…stuff

So continued from yesterday’s post where during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting  Councilmember Doug deHaan had been called out on his not really offering any concrete solutions position to dealing with what ails Alameda’s budget, where he said that the Council had never “envisioned”  any of the projects identified in Measure C prior to Measure C popping up, and suggested that closing the Grand Street fire station would result in no service delays because the other two main island fire stations could cover it, or if they needed an extra fire station the City could just reopen the one on Alameda Point.

So after denying that the City had ever talked about the projects identified in Measure C prior to their being a Measure C, Doug deHaan backtracks and then contends that the amounts of money that the City attached to those projects were much much less than what is being identified in Measure C as required to build the projects.

Then he goes after the public/private partnerships implying that the private partners will be unable to make good on their portions of the agreement.   What he is really saying because the partnerships have pretty much been identified: Youth Sports, the Swimming Community, and the Alameda Museum will all be unable to fundraise enough to build their portions and that the Swimming Community will be unable to take care of the maintenance of the Aquatic Center.

Marie Gilmore points out that even if the private partners are unable to make good on their part, the money from Measure C would put in the bare minimum of what is necessary for the facility to be useable for the public.  In the case of the all weather fields, while there might not be lighting, the field and bathrooms would be built.   In the case of the Aquatic Center, the 50 meter pool would be built.  In the case of the Museum, the public readiness would be complete.

Then Doug deHaan tried the old, “you should have placed a tax on the ballot that would fund the General Fund.”   Even though he knows and I know and everyone else knows that would have been even tougher to pass than this sales tax will be to pass.    Which then opens up City Manager John Russo to saying that if any of the opponents of Measure C think that they should put something on the ballot for November to fund the General Fund that he is open to direction from the public or the City Council.

John Russo also noted that if folks were just completely tax averse and think they can solve all the budget problems by cutting Public Safety salaries or taking it from their benefits , it’s not going to do it and it won’t solve the long term budget problems.

But back to the projects.  Beverly Johnson then tries to tease out from Doug deHaan what it is that he objects to and he essentially says that the City cannot afford to put any money into capital projects right now and then attempts to analogize the situation to his own household budget and started to ask Beverly Johnson if she would buy a car which she then interrupts and points out that she had a similar conversation with Doug deHaan last week when she asked him if he would spent $5 million on a golf course and he said that he would.   He then tries to caveat his eagerness to spent $5 million on a golf course by saying, “If I had it.”  To which Beverly Johnson says, in probably the best burn of the night, “Well, you said you would and I said, yeah well it’s different when you talk about Monopoly money.”   Then Doug deHaan goes back to the buying the car analogy and suggested that Beverly Johnson wouldn’t buy a new car if she knew that repairing the car would gain her another 20 years of use.

So then Marie Gilmore then points out that the pools are in pretty dire straits right now and that the cost to repair one of the pools would be the same cost to build a new pool.   Beverly Johnson then chimes in that the pools cannot be repaired.  Doug deHaan, I guess from the tone he is taking, doesn’t think that replacing the existing pools with a 50 meter pool is necessary.   When Beverly Johnson says that is what is required for competitive swimming he dismisses her comment with an, ” oh COME on.”

He then seems confused about how the public private partnership would be structured, saying that if the City doesn’t find a private partner to finish the pool or maintain the pool the City would be on the hook for those costs.   Recall though, the amount of money identified in Measure C for the pool would cover the building of the 50 meter pool and locker rooms, the fully decked out Aquatic Center would be built by the partner organization.

When Marie Gilmore asks Doug deHaan if they should just built two pools like they have now, he responds that only one pool is necessary — and I’m pretty sure he’s not talking about a 50 meter one.   And when Marie Gilmore tells him to talk to the swim community because that’s not what they are saying they need he claims that

I have talked to the swim community, I’ve been involved in the swim community.  As a matter of fact that’s probably where I cut my teeth.  I’m very aware of the pools and the situation of the pools.

After Beverly Johnson explains that if he was aware of the pools and the situation of the very old pools that he should know that they are well on their way to failing any day now and that without Measure C there will be no money from the general fund to replace them, Doug deHaan dismissively announces that the City doesn’t own a pool.   And so Beverly Johnson explains that residents don’t care who owns the pools, but the fact is the City needs a pool for its residents.

Of all of Doug deHaan kitchen sink arguments against Measure C right now, the most puzzling has to be the suspicion of the “private” part of the public/private partnerships.   As was pointed out to him on Tuesday night, he voted and supported the Animal Shelter public/private partnership, and as Karen Bey mentioned in yesterday’s comments, the vote for Greenway Golf to run the Chuck Corica Golf Complex was a vote for a public/private partnership as well.   His concern that the “private” part of the public/private partnership will be an organization from outside of Alameda is a smokescreen for his doubts.   What it really boils down to is despite his speechifying, it appears that what it is is that he doubts the ability of Alameda organizations — and therefore Alamedans — to be able to run their side of a successful public/private partnership.


  1. Trust Doug … the rest of the council got elected in a DIRTY election, paid for with DIRTY money

    Comment by Dr Poodlesmurf — June 1, 2012 @ 6:21 am

  2. We only need what we can afford. Close a fire station, cut police and fire salaries to lower our pension obligations and you can build a pool. This is an either/or argument. This will be the analysis for every upcoming budget discussion in many cities in California. Both our high schools should have functioning pools. Repair them and move on.

    DeHaan’s not my favorite, but he is on the right side of this argument.

    Comment by commonsense — June 1, 2012 @ 6:26 am

  3. #2 – Mayor Gilmore is correct in saying that repairing the current pools would be more expensive than building new ones. The swimming community has analyzed this to death. Doug is simply wrong when he talks about the pools (and I often agree w/ DeHaan on other issues.)

    Comment by Jack B. — June 1, 2012 @ 6:38 am

  4. Go back to the car analogy. If your old car is costing you twice what it is worth to do patchwork repairs and then dies on the road leaving you stranded and making you pay for an expensive tow, only to be declared at the garage DOA, well, if you want transport you have to buy a new car. Or you could walk. Or you could just stay home and cry about it.

    If you cut the police and fire salaries and benefits with no negotiations you would be sued and lawyers might cost you more than the attempted savings. Not to mention being held in violation of fair labor standards and fined, another big waste of money. If you took your time and negotiated properly, you could get incremental concessions and reduce your costs. There are no “quick fixes”. This is not to mention the perpetual confusion about capital funds vs general funds which many think are interchangable. They are not.

    When we were fighting for a new library, we heard “We don’t need anything so fancy-dancy here in Alameda – we can make do with what we have.” Same went for the cineplex and garage. Well, there are those who believe we can “make do” with fewer fire fighters and cops and fewer fire stations and no functioning emergency center, but they will be the first ones to cry “foul!” when response time is slow and we have little capacity to meet an emergency.

    Comment by Kate Quick, — June 1, 2012 @ 6:45 am

  5. If everyone loves to blame public safety for ALL the city problems who will you blame when ISO (Insurance Safety Office) re-evaluates the COA after any reductions and lowers the ISO rating which directly effects what insurance companies base premiums on. Now if your a homeowner your costs go up for the same insurance plan, but less public safety boots on the street. If your a renter your landlord will pass on the increase to you as a tenant. If your a renter and have renters insurance, your premium will go up to. If you shop in Alameda, your costs will go up for EVERYTHING as all commercial insurance premiums will increase also. So by all means lets filet our street level public safety services and hold your breath and pray nothing happens because those of you who are the full time neysayers will be the first again to want someone’s head on a platter when the crap hits the fan and there is no help from our police & fire because they are understaffed and over taxed.

    Comment by Pat Berton — June 1, 2012 @ 8:48 am

  6. #3: Why should anyone believe “the swimming community” would act in the best interests of anyone else? Of course they want as many new pools as they can get everyone else to pay for! Full disclosure: I learned to swim growing up in Alameda at Franklin Pool. Then I learned some synchronized swimming from Mora Stone in Larry Keenan’s backyard pool; continued swimming at the Officer’s Club pool. I have never so much as stuck my toe in a pool at Encinal/Alameda Highs, yet I believe I do know how to swim. Funny, I don’t feel a part of the “swimming community”. I wish these self-appointed spokespeople would stop setting up artificial divisions where none should exist.
    #5: “Boots on the street”?? Surely you jest. Alameda cops haven’t walked a beat in at least 30 years. They are notorious for not only not knowing our neighborhoods, but when you suggest maybe they should actually live in Alameda [like when I was growing up here], they say “We can’t afford to live in Alameda”.

    Comment by vigi — June 1, 2012 @ 9:40 am

  7. If Measure C passes, where will the city get the money to maintain these new projects….oh I know from the yet to be announced public private partnership….do we have companies lined up to run the swimming pools, athletic fields, and any other projects….will we have a competitive bidding process like we had on the golf course. There is no general fund money to support these projects in the future.
    If all of you deHaan bashers want to do something constructive start a groundswell to convert all city public employees to a 401k type retirement plan. All new hiring will start with this plan….copy the federal gov’t plan. Keep future costs down.
    We all want all the needed improvements…..caw we afford it???

    Comment by JLS — June 1, 2012 @ 9:54 am

  8. Vigi, the “self-appointed” have simply been folks who have cared enough to show up to meetings. It’s not some secret organization. Somebody sent me a question via email… I will repeat my email back for anyone who cares:

    – – – –

    We have a group of swimming leaders who hav been meeting about the pools.
    We are not necessarily pushing for a 50 meter pool. We want a solution that
    is economical to operate that also serves the needs of all in the community…
    from infant aquatics to old folks trying to get some exercise.

    For a new swim center to pay for itself operationally, we know it needs to
    be used from early in the morning to late in the evening. We also know the
    pools need to be sized for competition. Right now, we don’t have anything
    even close to regulation for high school water polo or sanctioned swim
    meets… despite having a champion water polo team for years running at
    AHS and some top notch swimmers on the Islanders.

    A big advantage of a 50m pool is that it fills a huge gap in the East Bay.
    We can get help with the funding from Pacific Swimming (up to a third
    through grants!!!) if there is adequate parking and bleachers. A 50m pool
    would be a venue and an attraction that would bring $$ to the island.

    We have also looked at slightly smaller 40m pools that would provide enough
    lanes for all of the swimmers.

    As for the current problems… the pump and heater systems at both pools
    are antique. Replacement parts have to be custom made at a machine shop
    and are HUGELY expensive. There is a leak under the diving pool at Emma
    that drains heated water. Impossible to fix without taking out the entire pool.

    The “competition” pool at Emma is too shallow for blocks so we can’t even
    have meets there. Again, you’d have to tear it out and make it deeper.

    The Encinal competition pool, while deep enough at one end, is in horrid
    shape as the floor and walls are coming off. Kids actually cut their feet
    on flip turns. My family refuses to swim in that pool. The other 2 pools at
    that center, while sized ok for swimming lessons for little kids, are useless
    for anything else.

    The swimming community can unite over 1 swim ctr and share it. If this passes
    and we get the $$ and the plans, I’ll bet you one or both ctrs will get closed
    down before new is built. It’s amazing they are still running at all.

    Hope this answers some of your q’s.

    – Jack

    Comment by Jack B. — June 1, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  9. #4 & #5 = Read the facts at:

    Jack B. Funny, I didn’t ask any questions. But since you are new to California; you should start asking some instead of setting yourself up as an AJL Authority. Get the facts at:
    Obviously, the best place for a pool is out at the Point where one used to be. And you folks who want one should set up a Non-Profit & start collecting donations
    If no pool in Alameda is good enough for YOUR family, maybe you should move somewhere else. You sound like spoiled brats.

    Comment by vigi — June 1, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  10. Jack B.

    Thanks for your hard work and dedication in bringing an aquatic center to Alameda. I sincerely hope it happens. This would be an exciting public private partnership for Alameda, along the same lines of what we’re doing at the golf complex with a Rees Jones signature re-design, what we did with the theater for Park Street, and what’s happening at Alameda Point with the America’s Cup team.

    This project (like the other projects I mentioned above) have great potential to bring more foot traffic to Alameda, which means more shoppers, more people dining at our restaurants, more people staying at our hotels, and more sales tax revenues for the city. These type projects should be viewed as investments in our community, our youth and the quality of life here on this Island. They will create a domino effect – the more we invest in our community, the more we will attract private investment. The new CVS/Chase project on Park Street is a perfect example.

    There are two visions for Alameda – one that would make do with what we have while we watch everything fall to pieces around us – and another vision that creates public private partnerships to invest in our facilities, our parks, our youth, and our future.

    Vote Yes on Measure C for the preservation and future of Alameda!

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 1, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  11. Vote No on C! and then privatize the fire service or better yet, go to an all volunteer force. How can we even begin to justify overpaying (and offering gold-plated out-of-market pensions to) these firefighters when they’ve made it perfectly clear they will cower behind self-serving work rules at the public’s expense? I’m tired of overpaying these consummate bureaucrats. This has to stop now. Stop dealing with the union; they don’t deserve a say in their compensation. People deserve to be paid for what they deliver, not what they can wrangle from the public trough by threatening/buying politicians. For what our fire service has delivered , they should be writing checks back to the public.

    Comment by Mailik USMC — June 1, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  12. #6, Boots on the ground is another way of saying staff or personnel on the street. As far as I remember everyone has the right to choose where they live. The courts have ruled in the past an employer can’t tell someone where to live.
    #9, it looks to me if you scroll down at the top 10 earners you should be lining your gun sites on the cal state, CSU, & upper city administrators around the state since the names listed there earn 2-4 times more per month than the public safety personnel who put themselves in harms way everyday they go to work to allow you to sleep secured at night. And before you say nothing ever happens in Alameda, remember a fire burns just as it does anywhere else, a bullet still travels 1,580 feet per second here like anywhere else, & there are still citizens who are less than honest in Alameda who would try to hurt, injure, or even kill just like any other city. Our public safety personnel across the country earn every penny of that retirement. The decades of mental & physical exposures they face are why the average public safety employee post retirement is 8-10 year & non-publi safety is 20+ years. So if you really want to crunch numbers with your abacass, non-public safety retireees cost the public more than public safety.

    Comment by Pat Berton — June 1, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  13. 12
    But, for example, according to the state of California pubic employees’ retirement system (CalPERS) actuary, police actually live longer than average these days, which isn’t surprising given that the earlier people retire and the wealthier they are, the longer they tend to live. And according to a 2006 report to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, these are the age-60 life expectancies for the system’s workers (meaning how many years after 60 they will live):

    — Police and fire males: 22.6
    — General service males: 23.4
    — Police and fire females: 25.7
    — General service females: 25.7

    So we see that police and firefighters who retire at age 60 live, on average, well into their 80s. That’s real data and not the hearsay used by apologists for enormous police pensions.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 1, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  14. 4 “Go back to the car analogy.”

    I would guess we’ve just been given the inside reasoning from the secret cabal tasked to make us “just stay home and cry about it”.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 1, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  15. 13
    Great article!
    They always resort to playing the hero card In jobs that are statistically much safer than construction, mining, or even farm work, to justify salaries 50% more than the private sector would offer. It’s a stunt that will no longer fly. Do the cowardly public safety personnel who cowered on the beach for nearly an hour and hid behind union “regulations” while a man froze to death and drowned in chest deep water deserve “hero” status? They should be fired for incompetence, which is something the bloated public sector is remarkably incapable of doing.

    I’ll be voting against any form of increased government revenue until the public sector shows itself capable of reigning in the massive waste being incurred through overpayment of public “servants.”

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 1, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  16. I disagree with any attempt to conflate the sales tax measure with police and fire union issues. This is called “cutting off your nose to spite your face”. The police and fire union issues are separate issues that should be handled and negotiated separately. Our City Auditor and City Treasurer have done so — and we as a community should follow their lead.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 1, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

  17. Well Karen you’re wrong, the two issues are absolutely related. This is called ‘pouring gasoline on the fire’. (no pun intended)

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 1, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  18. #9 – I don’t think any swimmers in Alameda are “spoiled brats.” We have the worse pools in the East Bay and possibly the entire Bay Area. Everywhere from Oakland to Hercules to Albany to El Cerrito to Hayward to Fremont to Pacifica… everywhere you can name… the taxpayers have stepped up because they know a decent swimming facility helps make a good community.

    And for the record, I think Alameda Pt would be a fantastic place for a pool. Larger footprint and more parking. I think most of us would be happy no matter where it is in Alameda, even my “spoiled family. ”

    But here in Alameda, we have a special brand of folks like you who are against everything all the time so I expect you will fight that too. And let me guess, you are against America’s Cup setting foot here, right?

    Comment by Jack B. — June 1, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  19. 4, 8: Speaking of “pouring gas on the fire”–insurance companies charge lower rates for homeowners insurance when fire protection services are good and response times are low, especially in cities like Alameda with a high proportion of flammable wood-framed buildings.

    Closing fire stations and cutting back on fire service personnel–as recommended by the No on Measure C folks–would probably raise Alameda home and building owners’ fire insurance rates–at which point we might have achieved lower government costs but be paying more money overall in both individual and collective costs through higher insurance premiums. Merely r transferring the costs from one account to another–or having those costs increase overall–is no way to save money.

    Jack Boeger and the active community of competitive and recreational swimmers in Alameda have a sound proposal with the idea of one 50-meter pool. Going by the car repair versus purchase analogy, Alameda’s pools are ready for the junk yard.

    We need to replace our emergency vehicles more quickly than we have been able to with our woefully inadequate capital replacement budget in the General Fund. Measure C is one of very few ways we can afford to close that safety gap and keep our public safety departments capable of responding to both normal problems and the inevitable earthquake.

    Once you look at the facts it’ becomes obvious that A YES VOTE ON MEASURE C IS A SMART VOTE.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 1, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  20. Malik whoever you are, I laid out my vision for Alameda and why I think the sales tax measure is a great tool to solve some of our problems. I would say that neither one of us are “wrong”, but we have a different vision for Alameda and a different opinion about how to solve some of our problems.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 1, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  21. 19
    More fear tactics – Privatize the Fire Service! Here’s a city that saved a ton of money

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 1, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

  22. Malik USMC

    Privatizing Fire Department just Like We did with the Golf Course and all the Expensive Benefits and Pension obligations we alleviated there…Kinda like the New Animal Shelter.

    Interesting concept.

    Comment by John — June 1, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  23. I wonder if a private company offered Federal Firefighter Wages if they would get over 5,000 qualified applicants .

    Comment by John — June 1, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  24. At some point economic conditions and reality kicks in…..If it’s that or BK ing City we maybe should consider.

    Comment by John — June 1, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  25. Karen

    Malik USMC ……..If your not familar with USMC that is the United States Marine Corps.

    The USMC have served our Country in a World Class Manner. I hold them in the Highest Regard with Great Respect. Maybe you should familarize yourself with them. We live in a free Society and have benefitted greatly as a Country because of their Service.

    Comment by John — June 1, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

  26. Thanks John.
    Here’s another thought – soldiers, get 40% of a base pay that nobody considers bloated after a career in the military. That should be the public sector cap, at least until we can implement something approaching a meritocracy.

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 1, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  27. 19
    Be nice if you would back some of the claims you make, Jon.

    Reading the Fire reports for the week mentioned in the Sun beginning Monday May 21 we find a very busy FD:
    Nothing Monday,
    three false calls Tuesday,
    one false call Wednesday,
    two false calls and some kid threw a cigarette in the trash can at a high school on
    Thursday that required our FD to determine that the fire had gone out before they got there,
    Friday had two false calls and some smoldering bark
    Saturday had a false alarm
    and Sunday the FD was awakened by three false alarms and later on ensured some homeowner had truly extinguished a trash can fire.

    I realize any city needs a well trained and motivated FD but if we need to invest more dollars, those dollars should concentrate on analyzing root causes of false alarms and on methods to remedy what is a very dangerous and costly situation.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 1, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  28. Alameda used to take advantage of the water surrounding the island. Theoretically, currently anyone who wants to can go jump in the water and swim to his heart’s content within ten minutes. Practically, that’s exactly what residents of this city did for a good portion of the last century. However, those were times when citizens were more in touch with the natural world, something that is talked about all the time nowadays but few trust themselves and their own ability to take the risks of actually experiencing what they talk about. So we must build and operate little enclaves of warm purified, chlorinated, treated and certified water so we can be safe.

    No we’re not spoiled brats to need these water enclaves, it’s just what we expect.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 1, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  29. Stick around Malik USMC. It’s nice to hear from another of the few!

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 1, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

  30. #28 – Translation: I got mine, so just settle for jumping in the Bay.

    Comment by Jack B. — June 1, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  31. Have you tried it?

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 1, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  32. Yes. Several masters team swimmers open water swim, including myself and my kids. But you have to go out really far to get into deep enough water. Much more fun on a paddleboard. You’ll see us out there.

    Comment by Jack B. — June 1, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  33. (and that swimmers itch kinda sucks, but seems ok this year.)

    Comment by Jack B. — June 1, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  34. Nobody discounts your heartfelt interest and support for water oriented sports in Alameda, Jack. I really hope that there will be money left over, if C wins, to satisfy your and those who share your interest in a new swim center. I do not support C for several reasons.

    This city and most others in California, indeed, many, many others across the nation have found themselves unable to meet basic funding requirements. Measure C, in my view, is an embarrassment to the city.

    Karen Bey in #16 above, took issue with what she calls conflating funding issues which don’t mesh exactly together. But that’s not the way funding and city spending appears to those who pay the bill. The fact that the city is deep in financial straits on the one hand yet can afford bells and unnamed whistles on the other just does not make common sense to common folks.

    Perhaps, once this fiscal situation becomes manageable, the city can address unnecessary but nice to have projects.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 1, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

  35. “What he is really saying because the partnerships have pretty much been identified… will all be unable to fundraise enough to build their portions and that the Swimming Community will be unable to take care of the maintenance of the Aquatic Center.”

    Okay, then it’s fair to ask: why haven’t they donated to Measure C? Ron Matthews has put his money where his mouth is, but no one else has. These folks had more time to plan ahead and start fundrasing, long before the No on C group, yet there’s no sign of it so far. The public unions have outspent the partnership proponents by 50 to 1. That’s $50,000 for the unions and $1,000 for Ron.

    Comment by dlm — June 1, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

  36. dlm: I’m unclear why questioning Doug deHaan’s disbelief that private groups will be able to fundraise enough for their capital portions means that asking me about my campaign contributions is a “fair” question. One has nothing to do with the other. Collecting money for a campaign is completely separate from collecting donations to build lights for an all weather field or a splash zone for kids. I imagine lots of people give charitably but fewer give money to finance campaigns.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 2, 2012 @ 6:14 am

  37. Seems the city manager and some council members are living in a “Field of Dreams” world. “If you build it, they (private money) they will come”. If they have the private backing put the cards on the table so the voters know what they are in for. Also I have never seen the priority list on how the projects line up. What comes first, the police needs or the new pool?

    Comment by JLS — June 2, 2012 @ 9:19 am

  38. Must read summary of how the Alameda Fire Department and the City Council are wasting our money and still want more!

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 2, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  39. Malik, you should be aware that the flyer you link to has significant errors in it and is basically useless. One example: the City has 1 Deputy Fire Chief, not 4. So the City has fewer Deputy fire Chief’s than the “No on C” committee is advocating for. Instead of saving $500K annually, the city would increase their costs. The campaign’s ad in Friday’s paper does the same thing, claiming the city has more fire stations and trucks than the city actually does. The campaign is not a credible source of information on the state of public safety in Alameda.

    Our community can disagree on the philosophy of public safety levels of response, pay, benefits, etc. but it is important that we rely on actual facts to support our case.

    No matter the results of Measure C on Tuesday, there’s a need for a thorough, accurate discussion about public safety (mainly fire protection) in our community so that the community can try and come to consensus on what they support.

    Comment by jkw — June 2, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  40. We have about $40 million of needed capital expenditures not including the Measure C development projects wish list.
    We have no money to pay for them. The General Fund is not going to be able to cover these costs now or 20 years from now.
    The question: Do we wish to tax ourselves with a 1/2 cent special (limited) sales tax on only tangible personal property and the storage, use or other consumption of such property? Said monies will be used for bonds and the servicing there of, which will be used to finance the capitol expenditures. This is a 30 yr tax. The optimum time for bonds. If we don’t do it now, the situation only gets worse.

    That’s it. That is what we need to know, and what we need to decide right now. To tax or not to tax, yea or nay.

    The rest is all further down the road and if we don’t tax won’t matter. We can talk the rest to death after we know the results. We have plenty of time to decide which services to axe.

    Comment by Li_ — June 2, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  41. “needed capital expenditures”
    Who determines what is ‘needed’?

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 2, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  42. #41. A lot of pre polling was done, and the Council had discussed many of these items and more many times over the last several years (prior councils, too). From the polling results and from public input and from an assessment of needs, a list was formulated. Some of the items on the list were there because we had capital assets which were becoming too expensive to maintain and were a liablilty and needed replacement (firehouse, emergency center, swimming pools); some because we had assets which were “there” but unusable because they needed retrofitting that we had no money for (the Carnegie building); some because we had need for upgrading (the second elevator at the library which is framed in but never was installed due to lack of funds.) Some because the community has been asking for certain amenities for a long time and this tax will make it possible (the lighted, all weather field.)

    Comment by Kate Quick, — June 2, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  43. For those who don’t get that capital projects get paid from capital funds, and salaries and pension obligations and health insurance payments come from the general fund, and that the money from this Measure C 1/2 c. tax is designated as for capital projects and therefore can do nothing to “fix” the general fund problems, other than to avoid unnecessary emergency expenditures for repairs and liablilities when bad things happen to our capital assets, please stop confounding the two sources of revenue and expenditures. The money from the tax will be used to pay the debt service on bonds, which will be used to fund capital projects (a city generally does not do bonding for general fund expenditures) and fund a depreciation allowance in each department with these assets to insure that replacement money will be available when the new assets’ “shelf life” is over and they need to be replaced. The issue of the pensions and health care costs is being worked on separately.

    Comment by Kate Quick, — June 2, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

  44. Thanks, Kate. Is the list and the amount needed per item available to the general public?

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 2, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  45. “The issue of the pensions and health care costs is being worked on separately.”

    They just signed contracts with 3 unions Friday.

    What is the Total Cost of those Contracts Per Year.

    Was I correct in Reading were only saving 79K in Total First year. on all three contacts?

    Comment by John — June 2, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  46. I think the Total Compensation for top 500 Employees who make 95% of the Money is around 74 Million.

    So they were able to Cut back a whole 1/10 of one percent..

    They really take this serious..Wow.

    Comment by John — June 2, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  47. Those 500 employees who we spend 95% of the money on Average Total Compensation is around 150,000 per year now will now average total compensation of around 149,250 with new contracts.

    Pass the Hat at the Parade. The staff is really taking one for the Citizens.

    Comment by John — June 2, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

  48. “When the ‘shelf life’ is over we must make sure replacement money is available.”Uh, I think the shelf life has run out on ‘you pat my back and I’ll pat yours’ crowd running this city.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 2, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  49. To save money, we hope the AFD can close fire station 5 and truck 3 like the “no on C” ad said in this weeks Sun. Sounds like a good plan. They know all the facts, then print them in the newspaper.

    Comment by Jmasterson — June 2, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  50. #49. Why stop there? We could go to a volunteer department and never repair another truck and save a ton! Of course, shutting stations and reducing the force might easily result in our home insurance rates all going up far past the extra nickels we will be paying, but what the heck! And the day our house is on fire and the truck won’t start, well, that’s life! And the volunteers might just want to go fishing that day, so if no one is there to “volunteer”, we’ll always have our garden hoses and buckets. Good enough for good ‘ole Alameda.

    And, as to outsourcing to the County, please check their current rates for personnel and equipment, guarantees of response time, and the remaining cost of responsibility to maintain the facilities here on the island. Not at all a cheap alternative. (You see, we will not be on the hook directly for the benefits and pensions, etc., but they will, and the cost will be factored into the charges, so those costs will wind up getting paid by whomever, in this case, the City of Alameda.) And, we lose control and response time; not a pretty trade-off.

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — June 2, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

  51. #50. Or better yet. Let’s lower the pay and standards for firefighters so we can have 5000 applicants. Then, when we have an emergency, the very people we chose to protect us steal from our homes during responses. Sounds great people.

    Comment by Jmasterson — June 2, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

  52. “Let’s lower the pay and standards for firefighters so we can have 5000 applicants”

    Haven’t we already done that?

    Salary Schedule | Benefits | MOU
    Job Code: 4500
    CSB 2004-07-14 rev. 2004-07-02

    Graduation from high school or the equivalent.

    Must possess the following current certifications or their equivalent as approved by the appointing authority as a condition of initial and continued employment:

    •California Emergency Medical Technician (EMT 1 or higher) Certificate

    Other Requirements

    Must be 18 years of age at time of filing date.

    Must reside within a 50-minute response distance by the completion of probation.

    •Other certifications as designated

    Comment by John — June 3, 2012 @ 4:54 am

  53. We failed on one end….We Didn’t lower Pay and Now they run the City and Make 200K a Year..

    There are Thousands of Very Qualified Individuals with these same credentials that our listed on our website.

    Comment by John — June 3, 2012 @ 4:59 am

  54. Are Alameda’s Firefighters too Powerful to be Reformed?

    In the wake of last week’s deplorable drowning incident, Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore promised an open and transparent investigation into what happened. But since then, there’s been nada from inside Alameda City Hall, KTVU reports, as criticism of Alameda firefighters intensifies. And if the power of political influence is any indicator, don’t expect the Alameda City Council majority to publicly criticize or demand reforms from the city firefighters any time soon.

    Why? Because the Alameda firefighters’ union wields substantial political influence on the island. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a special interest in Alameda with more juice. Last year, for example, Councilwoman Lena Tam was accused of ethics violations after she leaked what critics said was confidential city information to the firefighters’ union. The union also was instrumental in ousting the last fire chief, David Kapler. Granted, Kapler deserved to be booted for fueling up his personal car at the city-owned pump, but he also was an outspoken critic of the firefighters’ union, and it was the union that dropped the dime on him.

    But more importantly, the firefighters’ union played a major role in shaping Alameda’s current political power structure. During the 2010 election, the union threw its full support, and cash, behind Gilmore’s successful mayoral bid and the winning council campaigns of Tam and Rob Bonta.

    Comment by John — June 3, 2012 @ 5:06 am

  55. The Political Bubble in Alameda will pop someday….So will the unsustainable Salarys Benefits and Pensions.

    When you have the Churchlady singing from the Choir and JKW doing his Liza Minnell show tunes along with her TRANSFORMing this City …Leaugue of Woman Voters are Not Really Women…Looks and Titles are Deceiving…Check your Wallet.

    My Year of Study on Alameda and it’s politics is Over…..Yes or No on C at this point I don’t really give a flying F……Schools Out !!!!!!

    Have a Great Summer!

    Comment by John — June 3, 2012 @ 5:54 am

  56. 41. Kate mentions most of the capital expense items that are on the Measure C wish list. The $40m I was thinking of was brought up at Council by Public Works. This is money needed to do deep repair/remodel work on public infrastructure such as plumbing, street beds, foundations, sewers, storm drainage, wiring. If Measure C passes, then tax/bond part has to get set up. When we have money, then we can get real and start prioritizing and doing project feasibility studies. And at least politely, respectfully yelling at each other.

    If Measure C doesn’t pass, then we have about 6mo. to decide what to cut. We are looking at deficit of $5-6m.

    Comment by Li_ — June 3, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  57. “If Measure C doesn’t pass, then we have about 6 mo.”

    Let’s see, that’ll be November. Which means in about four to five months the chicken little’s will start their bi-annual ‘sky is falling’ screeching match.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 3, 2012 @ 9:57 am

  58. Really? You think they will wait that long? I just meant that that is when we start the Council budget meetings again. I’m expecting this blog to carry on right through to next year unless there is a limit on comments.

    Comment by Li_ — June 3, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  59. I just can’t squeeze any more blood out of these turnips that fell off the [Alameda] turnip truck…vote No on all new taxes..You would all be much happier had you eaten at OffTheGrid SouthShore this weekend…like me

    Comment by vigi — June 3, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  60. Just so the information is clear, The COA under the direction of the former CM Ann Marie Gallant & the puppet Fire Chief David Kapler closed Fire Station #5, reduced line staff by 12, eliminated the Fire Prevention Bureau (now there is one civilian Code Compliance Officer) that oversees all inspections with help from fire personnel when available, cut the Training Division 50%, eliminated the Disaster Prepardness Officer, eliminated the Water Rescue Program, sold both fire & rescue boats, permitted department to fall in non-compliance with the Hazardous Materials Certification, instituted rolling station closures including the only ambulance assigned to all if Bay Farm Island. When asked he said in front of council after Gallant told him to “minimal impacts” would be seen from all this. So now, AFD is below NFPA response standards, we have seen the results of the water rescue loss already. By the way, AFD has NEVER had three trucks, and they are at their lowest street level staffing since the 70’s and the highest number of calls for service ever. By all means cut more staff or perhaps take this negativity and help teach the public that 911 is not the number for routine medical care or for a broken pipe under the sink, overflowing toilet, leaking roof, etc.

    Comment by Pat Berton — June 3, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  61. Just to be more clear, a third party consulting agency, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Consulting Services , analyzed the fire safety situation in Alameda in 2009 “The report points out that Alameda has more fire stations than Insurance Standards Organization (ISO) recommends. It goes on to say that a geographic information system (GIS) analysis shows that two, instead of the current five, stations could serve the city and still meet the ISO recommendation of a station servicing a 1.5-mile service area for travel-time purposes.”

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 3, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

  62. Obviously you don’t realize that ICMA is a for profit company that writes reports based on what a city manager wants it to say & that company has been caught issuing same exact reports in various cities but only changing the names. The COA report was issued in Lake Havasu Arizona, but ICMA forgot to change the city name on various portions of the report from Alameda to Lake Havasu Arizona. Interesting you fail to bring up the three other reports the COA paid upwards of $75k collectively to have done, but because the companies were all credible the reports all agreed to some extent that the city coverage for parameters of 5 minute response times would require the current deployment model or in some isolated instances, more staffing would be necessary. But if your looking for a report to justify cuts, you have to find the right company to write want you want to see if you narrow the parameters to make the results tainted. ICMA recommendations have been implemented in other cities with catastrophic results and ultimately the staffing being restored for the better of the community

    Comment by Pat Berton — June 3, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

  63. Where can I see the three other reports?

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 3, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

  64. What other cities had catastrophic results?

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 3, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

  65. Pat, your credibility is in serious question. BTW the water rescue program was never eliminated, rather our overpaid bureacrats never got around to recertification.

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 4, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  66. Malik, the recommendations were made a few years ago. Over the past year and a half, the number of deputy chiefs was reduced. The issue is the uninformed use of information. I don’t have to even question the recommendation to point out that the use of it by the No on C campaign shows that they have no clue what they are recommending, just throwing out inaccurate statistics that back up claims that are not vetted or up to date and therefore useless. (you can include the wholly discredited Action Alameda in that as well).

    sources matter, you keep relying on unreliable ones.

    Comment by jkw — June 4, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  67. Do you have a source better than the independent third party ICMA or just hearsay that supposedly supports your agenda?

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 4, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  68. I would suggest you ask the COA for the reports they commissioned & paid for. They will deny or ignore your request because they conviently will not be able to find them. When reports are not written to read what they want to portray those documents miraculously disappear. Look at Ann Marie Gallants rein of terror at Desert Hot Springs before she came to Alameda. The cuts she implemented based on reports were disastrous. After she was removed the city spent the following two years restoring the cuts to bring the public safety back to acceptable levels.

    Comment by Pat Berton — June 4, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  69. You could request follow up information as to why if there was funding didn’t Chief Vogelsang schedule the training, but he conviently left the department under suspicious circumstances. So you can draw your own conclusion. Maybe ask Doug DeHann since he has been her through all this and he seems to really look for excuses to filet the fire department

    Comment by Pat Berton — June 4, 2012 @ 11:39 am

  70. So Pat, how did you get to see the reports?

    Vogelsang should have been fired for incompetence but he was still on the payroll in 2011.

    Comment by Malik USMC — June 4, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  71. Vogelsang is gone, left . Again, what you’re asking for has already been accomplished.

    As I said, the issue I raise is not that the ICMA report is right or wrong, it’s that the statements and information that is being presented by No on C, using the report as cover, are not correct. We have 1 Deputy Chief, they say we have 4….We have four fire houses, they say we have 5…that’s reality, any source you rely on should be able to stand up to such simple scrutiny.

    As for the reports you want to ask for, they are all public, email the city clerk, they are:

    City Gate

    Comment by jkw — June 4, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

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