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Vince Wells Educates CoCo Tax Yet Again on Measure Q

Kudos go out to Vince Wells who again is taking on those rabble rousers from the Contra Costa County Taxpayers Association in response to Contra Costa Times Columnist Tom Barnidge  who actually had a pretty solid piece over the weekend.

I won’t post the entire article, you can read it by clicking here. It can be summed up in a single line as it tries to explain the consequences of a “not vote”.

People wonder why the district can’t live within its means. One answer is that its means aren’t nearly what they were. When property tax bills shriveled like a plum in a sauna — you’ve noticed you’re paying less, right? — so did the amount we paid for fire protection.

But we still expected the same service. Try getting that deal from PG&E.

In response, you have Kris Hunt and her spelling errors issuing the following response:

Mr. Barnidge, your answer is that no matter how badly the district is run, no matter that the board saw this coming but continued to run down reserves, no matter that the distrtict quit replacing fire engines, no matter that the tax will not solve the district’s financial problems, and no matter that instead of diealing with the problems of pay and benefits the board gave a letter to the union A YEAR AGO saying they would work to put a pacecl tax on the November ballot, you are ok with this way of managing a government entity? This is giving a license to bad governance.

And before you fall for the shrinking revenue story, you might also check that pension costs that were four and a half million are now up to $26 million when you include the cost paying the money the district borrowed to reduce the unfunded pension liability.

This is a simple math problem and the numbers are not adding up.

Then you have Wendy Lack chime in who should probably remain silent as she admitted she is not in the Times pension database even though she had 20+ years as a Walnut Creek employee.

Your column misses the point. The District offers the public two choices: Pay more or receive reduced services. And yet there are an infinite number of alternative choices. It’s the being-backed-into-the-corner aspect that doesn’t fly with the public. We know there are other choices the District chooses to reject because it prefers to continue doing business as usual.

After all, public officials made the choices that led the District to its near-bankrupt state. Should Measure Q pass, what will be different? The District will continue on its steady path to insolvency, only with a slight delay.

Historically county supervisors have demonstrated their inability to affect change or manage responsibly. This is illustrated by the fact that the District was deficit spending in the year (2007/8) that its income from property

taxes was the HIGHEST in recent history! So they cannot claim that the 2008 financial downturn is the sole cause of its problems — it ain’t so.

Should Measure Q fail District officials will be compelled to face reality and examine available alternatives because they have a duty to provide emergency services within the budget available.

Importantly, failure of Measure Q will require District officials to consider ways to conduct its business at a lesser cost – while also meeting its fundamental obligation to provide essential services. While revision of the county’s emergency response plan may be necessary to reorganize services, there is no doubt that the District can achieve greater economies in service delivery.

Oh, and please be advised: Many taxpayers have NOT seen reductions in property tax bills. And among those who have, many are in acute financial distress. This tired sales pitch – often heard from county supes – is as nonsensical as it is insensitive to struggling families.

Vote NO on Measure Q.

Then we have Local 1230 President Vince Wells who is a man of reason, someone who is willing to debate, but simply sticks to the facts and principal. Notice his response compared to the fibbers over there at CoCo Tax.

Kris,

It seems that every time an article comes out regarding the potential impacts of lack of fire protection, you and Wendy chime in and get upset with the author. You prefer them aid in your financial “scare tactics”, and would have them shy away from reporting on the impacts of an unanswered 911 call. As a fire fighter and a citizen, I believe that closing fire stations and not having an adequate 911 response system is critical to a community.

The first thing we teach the preschoolers that come to our station for tours during “fire prevention week” is what number to call if there is an emergency. Most of them know it well, even at that age. Everyone may not feel that closing fire stations is the solution. There are more ways to solve problems rather than put the community at risk with the hopes of a solution that would satisfy you.

I have wondered if you or your organization would recommend shutting down the baggage check points in an airport because you disagreed with their pay and benefits or how they managed their budget. If their services were removed from a certain airport, would you support or recommend that? I may be biased, but if fire and emergency services are cut back to the levels that they will be if Measure Q is not successful, the community is at risk.

You make it seem that the fire district or the fire fighters, or the Board of Supervisors need to be punished for the situation we are in. Who wins here? On behalf of the firefighters, of who most of them have less than eight years on the department, and who just found out who you are, they weren’t here when the retirement benefits changed. They come to work and work their tails off for this community. They get out to an emergency as quickly as possible, train and work hard, and lay their lives on the line for the citizens of Contra Costa County. Our fire chief has only been here two years!

Your attitude of “teaching someone a lesson” is not appropriate when it comes to emergency services. Put your efforts into solving the problems you see over the next 7 years that the tax is in place.

After this article and reading your post, I have thought a lot about $6.25 a month. I have worked for Con Fire now for 15 years and have never seen a rate hike for the services we provide. The property owners within the district pay property taxes. Out of those taxes, a portion of it goes to the various district agencies. Since 1978, that amount has been frozen. Since 1978 there has not been any rate increases to the fire district. In fact, since 2008 the revenue allocated to the fire district has shrunk by over 32 million. We are asking for $75.00 a year of it back. To those who bring up the long list of school bonds and other initiatives that are on their tax bill, note there is none for the fire district. The services we provide and our efficiencies have changed significantly since 1978. I can attest to that just within my 18 years of fire service. We provide way more services then we did in the past. As I look at my cell phone, PG&E, cable, water, and amount paid for gas since 1978, all of them are way more than an increase of $6.25 a month!

Since Measure S failed in the East Contra Costa County Fire District the citizens are paying the same tax to the district that they paid before the measure was placed on the ballot. Now they just have half the fire fighters on duty. From 16 to 9. The unfunded liability and pension costs were not affected by voting no on that Measure.

In fact, since the Measure failed, I haven’t seen you out there with any follow up. The response times have doubled, fires get much bigger, and many savable lives have been lost.

Barnidge makes a point in his article about those that just have it out for firefighters but ignore the impact of lack of fire services. You are obviously not concerned about the fire or emergency service levels in the county.

As a veteran, I am a strong supporter of the right to vote. I encourage those who read this to please do your homework regarding this issue. Jumping on the bandwagon of those who have a personal agenda, could have a significant impact on the public safety level provided to you and your family in Contra Costa County!
Yes on Q!

You can find out more about Protecting our emergency services by visiting http://www.protectccfire.com/

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24 Responses »

  1. Whenever I need a good laugh, I read what Kris Hunt and Wendy Lack are stating. These people just dont get it. This was a very nice read by Vince Wells.

  2. This puts it into perspective-thanks Burk. And thank you Mr. Wells for an appropriate follow up.

    The time has come to stop trying to educate simpletons like Kris Hunt and Wendy Lack.

    Ms. Hunt and Lack don’t deserve services that they don’t understand and are not willing to pay for. Neither one of them wants to acknowledge that they are paying LESS today for fire services. That alone speaks volumes.

    They both fail to see the obvious and if Measure Q fails they will learn the hard way as those of us in East County have.

  3. Wendy desperately needs some education on the facts.

    The County Assessor could school her on the property valuations. Either she isn’t reading the reports coming out of there or she’s intentionally lying to people.

    She claims the county has a fundamental obligation to provide fire service. She is wrong again. There is no such legal obligation. She is free to post the link to any law that says otherwise. But she and the CCTPA people never do. Because it doesn’t exist.

    She claims the Supervisors have done nothing on pensions. Again, false. Even during these deeply depressing economic times they have reduced the OPEB liability in the county by a massive number. Another inconvenient fact they won’t talk about.

    Then you get into the double speak of these people. They want to leave engines in station. Which effectively separates fire from medical in their eyes. Perhaps they are now internally admitting the flaw to that plan? She seems to be in that post. Now trying to raid EMS funds to fix the fire department. Prop 218 violation anyone? Wendy doesn’t get the fact that you can’t just raid general fund county money to fix this problem. Nor can you just take it from other agencies. Both are illegal.

    Then there are their pension claims. They are not content with legal reforms of pensions for new hires via a new tier. Nope. They want to take it further and DEMAND that existing vested pensions be modified. That’s illegal too. Oh, they’ll cite the Little Hoover Commission study, as they have many times. Little Hoover is just an opinion. No different than yours or mine. Granted, they certainly have scholars and perhaps an attorney or two on that commission. But it’s still only an opinion.

    The laws on the books are court tested. If CCTPA and Little Hoover want to insist, as they have, that those are based on shaky legal ground then it should be a slam dunk for them to muster the resources to challenge it and defeat it in court. Because in court is the only place that matters. Until then, they are buffaloing the public and playing on the fact most don’t know the laws regarding pensions. Wendy, in particular, has stated in public meetings before the BoS that she is demanding this illegal maneuver on the part of the Supervisors.

    Finally they claim households in financial distress are logic for voting down the measure while completely ignoring the big picture. In the comments section of the Times site there is actually some nut claiming we should just shut down all fire stations to save money and rely on our fire insurance.

    Serious WTF moment! Does anyone know the average response time of Allstate to a single alarm structure fire? I’m guessing it’s measured in days or weeks rather than the current minutes response of the fire department. They don’t bring fire hoses either. Just pens and paper.

    This is the mentality of the “no” crowd on parade. Wendy and Kris don’t understand government or the funding channel problems or the laws regarding pensions. They just think they do.

    • Let’s trot out the corner stone of the answer one more time…..a brand new fire-ems entity (yes, a fire-ems entity because that is what they do fire & ems, with the large support of private contractors) The new entity takes all available-established tax/county resources and then begs the bos for more just like the sheriff’s office and other agencies do. but what will make this new entity work is a LOWer pay/benefit plan similar to what eccfpd now pays. This will be tough to swallow for the union but it is the only engineered solution that has as chance to work and to be sustainable in a new normal that will soon be made worse by inflation, yes inflation, better plan for it now.

      of course the same old folks are going to slam my same old plan by saying the eccfpd wage is pitifully low. if it is so pitifully low tell me how many empty slots are going to go unfilled as the recently lost slots are opened back up by the fema $$? that’s right, a big fat NONE. Every ‘pitifully’ low paid eccfpd position will be filled by an individual who is qualified under state regulation. I bet they will even turn applicants away who would gladly work for the wage being offered. Wake up folks, move past the special interest manipulation and face reality.

      one more thing…my money is my money it does not belong to the county or any government agency. Yes, some tax must be paid but the notion that when a metric changes I should feel bad about paying less tax is just plain crazy. When the government is paying too much for a good or service it is my right, and many would say obligation, to voice my opinion seeking change. CCC could provide better fire-ems service if the politicos were not manipulated by the special interests. prove my wrong by showing me the unfilled eccfpd slots.

      and one one more thing …save the desperate key strokes aimed at me for having an opinion about my continued economic interest in this county even though I choose to reside in more rational locations.

  4. Kris Hunt and Wendy Lack need to go away, this is too complex for them to grasp they are saving money with lower tax revenue while recieving the same service.

    • In case you missed it there is a follow up column today in the newspaper.
      http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21619885/barnidge-readers-have-slightly-different-opinion-fire-parcel

      Mr. Barnidge pointed out how imprudent Wendy Lack, Kris Hunt and the anti tax people are! It looks like he has even drawn out Dave Roberts, (the king of bait and switch arguments).

      Roberts, Lack and Hunt make the three stooges look brilliant in comparison!

      • I read Barnidges article and the first thing that came to mind was the three pages of people listed delinquent on their taxes a couple weeks back. That article about the fire tax and starbucks coffee was amusing. He talks like everyone could afford starbucks coffee and the tax would fix the problem. What a crock of bologna by Barnidge. Many people can’t afford starbucks coffee because they have to pay too many taxes ! If its so little of a tax that everyone should pay extra for then why doesn’t Barnidge and his billion dollar newspaper just pick up the tab? The issue has been festering for several years without any real solution attention. Oh, wait there was an action back in 2005 where the supervisors and the fire district floated $129,000,000.00 million dollars in bonds that we never voted on but have to pay back at 4.5% interest. That moronic decision put the district in worse shape and we didn’t even get to vote on that bail loan that dug the debt hole deeper. Barnidge’s comparison about taxes reduced was even more hilarious. If they reduced their compensation in ratio to what I lost on my house we wouldn’t need a tax. When taxes rise we would give it back. We will never see a rebate for new taxes just more overspending by the cohorts at the top running this runaway spending train into oblivion so our children will suffer even more. Tom Barnidge has been had by the special spenders of our tax dollars.

  5. Thank you Vince.

    • @ Realistic or should I call you “Voterandtaxpayer”?

      What is wrong? Is no one responding to your identical post over at HalfwaytoConc.? Maybe you will get a hit from Wendy Lack, she seems to have nothing but time on her hands? (No one is answering her either & she appears to be talking to herself). It looks like the cesspool over there has become stagnant.

      So if that is all you took away from Mr. Barnidge’s article you’d better go back and re-read it. I think he left a few replies in there for you regarding your comments (and he was a lot more polite about it than I would have been).

      Let me guess… reading comprehension isn’t one of your strong points.

  6. Bob is only half right when he says Contra Costa County does not have fire protection responsibility, but being half right about this is much the same as being half wrong because the County has complete responsibility for Emergency Medical Services (EMS). And for that the County is not paying their way. Fix that First !

    If the fire district spends half of its resources responding to EMS calls (that’s a pretty conservative estimate) then half of the expenses for operating the district should be reimbursed by the county. Don’t just add up the gas money and wear and tear on the vehicle. That’s not how services are bought and paid for. If you think it is, try that the next time you rent a limo, stay in a hotel, or call a plumber to your house.

    EMS should be funded throught the General Fund and other special funds that have been created for such purposes, instead of by an ever increasing percentage of funds collected and earmarked for fire prevention. The county is currently stealing our fire district resources to pay for its EMS responsibility.

    Many property owners are becoming less enamored with “the way government works” and more intent on taking the position that real solutions must come before we agree to give up more of our hard earned dollars. In East Contra Costa they found an $8M FEMA grant that suddenly became available AFTER the tax measure lost. I wonder what will become available for Contra Costa Fire?

    • @ No on Taxes,

      Gee smart guy, maybe you should put all of your whacked out theories, policy modifications and perspectives down on paper and trot down to the Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow morning instead of wasting your time trying to confuse people on local blogs.
      Likelyhood of that= ZERO.

      Why?

      Well, besides having to personally embarrass yourself (the meetings are taped and televised) for all to see, you would be told what we already know; your assumptions are incorrect on many counts. This makes it a nonstarter for you.
      The firefighters are being paid (just like an insurance policy) to be available for fires aka; emergencies. Are you just ignorant or are simple facts just lost on you? We are getting EMS response from the fire department at almost no additional cost, since they are already being paid to be “available”. Your attempt to reengineer the services or funding model just makes you look ridiculous to those of us paying attention.

      Why don’t you do us all a favor and post your last 3 property tax bills here on this site. Then we can all see in black and white that you are paying LESS in taxes to the fire department. ‘Till then stop wasting time with your senseless attempts to distract from the reality of this situation. You are lucky there is not a tax on ignorance-you’d be first in line.

      Do yourself a favor and come up with some new material.

      Time for you to buck up or shut up.

    • Not even close!

      If you leave the engines in station to separate them from fire calls, you’ll knock 80% of the “rolls” out of the equation…………….and recoup less than $50k per station. The FD then loses $35k per station for the paramedic program that is provided to them via Prop H money. If you can’t roll on medicals, you can’t very well gather fees paid to you to provide the service!

      Medicals are not paid for on a per call basis. Nor are fires. That’s the flaw in your logic. As ECR noted, fire and police are like insurance. You pay for the readiness. You don’t pay only when you use the service.

      What you suggested is clearly taking EMS money and using it for staffing for fire readiness. That won’t pass legal muster. It’s the biggest flaw to your former neighbor Jeff’s plan. But he’s too inflexible to have a meaningful conversation on pros and cons. He thinks the idea is only gravy and has no downsides at all.

      You pay for fire fighters to be in station. Use those resources for low incremental cost add medicals or don’t. You still have to pay for the staffing. Your Plan B option for medicals from the private sector will cost you much, much more. AMR themselves have told you this!

      ConFire already got a grant last year. The way it works is one and done. You go to the back of the line for any future monies. There’s nationwide competition and no shortage of applicants every fiscal year these days.

      But your innuendo is noted. Thinking it was just slight of hand on the grant, were you? You have to escape the conspiracy theory mentality at some point.

      • Let’s trot out the corner stone of the answer one more time…..a brand new fire-ems entity (yes, a fire-ems entity because that is what they do fire & ems, with the large support of private contractors) The new entity takes all available-established tax/county resources and then begs the bos for more just like the sheriff’s office and other agencies do. but what will make this new entity work is a LOWer pay/benefit plan similar to what eccfpd now pays. This will be tough to swallow for the union but it is the only engineered solution that has as chance to work and to be sustainable in a new normal that will soon be made worse by inflation, yes inflation, better plan for it now.

        of course the same old folks are going to slam my same old plan by saying the eccfpd wage is pitifully low. if it is so pitifully low tell me how many empty slots are going to go unfilled as the recently lost slots are opened back up by the fema $$? that’s right, a big fat NONE. Every pitifully low paid eccfpd position will be filled by an individual who is qualified under state regulation. I bet they will even turn applicants away who would gladly work for the wage being offered. Wake up folks, move past the special interest manipulation and face reality.

        one more thing…my money is my money it does not belong to the county or any government agency. Yes, some tax must be paid but the notion that when a metric changes I should feel bad about paying less tax is just plain crazy. When the government is paying too much for a good or service it is my right, and many would say obligation, to voice my opinion seeking change. CCC could provide better fire-ems service if the politicos were not manipulated by the special interests. prove my wrong by showing me the unfilled eccfpd slots.

        and one one more thing …save the desperate key strokes aimed at me for having an opinion about my continued economic interest in this county even though I choose to reside in more rational locations.

  7. Just wonder, you complain about Kris Hunt’s spelling when I have seen you do much the same.

    Expenses are going up and income going down and the pensions are not addressed. Police, water and fire are not entitlements as many say, We pay for each of them. Some city charters say they are required to be provided by that city. As a very old timer I see things are very out of wack and frankly glad I’m at the end of my life span. I’m going to let the youngsters who messed it up clean it up.

  8. Jeff B comes across as a child throwing a repetitive tantrum (probably the way he was raised). I imagine he believes that if he repeats the same cut and paste stuff over and over, someone will listen. Someone needs to tell him it isn’t working.

    This is a pattern of extremely dysfunctional behavior but the poor little guy just can’t seem to help himself. Pity.

    • @ B wood,

      I completely agree. What is up with that Jeff Barber character? Apparently he doesn’t even live in the state. I’m beginning to wonder about his mental “state”.

      Barnidge said it best, so in case Barber missed it;

      “I may have missed your point, but I’m pretty sure I hit mine. When you go to the polling place on Nov. 6, I can just about guarantee that none of those infinite other choices — which is a really big number, by the way — will be among the options listed on your ballot.”

  9. Jeff Barber,

    Let me introduce you to my little friend. It is called the shift key. It not only capitalizes lower case letters, but it might just elevate your posts to at least look a little more educated.
    Posting the same drivel ad nauseam, and then driving the point home with poor use of basic skills, only serves to let us the readers know you have many challenges beyond the new normal…or even the old normal for that matter.
    Sorry to pick on your stature and your lack of abilities that most of us take for granted, but frankly there was nothing in your post worth replying to.

    Cheers!

  10. We have similar issues in our township which caused me to find this site. I’m not very current on the issues here, but reading the comments inclines me to favor those who talk of changing the game rather than paying more to the collective.

    Where I am, the first personal attacks (height, mental status, intelligence, “your Mum” jokes) always emote from the fellow with the weakest argument. Least that is how we interpret things.

    • Out of State

      Do you go to blog sites for accurate information on critical issues such as emergency services in your township? If you think this one is bad, try halfway to concord. Go to that one and come back to this one, then apply your out of state logic. If you do, you’ll change sides!

    • Nice try “Out of State” but shouldn’t you be using your real name Jeff? No one here mentioned your “Height” as a personal attack….you just gave yourself away.

      You should work on interpreting this; “Changing the game” is not on the ballot nor on the table. There are only two choices for those of us who live here in this state.

      Vote YES and keep stations open or vote no and watch stations close.

      “…I can just about guarantee that none of those infinite other choices — which is a really big number, by the way — will be among the options listed on your ballot.”

      And while your checking out HalwaytoConc. enjoy these quotes from outside the area….

      “Closing that station will have an impact on service levels, no doubt about it,”

      “It’s the difference between being able to hold a fire to one room to arriving and having the house fully engulfed in fire,”

      “If the station can’t be kept open, nearby residents will face a sharp increase in response times and insurance premiums…”

  11. why hasn’t anyone stepped up to discuss the number of reopened eccfpd jobs that will go unfilled due to low wages?

    you all can toss out personal insults but you are afraid to address the real issue. and the real issue is that a new fd/ems entity could fill every position at a wage/benefit level that would keep the stations open. you all know it is true but you are afraid to admit it. every single job would be filled by an individual that meets the state requirements and the stations would remain open and all your threats of doom and no insurance coverage would go away.

    yes, the current con fire people who took the new jobs in the new fd would earn less but guess what …..millions of americans earn less than they used to. why is this group given some special protection and the rest of the folks that work or want to work are not?

    keep in mind every personal insult you toss in response to my plan is a big fat admission that you have nothing of substance to refute that a brand new county fd/ems entity is the foundation for a sustainable solution.

    this is going to happen sooner or later and I am suggesting sooner would be a lot better.

    • When times get desperate enough you can get 5,000 people lining up to fill 50 jobs at a Walmart for minimum wage too. I could point you to news reports and video of it happening.

      What’s your point?

      Some of us actually want to see a turnaround in the economic situation and eventual RISE in the standard of living. You admitted yourself that inflation will be a big factor in the coming years. So your preparation for that is to impoverish a class of people?

      What a lame idea of “sustainability”. I’d call it more like your attempt to take us back to pre New Deal days and to bring back widespread abuse of labor.

      The comments are on topic, so quit the whining and trying to make it about you. The narcissism is a complete waste of energy here.

      • Yes thousands apply for public safety jobs. Some because they truely have the calling to be a firefighter/police officer. some for the glory, and some for the “power”. Getting hired is extremely difficult-as you stated thousands apply. BUT then the weeding out happens-the written test, the physical fitness test, phys test, and the biggest hurdle for the majority the background. Yes, the crap you did in high school can come back and haunt you. If the applicant can get through that, then off to the academy. By the time all of that is done, well your thousands are down to 50. Laterals–people that are already working and want to change agencies are extremely valuable. The majority of those weeding out steps have already been done AND you don’t have to pay for the academy. Now having explained this to you, you might just understand why there are thousands of applicants to the low paying jobs-they can get training and experience and then go to a better paying agency taking all their training with them. then we have to start over. And before you start in with-they must repay the agency for their training, this has been an issues forever. One of the reasons that the pay finally started going up. And lets not forget the mindset that college is required.

        Now you keep pushing that that people will take the job for the lower wages, yes I have seen that all over. Just last week I had to order my McDonald order in Spanish because the cashier couldn’t understand English!

    • Jeff B, allow me share a couple of thoughts based on your latest post.

      1. If you are so interested in the number of unfilled ECCFPD jobs that will go unfilled, why aren’t you asking the Fire Chief or Fire Commissioners? Perhaps one of them has a crystal ball. My guess is that no one knows since they haven’t been filled yet. The word on the street is that some of the laid off Firefighters have moved on to other better paying departments. Maybe the better question is how many will return after the way they were treated? And how much is it going to ultimately cost the district to go through a hiring process and training of new firefighters? Didn’t quite think that one through did you?

      2. Have you ever heard of the old adage you get what you pay for? Do you think that NFL players are overpaid? Someone did and started a few other leagues, but apparently the public wants to see a sport played at a professional level-regardless of pay- so many of those leagues folded up like a cheap tent. Lots of money wasted on a bad idea similar to yours. Speaking of the NFL, maybe a better example for you might be those lower paid, “fill in” officials are not quite working out. See how it works in the real world? How about your family doctor? Do you go to the cheapest one? Do you walk in his or her office and tell them that you think they are overpaid before they treat you? Personally I don’t think that would be a very smart thing to do….but basically that is what you are telling the individuals that provide emergency services to us, our families and our neighbors. In fact, you take it a step further, by telling them they should be laid off, rehired at a much lower wage and then take on, additional services that you see fit. I doubt that many of them are threatened or insulted by your scheme because not only would it violate labor law but they have come to know your position and relevance. Your personal integrity and state of mind comes into question as well when you are so quick to suggest that contracts be broken, dishonored and violated.

      3. I have heard (and have no doubt) that hundreds if not thousands apply for firefighting jobs. But the real question is how many of them make the cut and secure employment? 1 out of 10? 1 out of 100? 1 out of 1,000? How many applicants are really qualified and do you really want someone that “just meets minimum requirements” to respond to your emergency? Your home on fire? Your trauma on the side of the road? I can tell you, I don’t. I venture to think there is some pretty substantial reasoning for keeping the bar high; after all it isn’t an office job. But you suggest we lower the bar? Pay even lower wages so that we can attract a lesser candidate? The low(er) pay structure you refer to is already in place, just check with CAL FIRE or the U.S. Government who operates civilian fire departments across the globe. They will be first to tell you that due to their low pay, they are really nothing more than a training ground for those who will eventually go on to better paying jobs. These employers readily admit they have a retention problem and continually invest in employees that go elsewhere. Personally I want my local firefighters to stay and be part of the community and not the second class citizens as you suggest.

      4. You are entitled to your opinion but you should probably consider coming to the realization that those that are elected to make decisions and those that hold the knowledge to direct, don’t agree with you. Posting the same self-serving opinion over and over isn’t working. I can explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you.

      5. We get it, you are cheap and obviously not that sharp. You might want to cease pointing that out……….over and over.

      6. Jeff, someone said it earlier; you insult yourself. You really don’t need our help.

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