San Ramon Fire Pension Used Against Measure S

The new argument being used by the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association is to claim Firefighters dominate the $100k pension club. But in taking a closer look at their pension club, none of the names on that list show up from our East Contra Costa County Fire Protection list.

Of the 646 names, not a single one from our District.

I’ve witnessed first hand people lumping San Ramon in with East County and it doesn’t apply. I fully expect them to throw out what has transpired at the San Ramon Valley Fire District and to throw Chief Craig Bowen’s very large pension around in order to apply it to ECCFPD to kill Measure S.

The reality is San Ramon and East County are like comparing apples to oranges due to their funding, the set up of the District and the pay scale.

Don’t be fooled, its two separate issues and you can’t lump all firefighters into one category.

Click here to read what the CoCo Taxpayer Association claims.


About burkforoakley

I call it like I see it . I love my city, I love my community and I want what is best for the people around me. Do the right thing, I will support you. Do the wrong thing, I will oppose you!
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10 Responses to San Ramon Fire Pension Used Against Measure S

  1. Bob says:

    Outright lying so that you can create an inadequate service model that kills people?

    Doesn’t get any sleezier than that.

    Roberts is simply a foot soldier for CoCoTax. He drew short straw or just volunteered to go there to carry their agenda. This will give you an idea of how far these people plan to go between now and the election to create chaos in East County.

    The sad reality is, voters are not likely to fully understand the gravity until it is too late. Then there is no quickly turning it around. We’ll have at least a year of horrific incidents, if not longer. Hunt is claiming you just go back in November for a new vote. For one, there is no indication the message would change drastically and the damage her group has done to the truth will take some time to heal. For two, who is she expecting to pay for that? The fire district that is dead broke and barely able to hold onto the 3 remaining stations?

    The timeline we are on currently is for a reason. Passage in June would allow the assessment to get on next year’s tax rolls. Funds would start flowing in December. But miss this and try in November and you lose a full year of potential revenue.

    Well, just get a bridge loan, some people will say. Loans have to be repaid. If you’re broke, what does borrowing money do other than dig your hole deeper? You just missed out on $8M worth of potential revenue that can never be recouped. The district has no long term debt. The pension liability is not counted, because those are projections that can be altered by any number of facts including renegotiated contracts or upswings in the market and investments. You saw CoCoTax mention that fact, right?

    Oh, I forgot, they don’t do facts like that.

    A loss in June has much farther reaching repercussions than the CoCoTax people are ever going to admit. And when it goes to hell in a hand basket, they’ll scurry back to their holes not to be heard from after all the havoc they create.

    That isn’t fear tactics either. Just simply looking downline at how this plays out if the measure fails. This doesn’t take psychic powers, just common sense and a little bit of understanding of how the revenue calender works.

  2. Jeff B says:

    The reason it is legitimate, in the context of Measure S, to highlight any aspect of the other bay area FDs financial situation is because the union and status quo folks do it all the time.

    If you all want to make sympathy/pro new-tax statements pointing out how ECCFPD has the lowest pay in the bay area then you have to be able to take the consequences when others point out the terrible financial circumstances (pension wise and other wise) of the FDs you compare against. It is a two sided equation and you can’t cherry pick one side and not expect the other side to be brought forward.

    My key point is and always has been….. ECCFPD is paid within the wage range that might work (pension reform not withstanding) in the context of a brand new leveraged FD. It is Con Fire and most other FDs in the county that are way out of line and must be trimmed way back when a new FD emerges. Paying any FD in this county way above the national average is no longer acceptable or sustainable.

    Why do you have to pay a basic EMT firefighter working in Antioch 8% more than you pay the same job working in Beverly Hills? Based on numbers that I have seen, firefighters working in Antioch are paid about the same as firefighters working in New York city. No way anybody can defend this unless you happen to be one of the people getting the big wage (read v. wells et al).

    A BRAND NEW county FD/EMT entity paid at a wage program based on the ECCFPD present wage program (with pension reform) can likely be made to be finically sustainable. Please save the BS that people in the Con Fire district will not stand for this. It will be a BOS decision and it would be no different at all than all the other county wide agencies that take in different amounts from all over the county and provide a county wide service. But sure, in this case the rural and semi-rural areas will not get the same service as the more populated areas.

    And keep in mind we all pay into the county the exact same tax dollar. A Con Fire resident pays the exact same tax rate to the county as a DB resident. The county may cut some tax dollars different but it all comes out in the wash. Out of each dollar a Con Fire resident puts maybe 3 more cents into fire but a DB resident puts the same 3 cents more into some other county bucket that the BOS spends in some way that may benefit a Con Fire resident. In no way does the BOS send my 3 cents that does not go to fire back to my community. It goes for county wide use.

    If you are going to argue against the brand new FD that I suggest then you would have to support completely unwinding the ECCFPD; causing the smaller communities to have absolutely no fire service. If the logic/legalities supporting the creation of ECCFPD are valid, then the same logic/legalities support the concept of a from scratch BRAND NEW fire/EMS entity to replace Con Fire, ECCFPD and likely others.

  3. Bob says:

    Jeff, the ECCFPD problem isn’t due to pensions. It’s due to the fact that revenues tanked from $12M to $8M in 5 years. If they had stayed flat there wouldn’t be this crisis.

    Nice try.

    You’re sounding as lame as CoCoTax with the weak analogies and logic.

    I see you’re still not getting it. This is the USA. A democracy. Your approach only flies with third world dictatorships where the voice of the people, as in the majority, is dismissed and overruled.

    Serious question: do you even know what is possible via pension reform? Are you thinking you are going to take a chop out of existing plans? Or are you still of the belief that a bankruptcy and leaving existing pensioners high and dry is your preferred option? That really promotes job security and morale, right?

    • Jeff B says:

      History is nice to know about….we can learn from it….but wishing you could change history (i.e. getting back to the $12M level) is not going to fix the problem. I have used the term ‘new normal’ because it fits and it reflects reality. The income to the county FD’s is what it is and people are taxed out. Property values are not going to go back to bubble levels. With the news from the state on the $16B problem everything is only going to get worse, a lot worse.

      And it is not just the decline in property values that hurt this FD….this FD has had $$ problems even before the housing market crashed.

      I guess we will soon find out how the BOS feels about allocating services to the entire county. They can step up and do the hard work that should have been done long ago or they can stay in hiding. Continuing to pay Con Fire well above the national average can not be justified unless you are one of the few getting that level of pay.

      This proposed tax would take an extra $1,000,000 annually (at a minimum) out of a place like DB for a non-solution and that is just plain wrong when a real solution exists that will not suck up that kind of additional tax money.

      Don’t give me too much credit, my rhetoric is going to have no effect on the vote…the 66% threshold for a brand new tax is huge and odds are significant that this tax will fail. But I do hope my commentary is going to have a place on day one after the vote is in.

      One person stations are going to have to be seriously considered if anyone really cares about delivering timely BLS services. And the BOS will have to seriously consider a brand new FD/EMS entity.

      I hope you all will join me right now to call for the BOS to give up 50% of their overhead and to close all their satellite offices…with the savings going directly to on the street EMS. Could you imagine the huge PR boost they would get?

      • Bob says:

        Jeff, you should quit while you’re behind.

        You’ve been asked repeatedly to cite where these mythical examples of yours exist. You refuse to, which tells me you’re only telling about 1/10 of the story.

        Because you can’t see 2 moves down a chessboard, the coverage after a measure failure will amount to DB not have ANY coverage for roughly 20% of any given day. That’s because our engine will have to cover roughly 4 calls per day that were previously covered by the soon to be closed 3 stations. Those calls still have to be covered. Or did you forget that? While that engine is in Bethel Island or Knightsen or Morgan Territories, there will not be a roll and cover backup. That practice will no longer be utilized.

        Based on that loss of coverage, you will quickly learn that $1M extra to preserve existing service levels is going to look cheap. Especially, Jeff, if you should ever find yourself in need of an engine. Because if it’s out of station, you’re going to find how 20-30 minutes can make an emergency turn into a tragedy.

        Again with your insistence that the BoS just ignore Prop 218 and gawd knows how many other laws to pursue your boondoggle idea. Seriously? You haven’t yet figured out how self-important you come across with repeating that junk?

        One person BLS? Geez, Jeff. You really need to try to reach out to other human beings for your information. I don’t know where you’re getting this stuff, but it’s dangerous. To the community and ultimately to your own family.

        The satellite office thing is petty. Period. It’s the sort of thing an anti-social would state assuming that other constituents think like they do. And again with this co-mingling of separate gov’t funds. You really got to get a better handle on understanding this stuff before you comment further. There’s a reason why no one in a position of authority gives you the time of day on this. You should take the hint.

        Prediction is easy. Day one post vote you’ll still be in copy and paste mode until eventually someone from county comes along and explains it to you with single syllable words. In the meantime, if you’d like to start reading up on health and fire safety code to understand yourself why what you’re asking for is not legal, then start here:

  4. Wendy Lack says:

    @ Bob:

    I think all can agree that taxpayer morale and job security ain’t too great right now, either. Your apparent lack of empathy and understanding of public concerns is surprising and, IMHO, unhelpful to your efforts in selling Measure S to East County voters.

    California is drowning in red ink, unemployment remains high and the state ranks dead last in business-friendliness fueling an ongoing business (read: taxpayer) exodus. Suffice it to say that the state’s economic picture isn’t likely to improve any time soon — with or without voter approval of the Governor’s tax proposals on the November ballot.

    Moreover, voters are cynical and with good reason. They’ve repeatedly been told, by federal, state and local elected officials, that approval of new taxes will “fix” things. However new tax hikes simply result in higher levels of government spending. Many have heard the boy cry wolf too many times. That’s one aspect that makes this election year so riveting: voters have their own financial hardships to worry about and are increasingly incredulous re government claims that new taxes are a solution.

    I would submit that voter-initiated pension reform, as is under consideration in San Jose and San Diego voters, may be the only way pension reform occurs in Contra Costa County. There is no indication local elected officials and public employee unions are ready to initiate meaningful CCCERA reform — if they were, they would have done so by now.

    • Wendy, your last name says a lot about your thought process—it’s lacking!
      Bob is show empathy by supporting Measure S, he doesn’t want people killed.

    • jim54 says:


      If the state is facing a 16 billion dollar deficit, then why is the CoCo Tax Payers Association asking for the state to come in and take control?

    • jim54 says:


      With the state facing a 16 billion dollar deficit, why would the CoCo Tax Association want the state to come in and take over the fire service?

  5. Bob says:

    Wendy, thank you for the CNN style news report reply. I’m almost surprised you didn’t throw in a weather and stock market report to make it complete.

    But I’m quite comfortable that I have a better handle on the issue and the consequences than you and your CoCoTax club does. This public safety on the cheap thing you are attempting is going to kill some people, as Mike notes.

    Yes, that’s blunt….It’s also fact.

    Part of the reasons voters are cynical on this issue is the misinformation that your group is putting out there. For example, today’s posting of pensions and harping on San Ramon Valley’s extreme pension examples. San Ramon has NOTHING to do with the rest of ECCFPD or ConFire or any of the rest of Contra Costa County. It’s an independent fire district. Go blather to the San Ramon folks about how you think they were fools. It has no bearing here.

    None of the alternatives your Executive Director has put forth are viable. For example: the CalFire idea has been proven to be more expensive by quite a large margin by the recent Morgan Hill quote. Note how she danced around that question in the televised debate. I’m still waiting for your response on why she insists that $197 won’t do it, but $96 will. You can’t seem to reconcile that illogical statement that was repeated several times in the span of that one hour debate.

    Ms. Hunt’s analogy of murder to what the board and the union have done to this district is offensive. If you don’t have the decency to apologize for such a horrible choice of words, then don’t come in here with the gall to question my empathy.

    My family’s and my community’s safety is at stake here and very much at risk due to meddling of outsiders such as yourself.

    Pension reform is not going to solve this problem in the short or even near term. If you don’t understand that or acknowledge that, then you have no credibility in this discussion. That’s a decade long impact to costs as second tier pension plans are brought online. You cannot go in and change what is already in place. California has laws against that or were you not aware?

    As for this financial hardship angle that your club is playing up, once again your ignorance of the increase risk and likely major hit to insurance rise shines through. Not to mention the further depression of property values, loss of jobs and business as a result of your short term thinking.

    It’s rather pathetic to see you try to preach “business friendly” while you are advocating for a public safety level in East County that will be anything but that. But that will still only be icing on the cake for the damage you will do to the residents themselves through your short sided logic and campaign of misinformation.

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