By Bob Mankin
Ms. Hunt has a problem with understanding the most basic of math problems. That is that you cannot run a 24/7 professional staffed fire station for $1.3M per. That is the expectation she came into this discussion with. That or she did deceive people into buying her “scare tactics” line.
I know for a fact that significant numbers of voters cast their ballot because they bought Ms. Hunts rhetoric and they do not believe that stations will close on July 1.
Imagine their surprise next Monday when that vote will have to be taken and the reality starts to hit. It won’t fully sink in for weeks though. Not until we have that first of many large disasters in East County that the fire department you helped gut will no longer be able to protect us from.
I were there at the fire fighter’s get together last night.
First time I had ever spent any significant time with these guys. Shaking hands to thank them for their efforts. Hearing their personal stories. Watching the shock of many who couldn’t believe they were just thrown under the bus by this poisonous and vilifying dialog.
The dialog organizations like Ms. Hunt’s are putting out about public employees in general.
These are real people, Ms. Hunt. Dedicated career people who just got put out of a job. Young guys, in many cases, who were in it for all the right reasons. Some of whom who moved here and passed on higher paying opportunities in other fire districts to join ECCFPD. Others who have lived here their whole lives and came up through the POC ranks to join the department. Many now facing uncertain futures in a tight job market. For those that will remain, shock that they are watching the guys who have had their backs day in and day out going away.
That’s the real story of what you accomplished, Ms. Hunt.
It’s too bad that people like you who engage in this less than honorable effort aren’t required to be exposed to its aftermath. Don’t have to see the looks on the faces of the people you directly impacted. These are honorable and dedicated men who just got steamrolled by a hack campaign led by your organization.
But that is just the beginning. The voters have spoken.
They answered to Ms. Hunt’s claim that it’s somehow about greed(which it isn’t) or that altering pensions will fix this(which it won’t). Ms. Hunt, you played the low information voter crowd to perfection with a repetitive, but false message that has led the community to the cliff. If you only had a clue about fire departments or had spent any time actually talking to the people who run them on the front lines, you would understand that it is every bit a critical public safety service as police. The resulting chaos from not having an adequate one is different, but still chaos.
Now we’re all going to get to see that firsthand. All of us in East County, that is. Because again, the result here doesn’t and was never going to impact you in the least.
Thank you to all the men of ECCFPD who fought for this campaign and did it with honor. And for Vince Wells, who led the effort. Even in defeat, I still see men holding their heads high and staying the professionals that they are. I’m honored to have been able to know you gentlemen.