Roberts Continues Reckless Behavior Against Firefighters

Measure S has come and gone and it’s time to move forward. I was ready to move passed the debate and move forward towards seeking out a long term solution when it was brought to my attention Dave Roberts put out a piece on the CALWATCHDOG site this week which continues to spit out the same fibs East County and our firefighters have had to deal with for months.

It’s the same reckless behavior and rhetoric he has used in the past with distorted facts and figures while spitting out much false information.  While I realize I will not change Mr. Roberts’s opinion, I have a responsibility to East County to correct his illogical statements and false information.

Mr. Roberts can write and spin reality all he wants, but come July 1, everything he has said will be dismissed as people will feel the effects of his lies.

Mr. Roberts consistently demonstrates his lack of expertise in fire operations, emergency services and most of all political structure.  While it comes as no surprise that he has no real background to substantiate his careless remarks, it does come as a surprise that he continues to shoot himself in the foot with his unresearched and untruthful commentary.

Mr. Roberts is a dangerous, short sighted individual and no one can point it out better than he does. We can only hope that he continues to expose his ignorance. I believe we have a right to know where his fire expertise comes from as he is going against professional opinions.

While the beginning of his article is a clear attack at my blogs on Measure S, it was the end of his article that really bothered me as it talks about the “hero card” and I find it absolutely disgusting and inappropriate to tie 9/11 into the debate in East County.

I’ll get to Ms. Hunt and Mr. Roberts in a second, but first, it must be addressed what Mr. Roberts is suggesting occur as a solution.  Mr. Roberts’s text is in bold while mine is immediately after.

The hero card

Another advantage is the residual good will for firefighters from 9/11 — the hero card. One billboard shows a smoky firefighter who looks like he’s been through hell, with the message: “When others ran out, he rushed in. When the Fire District asked for 54 cents a day, you laid him off!”

With Measure S receiving just 46 percent of the vote, the district is making good on its threats of Armageddon. Half of the district’s six stations will close and 15 firefighters will be laid off on July 1, reducing the force to 27.

First off, this guy does not apparently know the difference between a threat and reality. Without an influx of funds, which multiple Grand Jury reports state the District is underfunded, stations and layoffs have to occur! For someone who liked to quote the Grand Jury early on, he sure likes to leave out the “underfunded” portion of the reports.

During the campaign, Mr. Roberts referred to these threats of Armageddon as “scare tactics”.  Since “Armageddon” is soon to be a reality, I wonder if Mr. Roberts would kindly admit he was wrong and redact his statements and apologize for his phony rhetoric because as people feel the pain of closers which he claimed as scar tactics, he will have no choice but to eat his rhetoric. I do not have to claim Mr. Roberts is 100% wrong about this statement because the scenario will soon play out and others will do it for me.

After July 1, Mr. Roberts’s credibility will be down the drain so he can live it up today but what goes around comes around.

Chief Hugh Henderson warned that response times to the outlying parts of the 250-square-mile district could more than double. Despite that, the board — again doing the bidding of the firefighters union — rejected the option of leaving four stations open with two firefighters in each. Instead, they chose to go with three stations with three firefighters each. That will provide a reduced workload for the firefighters but will increase response times in certain areas.

Don’t be fooled here, Mr. Roberts is twisting facts and reality. In fact, Mr. Roberts failed to even show up to the meeting where he could have promoted the four-station hybrid model he speaks of.  Not a single person spoke in favor of a four-station model including the professionals who opposed it.

Mr. Roberts shows his ignorance by claiming the three stations with three firefighters will provide a reduced workload for firefighters.  This is one of those statements where Mr. Roberts should issue an apology for right now to the firefighters for stating something so ignorant which is a flat out lie.

Broken down as simple as I can say it, the Chief and other professionals state the three-station with three-man crews provides the best safety for the public and the firefighters—end of story!  Where did Mr. Roberts get his fire experience to highlight he knows more than the chief and other professionals?

The three-station model and three-man crews works best because it actually allows firefighters to arrive on scene and due their jobs.  Under Mr. Roberts’s suggestion, the engine may get their faster, but the firefighters are handicapped until a second engine arrives.

Mr. Roberts is highlighting his arrogance by believing he knows better than Chief Henderson and Chief Louder who both suggested the three-station with three man crews. Mr. Roberts is suggesting we go back to a 2002 service model with two-man crews which is taking a step backwards in public safety which is not very bright considering the population then compared to what we now have.

It should be noted that this four-station model being hyped was endorsed by an Executive Committee last year which consisted of the Chief, Legal Counsel for the District, the City Managers of Oakley and Brentwood, and a representative from the County—not exactly a group of people looking out for the entire District considering rural East County was never properly represented.

Tax-hike opponents are offering numerous suggestions to cut costs while continuing to deliver good service. They include privatizing fire protection, consolidating the fire districts in the county, serious pension reform, hiring more on-call reserve and volunteer firefighters, rectifying the top-heavy staffing, asking the cities in the district to donate and filing for bankruptcy. It remains to be seen whether the board investigates any of these options. It will probably depend on what the union wants. Politicians defy public-sector unions at their peril.

Now this paragraph is a bit more interesting and there is a lot of information in it. While he claims a tax-hike opponent are offering numerous suggestions but fails to mention who these people are or if there is any conflict of interest.  So let’s go through this one by one on his suggestions for cost savings which is nothing more than promoting what his buddies continue to advocate for.

  • Privatization has never proven to be cost effective.  The only privatization firms mentioned have had several ongoing corruption problems.
  • Consolidation of fire districts will only occur with equal funding which San Ramon and Moraga-Orinda will not do. CONFIR/ECCFPD would seem logical if Prop 13 would allow for an allocation increase for East County but it would be unfair for CONFIRE residents to subsidize East County for fire services.
  • Serious pension reform has to be done through legislation and negotiation not at the ballot box.
  • Hiring more on-call and volunteers comes at a cost, it’s not free! Do you think many people will spend 240 hours training for nothing?
  • Claiming the District is top heavy when it’s not. Mr. Roberts shows his ignorance as he has been corrected numerous of times as to the structure of the District but doesn’t want to hear it.
  • Suggesting cities in the District donate is illegal as it’s a “gifting of public funds”.
  • Filing for bankruptcy does nothing to solve the Districts problems.

The reality is Mr. Roberts is now contradicting the Contra Costa Grand Jury who is not my favorite group of people in the world but they even realizes the District has a funding problem and needs forward thinking for solutions.

Unfortunately for Mr. Roberts, he is proposing nothing new and is stuck in the past. The truth is, he is basing his opinions from afar rather than participating.

Roberts Complains about Campaign Funding
Mr. Roberts’s next complaint is spending $177,000 on the Measure S campaign.  My response is so what?

That is a small price to pay to keep stations open and firefighters on duty and it’s the cost of a ballot measure. Apparently, Mr. Roberts has never worked on a campaign and is ignorant to how much they cost and the effort required.

He then proceeded to claim Measure S was “doing the bidding of the firefighters union as it seeks to increase salaries, benefits, and jobs.” This was a big fib and very untrue and should be dismissed as nothing more than a cheap shot. Measure S did no such thing and I’ll leave it at that.

To make matters worse, Mr. Roberts claims the first campaign flyer for Measure S was “alarmist” which is simply his opinion but does not mean its fact!  Those flyers he puts down put nearly 500 people in the seats for the educational series the District held over many sessions. Note to Mr. Roberts, these flyers need to be aggressive so people are not one day hit out of the blue with reduced services as they need to be alerted to what may be coming down the pike.

He then moves onto the second flier and complains about it not talking about retirement—which is his motivation for the campaign against Measure S. For the record, if Measure S is not about retirement, why would they bring it up? It’s illogical on his part go expect that to occur.

This is where Mr. Roberts shows how uneducated he really is about ECCFPD retirement because not a single firefighter in this District will make a $100,000 pension. Not a one!  Mr. Roberts should take his energy on this topic and focus this elsewhere where the problem does exist because East County does not have a retirement problem.

It appears to me that Mr. Roberts shows that he does not understand the difference between a campaign, marketing, sales, and journalism—each is very different which he is trying to tie them all into one to make his argument stick.

Attack on The International Association of Firefighters Local 1230
He then goes onto attack The International Association of Firefighters Local 1230 poured $44,000 into the campaign. Again, so what?

Local 1230 is doing what they are supposed to do which is protecting their fellow firefighters which any other union, business, or supporter would do.  They are not going to sit back and let their “brothers” be slaughtered in terms of being laid off without a fight.  And for the record, this $44k is not taxpayer money!

Attack on Vince Wells Salary
Mr. Roberts then attacks Mr. Wells and his salary while accusing him of not paying into his pension. I’d like to know where Mr. Roberts received this information because it’s untrue and a flat out lie to make Mr. Wells look bad—this is a true case of liable and Mr. Roberts should issue a public apology to Mr. Wells.

Mr. Roberts needs to retract that statement immediately for making such an asinine statement while he failed to mention how much his buddy Kris Hunt makes for fighting against Measure S and her hefty salary as the Executive Director.

In my opinion, Vince Wells earned every penny of that salary and good for him!  That’s right I said it, Mr. Wells is unpaid!

I say that because Mr. Roberts failed to mention all of what Mr. Wells does and is responsible for.  He conveniently left out this information to make it seem like Mr. Wells was paid a lot as a firefighter when his role is much larger and not a standard 40-hr work week.

Mr. Roberts Cushy Retirement Fib

Mr. Roberts then moves onto “Cushy retirements” and this is where his arrogance did him in.  Yes, a firefighter can retire at 50 with a pension. So what?  Why is that a bad thing when they served 30-years protecting the community?  The truth is, less than 1% retire at 50 because the average firefighter is hired between the ages of 27-28.

But the problem with Mr. Roberts statement is he used the example of the Contra Costa County Government retirees which not a single ECCFPD is on that list of 600+ employees that he is referring to as the $100k pension club.  Mr. Roberts is stretching truths and providing examples that do not apply in East County in order to fit his argument.

It’s an example of someone who is being destructive and reckless without even providing accurate data.

Mr. Roberts Comes to Kris Hunts Defense

Finally, Mr. Roberts attack on me. While he chose to lead with it, I found it to be unimportant because I do not work for the ECCFPD, Local 1230, or any firefighter union. I am a resident with an opinion and took this on knowing I’d be attacked at some point. I speak for myself, not because anyone asked me to or I was paid, I simply do so because I care for East County, the residents, and our firefighters who have been trashed at each step of the process with Measure S.

In fact, I am sure Mr. Wells and others wanted me to tone down my accusations of calling out Mr. Roberts, Ms. Hunt and others for their blatant fibbing—but that is my style and I will not apologize for correcting them in a manner that they deserved.

My rhetoric was sharp because it had to be with the fibbing being thrown out there left and right. My rhetoric was direct because the papers failed to do their fact checking job.  So Mr. Roberts and Ms. Hunt can attack me all they want, but they got what they deserved by attacking public safety.

So when Ms. Hunt is quoted by Dave Roberts as calling Measure S her nastiest campaign in all her years—I say good! I am flattered she received what she deserved by her consistent fibs which will be discovered by many in a few weeks when East County is in deep trouble in terms of public safety.

For the record, if calling her a liar and being put on a list is considered the nastiest of all time, someone is clearly thin skinned. She and others now owns Measure S going down and will pay the price politically speaking this summer when services are reduced and people are in need of emergency services they are not receiving.

Jokes aside, Mr. Roberts accuses me of slander with a link to my blog—I’d urge Mr. Roberts to learn the difference between slander and libel as one is written while the other is spoken.  And for the record, there have been many statements made by Ms. Hunt that have been proven to be a lie so telling the truth is not liable so I urge Ms. Hunt to take me to court and let’s get this over with as a judge tosses it out.

So while Ms. Hunt can joke about alligators for her moat in Walnut Creek which is out of district, it’s the people in East County who will feel the effects of her lies.

She is now twisting facts claiming Measure S did not have a solid argument which is amazing to me considering the public safety argument. She is quoted as stating:

“I have never been in one that was made so personal before,” she said. “Usually people will argue with you, but this thing actually devolved into name calling. They are still at it, that we are lying. Wow. They can’t accept reality. This is probably going to continue just because we have hit where they hurt. And when they didn’t have a solid argument they really let it get personal, and that is unfortunate.”

Again, if correcting lies is getting personal, so be it. This woman is clearly delusional.  The argument for Measure S was stations closing, firefighters being laid off, response times increasing, calls not being answered, and paramedics on rigs.  It was a public safety argument which Ms. Hunt advocated against public safety so of course she would be attacked in some form! Ms. Hunt had no argument against public safety so she turned it to pensions which was never even apart of Measure S.

So while Ms. Hunt can pretend she didn’t let it get personal, she attacked firefighters pay with bogus figures from San Ramon and other Districts that are not East County and do not apply.  She accused the District of scare tactics and other bogus statements which is why she had to be called out for lying.

By the way, this reality she says I do not accept is coming to fruition July 1 with three station closures and 15 firefighters being laid off.  So who is in a dreamland now?  Just like Mr. Roberts, I no longer need to call her a liar after July 1 because everything she claimed as a scare tactic and not reality will arrive and she too will have to eat her words. Remember, she stated they wouldn’t happen.

So go on Mr. Roberts, take your best shot at attacking me while Ms. Hunt throws her best jokes forward directed at me.

Come July 1, you both will be exposed as the frauds and fibbers you both are.  I hope you have a nice bunker somewhere to hide in because people will be angry when they realize what transpired and how most people were duped by your behavior.  People will come looking to you for answers based on what you claimed versus reality.

With summer arriving today, you both (along with a few others) will soon feel the heat.

Shame on both of you!


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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