The Contra Costa Times put out a piece today that is nothing more than the “pot calling the kettle black” as this editorial should be directed at its own newspaper and staff as opposed to fire districts. For a paper to call on facts and not spin, the Times has already provided the spin it will likely use going forward with its anti-tax rhetoric for public safety.
The Times warns county supervisors who sit as the directors of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District and hold the authority to place its proposed tax measure on the ballot to use facts and not spin as fire Chief Daryl Louder will recommend to the supervisors an annual tax of $63 to $88 per residential parcel.
For a paper that calls on transparency and greater awareness to the public going forward by not using spin, then I urge this paper to stop using sentences that state, “but we already have concerns about the process we’re seeing” when the process hasn’t technically started yet.
More disturbing is when the District (CONFIRE) sent out a flyer to alert the public of the upcoming meeting, the editorial then slammed the District for spending the money to raise awareness. Excuse me Times Editorial Staff, you can’t have it both ways!
Maybe next time you will offer a public service handout to Contra Costa County and offer a full-page ad for a week prior to the next meeting so the District can save its money.
The Times stated:
Each measure had unique problems, but the common denominator was a lack of transparency and a failure to produce useful financial analyses so voters could evaluate whether the funds would be spent wisely.
Well excuse me if I do not throw up in my mouth when I read this as the ECCFPD held over 20 educational sessions which clearly outlined the budget, salaries, and where the money was going. This claim of lack of transparency is stunning to me as it appears the Times had it’s blinders on.
Kudos to ECCFPD as they were transparent as they did their job in informing residents. They didn’t have to do more than 1 education session, but they did over 20 to ensure transparency was there. If the Times would be honest with themselves, they simply did not agree with the tax (which is fine) but claiming a lack of transparency is irrisponsible on their part.
By the way, I am curious what the Times Editorial Staff claims would be “useful financial analysis” as they do not even mention what this would be. This is the problem with this editorial staff, they can make a statement without providing a definition of what they mean.
The editorial continues by stating:
Going forward, we expect the district to present objective information about the proposed tax, current and long-range district budget projections, the specific dollar amounts of personnel costs, the anticipated rise in the cost of retirement benefits, and creative alternatives to the tax-increase, not just scare tactic
Then going forward then I would urge what little readers are left at the Times should demand the same from the Times as the Times demands from the District. After all, the Tmies did nothing but spin the ECCFPD measure and were anything but objective.
Based off this editorial, this warning shot is already fired that the spin is in full effect to CONFIRE s as they are already using words like “anticipated rise in cost of retirement benefits” which is code word for pensions and threw out the term “scare tactic”.
It should be noted, in East County, the scare tactic claims the Times used turned into our reality so I’d urge readers to be very careful with that statement and claim.
If future editorials and articles from the Times are like this as opposed to being right down the middle, its going to be a long battle until November. Either way, it’s time for the Times to look in the mirror prior to going to print as public safety is not a game they are making it out to be.