Times Editorial on CONFIRE: The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

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.

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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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One Response to Times Editorial on CONFIRE: The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

  1. Bob says:

    First of all, what in the world are these people on? Lack of transparency? Are they saying the 10 year model that Kris Hunt harped on for months didn’t contain personnel costs? Pension and OPEB line items? Because I can point them to the figures if they are having trouble finding them. Obviously the total costs to the county are in the very database that the Times themselves uses to keep public employees under their heel. So where is this claimed missing transparency on the numbers?

    Ballot measures are not multiple choice. Ballot booths are not like a buffet line where you pick and choose the items you want.

    This Editorial is written as silly as the arguments that were put forth by the CoCoTax people in the campaign. Do these clueless people really not understand the process? A ballot measure is a simple up or down vote. The formation process for what you are voting up or down on is done in public meetings and with public input in the months before it is submitted to the elections office. THAT is the time when these people should have gotten involved or made their concerns heard. The process is not perfect. The process may not result in wording or specific choices that you agree with. That’s called compromise. That’s the way a democracy works. Deal with it CCTimes and CoCoTax!

    This ridiculous idea that you just vote a measure down and expect the governing body to go back and “try again” over and over and over until they get something you like? Are these people serious? Do they not understand there are elections costs which fall on the rate payers for each try?

    The district is going to be left with about $800k in the bank at the end of the current fiscal year. The proposed operating budget is $45k in the red, even after the ½ station loss we just had. It costs $100k-$250k per election, depending on the type that you choose. They are being asked to conduct 2 elections in the coming year. Do we get this same silly process from CCTPA again? Where if they don’t like the way it’s done they sabotage the process and tell the Board to “try again”?

    Maybe this is the latest example of “good governance” that Ms. Hunt and her friends at the Editorial board are trying to bestow upon us?

    I think the slant at the Times has gotten so bad that they are hypersensitive to any mailer. I haven’t seen the one that was sent out to alert the public to the meeting, but isn’t this potentially a repeat of what played out in ECCFPD? Where the Times and CoCoTax couldn’t be bothered with engaging in the process during the proper formative phase and instead just took potshots at the measure when it was too late. Which part of encouraging the electorate to engage when it matters is viewed as a bad thing?

    Apparently they don’t learn from their prior mistakes in this blind ideological campaign they are waging. Read the Editorial. Then read any number of Kris Hunt pieces from the campaign. You tell me if that isn’t ghost written or a clear collaboration of efforts.

    People and publications who play chicken with public safety in the way these people do need to be called out and singled out for the havoc they wreak on society. Just as with CoCoTax, you don’t see the Times making any recommendations on how to do things differently. They just complain about the way it’s down now.

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