Tax Dollars at Work Demanding More Tax Dollars for Work


Tuesday night the Fullerton City Council held a study session on the Joint Powers Authority (J.P.A.) regarding the merger of the Fullerton & Brea fire departments. The Fullerton Fire Department (F.F.D.) showed up in force, along with friends from as far away as Arizona and beyond, to hijack the meeting.

This meeting was all about a long overdue J.P.A. feasibility study and the direction council wanted staff to take.

Instead it turned into a parade of union shills, firefighters and fellow travelers complaining that they want more staff. Specifically they want all engines to be 4-man units which would cost the city somewhere around a cool $2 Million a year.

Safety and staffing weren’t a very high priority when F.F.D. was demanding their Multi-Million dollar raise the last time they sat at the table. But they want to eat our cake and have it too because no price is too high for the city so few of them live in.

For the curious at heart here’s a photo from the scene outside of City Hall during the meeting. Notice the hazard lights to warn people of the important emergency work happening.

That’s three of four fire trucks (3 pictured, 4th out of view) blocking half of Amerige so they could show support and lobby the council to do their bidding. Truly heroic work. Considering they were wearing their blue fire shirts and were on call, which means in uniform, I’m not sure how they weren’t in violation of the law. Specifically; California Government Code Section 3206:

3206. No officer or employee of a local agency shall participate in political activities of any kind while in uniform.

But before you get all upset at F.F.D. for their likely criminal, and if nothing else unethical behavior here’s a photo from Wednesday’s study session in Brea on the same issue. They’re a smaller department so only three trucks rolled up and blocked Birch Street with their hazards on.

It’s bad enough that we get told story after story of horrible fires and rescued toddlers while ignoring that 80+% of all calls are medical and union rules have made those calls inefficient in ways that only government unions can mange. What’s worse is that these guys show up, on the clock, to show support in dare I say intimidating numbers for their own pay and fat pensions.

I was literally the only citizen to speak against the J.P.A. out of a concern for our budgets and not to lobby for more hero worship. For perspective when a union shill spoke about the 4-man crews, an unrealistic and constant complaint going back years, the room erupted in applause. When I spoke one person clapped. It was a tough crowd but somebody has to stand up to them from time to time.

If money grew on trees and we didn’t have to budget for things I wouldn’t mind having a fire department that, to paraphrase Councilman Chaffee, was second to none in the state. But we’re sinking in red ink and almost nobody wants to have the tough conversations regarding what we can actually afford. I’d like to point out that Chaffee couldn’t give a lick about our budgets and unfunded pension obligations and he said as much.

Fullerton voted to continue kicking this stupid can down the road. Brea however said no on a 4-1 vote which means the J.P.A. is likely as dead as poor Sappy McTree.

We’ll never know how much time and money was wasted on this ridiculousness. Thankfully Brea did the hard work that Fullerton was unable to manage.

Now comes the real fight of actually trying to reform F.F.D. because if we learned anything these last few night it’s that “They Are Hero. They Deserve.”.

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  1. #1 by The Fullerton Harpoon on January 26, 2017

    They really are shameless. And why not? When no one ever says no, the spoiled child keeps grabbing all he can get.

  2. #2 by Sean Paden on January 26, 2017

    Good work, Josh. If I didn’t have to work 1 1/2 hours away during rush hour, I’d have been there too to speak against this. And if we were paid by our “boss” to do so, the room would have been packed with allies.

  3. #3 by Simple Logic on January 26, 2017

    “…to paraphrase Councilman Chaffee, was second to none in the state.”

    That’s true, and not because the union endorsed him. It’s true because THEY ARE ALL THE SAME.

  4. #4 by Old Man Winter on January 26, 2017

    Why should Chaffee care? He will be dead or in diapers by the time his pension mess reaches peak impact.

  5. #5 by Anonymous on January 26, 2017

    we should all file complaints with the Grand Jury. I hate how local public safety co-opts the political process for their personal gain. For ex. the campaign mailers – unconscionable!

    use this form to complain about Gov Code 320 violations and simply refer to this blog post 🙂 Here’s the form http://www.ocgrandjury.org/pdfs/publicinputform.doc

  6. #6 by The Truth Will Set You Free on January 26, 2017

    So that’s four trucks to EVERY call? Just curious the percentage of calls that are for “emergencies” like helping the elderly get up after a fall? One truck should be sufficient. But this is how government works because the taxpayers have deep pockets. Good job, Josh!

    • #7 by Joshua Ferguson on January 26, 2017

      No, they want four people on each truck. What goes to what call is dependent on the call and number of paramedics on each truck typically.

      They weren’t advocating for 4 trucks but they were advocating for something unnecessary and unsupportable financially.

  7. #8 by Clean the record on January 26, 2017

    A phenomenal political display on how to strengthen and expand FFD turf. You know how it works. Their internal meetings were held on preparation to last night gathering. This is called group organizing and I advice you to do the same, although is hard to beat the picture of the firefighter saving a defenseless little doggy drowning in flooded waters.;the for many years socially constructed heroe wearing a helmet…Screw overcapacity

  8. #9 by The Fullerton Harpoon on January 26, 2017

    Why was this meeting held in the Library?

    • #10 by Joshua Ferguson on January 26, 2017

      According to the City Manager’s Office, “So people would feel more comfortable speaking”.

      As though the city has ever cared about that particular issue.

      Of course one benefit for them is that it wasn’t live broadcast so nobody at home got to see the sea of blue shirts in attendance begging for more money and support while on duty.

      • #11 by Joe Sipowicz on January 26, 2017

        Did yo get any pics? I’s love to do a special post on the lawbreaking of the Fire Heroes.

        • #12 by nipsey on January 26, 2017

          Let’s play Name the Hero.

      • #13 by The Fullerton Harpoon on January 26, 2017

        I think people would have felt more comfortable speaking in the basement utility room of Fire Station #1.

        Maybe next time.

  9. #15 by Boadicea on January 26, 2017

    Who was the “1” in Brea’s 4-1 vote against?

  10. #16 by Bob Ford on January 27, 2017

    Three fire fighters on an engine or truck is ok for medical aid but 4 is really a necessity when responding to a fire.
    Current safety rules require that fire fighters can only enter a burning building in pairs and additionally there must be 2 additional fireman outside as backup. So placing 3 fire fighters on a truck would mean that first responders would have to wait for a second truck to arrive before they could enter a burning structure. This would mean valuable time lost in fighting a fire and delayed rescue efforts.
    Along with this will come higher dollar damage losses which in turn will mean higher insurance premiums .
    Some times we tend to penny wise and pound foolish

    • #17 by Joshua Ferguson on January 27, 2017

      Bob,

      That would be a good point if we ever rolled a single engine or truck to a fire but that’s never the case. One needs only look at PulsePoint to see how many units get dispatched from Fullerton, let alone other mutual aid cities, when a call gets dispatched.

      Recall a week or so ago when the Buena Park fire station went up in a 2-alarm structure fire. 49 separate units were dispatched.

      We could put one firefighter per engine or truck and with the responses we typically send out to actual fires we’d have more than enough people on scene for the scenario you outline.

    • #18 by Glen Livid on January 27, 2017

      “Current safety rules require that fire fighters can only enter a burning building in pairs and additionally there must be 2 additional fireman outside as backup.”

      What happened in Buena Park? No one entered the burning building.

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