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Board Votes To Close Four Fire Stations, Including Station 12

Unanimous vote will save $3 million in a district facing a $17 million deficit.

After nearly six hours of testimony Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, acting as the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District, unanimously agreed to shutter four fire stations, including Station 12 on Shell Avenue. 

The closures, scheduled for next month, will save $3 million. The district is facing a $17 million deficit, and has spent its reserves. 

The supervisor's vote comes after voters failed to pass Measure Q, a $75-a-year parcel tax that would have prevented the closure of the stations, in November.

Supervisors heard again from Fire Chief Daryl Louder, who presented further information Tuesday after supervisors delayed a vote on the closure last week. They also heard from residents who urged them to keep the stations opened in their towns. 

Martinez resident Cheryll Grover said that station closures should be based on where the most votes against Measure Q came from. Closing Station 12 in Martinez, at 1240 Shell Ave., would endanger residents living near the Shell refinery, most of whom are in older homes that burn faster, she said. 

"I'm concerned about emergency medical response issues," said Leonard Carp of Walnut Creek, who lives near Station 4. "A lot of people in our area are retired or older."

He joined several other residents in supporting the idea of saving money by reducing the staff of each station to two firefighters instead of the current three.

That was a plan endorsed by several Lafayette residents, including Mayor Mike Anderson, who urged the board to use that city as a test to try the two-person per station model. Station 16 at 4007 Las Aribis Ave., the Lafayette station targeted for closure, has been shuttered since June. Anderson said that it could mean four staff in the other two stations, until Station 16 is reopened. 

Louder and other firefighters balked at the notion of two firefighters per station, saying that it would endanger the crews and reduce response time even more than the four station closure. 

"We have to close stations," Supervisor Federal Glover said. "It's
not what we want to do, and certainly not what any of us signed up to
do...but we have to live within our means and we have to do it in a way we
feel we're go to be able to give the best quality service possible."

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff noted that the Clayton station closure at 6500 Center Ave. would leave that city without a fire station. 

"There is no right solution," she said. "There are those who say we can't afford the current system. I say we can't afford not to have the current system." 

"Frankly, it's been hard to get folks and community members at the table and to participate in solutions," said Supervisor Mary Piepho. "Now everyone wants to solve the problem. It’s been here a lot longer than the last couple of weeks."

"I hope as we go forward that you will consider Lafayette's proposal for a twp-person station," Supervisor Candace Anderson told Louder.

The fire chief reminded the board that, absent new sources of revenue, addtional fire stations will need to be closed in the next few years. 

Paul L Wilson December 12, 2012 at 06:48 PM
What happened to all the property taxes that I pay every year to support fire and life safety of our neighborhoods and communities? Safety is the first job that the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors are responsible for and should have been addressed above all else. Anything else is just so much fluff. What the hell did they do with my property taxes or is it to hard for the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to be held accountable for the misuse of public funds that they are to over see?
Jim December 12, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Sorry for typos above; the concern is that the reduction in crew size to "two" has a disproportionately detrimental impact on fire and rescue capability vs. the potential benefit toward medical response.
JBN December 12, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I am scraping by barely making it and I do not want to give 75.00 more dollars in my already high property taxes to support any government, union, monopoly job. We are tired of threats from unions of all kinds. Fire fighters are the most respected employees; but the greed of the unions are destroying this state. The only sensible thing to do is throw out unions from any government job (along with governor moonbeam, who created this mess) then look at what money the cities and county have, adjust all salaries, benefits, everything, to stay within that amount. To the ones who feel entitled to $100,000 a year for the rest of their lives by retiring at 50 or 55 can simply leave their job and go find something that will pay and sustain that income (good luck). There are so many good people who want to work and will work hard and be respected, as at times these men put their lives on the line. Perhaps Patch needs to list all salaries, benefits, retirements, union payoffs, deals etc. involved in this boondoogle. We want the truth, not the union talking points and threats. Lets not even discuss the pure evil teachers unions. God almighty. By the way libs, teachers are not their unions, they are two different animals. So stop trying to confuse the two. Have a great day Pleasant Hill!
Jed December 12, 2012 at 08:16 PM
VERY WELL SAID, JBN! I have always found it appalling that government jobs would be unionized (in particular police and fire). There is NO REASON on the planet for government jobs to be unionized = these jobs are already well protected. Another point: WHO approved letting county employees "retire" at a lower age AND get 110% (or more) of what they made when they were working = PLUS full BENEFITS! SOMEBODY APPROVED THIS! It's not sound economics or business. This needs to change! HEADS SHOULD ROLL! I might add that Moonbeam and some of his high profile cronies are hyping a "Youthful" California.... yeah right - the combined AGE of Moonbeam, Pelute-si, Boozer - I mean Boxer and Sweinstein is something like 293 !! "Youthful", eh? Like the other crap they are trying to sell us.
Cindy December 12, 2012 at 09:28 PM
I have yet to hear any real discussions on how do you retire an employee, pay that employee more then when they worked and afford to hire another employee. It is simple math. Yes safety is at risk here but so is lack of understanding by those we trust to make decisions with our tax dollars. Please explain to me how anyone thought that was sustainable. Our property taxes are following the line of inflation and has for years so blaming it on dropping property values is not a valid argument for lack of income. The plain facts are we over spent and now must correct those mistakes.
MIKE ALFORD December 13, 2012 at 03:34 AM
you know Paul & JBN---- You guys are both telling the truth --- but if you really want the truth --- See they (The superviosers) Dont & Wont Listen to the Citizens why should they ---- They get Siino,Busby & Dunniven money To go along with their Special intrest developments (like Alhambra Valley) thats just One To show you what I mean See they Dont Care Because DUTY dies where their Intrest Lie --- And see we are letting them get away with it RIGHT in front of our eyes --- Much like Our City Counsel has done to us for the last 20 years ! Still we keep saying YOU CANT FIGHT CITY HALL ----- When are you people Wake up --- You Are City Hall !!! ---- If You Dont Stand up And Start going to the city counsel meetings and demand your rights as an American and a Martinez Citizen See They Take an oath To serve & Protect the people they repersent --- That Means YOU ! So see if you dont Stand up and Make them keep their sworn Oath --- Well Than quit complaining and learn to live with it ! ----- I cant sit and listen to the same BS all the time ! At Least Stand up for What You Believe In ----
MIKE ALFORD December 13, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Another thing Id like to bring up --- When the election was going on the Little darling herself Ann Marie was At ----- ONE city Counsel meeting - (thats right I said ONE City Counsel Meeting) Then said how she supported Contra Costa County Fire And Guess what They Contra Costa County Fire -- Endorsed Her ! ---- Well after all of us that Went to EVERY Meeting at the Board Of supervisors Io Try And Keep Our MARTINEZ FIRE STATION # 12 OPEN --- Well Guess WHAT WHERE WAS Our City Counsel Woman (That Was Endorsed By Contra Costa County Fire) She Spoke About How Important It Was To Keep Our Fire Station Open ----- Not One Meeting Did She Show Up To Show The men & Women of The Fire Dept & The CITIZENS of MARTINEZ That She Cared Or Supported Them ! Now ----- DO you See How Duty Dies Where Does Her intrest Lie --- NOT with The Citizens Or The Fire Dept !!!
TimesRAYChangin December 13, 2012 at 05:31 AM
I have to agree with that. If she really supports fire fighters, she should have been there, shame on her to use them to carry her literature and then abandon them. But if she supported Martinez, she WOULD have been there no matter what! Off to a very bad stater there...
TimesRAYChangin December 13, 2012 at 05:40 AM
Does anybody remember the news way back in June of this year? They closed 3 stations is East County! Now 4 (out of the 28 remaining) in Central County. Richmond is not in this fire district so they have no dog in this fight, but there are 2 more SLATED for June closure, and that's down form the 6 more the Chief mentioned in October. Seems like somebody is playing fast and loose with budgets and closures. Even with 5 tons of literature, and 5 hours to present it, we were given the fast shrift by closing Martinez station with no research whatsoever regarding the impact on residents accept response times will be longer. Longer for what? A fire ball rips though Mt.View and you need fire rescue, ambulances and the whole nine yards but they will be busy somewhere else. Because there wont be enough fire stations to handle ANY large scale emergency.
Cheryll December 13, 2012 at 07:22 AM
$75/yr=$6/month. Dont want to stretch that budget too much...but hang on now..you will spend it anyway but on increased insurance instead of services to save your home or life. And even if it isnt your station that is closing (& it might be you next) you may see your insurance go up anyway because YOUR station will be servicing the closed areas so, se la vie'. Insurance companies know how to do the math. Save your dimes for now...see you down the road.
MIKE ALFORD December 13, 2012 at 07:46 AM
you know I dont know of a name That could explain where we are at in this time in our Lives here than ( TimesRA Changin) it is A great Handel ---- Boy ---- Bob Dylen Sure Made a point there ! ---- and I think you are also ! The Corruption Is really starting to take Shape --- If You People would have been there at the LAFCCO Meeting Today at the Board Of Supervisors You would Have Seen Just How Corruption Really Works ---- They said that it was OK to let Busby Go ahead and build his homes out in Alhambra Valley And Use The City Of Martinez Water ----- And Also to change the Wording of the LAW --- That Everyone that Would Be Buying A Home Out There Would HAVE TO SIGN a Paper ---- That They Would Be Ready To ANNEX To Martinez City When They Hooked Up With Their Property (From BUSBY) ------ NOW Can Anyone (I Mean ANYONE) Tell Us Who Gave Jim Busby The AUTHORITY To Repersent The CITY OF MARTINEZ To HAVE PEOPLE SIGN A CONTRACT FOR AND OF THE CITIZENS OF MARTINEZ ? NOW !! How Is This LEGAL In The State Of California ????? -----Next Question ---- When Are We Going To Bring In The State D.O.J ?
Cheryll December 13, 2012 at 07:51 AM
Regarding Mary Peipho's comment that she has been WAITING for people to be involved in this dilema. LAST week she told me when I ASKED her to create a committee whose task it would be to problem solve this to success, she attempted to embarass me by publically pointing out that they HAVE people to work on this. They were in the audience & they (the Advisory committee) practically took a BOW! The Fire Advisory Committee & LAFCO are the agencies that have fire protection as their purview. I believe while people are pointing at "we the citizenry" for not making the measure pass by doing the work of getting people to VOTE for it, I think those two bodies are the ones that contributed to the "nothing" that got us here. It was on THIER watch. THEY were meeting and accepting the Fire Chiefs reports without lifting a finger to do anything that I can acertain. No public announcements, no retreats to brain storm. And the representative for OUR area "Walter" only made it to 4 out of the 6 meetings they even have in a year. That doesn't sound like representation to me. . .
Cheryll December 13, 2012 at 07:52 AM
They have been given yet another chance at the prize. Even after two failed Measures and zero ideas except 8 closed stations in 6 months. I hope that with the leadership that Mary was pushing for from some poor gal named "Pat", that something finally gets something done. There were a million proposals, even from the Chief himself. Time to get some BETTER ideas than closing the doors on county buildings and moving staff to different locations. ALL they are saving in this scenario is overtime $. Time to cut some very thick Admin staff. Time for an independant personnel audit. Time for the Board to stop following the Chief's lead. Nice guy yes. Trust that data? No. It is full of holes. It was aimed at Mt.View for political reasons. No Gail Uilkema to stop it. She understood this neighborhood & area. But Clayton defeated Measure Q, & Lafayette and Walnut Creek did have the next highest NO votes. So they actually got what they voted for. A small cosmic note.
Cheryll December 13, 2012 at 08:02 AM
It might please you to know that Pittsburg alone took 12 million $ a year for the past several years in redevelopment $ that would have gone to fire department funding. They-along with Pleasant Hill, are NOW unable to make the payment on the loans. Go kick some butt over there, not at unions and earned benefits & wages. These closures were made to save 3 million $. You are barking up the entirely wrong tree JBN. And your property taxes have been significantly reduced which is another reason there is little funding for services these days. You may very well have had cuts of more that the $75/yr being requested.
MIKE ALFORD December 13, 2012 at 08:04 AM
well --- The Sad Repersention & 6 hours of pure double talking B.S. were Just That STATS,STATS & more STATS Were Just That and the Fact Was to Tire The Public Out So They Would Leave ---- Their Minds Were Made Up Long Before The Meeting Even Started ----- And Give Credit To Cheryll her Mom & Dad also the One Fireman For All Speaking Up --------------
Cindy December 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Before we embark on a building a shopping center or any large project an enviromental impact study is required. The same should be required before any "big" on going budget proposals are approved. If such a study would have been done before the county approved these very generous benfits questions would have been raised about the affordability of such benefits in down times. Also it would have been noted that are property taxes (since records have been kept) have followed the line of inflation with some boom years taxes have risen but have return to the line of inflation after those boom years ended. The facts are there and now we must accept them and stop this nonsense of continuing to blame loss of property tax income for our problem. Adjustments need to be made to budgets to return to operating on what has proven historically to be there. If not, we are going to continue to keep saying...hey it is only another $78.00 a year because if you believe that approving a one new tax measure was all it was going to take to get the budget back inline....then I would suggest taking a course on California Economics to help enlighten you to the facts.
MIKE ALFORD December 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Let Me answer That with --- first of all -- WE VOTE The People In Office THAT Are Suppose To Look Out For OUR ECONOMICS & OUR Health ,Safety & Wellfare -- Now It Sounds like you are saying Its Not Their Fault (The Board Of Supervisors) and our So Called Leadership That Its OUR FAULT ? Well You Had Better come In Out Of The FOG ! Because It Is The Double Talking, Fake Stat Reporting, Corruption that Is Going On RIGHT IN FRONT Of Us --- No its YOU that had Better Take A course To Help enlighten You And Bring YOU and the Rest of The dead Beats that Listen To This Kind Of B.S. !! WE PAY Our TAX And Were NOT GETTING WHAT We Have Been Paying For ! You And The People That Think Like That Need To Take A Course In Reality (Yea I Know I Dont Spell So Good But I Can Think & Talk OK --- And Get My Point Across)
Cheryll December 13, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Yes Cindy I dont get what you are saying either. 1. your property taxes have not been raised because of "boon" years since prop 13 passed-what -30 years ago? Your taxes do not follow inflation.The same "environmental impact report" you would have done for a shopping center (or pension benefits) isnt even what they produced to close one single fire station, especially one next to a refinery and its closest neighborhoods of 600 homes. And those are just the close ones. Yes, if you want a measure to include better perameters for it's use, and definate sunsetting for it to PASS then say so, but that isn't what you appear to be saying. And you dont have to "stop this nonsence" because (and I just want to say DUH!!!) Jerry Brown signed bills 340 & 197.MORE pension reform than should ever have crossed the desk of ANY gov. we have ever had.The NEW legislation is KILLING employees who DO NOT work for Fire, and are ALREADY low income after a carreer with the County, and now they are being forced to jump ship EARLY before you take anything ELSE away from us without notice!!! Continued...
Cheryll December 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Continued part II: I only hope that when these employees leave in droves, or stay and ignore you when you need help because they have been so demoralized, you remember that this is supposed to be a world where we ALL make a living, where we all aspire to better than cat food in our sr years and if you werent paying for it on the CHEAP through taxes you would be paying for it out the #$@ from private industry who will pay CEO's more than any employee in the County!
Cheryll December 13, 2012 at 10:22 PM
BTW: theres a great number of FIRE employees who make low income wages too. You just tell me, how those folks are ever going to have an exorbitant retirement. We have gone without even COST OF LIVING WAGES for over 10 years. You need to do your homework. And THANK the next public employee you meet.
Cindy December 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Historical data is a tool to use when making decisions about future events such as the trend of the economy.The world has been booming & busting throughout history. One of the tools they use is called the Yield Spread Chart & CA Median Tiered Property Pricing vs Median Price. The trendline in the 2nd chart follows the purchasing power of pay in Ca and typically moves in tandem with the rate of inflation. It is these charts that help get a better picture of what lies ahead. If elected officials had utilized such charts they never would have made a decision to increase pensions/healthcare or salaries based on boom year income as that will go away and it did. If they had use that money to pay down debt instead of incurring new debt we would not see the cut in services or jobs as we are now. Prop 13 protects against annual increases but does nothing to stop the decrease in taxes. We can kick and scream "its" not fair but the facts are the facts. As far as public employee leaving their jobs..you can take this to the bank. Those jobs would soon be filed by private sector employees who have worked for the same wages with little or no guarantee of a defined pension plan. Most private sector do not have the generous health benefits offered to the public employees. The private sector can no longer support a public sector who refuses to operate within its means.We are thankful for all public employees but that does not mean we will go into debt to support unsustainable benefits.
Cheryll December 14, 2012 at 01:02 AM
What second chart. Is this comment a cut and paste from some other article? Yes there are lots of private sector employees doing a lot of America's jobs. They get 18 cents an hour. Love your threories. But of course that's how wealthy people can hoard there wealth. They have good charts too.
Cheryll December 14, 2012 at 01:08 AM
The jobs you speak of that have no benefits are those of the travel and recreation industry. Yeah I can say it, Burger King. I know you will welcome them warmly when they come to put out your fires.
Cheryll December 14, 2012 at 01:21 AM
There's that small piece that they paid into their pensions before they retired. Yes their employer contributes to it too. Its a benefit package. They bargain for those benefits at the bargaining table because County management comes to the table every 2 years, with their pockets turned inside out, all the while hiding money in other areas that you and I would have to go through their file drawers to find. And the bargaining hasn't been lucrative to anybody for over 10 years as our paychecks walked directly backwards. San Jose and other places are losing thier police and fire to other areas and those places are in trouble becuase you cannot turn out unskilled labor into these positions. Correct mistakes, I agree. Find the ways to make it work, I agree. But wringing our hands as we lock fire station doors is unacceptable, but that doesn't matter. Until someone gets more creative than what we have seen so far, this is the way the county does business. They would be well served to add new voices to the solution as well.
Cheryll December 14, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Hey Mike Thanks for that. It was great that you were able to stay till the very late end to speak. Its too bad that those others from Vine Hill, Center Ave, and downtown couldnt stay any longer to be heard. I am proud of the people who came out, even though some may have felt intimidated my the venue and meeting. But this meeting did not meet the means of a public hearing so maybe they will stay involved for later discussions. I hope so. We all need to be part of the solution inspite of the County's position that they HAVE two agencies to deal with this.
MIKE ALFORD December 14, 2012 at 01:54 AM
This Cut & Paste Threories ----- Is Just Plain Insainety ! Where Is The COMMAN SENSE That Our Elected Leaders Are Suppose to Be able to See through & deal with comman sense ---- They Are The Ones We Are Suppose to Trust To Protect us from This Kind Of Problem ! THEY LIE & HIDE The Truth And They PANDER To The Big & DEEP Pockets Of Special INTREST GROUPS Like here In Martinez (SIINO, BUSBY, and DUNIVEN) They Are The Ones That Back These People ! And it was Very Clear That GLOVER Is Amoung This Group also ---- See people like myself cant get elected for the plain & simple Fact is We Dont Take Money From Anyone And there for the only people that we listen to would be TAXPAYERS ---- And that Wouldnt Work With The Corruption Your Seeing Run Our System RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU RIGHT NOW !! ---- WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME ANYONE OF OUR LEADERS LISTEN TO YOU THE TAXPAYER ---- WHEN ????
MIKE ALFORD December 14, 2012 at 01:59 AM
HERES --- A News FLASH ---- Cindys ----- Really ----- Linda In Disguise !
Cindy December 14, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Cheryll, I enjoyed our debate. We are both have the same view that there is a problem. Our approach to solving it or coming to terms with it differs but that is what makes for a healthy debate and workable solutions. Unfortunately the problem with our fire stations is a small symptom of a bigger problem. Elected Officials from the Congress down who do not represent those who elect them but pander to those who line their pockets with money, trips and perks. It is much easier for our Big Banks to pay of those folks and be allowed to continue to destroy through fraud our communities and families in the name of greed. We are allowing this country to be run by psychopaths.. we have been brained washed through media into thinking they are leaders. I would recommend checking out "A moment of clarity by Lee Camp. He is very blunt with his messages and they will get you thinking. The strongest force is a group of people who come together to serve the greater good of the people. Cheers
Cheryll December 14, 2012 at 06:33 PM
I can't disagree with that! I will read the material you refer to. I look forward to change that doesn't hurt the little guys, reigns in and fixes what has become the abuses that hurt the systems, whatever those systems are. Thanks.
Cheryll December 14, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Love the Lee Camp website. Funny but interesting!

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