1. #1
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    Angry Pomona, California cuts fire engine, 4 firefighters

    Pomona cuts fire engine, 4 firefighters
    By MONICA RODRIGUEZ, STAFF WRITER

    POMONA - Cuts to Pomona’s fire department will cause the city to lose one fire engine, have another swapped for a smaller model, and lose four firefighter positions.

    The cost-cutting measures, approved on a 5 to 2 vote by the City Council on Monday, will take effect April 1. Council members Norma Torres and Elliott Rothman opposed the cuts, as did Los Angeles County Fire Chief Michael Freeman, who developed them for the council.

    ‘‘It will jeopardize public safety,’’ Freeman told Councilman George Hunter on Monday. The fewer firefighters available to handle a call ‘‘the longer it takes to get the job done.’’

    But City Manger Doug Dunlap disagreed, arguing that since response times won’t be affected there won’t be a negative impact.

    ‘‘It’s a shame the chief and I have to debate this in public,’’ Dunlap said.

    With the city’s eight stations remaining open and the addition of paramedic service at one station, the city will be well covered, he said.


    An amendment to the fire service contract between the city and the county will have to be approved by the county supervisors and the city council before the cuts are implemented.

    Even as the cuts are being finalized, Dunlap and Freeman will work together to develop options for a ballot measure designed to generate funding for police and fire.

    ‘‘We need information,’’ Mayor Eddie Cortez said Tuesday. ‘‘We need an optimum figure to go to the citizens with... Because we don’t have those numbers now we don’t know what they will support.’’

    Freeman said Tuesday he envisions a plan tailored specifically to Pomona’s needs.

    ‘‘The purpose would be to give the voter an opportunity to weigh in on this matter,’’ he said. ‘‘I would envision something that would be dependable in the long-term, flexible and that is reasonable in terms of revenue expectations.’’

    The plan will have to address current needs as well as the city’s future needs, Freeman said.

    Trying to get the support of voters like Bonnie Martinez won’t be easy.

    Martinez has lived in the city 20 years and she’s not ready to support another tax, especially after she voted to maintain the city’s utility tax in 2002, she said Tuesday.

    At the time, Martinez voted to keep the tax because the money was intended to keep essential services like police and fire along with others like graffiti removal, she said.

    ‘‘That’s what the City Council led me to believe,’’ Martinez said. Talk of a new tax measure ‘‘really is a slap in the face.’’

    Martinez said she’s not really concerned about fire service cuts.

    ‘‘I don’t think that’s that big of a cut,’’ she said.


    Cortez said he understands residents who question the need for another tax after they supported the city’s 9 percent utility user tax close to two years ago

    ‘‘We didn’t know the state was going to keep robbing us,’’ Cortez said.

    The city can’t do away with the utility tax, Cortez said. Had voters repealed that tax, the loss combined with the current fiscal problems would surely have bankrupted the city by now, he said.

    If the city seeks a tax measure in the fall, that money would have to be earmarked for police and fire services and not used for any other purpose, he said, adding it would also free some utility tax funds for other city departments.

    Torres said she would favor decreasing the utility tax if a ballot measure is pursued. That, she said, would appeal to her as a homeowner.

    Torres said she plans to work with the firefighters’ labor representatives to join efforts with other cities who contract with Los Angeles County for fire protection and who may be looking for a tax measure of their own.

    Each city must define its own plan for its needs, but supporters may be able to campaign together and to draw attention to the collective situation of cities, Torres said.

    While information on a local ballot measure is compiled, the state’s, and in turn the city’s, financial picture will become clearer, Cortez said. After the March 2 election, when a state bond proposal will go to the voters, everyone in local government will know if they’ll have to make deeper cuts than they expected.

    ‘‘In the meantime, we sit back and wait and pray,’’ Cortez said.
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

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    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
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    www.sconfire.com

  2. #2
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    Hmmm...A respected Fire Chief thinks that it will affect public safety. Two politicians dont think it will... I wonder who I believe?
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  3. #3
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    At the time, Martinez voted to keep the tax because the money was intended to keep essential services like police and fire along with others like graffiti removal, she said.
    Do you really want to lump graffiti removal in with Police and Fire?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Maybe she sees it as a win-win.

    Cut the FD so when the building catches fire, it will burn up and get rid of the graffiti.

    Martinez said she’s not really concerned about fire service cuts.
    Until it is her stuff on fire.

  5. #5
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    ‘‘It’s a shame the chief and I have to debate this in public,’’ Dunlap said.
    Why? It affects the public and their safety. It's the only place it should be debated.

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