Measure S duplicates services while money goes to pay down pensions

Measure S, the new tax proposed for Fire Suppression in the East County Consolidated Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) is a cloak to pay down already incurred debt and duplicate already received services. After reading an article in Sunday’s Contra Costa Times about Moraga Orinda Fire, it was time to join the apposed against measure S. It is time to bring out the real truth about this wasteful new tax.

The article written by Carol Penskar titled; “Moraga-Orinda Fire District not acting in residents’ best interest” is so similar to what is happening in ECCFPD. The difference is, Moraga Orinda has the highest revenue per unit of all the fire districts in the region, yet it still is underwater in debt.

ECCFPD is also underwater in debt to the amount of eleven million dollars. ECCFPD is headed down the same bottomless pit as Moraga-Orinda unless it makes some real management decisions to head off the inevitable.

Sadly, this new tax will only delay the inevitable unless the real problem is corrected first. The ECCFPD measure will only buy the debt down in the fifth year to the goal of 85%. That’s not enough because there will continue to be 15% negative spending annually until we reach the very same situation we are currently in today.

In addition, Measure S takes money that could be applied to that 15% underfunded pensions, but instead it will apply the new tax dollars to another venture. That venture is paramedic service that we already are receiving through another agency.

These two examples alone show that the money asked for will not be applied to truly correct what the measure states is wrong, but rather increases the duties and costs of fire at our expense while continuing to go further in debt.

The eleven million dollars in debt did not happen overnight. The Board of Supervisors along with the Commission needed to address a real 100% correction first before expanding prematurely into added services already provided. The correction of these two issues are between the union and the BOS. This correction should be done first before asking the public for more money.

Both the BOS and the commission have done nothing but put their hand out for more tax money that will not correct the issue of continued pension debt. The costs continue in the red after 5 years and will remain digging the debt 15% deeper annually until fixed or come back and ask for a new tax again and again. This tells me that “ECCFPD is not acting in the “best interest of its residents”.

Voting No on S will send a message to correct the root problem first (pension debt and duplication of service) before asking us to invest more. The way it’s written will not correct the revenue problem but rather delay it a few years down the road. No on Measure S.

~ John Gonzales of Knightsen, is Former Fire Commissioner of Oakley Fire Protection District, and Former East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Transition Commission.

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Comments

  1. Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette says

    Good point Wendy. The league of Women Voters hoodwinks people more than The Lafayette Taxpayers Association. The League has an office down the street from my home. They get subsidized rent from The City of Lafayette. I tried to get their member directory. No luck. Their website listed members behind in dues. Two delinquent members are charter members of Lafayette’e Committee To Raise Taxes. They both held elected office in the past. Both received plum jobs with the county.
    The leader of the LOWVDV endorsed Lafayette’s Measure G at an event. She admitted she never read it.

  2. Wendy Lack says

    The League of Women Voters endorses Measure S — no surprise there: http://www.protecteastcountyfire.com/league-of-women-voters-endorses-measure-s/

    Too bad they didn’t do their research to learn that Measure S offers no long-term remedy, just a short term infusion of money that will be quickly depleted by service expansions required by this measure.

    Question: Has there EVER been a tax measure that the League has opposed? . . . in over 35 years of voting, I’ve never seen one.

    The League invariably endorses tax increases, regardless of their merit. This is unfortunate because, for many voters, the League has a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”-type reputation as a non-partisan, reliable authority that does rational analysis . . . though nothing could be further from the truth.

    I would welcome any data to the contrary from readers.

  3. Worst Tax Ever... says

    Brian, key point here is that ECC residents pay the same amount of money to the county and the County then allocates a much smaller percentage back to ECC for fire protection services than what Orinda receives back. This is the fault of ECC? Not at all!
    In fact and ECC isn’t paying less; ECC is just GETTING less. But that’s not why this tax should be defeated.

    The reason this new tax should fail is it is does not propose a reasonable solution. The district have worked with the union to negotiate a sustainable wage and benefit model and then determined a more affordable solution. Why postpone those negotiations when they could have demonstrate that they can work out something that will protect firefighter jobs and not bankrupt the district? Why involve new paramedic services when we can’t even afford the fire services at this point and we are already taxed for and receiving QRVs through the County?
    Outrageous level of Tax Hubris by a fire board that is not legally formed as an “Independent Special District” because the board itself is appointed by the CCC-BOS and is overrun by City Councilman from Brentwood and Oakley.

  4. Voter26 says

    Brian, I did read the article. It sounds to me like they would be better off get a tax rebate and remove themselves from ECCFPD. They generate more tax revenue than they use. Read this straight from the article

    “At Morgan’s request, the county assessor did a survey of all the Clayton properties along Marsh Creek Road and the Morgan Territory area. The assessor’s office determined that taxes collected exclusively for fire services came to more than $400,000 a year, exceeding the $377,000 it costs to run the Sunshine Station in the off season, Morgan said”

    It appears you are not being honest Brian.

    Morgan territory residents. Save money and pay sunshine station yourself. The overage of taxes collected is not helping you at all except to pay another $200. to ECCFPD for nothing more than you already have.

    • Brian says

      Voter26: I think that they (Marsh Creek) should remove themselves from ECCFPD. Who is going to take them, Con Fire? Cal Fire? San Ramon? none of them are in a position to take on more with their anemic budgets. Maybe they can get their own volunteer department going and rebate some of the homeowners tax dollars. Unforntunately, you missed the point of this article, which is that if you live more than 5 miles from a staffed Fire House, your insurance rates will go up: “He told me my insurance premium was increasing because of a fire station closure. My premium was going from $500 a year to just under $5,000. That’s right, an increase of almost 1,000 percent.” I pasted and copied this guys quote. The meat of this article proves the point that people in: Brentwood, Oakley, B.I., and Disco Bay are not paying their fair share for current Fire services, thus the district tried to use the resources from the Morgan territory / Marsh Creek Region to augment funds for those areas. Bottom Line, it’s completely up to the Tax Payers in that region what kind of Fire Department they want, 3 stations or 6? Paramedics or no Paramedics? Inevitably this tax will fail, firehouses will close, and property and lives will be lost, no scare tactics, just the honest truth. The American Heart Association and County EMS recommend CPR and a defibrillator in 4 minutes. No can do with a Fire Engine that is ten minutes away. Don’t count on the “AMR” ambulance or QRV’s (1 medic) either, they can be tied up on other emergencies, or at level 0 (no ambulances) in East County also. Totally up to the tax payer what kind of fire department they want…In Orinda Tax Payers pay 23% of their property tax for fire protection, in East Contra Costa they pay 7%. East County Residents pay less than 1/3 of what Lamorinda Tax Payers pay currently and get one more Fire Station…funny math isn’t it? http://www.contracostalafco.org/municipal_service_reviews/fire_and_emergency_medical_services/CoCo%20Fire%20MSR%20Master%20-%20FINAL.pdf

    • John says

      Brian, I read the threads and links. It is easy enough for the Morgan Territory people to start a ” CSD” and collect the over $400,000.00 they pay in LOCAL fire taxes. Then write a $377,000.00 check to CDF for the Sunshine Station and keep the balance in the CSD account for local fire enhancements. Pretty basic Brian, you must be a firefighter with ECCFPD or a Piepho supporter of wasteful spending.

  5. says

    Local 1230 must stop its threats

    Vince Wells, president of Local 1230 of the firefighters’ union, is threatening East Contra Costa County residents with reduced fire services and higher homeowners’ insurance premiums, if Measure S is not approved.

    I didn’t know he was an insurance broker.

    Local 1230 made similar threats during the Pinole recall in 2007-08. The union hired a phone-banking firm in San Diego to call Pinole voters, mostly senior citizens, and tell them fire services would be compromised if the recall passed. The recall passed, and compromised fire services proved to be an empty threat.

    Contra Costa County has negotiated new contracts with 90 percent of its employees, including firefighters.

    In Pinole, though, contract terms were imposed on firefighters when Local 1230 refused to budge on increased firefighter contributions to their own pensions, to which they had contributed virtually nothing for years. Salary reductions weren’t even on the table.

    The Pinole City Council imposed contract terms. Wells told the council that it did not care about public safety.

    Local 1230 must stop threatening people it’s supposed to serve.
    Jeff Rubin

  6. John says

    Thank You CC Times Editor for seeing through the smoke that this tax is a union benefited tax and not a citizen benefited tax.

    Join me, the CC Times, other former ECCFPD Transition Commission Board Members, Contra Costa Tax Payers Association, and the numerous other citizens to send this new tax back. No on S, it’s bad political taxing.

  7. says

    No on Measure S from Contra Costa Times. Some salient points:

    – no fiscal accountability
    – fails to address out of control retirement costs
    – more spent on retirement benefits than services

    Measure S is a sop for union interests and should be rejected.

  8. Piepho Voter says

    I appreciate all of the information brought forth by the Union in support of their new tax. However, I am persuaded by the CCTaxpayers Association, CCC Grand Jury, Former Fire Commissioner of Oakley Fire Protection District, and Former East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Transition Commission in opposition.

    I think the choice for Discovery Bay is clear:

    • For Supervisor – Mary Piepho – Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors – District III – Vote for Mary Piepho.
    This is an easy choice; Mary is the most qualified candidate to represent District III and fight for the Delta. I hope you will join me in voting Mary!

    • Against Measure S – Tax Increase – Vote No!
    The fire tax will not help Discovery Bay. It is put forth by a board dominated by the same Brentwood and Oakley politicians who closed two fire stations in our Discovery Bay/Bryon community.

    They have made it clear that our closed stations will be not be reopened even if the tax passes.

    Also, it is possible that our QRV (Quick Response Vehicles) that provide life support services and are not funded with Fire District budget money will be eliminated it the tax passes.

    We are all facing huge water and wastewater cost increases as well as tax increases at the state level and can’t afford this tax which does not even solve the millions of dollars of unfunded pension liability.

    The firefighters and the community deserve better which is why I oppose Measure S.

    Vote: For Mary Piepho and No on “S”

  9. Walter MacVittie says

    I am tired of reading all these scare tactics regarding Measure S. After years of inaction by the BOS and now the current commission, the tough decisions have not been attempted to correct the operational model and save cost. Since the union came into the District they have almost completely wiped out the Paid on Call (POC) firemen. I saw this when I was on the Transitional Fire Commission and it has continued going on for 10 years. I saw this with major arguments between the union and the POC. The POC in the past were an integral part of the district. POCs are used throughout the U.S. very successfully and not just in rural communities. POC are efficient and save money.

    No one has stepped up to restructure the pension program that is underfunded and taking up to much of the operational money that could be used for district operations. Ten years ago this was brought to the attention of the BOS and nothing has been done except dig the district deeper in debt.

    Back in 2003 Cal Fire came in during the City Gate report and showed they could be effective in running the district while saving money. However, the union fought it as they would have to go under Cal Fire’s work rules and the union did not like it. The BOS in my opinion caved into the union and decided not to pursue this cost saving operational model.

    We all know there is a financial problem and the alarms having been sound for many years. It is time to step, up and make the hard decisions to restructure the district operationally and financially. Then revaluate if and how much revenue is needed. This measure makes no corrections and puts the financial burdens on all us taxpayers. It is time to say to the commission and the BOS do your job. Make the difficult decisions then let’s talk about revenue increase.

    As a Discovery Bay resident of 24 years the measure does nothing regarding opening the station that was closed in DB or Byron. In fact the plan calls for a new station in year 5 and not reopening any of the stations that were closed. I can see no reason to support the Measure with those types of commission recommendations.

    This reminds me of ObamaCare. We all agree that healthcare needs to be reformed but many believe what was passed a few years ago does nothing to solve the problem but add cost to the taxpayer. Measure S is the same. We need a real solution to our Fire District. Vote NO on S

  10. John says

    @ Bill,
    Thanks for bringing up a good point. You state a savings of $ 1.2 million by transferring the paramedic services from county health services to the fire district. That in itself is a reason to vote no on this new tax. The district who wants to tax us for paramedics we already pay for through a different tax in the county will only get $10,000 per paramedic of the $1.2 million we pay.

    The Quick Response Paramedics that serve us now have a specially equipped vehicle for medical responses. This is in addition to the ambulance service we get. These medical vehicles and paramedics are separate from the Fire District and already paid for. If this tax is voted in we will be giving the county $1.2 million according to you Bill and charging us $8 million in a new tax. Net cost to do what we already get is $ 9.2 million. That’s not a savings in anyone’s book. The county health department will get $ 133,000 per paramedic savings (no benefit to us) while giving The ECCFPD $ 10,000 per paramedic of the $133,000 we will give up that we already pay for. Not a savings but an unnecessary cost to us the taxpayers.

    Also, we will lose three independent emergency response vehicles for medicals in trade to promote a firefighter on an engine who is already an EMT. The only benefit here would be for the union to control more of our tax dollars through political influence. Not only is it a poor trade, it endangers lives to the benefit of the union while costing us more money.

    Those are facts. Thank you Bill for supplying the dollars we will lose in your information. Thank you for bringing up the issue. No on S is the only way to send a message back to the Board that in order to fix the problem while keeping the union politically happy, the county must reform pension at the very same time it re-organizes all county fire districts that provide equal pay to firefighters along with equal service to citizens.

    This measure is wrong and needs to be sent back.

  11. Kris Hunt, Exec Dir., CoCoTax says

    - The Fire Chief has said that this tax won’t fix the district’s problems. That is a fact.
    -The voters polled by the district said they would only support a $96 tax. That is a fact.
    -The union has not accepted a new tier for new hires even knowing this district is awash in pension debt. That is a fact.
    -Instead of offering a reaonable plan that voters said they would vote for, the district went with a tax that BEGINS at $197 and doubles the district’s revenue over night. That is a fact.
    – The plan the district put forward INCREASES staffing by 30%. That is a fact.

    So when it is claimed that the district will have to close stations if the tax does not pass is purely the responsibility of the District who decided the voters could afford to pay more than they said they could. Threatening the voters in this down income is not a good idea!

  12. Bill says

    The author of this piece is using a misleading title which is not supported by the facts. Members of cocotax.org are also supporting the opposition to this Measure with misleading statements or omission of facts.

    If cost savings were truly the goal of these individuals, then the shift to engine based Paramedics nets the overall best result overall for the taxpayers. Here is why:

    For the sake of simplicity let’s say we just switched from AMR provided advanced life support to ECCFPD supplied Paramedics in one fell swoop tomorrow. What happens on the cost side?

    Your answer lies in this document from the county’s EMS agency:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/92933826/EM-1-Fire-Support-Final-9-14

    At the time of switchover, AMR is contractually obligated to pay the county the value of the quick response vehicles. Which for those positioned in East County totals $1.242 M

    So what’s the cost to add that service to the current six engines? Estimates vary a bit, but let’s use a recent quote provided by ConFire in a proposal to Pinole last year. Turns out it’s about $65,000 per
    engine or just $390,000 to staff the entire district.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/92933670/Pinole-Proposal-Letter

    Net gain to the benefit of the taxpayer is $852,000/yr. Plus an increase from the existing 3 Paramedics to 6.

    But it gets better. That repayment is back to the County, not directly to ECCFPD. So what’s to gain specifically for East County residents? Refer to the first document again. Where it clearly states that funds made available by retirement of existing quick response vehicles supplied through AMR could make available $30,000 per engine to ECCFPD for rollout of the Paramedic program. Now your $65,000
    per engine on the local rate payers is down to $35,000 each.

    So it is factually incorrect to claim that it is a duplication of services when documents and contracts already in place have transition programs written into them.

    While I am here, let me address the points offered by cocotax and Ms. Lack on their website here:

    http://www.cocotax.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1294271

    Item #1 claims the funding model supplied by the Chief guarantees a deficit in future years. This is untrue. The model is non-binding. The model makes assumptions because actual revenue and cost figures simply do not exist for future years. Nothing says the deployments must match the proposal and nothing binds future boards to that model.

    Item #2 says ambulances will remain in place. This is true. But they didn’t bother to mention that there is only one in Far East County. Does CoCoTax suggest to the residents that we should eliminate engine response and settle for one ambulance to serve the entire district?

    Item #3 claims the fire insurance issues raised are scare tactics. From their own document posted to their site here:

    http://www.cocotax.org/Resources/Documents/ISO%20Insurance%20Rating.doc

    They state that water supply makes up 40% of the scoring. But they fail to mention that department readiness in terms of staffing trumps that. Both are considered together with the lower scoring factor overriding. The statement about training remaining the same in the case of volunteer or POC is patently false. Due to increase in federal and state readiness requirements, a volunteer or POC would be expected to “donate” 200 hrs of their time annually to match the training levels of existing professionals. That is time invested outside of any actual calls. How many people think that is realistic?

    History in this very district has also shown the problems associated with a mixed staffing model as noted in the county’s last MSR on fire. Refer to page 188.

    http://www.contracostalafco.org/municipal_service_reviews/fire_and_emergency_medical_services/CoCo%20Fire%20MSR%20Master%20-%20FINAL.pdf

    If I recall this problem period happened right around the time the author was a Fire Commissioner for Oakley. Surely learning from one’s past mistakes would be prudent here.

    Back to Item #4 at cocotax.org and a purely subjective statement on the part of the organization. Rather than cloud the issue, use base level wages in all comparative discussions. Throwing in overtime and
    other pay while casually comparing to other districts is disingenuous.

    Item #5 is the favorite talking point of pensions. All parties concerned, to include the fire fighter’s union, recognize that pension reform is a must. Changes don’t happen overnight. Real results on the balance sheet take even longer.

    If the author’s and CoCoTax’s stance is no new taxes until “the problem is fixed” what they are in effect saying is East County must be prepared to have inadequate, if not dangerous levels of fire protection for a decade or longer.

    What they didn’t bother to tell is what happens to areas with inadequate fire protection:

    – Property values decline and blight creeps in
    – Net outflow of residents to areas with more adequate services
    – Job killing consequences. A mid-size manufacturing or call center operation that could bring hundreds of jobs into an area isn’t going to locate where you don’t have adequate fire protection services. Reduced jobs availability further depresses property values.
    – If the situation persists, net outflow of jobs as existing business also find the risk to great and climbing insurance premiums unbearable.

    As much as CoCoTax would like to rest on the benefit of doubt with respect to insurance issues, most people with a reasonable amount of common sense can equate a major increase in risk to a rise in
    premiums.

    A fuller set of facts that you should know and consider as you weigh your vote.

    A better question that Mr. Primo might want to pose: Can individuals representing a private taxpayer club(CoCoTax) be sued for recklessly endangering the public through misleading public statements?

    It’s only a matter of when the first disaster strikes if this goes down to defeat. Some are saying within the first month or two. Really doesn’t matter. Lynch mob mentalities will manifest on their own. So should the author, Ms. Lack and Ms. Hunt better secure their personal contact information or just go underground when it happens?

    As I have shown, if this were truly about saving money, the CoCoTaxpayers club would be getting behind a shift to engine Paramedics

    But it isn’t really about that.

    So they won’t.

    • NoWastedTaxes says

      Mr. Bill……
      This is where you are misleading;
      obligated to pay the county the value of the quick response vehicles. Which for those positioned in East County totals $1.242 M. What you failed to state Bill was the district will only get a fraction of those taxes we already pay to health services. In fact ,If the net gain to taxpayers is $852,000 after the rebate, then why do we need more taxes to pay for paramedics if we would save?
      #1) The model makes assumptions because actual revenue and cost figures simply do not exist for future years.
      Actually the model looses 4.8 million and does not show where it went in the fifth year. The only answer was to pay down the $11 million dollar red ink in pension money already spent but not collected and needed today. This accumulates to a loss of over one million dollars each year in pensions alone since the district formed.
      #2) The Engines cannot transport anyone, the ambulance service does. Paramedics are in addition and both are paid for by county health services not the fire district. There is no sense to tax what we already have and pay for. That’s common sense.
      #3)fire insurance issues raised are scare tactics. Yes, they are because,
      State Farm the largest insurer of residential fire insurance bases its information NOT by ISO rating but rather regional loss payout. The change in the region would be minimal if the extra tax fails unless there is a natural disaster. This tax will not make a difference either way if voted in.

      #4) Wages in the district are well above the state household income ( that’s two wage earners against one firefighter wage) In addition, the firefighter can retire at 50 years old. No one else can. That means each firefighter under the over generous pension costs of today with bankrupt the district again before this new tax even is suppose to end.

      #5)The pension problem has been around for at least for years. That’s 1,800 nights more than your overnight quote. Way too many overnights to fix if they were serious. If they wanted to fix it, it would have been done by now. Instead this little district is $11,000,000.00 in arrears to pension in red ink. That equals over spending to the tune of $1.1 million dollars each year since it began. Instead, they ask for more taxes, not fixes. This shows they are not serious.
      Finally, A better question that Mr. Primo might want to pose: Can individuals representing a private taxpayer club(CoCoTax) be sued for recklessly endangering the public through misleading public statements?
      Even MORE importantly, can the Union and Board of Supervisors be sued for endangering our life’s by inaction when presented with solutions that do not involve the union ?
      This is a union power tax and pension bailout, hardly a good investment for anyone other than the special interest folks.

  13. Kris Hunt says

    Did the roundtable with Vince Wells of the firefighters union. They are harping on the end of the world scenario and taking no responsibility or given the fire board any, for taking the district down this route. Maddening. This poor behavior/scare tactics should not be rewarded!

  14. Dave Roberts says

    The taxpayers in the fire district have a choice. They either can:

    1) Vote yes on Measure $ and support the current method of operation, which has led to years of deficit spending, reduced staffing, a campaign for a $2,200 tax increase and further deficit spending starting in 2016 and continuing through 2022 when an even larger tax hike will be necessary.

    2) Or they can vote no on Measure $ and force the district to make fundamental changes in its method of operation that would stop the deficit spending for now and the future.

    The choice is that simple. Nobody is saying it won’t be difficult and painful for the district. But, just as taxpayers have had to tighten their belts during this never-ending recession, it’s necessary that the district do so as well.

    Right now the district is on a one-way street to oblivion. Retirement expenses rose 26% this year. They will increase another 30% in the next three years.

    At that point retirement expenses will account for one out of every four dollars spent in the district. It’s only a matter of time – and not as long as you think – before retirement expenses climb to 33% of the budget, then 50% and higher.

    In actuality the fire district would become just as much a retirement benefit program as it would be concerned with fighting fires, etc.

    The district’s solution is to put a band-aid over this problem with this $2,200 tax, which over 10 years will bring an extra $100 million into the district budget.

    The problem is that even this huge band-aid is inadequate to stop the fiscal hemorrhaging. According to the budget that the chief presented to LAFCO, even with the Measure $ tax hike the district will be spending $418,000 more than it receives in 2016.

    In 2017 the deficit is projected to be $223,000. In 2018 it’s $329,000. In 2019 it’s $405,000. In 2020 it’s $536,000. In the final year of the tax hike, 2021/22, the deficit is projected to be $640,000.

    That adds up to $2.5 million in deficit spending – even with an extra $100 million coming into the district. In 2022 the district will be left with a paltry $340,000 in its budget.

    Something has to change. The district believes that something should be throwing more taxpayer money at the problem. But, as you see, that only kicks the can down the road – just like our state and federal governments have been doing for years.

    I believe the solution needs to be serious cost-cutting measures:

    1) Raise the retirement age, have employees contribute more to their pensions, reduce the size of those pensions, replace pensions with 401(k)s like most people must make do with.

    2) Balance the top-heavy staffing so that there are more firefighters and fewer captains and engineers. Currently there are three times as many captains and engineers as there are firefighters. Replacing one engineer with one firefighter could save about $18,000 in salary per year. More importantly, it has the potential to save the district about $500,000 in retirement expenses if that person retires at 50 with a pension equal to nearly full salary every year for the next 30 years.

    3) Reduce or eliminate overtime. This year the district is projected to spend $1.22 million in overtime pay. Next year: $1.26 million. In 2013, $1.3 million. In 2014, $1.34 million. In 2015, $1.38 million. That totals to $6.5 million.

    4) Hire more paid on-call firefighters and volunteers to supplement the full-time firefighters.

    5) Expand the Cal Fire contract.

    6) Don’t send gas-guzzling, polluting fire engines to medical calls, which comprise the vast majority of calls for service.

    These are just a few ideas. I’m sure there’s more. It’s time to think outside of the box. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    But if this tax passes, it will just be business as usual in the district. Until, 10 years from now, the taxpayers will be assaulted with another campaign to raise their taxes with threats that they will face the decimation of their fire protection if they don’t cough up the dough.

    My guess is that the tax hike at that point could be double today’s request, perhaps $5,000 per household over 10 years. But with the potential for dozens of district employees to retire early at nearly full pay, that tax hike probably won’t be enough to stop the deficit spending. And the cycle will continue once again.

    Let’s get off this tax-and-spend treadmill now before it’s too late.

  15. Kris Hunt, Exec Dir., CoCoTax says

    The Board ought to learn a lesson from the rejection of the Clean Water fee. People are at their limit. Even the Moraga school tax was not passing. It is close, but even that is shocking.

    The fact that Measure S would more than double the revenue overnight is incredible.

  16. says

    This is simply a bad measure for the District’s voters. Back in the spring of last year, voters were polled and said they would only support a tax of $96 for the expanded services.

    So what did the District board do? They went with a deluxe plan at $197 tax with virtually guarnateed increases of 3% which will make the tax $250 in ten years. In the fifth year the District spends more than it takes in. And as Mr. Gonzales states, the are duplicating the paramedic services already being paid for.

    Now the District has to scare the voters with the prospect of closing stations OR vote for the plan that expands staff by 30%. I actually heard one Board member say that they ought to spend everything so that the voters would have to vote for the parcel tax. That is bad governance.

    Even the Fire Chief admitted it does not solve the District’s problems. These are just some of the reasons the Contra Costa TAXpayers Association urges voters to vote no on Measure S.

    • says

      The article today on front page in the CC Times by Rowena Coetsee (online) not only featured an alarmist pro Measure S headline and uncritically accepted and reported Pro Measure S misinformation as gospel then buried viewpoints from opponents of Measure S as an afterthought at the end of the article on a different page. This was not balanced journalism but a sham and should be pulled.

  17. primo says

    Hey District Attorney:
    Could the authors of Prop S be iudicted for crimimal conspiracy to defraud taxpayers ??
    Could a recall election occur to the BOS for exhibiting a gross lack of ethical belief and demonstrating malfeasance while in office ??
    signed : drip
    ( don’t re-elect imcumbent politicians )

  18. Wendy Lack says

    The ECCFPD Chief has stated publicly that Measure S will not remedy the District’s long-term financial problems.

    In an era when many public agencies are privatizing services to reduce operating costs, inexplicably this District proposes to do the opposite by bringing its paramedic services in-house. This provision in Measure S makes no sense whatsoever. Why pay much, much more for the same level of service?

    The author of this article correctly observes that, until public agencies reform pension plans, voters should reject new taxes.

    Voter approval of Measure S would only perpetuate the District’s financial problems — not lead to solutions.