A Resident take on Tuesday’s City Council Meeting [Guest Author]

NOT written by Anthony. The author wishes to remain anonymous:

I went to Tuesday’s city council meeting fully expecting good public theatre. I walked out having witnessed a tragedy for our community.

I’ll put all my cards on the table up front and say that I believe there is room for improvement in our professional firefighting force, especially in terms of our emergency medical service. Improvements that certainly were not taking place under the current system. So I am at least open to some of the changes the city seems ready to implement within our emergency response system. My willingness to consider changes is based on the following:

  • We have an inefficient structure within the paid force. It is an excessively top heavy organization, with nearly one lieutenant for each firefighter.
  • I can see how having highly trained paramedics might offer superior service to EMT’s.
  • Given the nature of most emergency calls, with 75% of the calls being EMS, I can see how putting greater emphasis on paramedics over firefighters makes sense.
  • I can see how having a pre-deployed ambulance in high demand areas (as proposed in the ICMA report) could improve our response times. So for everyone arguing how this is a safety issue, why would you be against improving response times?
  • While some are arguing that cross trained firefighters and EMTs offer the most versatility, as a taxpayer I can appreciate the savings associated with optimizing the makeup of the force to better meet the emergency services needs of the community. A force made up entirely of cross-trained firefighters is an expensive luxury that is not making us any safer. In fact, if the proposals are implemented, Long Beach would actually see an increase in available emergency medical services.

You can agree or disagree with me on the above points. That’s fine. But they’re what make sense to me from a logical perspective. But this post isn’t really about that anyway.

What this post IS about is the complete and utter lack of civil discourse taking place in our city.

To our firefighter community and their supporters – your behavior is doing you no favors. You’re coming across as an angry mob that’s either unwilling or unable to engage in a factual debate. Saying a report is garbage doesn’t make it so. Saying our firefighters are somehow doing a better job simply because they’re locals is insulting. Does that mean that every NYPD and FDNY professional that commutes to work from LB is doing inferior work? Your inability to acknowledge even the most obvious inefficiencies in the way things are currently done (11 Lieutenants? Horrible relations between Professional and Volunteers? A completely outdated leadership structure!) only serves to undermine whatever valid points you might try to make.

By the way, at community meetings your attempt to intimidate our elected officials and those that don’t agree with you by your constant public outbursts is likely not helping your cause, and is most certainly causing collateral damage. By intimidating your fellow residents, you are stifling a healthy public debate. In addition to myself, I know of others that have lost respect for both your cause and professionalism. I assume this isn’t what you want, so I implore you to consider your actions and behavior moving forward.

The perceived anger, however, is not without its merit.  And that’s, of course, because the City Council refuses to publicly weigh-in on or answer any questions on the issue. This is indefensible. These are our elected representatives…our fellow citizens. And they owe it to the community to explain their thinking and actions. Not just by voting one way or another on some resolution that may or may not take place, but in a way that shows they acknowledge some of the reasonable concerns expressed by their constituents.

I’ve already stated that I’m open to some of the changes being proposed. Of the council though, I’d ask this. “If you’re not willing to publicly defend your decisions, why should I?”. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. You were elected to lead, so lead. Who knows, someone like myself might just follow.

And to the rest of my fellow residents, whether it be on this blog, Facebook or on the 6th floor of city hall – please consider your own role and actions in all of this. “Give em Hell” is not civil discourse. A shouting match at city hall is not a “community awakening”. Posting half-truths and incendiary material on Facebook is NOT helping to educated our citizenry or move our community forward. It is abundantly clear that most have not read the ICMA report. It’s fine to take exception with it’s findings, but it is incumbent upon you to at least be versed with what you’re so passionately railing against.

Is it so long since Sandy that we forgot we’re all in this together? Clearly, we’re not going to agree on everything. Democracy is necessarily messy. It depends on spirited, informed debate to arrive at optimal decisions. But a debate worthy of our city can’t happen with all sides acting the way they have been. And because of that, we all lose.

Please read the terms of service before you comment.

comments

81 thoughts on “A Resident take on Tuesday’s City Council Meeting [Guest Author]”

  1. COME ON YOU DONNT EVEN MENTION THE WAY THE CORP COUNCIL TALKED TO THE PUBLIC WHY DIDNT THE COUNCIL PRESIDENT SHUT HIM UP. HE IN CITED ANY BAD BLLOD ON TUESDAY NITE. AND YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO LISTEN TO THIS ITS ALL POLITICS COMMING FROM THE DEM CLUB. BUT AFTER READING YOUR STATEMENT I THINK YOU KNOW THAT BUT WILL NOT ADMIT IT. NOTHING GETS DONE WITHOUT THE DEM LEADERS APPROVAL WHO ARE YOU KIDDING

  2. Good points…Although I was given great information from the fire fighters I can also see how one sided their perspective is. Of course you will be upset to lose a good job right here in your community but you have to try to be non biased and considering the situation im not sure if they can be. I couldn’t make the meeting because I have a 6 month old and Dad was at work but sometimes the way this council behaves it doesn’t seem to matter if I attend or not. They don’t answer questions and they seem to operate as a dictatorship. So I am at a lost on how to positively contribute to a community that is engulfed in Drama and run by tight lipped “leaders”.

  3. Great post. Hopefully the political trolls around here won’t try to crucify you for being “naive” to the political process for suggesting people use common sense and civility.

  4. I don’t think the Firemen and there supporters behaved badly. People are angry and Rob Agoutisi’s behavior was childish, antipathetic and yes, incendiary. Absolutely, IMO, designed to create a hostile mentality amongst the citizens who came to speak. When the people who are supposed to representing you put on an antagonistic, patronizing display well, you get what you get.

  5. I agree with the Author’s comments. I watched the stream of the meeting and it was embarrassing to watch as a resident. While Agostisis comments might be considered inflammatory by some readers, it was also his side. In fairness, he never raised his voice and addressed reasonable questions when given a chance. But that is something to discuss by the union and the city.
    What upset me was the screaming and catcalls by the crowd. Interupting speakers, and a gang mentality that sometimes arose.
    And it was the first time that I have heard cursing from the people in a City Council meeting. I don’t think I’ve been to enough of them to say it doesn’t happen but it was a first for me.
    Mr. Weisenberg spoke eloquently and in a calm civized manner and was really the only speaker to bring out the concerns of the citizens and union. The rest of the speakers struck me as rude and antagonistic on both sides of the issue as the meeting rapidly degenerated and became a who could out talk who contest between the Council and the residents with no winners.
    I think peopel should take another look at the replay and you may see the same thing that I saw.

  6. I think what we have here is proof of the saying that “all politics is local”. The mere fact that the author wants to be anonymous demonstrates why we pay too much to the police and firefighters on Long Island. Most taxpayers realize that you don’t need to pay 200k for a police officer when an ivy league educated FBI agent living on Long Island maxes out at 130k. However, who wants to stand at a public meeting and make comments that leads to a neighbor being laid off. So we just write anonymously on the internet (like I’m doing right now). Why would 30,000 people pay 100 bucks to take a test for a very small chance to get a job? The obvious reason is that the salary for the job is too good to be true.

    Public sector jobs should pay what it costs to get a qualified person to do that job. How many qualified people would be a firefighter or police officer for 85k a year. The answer is plenty. I’m a teacher and the same goes for my profession. While most teachers have masters degrees and could get a 85k salary in the city. They would gladly accept the same salary to be a teacher on Long Island. You include pensions and it just becomes ridiculous.

    Nevertheless, the people losing their jobs are going to be more the most vocal. Even though the plan they wrote makes plenty of sense, (we don’t need firefighters, we need paramedics) let’s see how many people put 15 foot signs on their lawns promoting that plan. The city council will fold and the beat goes on….

  7. Good points by the author.

    Hopefully both sides can remember they’re on the same team (citizens of LB), and demand accountability from their elected officials.

  8. I read report several times. Why not put your name down. There was a 3rd option to improve on what we have. ICMA if you go on writes reports in favor of who hires them . If the FF hired them, if they had 55k, it would go in their favor. Read comments on several pages. Everyone is entitled to their opinion BUT I put my name on what I believe. I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe. I give no credit to people who make up names on posts. I have documents to back up my statements. Go into ICMA they donated funds in 2007 to help defeat a proposition to have a mayor. Enough said. You have your opinion and I have mine. I have the documents to back up mine. You have a good day Guest Author. By the way we’re you there for the entire meeting? Never mind doesn’t really matter

  9. The author makes great sense and I thank him/her for synthesizing the various components of dysfunction, including the City Counsel’s failure to advocate with conviction and clarity. I am union, yet I can understand that the excessing being done here as a result of the data based study is a valid response to the city’s needs absent the revenues to provide what the author accurately refers to as a luxury we’.

  10. That’s nice that you use your real name, but you agree with the FD. Can you really not figure out why remaining anonymous has it’s advantages when stating a view that conflicts with people who are paid to serve you?

  11. I have heard this “3rd option” mentioned several times from various sources. Where in the report is this 3rd option? I just reviewed the report again and all I see are alternatives #1 and #2. What does the 3rd option suggest?

  12. If stop and Mary would be specific and offer clear evidence/analysis to support the claim that the data is false and the report garbage, they would be offering what the writer of this post asks for. No one wants layoffs/excess ing , but everyone demands efficient government , a dilemma.

  13. I dont know how the author is questioning the conduct of the citizens and firefighters, and ignoring the conduct of the muted city council, the City Manager hiding behind a scripted statement of the report, or the disgusting statements made by the corporation council. No one has given any actual feedback to the report or these cuts, the community deserves the answers.

    Lets address all of the bullets in this article

    * The ICMA report addressed that the entire hierarchy of the department needs to be corrected. From the Leadership of the chiefs and commissioner, all they way down to the volunteer stations. The entire department should be made right sized as the report recommended. Yes, a relationship of 1 LT per FF is not normal, it should be addressed. I was told this is controlled by the City and they do the promotions, that is something they should correct, 1:1 is not the normal span of control in the FD. If you noticed this isn’t something that the city has claimed to be an issue.

    *The City already trains the Firefighters to the level of Paramedic. They have more commonly chosen to train them to the critical care level, The CC is the ALS standard on Long Island. They can very easily train more of the FFs to paramedic level, or make every new hire be trained as a paramedic and not a CC. There is no reason to cut the employee in half.

    *There is a need for proper EMS and Fire Protection in town, they are both equally important. The difference with fire and ems is, that if you dont quickly stop a fire it will spread and consume everything it its path.
    We are not talking about having too many firemen and not enough ems, its a combination of both, We need to maintain a safe and efficient minimum of on duty firefighters. Having multi role employees who are trained in both allow for proper safety with minimal costs.

    *Predeployed ambulances work well when they are Geographically needed in areas where there are no stations or outposts.Where they currently respond from is literally the best possible location. They come from “Centre Street”, its is named that because it is literally the center of town. There is no better spot to deploy from. The response times are already well above average. The concept of predepolyed ambulances are for remote locations that dont have a substation close to where the need is.

    *The Cross trained firefighter is the most versatile, most efficient and affordable model. the starting salaries of the new medic is identical to the starting salary of the firefighter. The firefighters get a $4 an hour stipen for also being paramedics. You get that paramedic now at 1/5 of the cost, and not having to have the additional number of employees. As a taxpayer you are getting a better value and overall lower cost for services.

    this is about maintaining a core amount of rescuers to make sure the community is protected. this isn’t a large department, it only costs 5% of the budget. I would prefer to have 25 cross trained firefighter/paramedics that can handle every type of emergency, rather than 12 firefighters and 12 paramedics. that model of 12/12 is an inefficient staffing model that is not unsafe, it offers unrealistic savings.
    there should be at least 5 firefighters on duty at all times, otherwise there is increased risk for everyone.

    Lets do what the ICMA STRONGLY RECOMMENDED MUST HAPPEN FIRST, FIX THE FRACTURED LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE, THEN DO OUR DILIGENCE IN THE RISK ASSESSMENTS FOR BOTH THE COMMUNITY AND DEPARTMENT, THEN ANALYZE THE NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY, THEM SET UP THE SCOPE OF COVERAGE. None of that has happened yet.

    after all that is done is when you should then have a valid reason to change the employee structure.

  14. There are people out there (like me) that are trying to educate themselves by listening to both sides of this issue. As this article points out, there are some challenges in trying to do that given the conduct of each side. But after reading this response, what should be the takeaway? Political patronage is perfectly fine and gladly accepted when it benefits certain individuals? Does the cost to the taxpayers of having a number of unnecessary lieutenant positions factor into the discussion at all? If the city did maintain a paid force of cross trained firefighters, would the professional force agree to right size the number of lieutenants to what is actually needed? Is the professional force willing to acknowledge that some changes are needed or should things just be left exactly as they are?

  15. Keeping in mind what the O.P laments is one of the major concerns with this topic, I sincerely hope that this thread can stay above the all too present name calling and such that most social media discussions devolve into and actually present valid facts.

    Can you point out in the report where it says what the “ICMA recommends first about fixing the fractured leadership (….)”? Like the 3rd option, I have heard this mentioned before but am unable to find any reference to it in the report.

    Thank you.

  16. Jay, you fail to see the irony in what you “fail to see”? Amazing. Refute the author’s “sensible conclusion” taken from a “logical perspective” rather than engaging in what seem like unfair allegations. You are loquacious and intellectually up to the task. Copy, cut and paste if you must, but enough of your accusations against anyone who doesn’t reach your conclusion. Some of us struggle our best to make sense of things and this author seems to be an authentically engaged citizen to me. So am I. If only I could know as much as you do and be so self assured in my conclusions. Try a different type of point by point refutation of the author’s conclusions for the slow learners you must share the planet with. Having lost my taste for your tone, it won’t prevent me from accepting your irrefutable arguments. I fully support a paid LBFD. I also support efficiencies and improvements. I also agree with my children, nieces and nephews that blogs are best engaged anonymously and respectfully.

  17. I am going to say this one more time. The city is aware of it and it is around d page 80 I believe. Will not say again. I even brought this up at erring if you were there. And the city knows it’s there. If you are reading pamphlet city has there are just 2 alternatives.

  18. “I would prefer to have 25 cross trained firefighter/paramedics that can handle every type of emergency”

    I agree 100%. This to me is logical.

  19. Mary, I looked over the full report, and like a previous poster noted “There are people out there (like me) that are trying to educate themselves by listening to both sides of this issue.” I have heard this 3rd option mentioned but cannot find any mention of it. I just redownloaded the report from the city website and the report I have only has 64 pages. On my way home this evening I will look it over again, but a quick glance of the just downloaded report fails to find this 3rd option.

    Thank you

  20. It is before alternative I sorry in their report. About fixing structure of FD. It was also said if you were there at the presentation at City council meeting. Done I did my homework. I also investigated ICMA. FINANCIALS AND REPORTS

  21. Im having trouble finding the other alternatives in the report. i heard that there was more ems models and they were removed by the request of the city prior to the final draft.

    on page 7 of the report it says. “Several alternatives are presented in this report that includes either civilizing the EMS program, or creating a public-private partnership to provide EMS.”
    in the end there was only 2 printed

    Please keep in mind, The entire report was fabricated for the sole purpose of cutting down the firefighters. Why else would the city not release it to them until the public presentation, refuse to give them any follow up, rudely attack them in the paramedic job posting. send out propaganda flyers about only these changes, skip every single other step, that are supposed to happen before recommending these cuts.

    See through the lines, they are currently negotiating a contract. The city lawyer is out for blood, he even went into detail about how he only prefers paramedics because they have worse disability coverage. it isnt about better ems, and he proved that by his statements at the meeting

  22. Page 58 of report states that Volunteers respond with in 1 minute of the professionals. This is a noted observation of table 8 on the same page. If you look at table 8 they base this on 3 calls. Yes 3 of over 4500 calls. These three calls are most likely due to the professionals being tied up on a prior calls while volunteers are drilling. This may happen 3 times a year but it does happen. To base these drastic changes to the department on 3 calls is a joke!!!

  23. The report does address the officer imbalance. Page 7 first bullet in the recommendations points you to figure 2 on page 15. That figure calls for four lieutenants.

  24. Its great that the bloated FD is beinv exposed. A union that is ungrateful and trying to takeover. Are there any rules on firefighters who get arrested?

  25. Some people here are still delusional about the problem. There are firefighters getting paid to fight fires who are not extinguishing fires but rather responding to ambulance calls most of which are unecessary. Stay on point here. The ambulance service should be separate from the fire department.

  26. Great post, agreed on all parts. I feel like in this area (Nassau, Suffolk) people are pressured to reflexively support anything that involves giving police, FD and teachers more money. They expect this support without debate, questioning or considering the numbers. It is the same emotional-type rallying cry as “think of the children!”

    No public servant should be pulling in well over 100k a year plus a pension and paid for benefits. It is simply ridiculous and our taxes are proof.

  27. At any real fire there will be 60-100 volunteers and there will be 3 paid.

    When’s your next court date?

    Did you really install that boiler?

  28. Demonize? Spare us, you who recently compared our CM to Josef Goebbels. All you write here is true about civic engagement in a democracy Jay. The author was unsettled by “actions and behavior” that inhibits the exchange of ideas and causes fear in the hearts of those who disagree with the mob, your fellow citizens. He further notes the importance of prioritizing the public good as you seem to revel in self interested advocacy with no obvious intention of exploring valid positions that would provide a basis for bargain and compromise. I see the opportunity for that as it would be my primary goal to see 5 man crews for the value they add to taking down a fire quickly, even as a review of total manpower/ % officers to facilitate more cost effective and enhanced EMS services, the major work of the LBFD is undertaken. I am also dismayed that my representative, who I voted for to be my trustees, are not clearly advocating their positions. I agree with Stop that their silence makes one wonder about their “engagements” and interest in transparency.

  29. Why does stoplayoffs always harp on response times?? Issue is ems. Macnamara hates vollys. Ok fine. It’s got zero to do with them. EMS not firemen. Excellent summary by the author and the angry mob was disgusting. Corp council did nothing wrong but state his case – the mob stated theirs with s thug approach. It’s a shame but let’s get on with alternative 1 already. enough of the union rants.

  30. You saw at the meeting why the council stays silent. If you state your side – the union thugs hurl curse words boos and bottles if they had them. That crowd was citizens yes…but all union members and their families and pals….never do I see the unattached citizen at any meeting. And what’s with macnamara getting up and saying “us” as if he’s still in the department. A joke and A disgusting display by the union

  31. You both are insane. What’s your plan once alternative 1 is complete and working? Don’t answer that – really don’t care for another long winded bs rant.

  32. The Corporation Counsel advises the City Council.If people can’t understand the distinction it gets confusing when reading their posts.

  33. Jay, while you have posted information that helps people like me see both sides of this issue, you hurt your cause when you have to add insulting comments like “Anyone that supports this garbage report is a fool, a tool of City government, or a pom-pom waving volunteer.” It calls your motives into question and can make people think that your information is just as much garbage as you claim the ICMA is. This was a good informative post and then you undid it all with that last paragraph. And quite frankly that seems to be the point the author of the post is trying to make.

  34. What I find most fascinating about this guest author’s opinion post is that he/she was aghast at the lack of civil discourse in Long Beach. Have you not lived here for more than a week? This is not some erudite community of learned professionals. Those aren’t out-of-towners you see stumbling home most of the year. The girls here aren’t Junior League. This is a run-of-the-mill town with it’s fair share of dumb people. There are in fact very smart people who live here – do you really think they go to City Council meetings? But keep in mind that raucous mob mentality can be quite effective although misguided at times. Were you around for the mob mentality of the Surfrider Foundation at the City Council meeting that sent the Army Corps packing? They scared the crap out the City Council, the dune system was voted down and all that sand finally ended up in the streets, our living rooms, and is clogging the storms drains to this day. But the tactic worked. Since I mentioned alcohol earlier I thought I might bring up Samuel Adams. You might remember that Samuel Adams wrote many polemical articles for Boston newspapers and was himself quite civil before he, and the Sons of Liberty, supported by a large crowd, jettisoned tea into Boston Harbor. Sometimes the powers that be simply refuse to engage in discourse and mob mentality is the only option. How many books were written on the fundamental flaws in the banking system before it took the Occupy movement for people to take notice? How many people called into question the Vietnam War before the campus sit-ins, the concerts, and so on?. Would simply walking form Selma to Montgomery have done anything? It was the racist mob mentality of the police force that grew the crowd from the original 600 to 25,000 and conversely brought about the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I think the spectacle at the Council meeting sounded more like a healthy dose of “semi”-civil disobedience.

  35. This was obviously written by Gordo and submitted by one of the zDems (as they are calling themselves) henchmen or henchwomen. That is obvious based on the fact that nowhere does it address the behavior of the public servants sitting on the dais and only repremands the public for their lack of decorum. Which I will admit, some of the speakers could have been a bit more respectful and still gotten their point across. So a note to the other side always try to take the high road and maintain your composition because outrageous behavior usually turns off those who are on the fence.

  36. Yes, agreed this is a good summary, however it doesn’t support zman goal, so it will be I be ignored. I kinda love how no one and I mean no one, on either side will point out the pink elephant. This is political retribution at the FD for not backing the Dems in the last elections. Again the PD bent over and supported and tada they have a nice cushy contract with a huge pay increase. So I stand with the FD on this cause yeah they are top heavy and that needs to change but at least they stood by their principles. And as TRCO said above all these civil servants are kinda paid too much for the actual job they are doing and the lifetime benefits they will get.

  37. Mob was awful. Union reps awful. Very well written post that makes complete sense and I now believe in the changes coming. Sooner than later please, as I can’t listen to these awful union leaders anymore.

  38. Can someone explain to me why the rest of NY state hasn’t burned to the ground? If we are to believe the statements presented here, just about every single city and town in NY that’s not the 5 boroughs should have been reduced to cinders and ash since they have volunteer fire departments.

  39. @Blt, actually in NYS, 42 cities have all or mostly paid fire departments plus numerous other “non-city” entities that have paid firefighters.. Perhaps a more relative fact would be that 89.9% of all fire departments in NY state are “all volunteer”. Even more relevant is the fact that on Long Island over 98% of the population is protected by volunteer firefighters.

  40. Don’t be silly — you’re a member of the union, thus reflects of the Union. I am a member of the volunteer FD – Oceanside. Proud of it. Don’t like using my name – you’re a great magician of lawsuits.

  41. if there’s a fire…all 107…150…60…50…whatever — will show up. All from LB. And you know the paid boys aren’t waiting. u a joke.

  42. Well this is certainly an emotional issue. I respect the author’s right to his/her opinion and I agree that civility should prevail. What is most glaring here is the fact that we have a City Council that is so obviously incompetent and useless, that we are in a very dangerous situation. These people are visibly ill prepared for the meetings. The lack of interaction with the residents is appalling. A point to consider, is that even when you have a hostile crowd, aren’t these people still residents, neighbors, TAXPAYERS??? Isn’t I the responsibility of these people to engage (even when hostile) these residents and address the CONCERNS? Is this Council president able to even discuss anything that happens in the CITY?? If saving money is the goal here, and this City sorely needs to look at its expenditures, why are we targeting the Fire Dept only? Why isn’t there a comprehensive look at SAFETY which includes the bloated Police Dept as well??? The overpaid political jobs that the City Mgr created for political cronies? The tripling of salary for official “spokesperson” who happened to be a judges son? Why are we still paying for an “Economic Development” Director when we have developed zero?? I don’t agree with mob like behavior, but I can understand the frustration that is boiling over. When you have “leaders” who are too cowardly to lead and more concerned with Dem Leader directives, you have abdicated your constituents and left the best interests of this City in the hands of a woefully incompetent and painfully political City Mgr and his political groupies/hangers on. All of you seem like intelligent, passionate neighbors. Regardless of which side you fall on this issue, try to remember that we ARE STILL NEIGHBORS. We love this City. The battle should not be between us. It should be directed at the City Council members and they ABSOLUTELY need to start acting like they represent US not their cronies!!!

  43. A Paid Dept is not a bad deal – it needs revamping and that’s what is happening. Guys like you and Macnamara killed the dept for all the other guys. I could give “things of that nature” til we are blue in the face, but you can’t debate with irrational nuts who always have another angry rant waiting to go off in another direction.- good luck.

  44. Exactly “Bltbykrmn” exactly. Its the scare tactic that’s just ridiculous – and they (Union) will hammer that for ever to try and save jobs. about it.

  45. I am not speaking for the author, but it’s our American right to be anonymous when we feel we have to. Yes, you can say I am anonymous, but the Council and City Manager know who I am, as well as many who are posting in this thread right now. I try to keep some anonymity for other reasons (email me if you’d like to get to know me), but this being a very touchy topic that involves people being angry at each other, fighting, pointing fingers and jobs potentially lost – I have a feeling that the author wanted to express an opinion without the fear of some sort of retaliation.

    If you step outside the union and you say something bad about a union, you get ganged up on. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I was not at the Council meeting, but I do know the author was. I did watch the entire stream though and did see some angry folks (City and firefighter supporters) shout and yell for no reason. One firefighter supporter even looked like he wanted to fight somebody in the crowd while he was screaming at our city representatives. “EXCUSE ME?” he said.

    While I try not to take a side and honestly have no agenda on this issue, I believe in freedom of speech and wanted to post this person’s point of view. The article is very well written and does not subject to personal name calling or defamation. It was straight to the point and even calls out City Council to “man up” and believe in what they are fighting for as well.

    Being the operator of this blog, I have seen this issue first hand being a hostile one. With that, I agree with the authors anonymity. Also, that yelling doesn’t solve problems. Like the author said: “Give em Hell” is not civil discourse. A shouting match at city hall is not a “community awakening”.

    The yelling and screaming make some, especially who are on the fence of the issue, scared and completely turned off from it all.

  46. @Tuttle – Saving money is not the goal here, enhancing the resident’s public safety with more efficient, reliable and responsive EMS by implementing the suggestions in the ICMA is the goal here. Yes there will be a cost reduction after enactment, but I don’t think it is the goal here. An added benefit yes but not the primary goal

  47. Just the Facts, you are correct. We will disagree on this, but I am going to voice my opinion here. I believe that this ICMA thing is a smokescreen. I think it is a dubious report, crafted by friends of the City Mgr. I think the City is in dire financial straits and the conditions are being hidden by the City Mgr. I believe the City Council is so disengaged, that they most likely are clueless (as seems to be the norm).
    I believe that there needs to be a final day of reckoning for PUBLIC SAFETY in LB, but this is not the way. That is simply my opinion.
    I believe that this is a sneaky way to cut costs and the City Mgr is using this “response time” “study” as his cover.
    Just the Facts, you are regularly well informed. I respect that. I hope you recognize what my take on this is.
    Kudos to you for your classy approch

  48. True…and could say something about their motives. But let’s be honest….if six or seven lieutenants were downgraded to firefighter, what would be the reaction from the professional officers? You are a lieutenant. What do you think would be the reaction if you or your brothers were demoted? Would it garner the same response the ICMA report has or would it be accepted?

    If there was a decrease in the number of lieutenants, would it be done by seniority or is it a political decision?

  49. I stand with Trying To Make Sense. It’s becoming way to polarizing. And the city, and now the union are both at fault for waging a a disrespectful, oppressive, and coercive tid for tad spat…and it’s plauging everyone now presently.
    Your characterization of the report is losing its integrity the longer you offer your sensationalized, dog and pony diatribes.

    I was at the meeting, and there is no sense in immature behavior, as well as no sense in remaining silent, and supporting the suppression of information. I was repelled by the behavior of a number (though small in comparison with those present, but still more shameful) of individuals for detracting from the harmony which a democracy is cultured for. Do we agree on that Jay?

  50. I’m perplexed at your statement that “The Republicans will eliminate the entire department and go all volunteers.” Are you the new Republican spokesperson and nobody told me???

  51. This is a dem-baited post. the Republicans are not going to eliminate the FD but I do hope the start putting some pressure on the PD to work a bit harder.

  52. Thank you SBTC for putting up this particular thread. Not very fun, but certainly illuminating. Never had such an inside look at the “seedy underbelly” of LB. Can’t believe some of the stuff that goes on here.

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