Sunday, February 1, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Community group formed to fight for firefighters

By
From page A1 | April 11, 2013 |

As the debate continues over whether city leaders should approve a recommended change to Davis’ four-person fire crews, some local residents have formed a community group supporting the firefighters.

While there was no specific mention of the proposed reduction to three-person crews in a news release issued earlier this week, Friends of Davis Firefighters say their mission is “to educate the community about the ongoing efforts of the Davis Fire Department to ensure the safety of the city of Davis’ 69,000 residents through its emergency and preventive services.”

At issue is an audit prepared last fall by former Interim Fire Chief Scott Kenley that suggested the cash-strapped city could achieve $360,000 in annual savings by reducing the city’s four-person fire crews to three personnel at each of the fire stations in downtown, West and South Davis, as well as adding a two-person rescue unit downtown that could respond to incidents separately, instead of in tandem with a fire engine.

The firefighters’ union, Local 3494, opposes the recommendation, saying it would reduce public safety and increase property loss by forcing firefighters to wait for a second crew to arrive on scene before entering a burning structure, in keeping with the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “two-in, two-out” mandate enacted in 1999.

“Davis firefighters work around the clock to ensure our safety yet they are under attack by a vocal minority in our community,” said member Alan Fernandes, described in the news release as a Wildhorse resident and community volunteer. “As a resident of a neighborhood which is outside the desired 911 response time, it is important that this group educate city officials and other citizens about the value of the firefighters and the level of service they provide to our community.”

Fernandes finished third in the race for two seats on the Davis Board of Education last fall. An attorney, he is a lobbyist for Los Angeles County.

“The last thing these brave men and women need is someone playing Monday morning quarterback about the hard-earned benefits they deserve for being on the front lines of every emergency that comes Davis’ way,” added Gina Nunes, a parent and school volunteer. “The Friends of Davis Firefighters is a group of concerned residents who are willing to say ‘enough is enough’ and show that the overwhelming majority of Davis citizens appreciate the hard work of these public servants.”

Nunes said the group plans to launch a public-awareness campaign using social media, local advertising and a website.

A Google search shows the website’s domain name, friendsofdavisfirefighters.com, was registered to Bobby Weist, the president of Davis Firefighters Local 3494, on Feb. 1.

But Weist said in an interview Wednesday that the union is not a part of the community group, which he said the firefighters learned of as they walked precincts in anticipation of a March council discussion of the staffing issue.

“They’re basically running the show,” Weist said. “Because we have mutual goals, we’re happy to offer them some resources to get their information out. We’re grateful that there’s a grassroots group of folks out there that supports what we support.”

The citizens’ group also has launched an online petition on thepetitionsite.com, titled “Stand Up for Davis Firefighters,” with a 1,000-signature goal.

City staff, meanwhile, have maintained that they support Kenley’s recommendations.

“We have a very good report that (Kenley) put together and now we’re scheduled for the council to make a decision,” City Manager Steve Pinkerton said Tuesday. “We stand by Kenley’s recommendations and if you look in the context of our budget, you can see why.”

“We also see (the change in staffing levels) as an improvement in service, not as a (detriment),” Pinkerton added.

Pinkerton and the city’s negotiating team also have yet to strike deals with the Local 3494 labor group. The union’s contract expired in June.

The city already has locked in new agreements with the Davis Police Officers’ Association and the Program, Administrative and Support Employee Association that make sizable cuts to city pension contributions, health benefits and retiree medical benefits.

Already, the Davis City Council has approved several other changes to Fire Department policy, including a modification of the city’s response-time goal from five minutes to a more “realistic” six (and six minutes, 20 seconds for first-alarm fires), a shared-management plan with the UC Davis Fire Department, and a potential service boundary drop between the city and university.

A decision regarding fire staffing was delayed once in January due to the lateness of that night’s council meeting, and a second time in March when council members voted to consider the matter during their discussions of the proposed 2013-14 budget, which was slated to be unveiled this week.

The council set a June 30 deadline to vote on the issue, with a mandatory “check-in” date of May 14.

— Enterprise staff writer Tom Sakash contributed to this report. Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurenKeene

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    The end of an era for The Enterprise, as pressroom closes

    By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Jewish fraternity vandalism classified a hate crime

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

    Well-loved library has services for all ages

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Man arrested after body parts found in suitcase

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Islamists post beheading video

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    More than a foot of snow possible for Midwest, Northeast

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    UCD Med Center patient tested negative for Ebola

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kudos to the Thomsons

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

     
    Arboretum ‘I do’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    The story of Mark and Maria

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Summer lovin’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Stories come alive at the library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Lee will speak Wednesday about city issues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Training starts Tuesday for Jepson Prairie Preserve tour guides

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Lecture looks at women in Egypt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    Stepping Stones supports grieving youths

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Japanese students seek Davis host families

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    And bingo was the game-o

    By Tate Perez | From Page: A9

     
    Tuleyome Tales: Searching for the elusive McNab cypress

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Questions and answers about breast cancer set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Davis Arts Center welcomes students’ work

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Forum

     
    How much drinking is too much?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Help a veteran feel loved

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A10

     
    Three old ideas going, going, gone

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A10

    Act would let patients control their own fates

    By Our View | From Page: A12

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    They’re experienced and honest

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Toy drive was a big success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    One-way street solves dilemma

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Council, follow your own policies

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Ensure that you’re protected against measles

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    Wi-Fi in our schools could result in health impacts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

    Life goes on in Rutilio Grande, despite country’s gang violence

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    UCD women survive against winless UCSB

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Foursome will represent Davis at national soccer tournament

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Depth charge: DHS girls defeat Elk Grove

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devil boys lose on Herd’s buzzer-beating trey

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Kings get past Pacers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Sharks blank Blackhawks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies make a racket but fall to Sac State, Pacific

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    And the survey says: Success for Davis Chamber

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Putah Creek Winery launches ‘Give Back Tuesday’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    Doby Fleeman: Toward a more perfect Davis

    By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A12

     
    Ullrich Delevati, CPAs, adds senior accountant

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    Seminar will cover business challenges

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A13

     
    Japanese fondue dips into Davis scene

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    Novozymes, Cargill continue bio-acrylic acid partnership as BASF exits

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, February 1, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8