On Tuesday night, Domenick Weaver, President of the Alameda Firefighters Association, provided an update to City Council on the rotating brownouts.
Mr. Weaver told Alameda City Council “We’ve had the fire company closures in effect for nine days. Out of the nine days, eight of them have seen the closure of either an ambulance that’s assigned to Bay Farm Island or the truck that’s assigned to the West end which serves Alameda Point, West Alameda and the Gold Coast. Tomorrow the ambulance on Bay Farm is scheduled to be closed.” So far, Mr. Weaver said, there have been thirteen calls that have been impacted with delayed responses since the brownouts began.
Then we learned yesterday that there was a fatal stabbing on Park Avenue, just around the corner from Fire Station 1. What if the next stabbing victim or heart attack victim is on Bay Farm Island during a brownout of that station’s ambulance? How long will it take to get an ambulance from Fire Station 1 to Bay Farm Island?
According to a presentation being shopped around to various groups in Alameda by the City Treasurer, the General Administration expense category (which includes the City Manager’s and City Attorney’s offices) ranks third in City of Alameda General fund spending behind Public Works and Public Safety (Police and Fire.) Why are Alameda residents being forced to suffer service cuts, yet there is no examination of further cuts, including headcount, in General Administration? The City of Alameda has four City Attorney’s and three City Managers. Perhaps Council should also look at changing the composition of some boards and commissions, such as the Public Utilities Board, which requires City Manager representation, to reduce the workload placed on this office, and potentially allow for cost reductions. City Manager participation in the Public Utilities Board since 1998 – through multiple City Managers – did not prevent the financial debacle of Alameda Power & Telecom’s telecom division.