Advertisement


Rent Increase Survey

Have you submitted your latest rent increase data to the rent increase survey?

Call for Performance Review and Termination for Fire Chief David Kapler

by Denise Lai

I almost missed the June 16 City Council meeting that became one of the most significant this year! I tuned in at home when Fire Chief Kapler was answering questions about a recent Bay Farm Island fire in which two firefighters sustained significant burns. I was taken aback at the glib and vague answers the chief gave, as though being affable and having a general understanding of the event was sufficient.

During the public comment section, a firefighter named Dominick Weaver spoke. That’s when the meeting got more interesting: Dominick and another firefighter delivered a fact-based detailed chronology of events of the Bay Farm fire that was edifying, exposing Kapler’s responses as marginal. Then Weaver advised the mayor and council that Alameda firefighters are calling for Kapler’s immediate resignation. Why? Within the Alameda International Association of Firefighters, the local union, he is widely perceived as incompetent, untrustworthy, a failed or misleading communicator who avoids sharing risk with his firefighters. Weaver reported that Kapler spends his time consumed with budget issues when he’s already been provided with effective proposals (for maintaining service while cutting costs) that he ignores.

I almost got up and ran down to City Hall to talk too, but it would have been too late. Here’s what I would have said:

As we know, the Fleet Industrial Supply Center fire heavily contaminated our community, land, air and water with asbestos and combusted fuel. The West End of our city was suffocated in noxious fumes for more than a day. Asbestos fibers and other toxic building materials blanketed businesses and neighborhoods.

I have done a lot of research into the center fire and from what I’ve learned, it’s apparent that Kapler:

o Did not alert appropriate regional and state agencies that would have brought experts and funds here to protect our public and environmental health

o Exhibited a cavalier approach to the very real contamination we sustained, contamination which is now evidenced by the current $1.5 million hazmat clean up of the burn site remains

o Lacked an effective plan for a fire such as the one at the Fleet Industrial Supply Center building, even though this fire was highly predictable: the building was regularly set on fire and was known to contain significant quantities of hazardous building materials and fuel.

Given our unique conditions as an island that also contains a defunct Navy base, we simply cannot be this unprepared for large toxic fires.

With Kapler at the Alameda Fire Department helm, we are all sitting ducks. We need fire department management that is effective, smart and reliable. We need fire department leadership that comprehends current standards in the fire fighting industry and adheres to them.

We need leadership that properly trains our firefighters, encouraging excellent performance in a job that demands this of them for their own safety and for ours.

For the $250,000 per year we pay him, Kapler should be doing a stellar job. If ever there was a case for performance review toward termination without severance, this is it.

Comments are closed.

  • https://t.co/4yDcSOCU8M ,
  • https://t.co/szxRpkyiZ0 ,
  • https://t.co/xVk2eZc8pW ,
  • https://t.co/6TmjWu5Fa5 ,
  • State Water Board Says Alameda Point Water Safe To Drink https://t.co/ertnPiIpCU ,

Directories