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Action Alameda News Launches The Raymond Zack Project

Over the weekend, Action Alameda News launched the Raymond Zack Project, an ongoing inquiry into the unfortunate death of Alameda resident Raymond Zack at Robert Crown Memorial Beach on Memorial Day, 2011, while police officers and firefighters looked on. Readers are invited to submit their contributed documents, investigative reports, and links, to the project.

Action Alameda News was the first to report that Alameda public safety officials did not request – contrary to a statement made by Alameda police – a rescue boat stationed in San Leandro from the Alameda County Fire Department, and we were the first to report that the exculpatory memo produced by Interim Fire Chief Mike D’Orazi shows that funding for the Alameda Fire Department water rescue team was restored in March of 2009, and re-certification set to begin, a full two years before Raymond Zack died at Crown Beach. We were also the first to report that City of Alameda budget documents, available publicly on the City of Alameda website, show that for the current and next fiscal year, the Alameda Fire Department has been planning, budgeting, and measuring its own performance on the successful completion of 8-10 water rescues per year.

Action Alameda News has also made a number of press inquiries to City of Alameda public safety officials on these topics, to which we had not received a response by press time.

12 comments to Action Alameda News Launches The Raymond Zack Project

  • a94501er

    Why hasn’t APD/AFD apologized yet?

    We need to find a way to cut their salaries, this is outrageous.

  • The firefighters are PEOPLE OF ACTION! They sort of apologized… they put up a message of their website five days after the fact claiming they are people of action. But the only action they have taken so far is to delete any comments asking why they didn’t get re-certified despite having the budget to do so.

  • The cops, however, keep passing the buck and keep claiming that a depressed, unarmed man in shoulder-deep water was too dangerous for them.

  • Barb

    The firefighters circulated a ballot measure which the Council put on the November 2011 election. If I recall correctly it was to allow the Firefighters to deterine what they believed was an adequate and safe level for themselves.

    Unfortunately economic times have worsened and Alameda is in even worse condition financially, than when the firefighters spent all their time and effort getting the signatures.

  • glinda

    RESIGNATIONS are in order! & I’m no theologian, but there seems to be a Catholic culture @ many US firehouses & police stations. Seems to me there were some whopping mortal sins of omission committed on that beach that day.

  • Liz Williams

    Administrative leaves pending an independent investigation and demotions are the minimum standard here. Consequences of some kind. Firing for dereliction is found, which from what I heard on the dispatch tape, and form talking to count fire is richly deserved. But, check out the Oteaz series of photos on this site – without an independent investigation, a mayor that drapes her drunken self over the Director of the Firefighters union is not going to do anything but cover this up.

  • alameda vigilante

    As has been said elsewhere, the only believable investigation will not be done by government (besides that will cost taxpayers more), but by the Fourth Estate. Investigative Journalism. Someone should send ActionAlamedas stuff to Dateline, 20/20, the LA Times. What happened to Robt Gammon/East Bay Express? And it better happen soon, lest it cost us LBNL, altho I think they may have their own fire dept.

  • Barb


    Be careful what you wish for, Administrative Leave means paid for by the taxpayers to stay home in Brentwood and not even drive in every few days to Alameda.

    There should be a mandatory requirement of all public safety employees, Fire and Police and all City Management: If your salary is over the median income for those already living in Alameda, you have 6 months from date of hire to move here. Otherwise your one year probationary period will be a per se failure and will result in your employment not being made permanent on your anniversary.
    And all rehires – of retired public safety employees, will trigger an immediate subtraction of all retirement benefits from their salary.
    No point giving them a 2nd salary at the government trough.

  • joel

    I am sorry it was not an unfortunate Death , it was death by negligence which is one notch short of murder, they all had the choice , watching the man slowly Die or going after him in the 54 degrees water , it is well known among all qualified rescuer that less than 30 minutes in cold water numb your sennses { fighting back}45 minutes is very close to a point of no return , they knew it , not acting with that knowledge is far from failing the public it is betray .

  • Barb

    As time progresses and excuse after excuse flows forth, perhaps the most insightful professional comments can be seen at the Oakland Tribune,
    My Word: Man died from Alameda firefighter negligence and incompetence
    By Daniel Lisker

    Oakland Tribune My Word
    Posted: 06/06/2011 04:00:00 PM PDT

    “I am a retired lieutenant from the Oakland Fire Department. As a lieutenant or captain we serve at an emergency scene as incident commanders until relieved by a battalion chief. We have the responsibility to handle all situations we encounter. We can order all necessary resources.
    Situations fall into four classifications according to risk to personnel and probable outcome of the situation: Low risk, low reward; low risk, high reward; high risk, low reward; and high risk, high reward.

    From the video of this sad scenario that I saw, this man was about 100-150 yards offshore in about 4-5.5 feet of water. This was not a water rescue; this was a case of wading out to the man, communicating with him and walking him back to the beach. This was not a man treading water in the Oakland-Alameda estuary, where danger to personnel is great. At Crown Beach you can wade out for 200 yards and still be knee-deep in water.

    A police officer or a firefighter could have done this; maybe both if they were frightened. For any incident commander this situation falls into the category of low risk, high reward. End of story. This man died because of the negligence and incompetence of the Alameda Fire Department.”

  • Queenie

    Do I hear three cheers for Chapter 11? The sooner we make this move the less we lose. if we wait two years the two Kevins described the greater our losses will be. Out go those lopsided contracts AND those worthless senior managers from fire & police 7 city hall staffers. Is Signore Russo up to the job? Some feel he was impressive @ Tuesday city council. Not in attendance, I can’t comment.

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