By Erica Madison
Last week, Alameda residents expressed their anger over the Robert Crown Memorial Beach drowning at a special joint meeting of the Alameda City Council, Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority and Community Improvement Commission.
In a death that was initially attributed to harsh budget cuts, ironically the first Alameda City Council meeting of the month discussed more severe budget cuts, but Mayor Marie Gilmore started the meeting by addressing the terrible and preventable tragedy that occurred at the Robert Crown Memorial Beach.
“Everybody is rightly upset. The Fire department is in the process of conducting a very thorough investigation of this matter and we will do that in a public and transparent manner”, said Mayor Marie Gilmore.
She informed the public that the interim Alameda Fire Chief (Mike D’Orazi) is taking immediate steps to investigate the policies regarding water rescue. In the future the fire department’s commander on the scene will have the discretion to send teams into the water.
Knowing that there were angry citizens in the audience, the Mayor started the meeting with public comments.
“The fact that our police and fire officials could not enter the water due to budget cuts is unconscionable” said one resident.
Adam Gillitt said, “I am astonished that no one could enter the water who had water training. This is unbelievably callous. Swimmers on the scene offered to help, but were told they could not.”
Gillet went on to say that criminal prosecution should be considered and there were other citizens who echoed this sentiment.