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City Press Release at Odds With Internal Documentation on August 8th Kite Surfer Rescue

Alameda Fire Department documents obtained by Action Alameda News suggest that the City of Alameda over-dramatized the severity of the incident and the department’s response last week to kite surfer who got tangled in his lines a few hundred yards out in the water off Crown Beach.

In a press release last week, Deputy City Manager Alexander Nguyen characterized the response as the water rescue of a “distressed kite surfer.” Yet, an Alameda Fire Department incident report includes narrative text that notes, “the surfer has verified that he is not in any distress, he is att [attempting] to make his way to the shore.”

The City’s press release also characterized the surfer as “clearly exhausted”; the incident report notes, “he was just tangled in his line and was a little tired.”

Mr. Nguyen followed Alameda City Manager John Russo from the City of Oakland, after Russo took over the reins in Alameda in mid-June. Earlier this year, Action Alameda News published photographs of Mr. Russo attending, along with Alameda firefighters union representatives, a November 2nd, 2010 election night party for Mayor Marie Gilmore and Councilmembers Lena Tam and Rob Bonta. The Alameda firefighters union contributed heavily to the Gilmore, Tam and Bonta campaigns through the election and at least up until the first half of this year.

Last week, Action Alameda News spoke with Louis Goodman, of Oakland, the kite surfer in question. Mr. Goodman told us that it was an Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy at the George E. McDonald Hall of Justice on Shoreline Drive who noticed him sitting on his board in the water, and called 9-1-1.

Goodman said, “I had a wetsuit, a flotation device and appropriate training. I was not in a life-threatening situation, but I’m grateful for the concern and the actions of the police and fire departments, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s department. It certainly saved me a long swim.” He shared with Action Alameda News a letter to that effect he has sent to the Alameda Fire Department.

“Had I been in a life threatening situation,” Goodman continued, “they sent out the right stuff to deal with it. As someone who uses that beach, I’m happy that they’re paying attention and grateful for what they did for me.”

Goodman noted that he is familiar with controversy surrounding the death of Raymond Zack on Memorial Day, at the same beach. He declined to comment on the question of whether or not the City of Alameda was overstating the severity of the incident involving him in its communications to the press.

26 comments to City Press Release at Odds With Internal Documentation on August 8th Kite Surfer Rescue

  • Pat

    Just exactly when do expect the AFD to render aid to a person in the water. You complain when they don’t & again when they do. You can’t have it both ways, pick a side & stick with it.

  • Really, Pat? You don’t see anything wrong with the AFD standing on shore doing nothing while a man drowns, embarrassing themselves and the city of Alameda in front of the whole world, and then, when someone doesn’t need help, forcing it upon them and putting out a trumped up press release to tell everyone about their overblown good deeds? I think AAN’s side is pretty clear and pretty stuck to, but you’re welcome to apologize for Dom and Jeff and Ricci and D’Orazi and the faux “people of action” at the AFD if you want to come off looking as badly as they do.

  • Pat

    Adam I don’t hold much regard to anyone like yourself who physically attacks a senior citizen of the community in front of all the public to see.

    Chastising a group who you say watches a man die after it was reported he needed help, then chastising the same group who went out to help a man after it was reported he needed help. If I recall you were one of the individuals who said the AFD should have gone out there to talk with Mr. Zack, but AFD went out to talk with this patient & noted he was tangled up in his kite cords. I did see the AFD on the beach & the patient definately was tied up in his kite cords & would have had a difficult time making it back on his own power.

    Now you would be a leading part of the AFD linch mob if they would have watched him become to weak and become unresponsive or in distress in additional way.

    So to portray a media release as inconsistent based on the information only & you not being on the scene is disingenuous at best.

  • Of course you did, “Pat.” That’s why Mr. Goodman said he was not in a life threatening situation, did not request help from the AFD and refused their help until they forced it on him.

    Raymond Zack encountered a very different attitude when he died. No one even spoke to him, much less tried to help him.

    Keep pretending, “Pat.” We all know what the AFD is, and PEOPLE OF ACTION is not it.

  • alameda vigilante

    Pat, why do you keep calling the well-prepared kite surfer a “patient”? Are U a nurse? (I hope not) This surfer doesn’t meet the definition of “patient”. Mr. Zack, however, did.
    And lay off this allegation abt Gillitt. If what he did was so public, where’s the news report? What charges were filed? I think the answer is “none”. Stop making Alameda “slander city”.

  • Michael

    City administration made use of the event for PR purposes. The AFD was just as much the subject of the “rescue” as was the kite surfer.

  • Pat

    The fact is that the AFD responded to a 911 call for service & provided that service within their authorized scope & your just not happy because you & all of your linch mob group just want to continue to paint a negative picture of the public safety groups in Alameda.

    By the way, just because Adam Gillitts assault of a person 40 years older than him wasn’t on the news doesn’t make it any less factual & shows the kind of person he is. A police report was filed & is a permanent public document. But because that isn’t about the AFD or APD it’s not on this blog site.

  • Michael

    Not every call for service results in a press release from the City Manager. I’m glad that AFD responded, but to deny the PR aspect of the event just isn’t credible.

  • 94502

    Let’s admit it. The AFD saw a chance to practice what they’d been taught.

    It got them into the water off the beach, and out of the pool. They could feel the difference between the pool’s 80* water and the 66* water at the beach.

    They took this real life session when no lives were in danger and puffed it up into a publicity opportunity.

  • Pat

    If someone wants to landblast a PR representative working directly for the city manager that’s one thing, but to continue to fillet the public safety groups of the city for doing their jobs with the tools, training, & legal limitations that govern their jobs is just mud slinging & does nothing beneficial for the city, residents, or employees.

  • The fact that “Pat” and the City of Alameda blow non-events out of proportion show what kind of people they are. No elderly woman was assaulted and nobody in danger was rescued by the AFD.

  • Pat

    So Adam, the filing of a police report was what, a waste of your taxpayer money & responding to a 911 call was also a waste of your taxpayer money? I guess you would prefer that a 911 dispatcher screen the 911 caller to see if it really is an emergency or just someone opinion that it is. Once again, no matter what happens in your skewed thought process, the public safety groups in Alameda are always wrong & overreact. Have you ever heard the term “error on the side of safety” ?

  • Pat

    I have always been taught it’s better to be prepared for the best outcome, but expect the worse. Having a strong response to a 911 call for service falls under being prepared for the best possible outcome, having to deploy those resources falls under the expected worse happened.

  • OK “Pat”, please justify for us why all those taxpayer funded firefighters stood there for hours on end and watched Raymond Zack drown. Where did you learn that? This was a PR stunt to try and repair the image of the AFD who LET A MAN DIE WHILE THEY STOOD THERE AND DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO HELP HIM. Nothing you can say will bring Raymond Zack back to life, no rescuing of a kitesurfer against his will, no slandering of me, no foaming at the mouth.

    Do you really think this makes you or the AFD look like PEOPLE OF ACTION or useless assholes?

  • Anonymous

    Did no one teach you to respect your elders, Adam?

  • Which “elders” are you talking about? The ones who watched Raymond Zack die while doing nothing? Or the cowards like you who hide behind fake names attempting to justify it?

  • ralph

    To Anonumous , Pat ,
    Sorry but Adam is Right , City HAll owned by the Firefighters Union at our expenses did nothing but a P.R piece , I will even go where He did not go we are paying millions in pension to peoples that never face danger and death , that fact belong to trawler fisherman , roofers , lumberjack and traveling sales peoples. none of them have State funeral , they contribute to society , the fire dept service is like an illegal buss boy in a cheap restaurant .
    As far as the water rescue they are no different than the Fullerton PDthat beat to death an homeless man that was crying Dad! Dad! Dad! ,
    oh yes Murder by indifference! nothing to be proud off
    As far as being ill , I remember very clearly one of them from the berkeley fire dept Fireman Bill, tossing 50 lbs of flour bag like they were bags of potatoes chips Had a bad back but was ridding a bike ? {he was in disability} ,which then take me directly to the case of the one that passed away a few months ago after only a few years in the City most of them desk job and saw very few fires {how many fire in 20m years ?}, but they called it work related illness , anyone of us trying to pull that one out would have the DA looking at it . Name me the house they have saved in this City the last 20 years , name the name of peoples they have saved zero is the number ,
    they are as usefull as using a net for humbrella on a rainy day.
    it was a scam PR stunt and nothing else .

  • DHL

    The AFD’s problem is substandard response protocols which dictate the same ‘full response’ no matter what the type of water rescue which is absurd. In this case, two rescue swimmers on their boards would have sufficed to suss out whether the kiteboarded needed help and if so, provide it. What does a ‘full response’ (6 or 7 units) cost the city each time? How does having 6 or 7 units at the beach compromise the AFD’s ability to respond to other real emergencies? This is the second time the AFD response doesn’t fit the incident, i.e., the problem is twofold: correct assessment of the incident, initiating appropriate response to the incident. That and the burden that an unnecessary ‘full response’ costs our city.

  • alameda vigilante

    Pat: Isn’t “mudslinging” what you are doing to Adam in this thread, which isn’t even about him? And I think you mean “lambaste”, not landblast.

  • Barb

    There will always be those deflect from the issues by slinging mud at those who recognize and have the courage to focus on the issues:
    GILBONTAM were bought and paid for by AFD. AFD’s “full staffing” mentality translates into more firefighters, paid more, and not to saving lives. How does one forget how to swim, or perform a water life saving manuever two years after training? Their hypocrisy was profoundly made clear to the entire world by RAYMOND ZACK. They shamefacedly tore their “full staffing” measure off the ballot, when they realized that it would fail miserably.
    After purchasing GILBONTAM, this trio was able to purchase RUSSO, who will now translate AFD’s orders into reality for the rest of their terms. Until as suggested by the KEVINS that Alameda goes bankrupt first. Meanwhile they will sell off Corica’s efforts at the golf course to Cowan. They won’t even try to go to the highest bidder, but will manuever a back door sale that allows more traffic to accumulate around Bay Farm Island Bridge in the AM in exchange for nothing for the citizens. Anyone with a memory knows you don’t trust a scorpion to do anything but bite. The reason that Harbor Bay Isle has parks, a fire station, and fire equipment, had nothing to do with Cowan. He refused to provide that which he promised in exchange for getting his approvals; and was forced to make good on public improvements only when faced with a proposed construction moratorium. And then he pawned the cost all off on the new buyers.

    I used to feel reassured when I heard sirens around town. Now every time I hear them, I wonder who the firefighters are ripping off now. An ambulance, an engine, double systems, to every call? Why? In the name of “full staffing” of course. Instead of running their sirens off all the time, they ought to bow their heads and ask for foregiveness from RAYMOND ZACK.

  • nomoretaxes

    The “world” will never forget the cowardly public servants of Alameda who watched Mr. Zack die no matter how many fake rescues are reported.

  • 94502

    Every time I hear sirens I think the AFD is throwing another tantrum. Tantrum after tantrum. I wish we had someone who could follow them out on every last call.

    A few weeks ago I saw three AFD uniforms shopping at Safeway at South Shore. Their truck was outside the store.

  • Pat

    What exactly do you have a problem with, the fire department responding to 911 calls w/ lights & sirens as required by DMV regulations for code 3 driving, the city employee helping the economic growth of the city by spending money at local merchants, adding to the sales tax revenue of the city, or helping people staying employed by spending money in the city 365 days of the year. The last I heard there is no way to stop any person from calling 911 for whatever they feel may be an emergency and the local public safety entity in the city has a legal requirement to respond unless that city changes it policies and directs the police and fire department to only respond to specific calls as directed.

  • Stewart

    Pat: I think many people have a problem with the money that the firefighters are making, which is excessive under any circumstances.

  • notmayberry

    For unknown reasons, I have seen a fire truck &/or ambulance siren or not, drive by in Central Alameda just about EVERY SINGLE DAY since July 4! There haven’t been that many fires! And I just got pulled over by 2–not 1-APD officers who claim I exceeded 45 mph in 1 block, from a 90 degree left turn onto Central from Webster (1 stop)to a full stop @ 8th St.(2nd stop). And, tho I had 5 yrs of CSAA Proof of Insurance in my glove box, & current registration, claimed that I didn’t have proof of current insurance!Guess Public Safety is putting up a Show of Force intimidating ordinary citizens who they don’t think will put up a fight to justify those obscene salaries! Do traffic tickets increase after the MOUs are signed???

  • Betty

    Isn’t it apparent…The Firefighters Union owns City Hall and runs Alameda? They can do whatever they want.
    They can stand around and watch a man die or they can answer a 911 call and save a wind surfer. Whateve they do they make alot of money doing it. But I guess when our house is on fire we are thankful they are here and thank them for doing a job they get paid for and should be doing no matter if we thank them or not.

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