Thursday, October 7, 2010
FIRE WITH FIRE
This week the Weekly featured a commentary by Seaside City Manager Ray Corpuz [“Peninsula city managers make the case for a fire merger,” Sept. 30-Oct. 6]. The Seaside Firefighters are one of the few voices urging a cautious approach. While Mr. Corpuz sites successful fire mergers, the fact remains that even well-though-out mergers, such as Belmont and San Carlos’s South County Fire Authority, are being disbanded. Why? Because the anticipated cost savings failed to materialize. In fact, their costs increased substantially.
Mr. Corpuz wrongfully states that the Seaside Fire Association is concerned about a loss of autonomy. While we don’t intend to take a backseat on seniority, what concerns our fire fighters is moving ahead in a haphazard manner. We maintain the City Council would be wise to insist critical details be worked out in advance, because if this fails it will be very difficult to reconstitute fire protection for the citizens of Seaside.
Your fire fighters are also frustrated that our suggestions for cost savings fall on deaf ears. We have suggested dropping city borders to enhance response times, expanding mutual and automatic aid agreements that were opposed by the city manager, and restructuring SFD to more resemble the way we operated in the past. It’s time to fully explore these concepts. Dave Nava | Seaside Firefighters Association
Taxpayer expenditures of nearly $1 million for environmental impact reports and legal costs need not have been expended had Mayor Sue McCloud over worked with groups interested in a life estate, curatorship and lease-use options for the Flanders Mansion [“Potential curator steps up as Carmel debates the historic mansion’s fate,” Sept. 16-22].
Had the mayor engaged with these groups, she could have seen all options for the mansion were publicly explored and the best use determined by public consensus. Instead, she myopically pursued a sale strategy, denying the opportunity to form a consensus.
Council Member Jason Burnett recently filed an agenda item request for public discussion of the “minimum requirements before the Council would consider an offer to lease, purchase, curatorship, or enter into a life estate agreement for Flanders Mansion.”
His stated purpose is to have “publicly available minimum requirements that such individuals would need to meet so that we can focus our attention on offers that are serious and could result in a successful lease/sale/curatorship/life estate.” The ad hoc committee was created by the mayor and comprised of Council Members Karen Sharp and Ken Talmage, according to the agenda item request.
Yet, in a strange twist, the city has disavowed the existence of a committee on Flanders Mansion even though it has been reported in the Weekly and Pine Cone, without subsequent correction or clarification from the city.
That suggests that Carmel voters were insufficiently informed and therefore unable to make the wisest choice with respect to the fate of the Flanders Mansion in November 2009. L. A. Paterson | Carmel