December 15, 2003

PRNC Online Documents Now Available

I've established a special blog just for documents related to the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council--agendas, minutes, bylaws, handouts from meetings, etc.. It's at:

It's plain-looking, but note that it's searchable, it incorporates an RSS feed (if you know what that is), and it isn't promoting any commercial interests. It's also separate from my own commentary about Point Richmond or anything else. Please use the comment feature of the PRNC blog to alert me to additional materials that should be added to this site.

There's more background about this site, but I'll hold off for now. Maybe Ted of "Talk of the Point" wants to comment. Meanwhile, the important point (pun intended) is that you now have faster, better, more permanent access to PRNC information, and we aren't burdening the city with one more expense in order to provide it. Let's save our money for important things, like fire service, libraries, and after-school programs.

Posted by kgs at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 03, 2003

Fire Department Continues to Face Cutbacks

At last night's City Council meetings, there were many heartfelt statements about the power of negotations and communication. It appeared the city would actually listen to its own agency heads. However, at 10:45 this morning, the city cancelled its 2 p.m. appointment with the Fire Department for negotiations over station closures. The meeting has yet to be rescheduled.

We called our 7 fire stations 14,000 times in 2002--more than any city our size in the Bay Area. Despite this level of service to our growing community, when the budget crisis hit, the city immediately took pot shots at the fire department for presumably single-handedly and abruptly putting the city into a precarious financial situation.

Now here are a few facts that show you where the city's priorities are and what we lose through cuts to fire and other services.

The city proposes a 25% staffing cut for the fire department, to 18 staff a day -- coverage equal to that of a typical city with under 50,000 population or a sparcely populated rural area (our population is over 100,000).

And yet:

* Current FBI statistics rank Richmond as the 24th most dangerous city of any size to live in America.

* Richmond spends more of its General Fund on Administrative Funds, and comparatively less on its fire department, than any Bay Area city.

* Like other departments, such as the library, the fire department was not "sitting pretty" when the budget year began. While the service population and area served have increased significantly--and continue to do so--staffing for the fire department has not increased.

Every city in California is facing hardship at the moment. Yet, none is laying off firefighters, and none has let their fire protection fall as far as Richmond has already.

The City voted in this year's budget and then months later unveiled the "news" that it could not make ends meet. Now, the city proposes cuts to core services without looking at other areas of the city budget that are not safety-related, and without revealing what increases were enjoyed by the central management divisions over the last several years before they took their own nominal cut.

Posted by kgs at 05:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack