Dear Editor:Since 9/11 I have come to see from the unselfish sacrifices of our first responders above and beyond the call of duty dedication. That is why I take great pride in living in a city where we have our own police and fire departments.
These dedicated men and women deserve the best pay and benefits that we can afford because their jobs are extremely dangerous. And because they have an uncommon valor, not just anyone is cut out for that duty. I also support labor unions because I believe that these dedicated heroes deserve the best representation to negotiate their well-earned incomes.
It is understandable that in these tough economic times in our country that the Downey Fire Department wants to go county in order to be paid more money. I believe the amount of money for a starting firefighter is $100,000. That is about $50,000 more than a starting police officer. And while I agree that $100,000 is not too much to ask for the job at hand in good economic times, in this economy it is a little more difficult.
So I can understand why the Downey Fire Department wants to back Salvador Franco and go county. However, I have two points of contention. The first is Mr. Franco, a "professional" politician that has been referred to by some of his detractors as a "carpet bagger". As a former longtime resident of Lynwood, I have seen my fair share of dirty politics and dirty politicians. It is no small thing that Mr. Franco was associated with Mr. Robles of South Gate while Robles was being indicted by the D.A. And it is no small thing that Mr. Franco was associated with Ms. Chacon while she was being indicted. And furthermore, it was no small thing that Mr. Franco was fined roughly $12,500. Franco is who the Downey Fire Department has allied itself with.
While I have the most respect and love for our fire fighters, it is important to note how the Downey Fire Department has sold its collective souls to the devil for a better pay grade. Whether this failure of negotiations between the Downey city council and the Downey Fire Department is the end result of the desire on the parts of the Downey Fire Department to jump ship and head for county waters so to speak, I don't know. But what I do know is that the responsible parties in the Downey city council need to step up and renegotiate with Downey Fire.
And while I believe that the firefighters of Downey are deserving of every dime they are asking, not only is it unreasonable to hold out for that much money in these hard economic times, there is something extremely distasteful and underhanded about doing business with a career politician like Franco, just for those few extra dollars.
The Fire Department needs to take a page out of the book of our police department. Now that's dedication. Loyalty is everything. Greta Campbell Downey
********** Published: October 4, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 25