Keep Downey Fire local

Dear Editor:While I was serving on the City Council in the 1990s, a situation parallel with a current one regarding Downey's Fire Department arose. The city was experiencing a recession and the union representing the firefighters requested that the city disband our fire department and contract with the county for fire protection. The union representative argued that it would save the city money. Also, it was divulged, that the county pay scale and fringe benefit package was better for the firemen and that they could possibly work at fire stations closer to their homes. They threatened to propose a ballot measure for the citizens to vote for the county fire option. Our council unanimously rejected the request and voted to place on the ballot a charter amendment requiring a 2/3 majority vote before the city could convert to county fire or police protection. The measure was approved by over 85 percent of the voters. In a recent 3-2 vote, the current City Council illustrated that it did not understand Downey's basic DNA. Since its inception in the late 50s, and as set forth in its charter adopted in 1960, Downey has been a "full service" city. It has had full control over its own police and fire protection, community service and recreation, library, public works, etc. Volunteers who worked on city projects also helped build our own hospital, develop our excellent school system and helped operate numerous non-profit organizations that have maintained the quality of life in our great city. The council was wrong to vote for a study to develop data on the county's view of the benefits to be derived if the city converted to county fire service. To spend time and money for such a useless study will give false hope to the fire union leaders. Downey citizens surely would vote to reject our converting to county fire service. Our fire department has many quality personnel - I know many of them. If some would prefer not to work for our local department, please move on elsewhere and make room for the numerous top notch applicants who will jump at the chance to take your place in Downey. The chance of Downey disbanding its fire department is nil! Bob Brazelton Former mayor and councilman Downey

********** Published: August 09, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 17