Dear Editor: A brief history regarding Downey’s police and fire departments:
1.) In its first charter drafted and adopted in 1960 (I chaired the volunteer Charter Committee), section 702 stated: “The City shall provide through its own staff for the following departments: police and fire.”
2.) During the early 1990s union representatives requested the City Council to disband our city’s Fire Department and to contract with the county for fire protection. They claimed that it would save money. They threatened to propose a ballot measure to accomplish their desire. Later it was divulged that they really hoped to work for the county with higher pay and at a station near their home. The council members (of which I was one) unanimously rejected their request and proposed a ballot measure adding a charter provision requiring a two-thirds voter approval before the city could contract with the county for fire or police protection. Over 85 percent of the voters approved the provision.
3.) Measure B, on the pending June 3 ballot, is proposed by the fire union and if adopted would eliminate the requirement for any voter approval if the council should later decide to contract with the county for police or fire protection.
I am voting “no” on Measure B. Downey is a “full service” city, with local control of all of its protection and services. I feel that amending the charter to allow the three-vote council majority alone to eliminate our local control of police and/or fire protection would be unwise.
I hope most Downey voters feel the same!
Bob Brazelton (former mayor)
Published: May 29, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 07