“No Turning Back”
Despite the warning from one Belmont Council member that “If they go through with this, I for one will never reconsider them again…”
…and despite the fact that all but two of the many public speakers who addressed the Council tonight were either against the dissolution of the JPA, or asked that the Council at least delay the decision….
…and despite the fact that Belmont Mayor Christine Wozniak and Councilman Warren Lieberman were in attendance, with Councilman Lieberman speaking quite eloquently in advising the Council to not move ahead with plans to notify Belmont of their intent to dissolve the Belmont/San Carlos Fire Department….
Despite all of this unified opposition — the San Carlos City Council once again flew in the face of public opinion and voted 3-2 to approve this measure, which effectively notifies Belmont of our intent to dissolve Belmont/San Carlos Fire Department within 18 months.
For those of you who are keeping track of these key votes for re-election day, here’s how the vote went down:
- Yes (deliver notification to Belmont) : Klein, Royce, Ahmad.
- No (do not deliver notification to Belmont) : Grocott, Grassilli.
Delay Measure Also Shot Down..
Councilman Bob Grassilli, noting that the Fire Chief and the Fire Department Union were already working with surrounding communities to investigate a possible consolidation with the existing Belmont/San Carlos JPA, moved for a substitute measure which would have delayed the vote on tonight’s measure by 90 days — thus allowing the Council to get more information on consolidation options before notifying Belmont. But this substitute measure was also voted down by the identical vote outcome as above.
The debate was impassioned on both sides. Councilman Klein Grocott aptly noted that “all of the other agencies are watching us right now” to see how we handle this situation. Councilman Ahmad reiterated that the city is “broke”, and Councilman Klein stated that we’ve had 4 years to fix this problem with the JPA in the first place, and since December of 2009 to get data on consolidation.
When The Other “Boot” Drops.
It will be interesting to see Belmont’s reaction to tonight’s vote, and to their receipt of our official intent to dissolve the Joint Fire Department. But that might be a moot point anyway, because one thing is for certain — those Council members who are hell-bent on outsourcing the San Carlos Fire Department to Cal Fire just won a huge victory tonight. Step 1 was to extract themselves from the JPA and to effectively regain 100% control of the fire service for San Carlos. That opens the door to Step 2, which is to package up what’s left and sell it to the State of California.
Regardless, it was a sad night for the members of the Belmont/San Carlos Fire Department. Or what’s left of it.
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