The human cost of doing police business and at what cost
Sex and more sex scandals
The human cost of doing police business and at what cost
Sex and more sex scandals
Good grief, Diana Diamond of the Daily News is having a conniption over Palo Alto firefighters’ new work schedule.
Diamond objects to the two 24-hour working days on duty followed by four 24-hour days off duty schedule being implemented in the Palo Alto Fire Department. Diamond complains that firefighters lounge around most of the time while on duty and therefore don’t deserve nor justify so much time off.
However if you look more closely at the overall situation you will find that Diamond’s rationale is not logical and therefore is more about envy of a group of people who have created an niche industry that pays them what the market will bear than it does with exploiting tax payers.
Diamond points out that each fireman will be working 10 days a month while getting 20 days off under the new schedule. This would amount to working 120 days a year while getting 240 days off.* Diamond compares this to most workers in the private sector that work 5 days a week with 2 days off; or working 260 days a year with 104 days off. *
The problem with Diamond’s logic is she is comparing days to days and not hours to hours. Most professionals work 40 hours a week; or 40 hours every 7 days. Minus two weeks vacation per year that equates to 2,000 hours a year. Firemen are working 48 hours every 6 days. Minus two weeks of vacation per year that equates to 2,784 hours a year.
One could argue how much pay and benefits firemen should receive for their services but that is not the argument here. The argument is over what firemen are being paid to do. First and foremost firemen are being paid to be highly skilled in fire suppression and emergency responsiveness for individual and community needs.
Secondarily firemen are being paid to be available when needed; being paid to be “on-call.” Palo Alto is paying firemen to be on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. For each 24 hour day fireman slot the city is paying for 8,760 hours of service per year.
Every day for every fireman slot there are three 8 hour shifts that need to be filled. These shifts could be divvied up between three different firemen or between two firemen working one 12 hour shift each or one fireman working one 24 hour shift. Regardless of how the hours are split up between firemen the 24 hours of service from a highly trained fireman is being paid for.
Ultimately Diamond’s complaint is not about firemen being overly compensated for their services but in how firemen are divvying up the hours of service they provide to the people of Palo Alto. What should it matter to Diamond if three different people are working three different shifts in 24 hours or if one person is working the three shifts the same 24 hours of service?
If Palo Alto thought that it was being exploited by the Fireman’s Union collectively bargaining to obtain unreasonable compensation than Palo Alto could just as easily out source all medical emergencies to a private paramedic/emergency medical service provider the same way the city has out sourced the street sweepers while rolling back the fire department’s personnel to a few full time employees and enlist the services of hundreds of Palo Alto residents into a primarily volunteer fire department.
And If that be the case are you Diana Diamond willing to put in 10 hours a month training and cleaning fire equipment in addition to getting up at 2:00am in the morning at a moments notice when your phone rings to help put out a fire on the other side of town knowing full well you will have to get to your own full-time job by 9:00am?
(* Numbers not exact and not including holiday’s or vacation time; rounding off for simplicity.)
On August 5, 2013 the city council will consider passing an ordinance that would criminalize living in one’s vehicle here in Palo Alto. If passed and enacted… the anti-vehicle dweller ordinance would carry, upon conviction …for its violation…up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
After it appeared that the city had abandoned the proposed ordinance, after a nearly 1 ½ year battle (July 2011 thru November 2012), between homeless activists and the city government … a reconfigured city council (beginning in January 2013), with newly elected city council person Liz Kniss, a recently termed out member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, and former mayor and city council member in Palo Alto… leading the charge on steroids, to yet again attempt to foist this draconian, hate filled legislation down the throats of the good people of this community.
Prosecutions under this proposed ordinance would have extremely adverse consequences on an already overburdened criminal justice system…here in Santa Clara County.
Given the innocuous nature of the conduct that can trigger charges under this new law, judges, juries and public defenders (who would be charged with defending the bulk of these cases), are all likely to be extraordinarily displeased to see these cases substantially increase their case loads, flood their courtrooms and drain very limited judicial resources that are needed to defend and prosecuted the huge number of serious cases .
Trial of just one such case, in the courts of this county—will cost in the neighborhood of $10,000 a day, monies clearly better spent in finding permanent solutions to homelessness.
Each case charged under this law—preventing people with no other choice from living in their car—will be defended by raising the very time consuming, complex and expensive “Defense of Necessity.” See: Defense of Necessity in homeless cases:
Other viable defenses to charges brought under this ordinance would include: discriminatory enforcement, outrageous government conduct, and defense by way of juries exercising their inherent power to vote not guilty despite a clear violation of the law—because the jury concludes i.e., that a particular law is morally repugnant i.e., such as prosecuting member of the homeless and car dwelling community for the most de minimis conduct. For more on Jury Nullification
Outside of Palo Alto City Hall is King Plaza–named in January of 2008–in honor of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King.
On a plaque in their honor displayed in King Plaza, are the following two quotes, both extraordinarily relevant to the campaign to convince at least 5 members of the Palo Alto city council…to vote in opposition to the proposed ordinance:
(1) “Somewhere we must come to see that social progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless effort and persistent work of dedicated individuals; and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation and irrational emotionalism. We must realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” Martin Luther King from Stanford University in 1967.
(2)”The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members…a heart of grace and a soul generated by love.” Speech at Georgia State University in 2000 by Coretta Scott King.
This year, in April… our current city council… by a 6-0 vote, gave City Manager James Keene.. the discretion to raise the banner for gay pride … as well as pass a resolution recognizing that 76 percent of voters in the city rejected Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Rainbow Flag will fly in Palo Alto.
In this same article, current Mayor Greg Scharff is quoted as follows: “This is the civil rights issue of our time.” “I see no possible argument why people should not be allowed to marry whoever they wish.”
I believe the same arguments and logic can be applied to the struggle to end homelessness here in Palo Alto and across this country. It is incontrovertible that the fight to end homelessness, is equally the civil rights issue of our time. To state otherwise requires a total denial of the facts surrounding the current crisis re homelessness in this country.
I can think of no greater irony and hypocrisy than for the city of Palo Alto and its city council and government who pride themselves for honoring the civil rights struggles of the 1960’s…and the more recent civil rights struggle for gay rights, to now pass an ordinance–contrary to every notion of civil rights and equal protection of the law, a law, that if passes demonizes, marginalizes, and criminalizes…the most vulnerable among us…the unhoused and vehicle dwellers.
The arc of justice in this country is fluid, but leave no doubt, bends towards more not less justice and toward more not less civil rights for the homeless.
In just the last two years Rhode Island and Connecticut have passed Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights. Many other states will soon follow with similar legislation…outlawing the very type of ordinance our Palo Alto City Council is threatening to pass and enact.
In the end… the only right, moral and constitutionally appropriate action to take…is to table this misguided and mean-spirited proposed vehicle habitation ordinance forever!
Anyone who opposes this ordinance, stands for justice.and is unwilling to tolerate a hate law targeted at the most vulnerable members of our community, should attend the city council meeting on Monday August 5th, to speak-out and voice your opposition to this unconscionable proposed hate law.
You be the judge. Back before the break-up of the Bell System in 1984 it was the view of many including the Federal Government that AT&T had in fact monopolized the nations telecommunication industry. Many emerging competitors were claiming foul play including MCI.
And so it was, Federal Court Judge Green in his historic decent decree, changed the way we would communicate forever more and the end to what many felt was an unfair monopoly of the telecommunication industry which ushered in an era of fair competition.
We equally claim foul play to an apparent clear cut violation of our First Amendment Right – Freedom of Press and fair competition by former Palo Alto city attorney Donald Larkin and his unfair restrictions on what we should report and print on-line.
Furthermore, we never asked for special treatment or press credentials. Just fair competition and equal media access.
Former City Attorney Donald Larkin – Quote
“I understand your desire to receive special access to the Police Department as the “editor” of paloaltofreepress.com. Under the City’s policy, we are unable to provide you with such access.
To be clear, you have been denied press credentials because you are not a bona fide news reporter. As we discussed when you met with Sandra and me, a reporter is someone who provides regular, objective reporting of news events.
According to your website, its purpose is not to disseminate news, but “was created to have a place for residents of Palo Alto to discuss subjects pertinent to their community.”
In fact, it appears that paloaltofreepress.com contains few, if any, independently created news reports. Instead, it fulfills its advertised purpose of publishing opinion and editorial articles and community posts. While we respect your right to publish an editorial blog and/or a community forum, such publication does not entitle you to press credentials.”
The City of Palo Alto News Media Policy 346 mentions no restrictions or defines what can be published or for that matter defines printed media or – “bona fide” reporters or otherwise.
In fact, the city of Palo Alto and it’s council members have engaged in and sanctioned the discriminatory actions that of former city attorney Donald Larkin against PaloAltoFreePress.com as a business in defiance of its own policies .
Current PAPD Social Media Manager:
Lieutenant Zach Perron
Manager, Investigative Services Division
Palo Alto Police Department
275 Forest Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Work: (650) 329-2115
Fax: (650) 329-2565
Or just another Dog and Pony show. According to some, this was a special election which should have allowed “We The People” to take charge and make the final decision.
To me and perhaps others it was just another showy display of cronyism with Yiahweh Yeh being selected as Mayor and Greg Scharff as Vice-Mayor selected over the rightful peoples choice Greg Schmid according to former Public Defense attorney Aram James.