You Can Stop the Closure of Fire Station 18 By Doing the Following:
1) Log onto www.savestation18.com
and learn what Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske has to say about the impact of closing Fire Station 18. Leave your comments.
2) Come to City Hall on Tuesday, August 11th at 3 pm and tell the Mayor, City Council and City Manager to restore the cuts to both Fire and Police.
3) Come to Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske's Community Budget Meeting on Wednesday, August 19th at 6pm at the El Dorado Senior Center at 2800 N. Studebaker and tell the City Manager to restore the cuts to both Fire and Police.
Mayor Bob Foster and City Manager Pat West have proposed the closure of Fire Station 18 during the day. Station 18 is located at Palo Verde and Los Coyotes Diagonal and its closure will impact the ability of the Fire Department to respond quickly to the eastside of Long Beach.
When told of the closure of Fire Station 18, Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske responded: "Over my dead body."
See the following statement issued by Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske:
Schipske Blasts Mayor and City Manager for Proposing Cuts to Fire and Police -- Worried Fire Station Closures Could Jeopardize LB Fire Department's Ability to Regain Class 1 Status and Could Increase Fire Insurance Costs
August 9, 2009 -- Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske today issued the following statement in response to Mayor Bob Foster and City Manager Pat West's budget proposals presented to the City Council on August 4, 2009:
"I am deeply disappointed and concerned that the Mayor and City Manager would propose cuts to both Fire and Police services especially at a time when calls for both of these services are up in Long Beach and since the City Council has repeatedly stated that public safety are core services that must be funded first.
"In the 5th Council District the number of calls for service, especially for fire/paramedic have increased dramatically due to the aging of the population and the fact that physicians are telling people to 'call the paramedics' as the only means of being able to get into our local hospital Emergency Rooms which are severely overcrowded.
"Additionally, the closure of Station 18 (at Palo Verde and Los Coyotes Diagonal) during the day may seriously jeopardize Long Beach's ability to regain its Class 1 designation it lost several years ago and may in fact lower the rating even further which would result in higher rates for fire insurance. There are 12 Class 1 fire departments in California; Long Beach is rated Class 2.
"These cuts are a slap in the face of the residents of Long Beach would were asked to approve an increased tax on oil in 2007 (Prop H) to fund those services. Voters were told that the oil tax would aid Fire and Police. The voters approved what was presented: an increase of 15 cents a barrel tax that would be used for fire and police. In the first year or so, the City has taken in over $3 million from this tax. Despite the tax and the promise that this would help Fire and Police Services, the Mayor and City Manager are calling for cuts in Fire and Police services.
"I opposed the tax measure in 2007 because I felt the way it was structured was a deal for the oil companies and not for the City. The rate was not adequate and did not use the correct inflation factor. Voters were not told the fact that Long Beach's tax is the lowest of surrounding oil cities (with Signal Hill being 60 cents a barrel) and that the Long Beach adjustment would be on the Consumer Price Index and not the Petroleum Price Index which more fairly indicates the increases and would have resulted in more revenue for Long Beach.
" The issue needs to be placed back on the ballot in April 2010 and the tax needs to be increased to at least .60 cents per barrel in order to restore the cuts being proposed to fire and police . In the meantime, Prop H funds need to be used to restore any cuts to the Fire and Police Departments.
"Even though the City Council just recently declared that a 'fiscal emergency exists in the City of Long Beach,' the Mayor refuses to approve the transfer of the $9 million dollars in the 'Budget Stabilization Fund' placed there by the City Council. These funds could be used to restore public safety cuts. His argument that such funds should only be used for 'one time expenditures' is not appropriate during this financial emergency and at the same time he is proposing closure of fire stations and cuts in police staffing.
"I have called for a complete overhaul of City departments to determine which can be consolidated, down-sized or eliminated before any cuts are made to public safety and appreciate the support I received last week from my colleagues who approved directing the City Manager to report on how city government can be restructured.
"I encourage residents to attend the City Council Budget hearing on August 11th at City Hall from 3 - 5 pm at which the Police and Fire Chiefs will be discussing their budgets for FY 2010, in order to let the Mayor, City Manager and City Council know that they do not support cuts to public safety.
"On August 19th at 6pm I will be hosting a Community Budget Hearing at the Community Center at 2800 Studebaker and invite residents to attend and speak out to the City Manager about the Mayor's and his proposed cuts to public safety services.
"Finally, I have started a website: www.savestation18.com that provides a great deal of information about the impact of closing Fire Station 18 during the day."