An Opinion on the Montebello Fire Department

This isn't my own opinion, but that of Bob Bracamontes of You may remember him from the 1990s, when the LA Times had regional writers, and he was their Eastside writer.

I'm just putting it up here because Montebello seems to lack a site like SOC, where people can discuss civic issues.

Here's the teaser, and a link to the whole article:

Why Montebello should consider a change in fire services

There are many cities I cannot afford to live in – Malibu, La Canada, Palos Verdes, Westlake Village, and others – that all have Los Angeles County Fire Department protection.

Many people in Montebello have been talking about fire trucks. The issue is whether or not to keep the fire department under city ownership or bring in the Los Angeles County to supply the service. There are many views on both the pros and cons, but there is a viewpoint missing in the presentations that I have heard at the city council meetings: What effect will changing the name on the side of fire trucks have on the working citizens of the city?

For the rest of the article, see

Also a letter in the Tribune

The same letter appears on the SGV Tribune website, apparently for a letter in today's paper (I didn't double-check to see if it was in there today or not).

My understanding is that the fire department personnel in Montebello also want to go with the county because the pay and retirement is better.

However, citizens of Montebello circulated a petition to qualify an initiative that would require the city council to put any change in the city's fire coverage to a vote of the people.  Unluckily for them, the law in Montebello required them to place an announcement of the petition in a newspaper that no longer exists.  So, as I understand it, the city council decided not to put the issue on the ballot or to approve the proposed law.

Regardless of how you feel on the issue of contracting with the county, I am opposed to city councils using loopholes to disenfranchise citizen groups that do the best they can to follow the law, and then get screwed out of their election on a technicality.  The standard for qualifying an initiative, a recall, or a referendum in a city is so high (especially relative to the number of signatures you need at the statewide level) that city councils ought to take it upon themselves to place issues on the ballot whenever a citizens group qualifies a "good faith" initiative, referendum, or recall.