Brentwood Mayoral Candidate Ignores 34.8% Increase in 9-1-1 Response Time
The main point here is that the Brentwood City Council voted 5-0 NOT to put some version of Emergency Response For All Initiative on the November 3 ballot FOR VOTERS TO DECIDE. This was after listening to many compelling and excellent reasons for such a vote. These intelligent opinions were expressed by various speakers at city council meetings. Many of them "do emergency" as a professional career, and some are retired emergency response service providers. There was also a general hope that The Initiative would have motivated the city council to do something about the fire / emergency issue other than raise taxes or simply dismiss it. We all know something needs to be done. We all know the allocation of the property tax money is unfair. As others have pointed out: it would be unfair to double-tax residents for what they already pay for that is going to other entities. The Initiative was an attempt to correct that injustice. If a council member believed it wasn't a perfect initiative, it was then imperative to come up with a solution that's fair to all. That SOLUTION should have been VOTE to put some version of The Initiative on the BALLOT FOR VOTERS TO DECIDE--Steve Young
On Tuesday, a mayoral candidate and City Council Member responded to criticism of local government’s lack of action on a public safety emergency (Facebook/Nextdoor posts, “Brentwood Council guilty of placing public at risk”) by publishing a lengthy response.
Council Member Karen Rarey used a nearly thousand-word (960) Facebook post to attempt to explain why nothing has been done to improve emergency medical response services for Brentwood residents.
In the Monthly Operating Report from East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, the July “90% Response Time” for Brentwood East went up 34.8%, compared last July. (10:12 min. to 13:45 min.) Brentwood West went up just 3.6%. (10:55 minutes to 11:19 minutes)
As a whole, the entire District’s “90% Response Time” went up 27.1% over the same time period. (11:41 min to 14:51 min.)
Council Member Rarey cited jurisdictional constraints, the economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, and other government concerns as justification for allowing residents to receive inadequate emergency services that include response times that are nearly four times the goals stated in the Brentwood General Plan.
She cited defects in a grass-roots voter initiative, the “Brentwood Emergency Response for All Initiative,” as justification for the City Council’s inaction, ignoring the fact that as a local government legislative body the City Council has a California Constitutional mandate to provide for the safety of Brentwood citizens.
The “Brentwood Emergency Response for All Initiative” failed to reach the November ballot when County health orders, responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, prevented the gathering of petition signatures. The Initiative was filed with the City Clerk in January.
The City Council had the ability earlier this year to place the initiative on the ballot without signatures, place its own initiative on the ballot, or pass an ordinance to address the public safety emergency. The City Council took none of these actions.
The public safety emergency Brentwood residents face continues to escalate, with response times increasing monthly.
Incumbent politicians should not be rewarded for their failure to act, for not addressing a well-known, well-studied, and well-documented issue, an issue that has the potential to affect the life of each and every city resident.
Rarely is it appropriate for one adult to tell another adult what to do.
However, there are exceptions, such as when a person is unknowingly about to take a life-threatening action, an action that places themselves or their family in increased risk of death or injury.
Brentwood voters must not reward City Council behavior that puts them at increased risk.
The Brentwood City Council put residents at increased risk earlier this year when they failed to take action on a significant public safety emergency.
It is a well-known fact that emergency services in Brentwood, and the greater East County region, are significantly underfunded. Emergency medical and fire response services hereabouts are funded at a level one-fourth to one-half the levels of other parts of Contra Costa County.
A community group brought forth a solution to this funding problem, a solution that would have provided $4,765,000 of government funding for these needed emergency medical and fire services.
By not taking action when the opportunity presented itself the Brentwood City Council put all Brentwood residents in a position of increased risk.
The “Brentwood Emergency Response for All Initiative” is a voter initiative filed with the city of Brentwood in January of this year. The collection of signatures began in February.
In March a pandemic struck, and County health officials ordered the population to stay at home and maintain six-foot social-distancing. These orders shut down signature-gathering.
In June, the community group lobbied the Brentwood City Council to place the initiative on the November ballot without signatures, as the City is entitled to do under Elections Code Section 9222. The City Council ignored these pleas.
Three Brentwood politicians have filed to run for office this coming election cycle: Council Members Joel Bryant and Karen Rarey are running for Mayor . . . do not vote for any of these politicians who failed to take action to improve Brentwood’s emergency medical and fire services funding situation, and consequently Brentwood residents are now at increased risk.
Look for “big checks” from campaign donors who might be developers looking for a favorable re-zoning decision. And look for campaign contributions from unions and police associations who are seeking to negotiate new contracts with the City in the coming years.
The California Constitution states: “The protection of the public safety is the first responsibility of local government and local officials have an obligation to give priority to the provision of adequate public safety services.”
Any elected representative who ignores the public safety emergency of Brentwood and East County is ignoring their Constitutional responsibility, and they ought not be elected to office.