Tag Archives: James Beery Chico fire dept

Did you know – firefighters are pigs too? Ever try to pull a shoat off a teat? Good luck. Might have to get rid of the sow too.

2 Aug

I went to the Airport Commission meeting the other night, but I been so busy since then I have not had a chance to sit down and post about it. As usual, I went to the meeting for one thing and ended up learning all about stuff I thought I didn’t care about.

I’m like a dog sometimes, when I am after something, I don’t always notice other stuff. I wanted to hear about the airport budget, the other agenda items didn’t interest me. I thought the first item – the closing of the airport fire station, #3, had already been hashed out, beaten to death, stuck a fork in and turned over twice. I forgot – the Airport Commission didn’t even get asked for their two cents during that entire conversation. Boy, hell hath no fury like a bunch of old guys who get passed over on an important decision.

It sure doesn’t seem like anybody puts any importance on this commission. They only have quarterly meetings. The council meeting at which this whole thing was set in motion was back in June, when council told all the department heads, including the fire department, that they needed to take 10 percent off the top of their budgets. The Airport Commission met in April, and wasn’t even noticed, apparently, for the council meeting in June.  It was left to the department heads to decide what to cut, snip snip. There really is no “Airport Department.” Chief Beery brought the airport into the fracas when he made a tactical decision to tie it to the railroad  tracks by closing Station 3, loudly insinuating that we would lose commercial air service because of the closure. Later, under intense criticism,  he reneged on that threat, suddenly remembering that the Federal Air Administration would be satisfied with one guy and a utility truck.

From the reaction the commission had last night, they don’t even read the newspaper. In fact, one commissioner complained loudly that “you can’t believe what you read in the newspaper.” Well, at least you could read it, and then check it out for yourself. These guys all spoke as though they’d been out of town the last few months.  Commissioners Gosling and Sanger just kept going on about how upset they were to be passed over, BT Chapman complained aloud that there is no real airport manager.  They all agreed they should write a letter to council about their feelings – well, look out for the Airport Commission, these guys are a pack of pistols! They be bad!

$taffer Debbie Collins and Ass City Mangler Mark Orme informed them that the decision had been made, they were just being “kept in the loop.” Orme and Chief Keith Carter, sent as a substitute pinata for Chief Beery, kept telling the commission it was a budgetary decision, as if that was supposed to be comforting in some way. 

Carter informed us that this decision did not even meet the 10 percent cut asked for by city management. When Commissioner Sanger asked him, childlike – “what if the city orders you to keep Station 3 open?” Without a pause, Carter replied, “We’d close Station 5.” “Where’s that?” responded Sanger. I wanted to throw my notebook at the old fart. Get the hell out of the kitchen Old Man!

Sorry to be rude. People think it’s such a lofty ideal to serve on one of these commissions, that they expect to be served like royalty at a table. These old gasbags just sit and wait for Debbie Collins to send them stuff – they don’t even attend meetings, read agendas?  This commission just serves as a badge of mismanagement at the airport. 

The commission spent an hour flapping it’s wings over this, even though Collins and airport facilities manager Kim Parks reassured them repeatedly that the station would remain open with one staffer and a utility truck and that is all the FAA requires for commercial flights. The commission just wouldn’t be satisfied.   At one point they demanded to see the e-mail correspondence between Collins and the FAA.  I frankly don’t blame them – Collins handles them like a bunch of escapees from a rest home. She was bitchy with me when I asked her about complaints about Northgate Aviation – said she has had plenty but wouldn’t show them  to me or tell me how many, of what nature, from who.  This woman is effectively our airport manager, the head of the stinking fish.  Nakamura didn’t even show up, sending Orme in his place. 

Laura Urseny’s story this morning reports that the firefighters’ union had something to do with keeping the station open at all , as if they are responsible for saving the station!  No, they made the decision to cut Station 3, from three firefighters and two trucks to one guy with a truck.   Now, from what Collins told us the other night, it will really mean no difference in service. None of the three that were there had medical training. They have special training in putting out airplane crash fires, but would still have to call for help from surrounding stations. So, nothing’s really changed – they still have a guy out there who can call for help, and that’s about all they would have done before anyway.  But the union was trying to play us, having Beery announce that this would threaten commercial air service. I will not forget what happened last year when council asked the fire department to cut their budget and Beery immediately closed Station 5  – union president Ken Campbell went door-to-door in the surrounding neighborhoods, lying to the neighbors and telling them to write to council. Bob Evans called Campbell on the carpet at the next council meeting, and Campbell admitted to telling people that council had ordered the station closed when it had been Beery’s decision. 

What got left out of this whole conversation is the pensions. We pay about $10 million a year in pension payments for our employees, over half goes for the cops, and almost that amount goes for fire. Paying their own pensions out of their outrageous salaries would solve the problem without closing any station or cutting any positions. But our fire department are greedy little shoats, who won’t let go of the teat.

I had gone to that meeting to hear about the airport budget, but  this ridiculous little howl took the entire first hour of the meeting. I don’t know if Orme was ever able to give the report, I had to leave to go to my kid’s hockey game.  But I got it from him the next day and will share that later.