Fire chief's home catches fire Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Jul 23, 2012 at 7:16 am
A small fire caused minimal damage to the home of San Ramon Valley Fire Chief Richard Price on Tuesday morning. No one was injured and damage to the structure on the 4200 block of Blackhawk Meadow Court was minimal.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 20, 2012, 11:18 AM
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jul 23, 2012 at 7:16 am
Boy times sure are different. When I was a kid the fire chief was a regular member of the community. Here in Danville he lives in a gated community in a mansion. We wonder how we got into the horrible financial mess we are in as a state. Look at how we have been financially boondoggled by some of our bureaucratic organizations that we have to protect and to serve.
Posted by Trish, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jul 23, 2012 at 9:05 am
I completely agree with you Bill! I wish we could go back... to where INDIVIDUALS made their own decisions... and people were more active in their community... where INDIVIDUALS had MORE rights!
It's time to return to the U.S. Constitution as the Law of the Land. We have so many laws.. and the politicians believe we need more! How crazy! We have more laws on the books than ANYONE knows and they only pick what they want to enforce...
Unfortunately, the government is educating our people. Therefore, there seems to be a lot of idiots who don't understand or even recognize the power of their own INDIVIDUAL rights, but love picking on the naysayers. The police are just stupid union government people with heavier artillery. They tax. They don't make money. They watch for you to make a "mistake" and then "fine" you to pay their salaries. This is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. We are good people. This is not what freedom feels like!
I know I can do a better job! The government is taking away all of our INDIVIDUAL rights. Social programs are UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Invasion of privacy by the U.S. government is UNCONSTITUTIONAL (airport). Looking at my receipt at stores is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Taxing at 60% for ANY reason is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. If you think 60% is unrealistic, then start counting up all of your receipts, car, gas, cell, property, energy, income, federal, etc. If not, then you don't live in Danville.
We are INDIVIDUALS under the U.S. Constitution and society is NOT as important as we are.
If my neighbor had a fire in his home, I would do whatever I could to help. I believe most people would too, if not for fear of retribution.
It really is ironic that the Fire Chief had a fire in his own home... Too bad I can't afford to live in Blackhawk...
Posted by Will, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jul 23, 2012 at 9:11 am
I am happy the Chief is ok. Costs of fires to the community and individuals can be extremely high. I disagree with unions that result in extremely high pay for government and social workers especially those that result in retirement pay longer than their years of service. The police sit on every corner in Danville to pay their own salaries. We need to bring things back to the community and reduce government sector jobs and increase private sector jobs. The idea of a great society is Marxist. The idea that you need to get along with societal rules is Marxist. We’ve only been taught otherwise by union thugs pretending to be “teachers.”
Bill, I believe you have it right. Government should NEVER be greater than 2 – 5% of the GDP. Otherwise, it’s strictly a burden on individuals. I am an individual who is a citizen of the United States. My freedoms are absolute. No man or institution can take them from me. When is the last time you thought of your life in those terms?
Posted by Tracy, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jul 23, 2012 at 10:21 am
SRV Fire Protection District covers the areas of Alamo, Blackhawk, Town of Danville, Diablo, City of San Ramon, Southern area of Morgan Territory and the Tassajara Valley.
The Wikipedia defines a Mansion as a dwelling that is greater than 8000 square feet.
That aside, I think Bill should take his passionate response and do something constructive with it. People are always ready to point fingers and place blame instead of trying to make a difference. Our state has bigger problems than the salary of one man.
Imagine if your home caught fire. Do you really care where the firemen lives?
Where is your compassion for a family whose experienced a tramatic event?
Posted by Linda, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jul 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Boo to Trish and Bill! and agree with Tracy.
We have a super-Fire Chief who works diligently to help our entire community - in BIG ways! From protecting our property and our families, to creating the on-line systems to alert everyone whereever there is an emergency!
- THANK GOD that we have Chief Price... He is a wonderful person who deserves nothing but praise for his hard work and his efforts ON BEHALF of all of our citizens, includiing Bill and Trish.
And thank God that there were no injuries to his family.
Posted by jrm, a member of the Vista Grande Elementary School community, on Jul 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm
I don't care where Chief Price lives, I however DO care that 3 out of the top 5 pension earners in our County are retired SRV fire chiefs or deputy chiefs. The number 1 pension earner is Craig Bowen, who retired at age 51 and earnes $267,000 per year for life, next is retired Chief Richard Probert, who will earn $255,000 for the rest of his life, and next is Chris Suter, Deputy Chief, and he will make $247,000 until he goes to his reward. The problem fellow citizens is that we continually elect firefighters to the SRV Fire District Board. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! Both Tom Lunari and Jennifer Price are up for re-election in November of 2012 and they are both firefighters...hello??? Their lavish pensions are NOT sustainable folks but guess what...they could care less, it's a land rush gold mine gravy train for these people at our expense. No more, I will advocate vociferously come election time for Board candidates that have fiscal sustainability as their number one priority and I know lots of you will join me. No more firefighters as a board majority. Lastly, I got a kick out of Roxanne Lindsay's comment on the pension fiasco..."I had no idea benefits would impact pensions so directly", she is up for election in 2014 and I hope we all remember her lack of financial oversight that is costing us all a shocking amount.
Posted by Louise, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2012 at 9:09 am
I don't care where the fire chief lives, he could live on an island somewhere else and work remotely from his laptop. The bigger issue is that he has a huge salary, way out of proportion to his job requirements and hours he works. Not to mention the bloated pension and health benefits he and spouse will get upon retirement. The problem is not the fire chief or fire personnel it is the union that is so powerful that keeps getting pay increases when everyone else is getting laid off in private industry. The unions have the taxpayer's hamstrung and powerless. That's got to change soon or this country will be broke like many in Europe. Wake up Americans!
Posted by Greg, a resident of another community, on Jul 25, 2012 at 9:24 am
You will note that I live in "another community" because, despite growing up in Danville, I am unable to afford to move back to the community of my youth. What do I do? I am one of those OVERPAID public safety officials people like Bill and Trish hate so vehemently. While there have been increases in the compensation, bringing it more in line with what is appropriate for the job being done, it is still not a profession where you are going to get rich. My advice to folks like them is...stop being a hater. Go apply for a job in public service. What, you don't want to work nights, weekends, possibly get hurt or killed? Nobody said it would be easy.
Anyway, if you are going to engage in a public forum, at least get your facts straight. Such as, the salaries for the Police do not come from the fines for YOUR violations of the law (which, by the way, are easily avoided...obey the law). Also, check the PERS website and you find that the few upper management salaries you point to are the exception, not the rule.
So folks, quit blaming public servants for your poor career choices.
Posted by sponge_bob_roundpants, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jul 25, 2012 at 11:47 am
Greg, it's not about career choices (you just don't get it do you? Of course not, you're one of them).
In any case, if you read the comments (most of which are spot on), we are building (or have built) an infrastructure of government that is simply unsustainable. Numerous city bankruptcies (Vallejo, San Bernardino, etc) provide ample evidence for that.
So please, take your head out of your paycheck and PERS (retirement) statement, and look at the problem objectively.
(I doubt that you will though, because you're a direct benefactor of this flawed system, and more than happy to sponge off of the ones who pay your salary year in and out).
Posted by jrm, a member of the Vista Grande Elementary School community, on Jul 25, 2012 at 11:49 am
Greg....you are missing the point that essentially these pension expense trends are NOT SUSTAINABLE in the long term. It simply cannot go on from an actuarial standpoint because Americans are living much longer than previous generations. This is not about "poor career choices" it's about long term financial viablility and being able to provide important services to the public for years to come.
Posted by Factchecker, a resident of another community, on Jul 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm
Most of us know there are two ways to “try” to make a point. One is with fact and logic and the other utilizes emotion, and innuendo-usually the result of frustration and lack of a solid position.
Following these simple rules of debate, it is pretty simple to find the truth of any given situation or topic. Let's review-
Bill wrote; “When I was a kid the fire chief was a regular member of the community. Here in Danville he lives in a gated community in a mansion.” (Really? How is it different today? -Blackhawk is very much part of the community and there are a LOT of gated communities in and around our neighborhoods. Mansion? Yeah right… a classic demonstration of innuendo).
Eloise posted; “Blackhawk is part of our neighborhood” (Fact).
Rick P then wrote; And last I checked, Blackhawk is NOT within the town limits of Danville. (Uhhhh, Rick, Eloise did not state that Blackhawk was in the TOWN limits).
Trish and Will spewed a lot of frustration encapsulated with insignificant data. Not quite sure where either of them were really going.
Tracy and Linda both posted with emotion but also backed their comments and positions with facts.
But then up pops JRM and Louise…both spewing nothing but hysterical commentary, character assassinations, threats and propaganda.
JRM posted; “Their lavish pensions are NOT sustainable folks but guess what...they could care less, it's a land rush gold mine gravy train for these people at our expense. No more, I will advocate vociferously come election time for Board candidates that have fiscal sustainability as their number one priority…” (Really JRM, you know for a fact that those pensions are not sustainable? You know for a fact they could not care less? You think it is a land rush gold mine gravy train? Wow. Your comments really do reflect your ongoing “pension envy” that you often display here on this forum-this topic was about the fire chiefs house catching on fire-yet you tried your best to turn it into a tool for you to vent your personal frustrations.).
And Louise with an equally flawed perspective wrote; “I don't care where the fire chief lives, he could live on an island somewhere else and work remotely from his laptop. The bigger issue is that he has a huge salary, way out of proportion to his job requirements and hours he works.”
Louise, I hate to tell you but the fire chief could not do his job from an island somewhere else and work remotely from his laptop. This statement alone demonstrates you have not a clue about the service he provides or what his job entails. But where you really derail from the truth is that the chief works for a salary of ONE DOLLAR a year. Hardly a HUGE salary as you tried to imply….but inadvertantly you were correct that his salary of ONE DOLLAR is “way out of proportion to his job requirements and hours he works”….just not in the way that you implied.
In closing, Greg put it all into perspective; “While there have been increases in the compensation, bringing it more in line with what is appropriate for the job being done, it is still not a profession where you are going to get rich. My advice to folks like them is...stop being a hater. Go apply for a job in public service.”
“So folks, quit blaming public servants for your poor career choices.”
Thank you Greg for injecting some reality to balance out the frustrations and ignorance of a few.
Posted by sponge_bob_roundpants, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jul 26, 2012 at 7:12 am
nice try factchecker. you need to go back to debate school. Getting rich is relative - in my world a quarter million dollar a year pension until the day I die is rich, especially when there are two other guys across the street collecting the same amount of $, even though through the life of their "career" they may have only worked 1 year in the position which provides them that "rich" pension. So really, give it a break - the pensions are way out of line, and they are indeed unsustainable (as I stated before) - cities going bankrupt is absolute evidence of that. You must be on a taxpayer-funded pension, eh? The real problem is not one of "pension-envy" (whatever that is), but one of an abuse of a system that was not meant to be (ab)used in the way it currently is. There is no one in their right mind who would vote in elected officials proposing this structure - the public was hoodwinked, and the pension thieves are laughing all the way to the bank. Taxpayers have been violated.
Posted by American, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jul 26, 2012 at 8:10 am
I personally do not care where the Fire Chief lives, and I am glad that nobody was hurt in the fire at his home. I do not know him, and have no idea if he is a great Fire Chief or not. That is not really the issue to me.
The issue is that public employee unions have unfair bargaining rights, with the fox guarding the hen house, and us hens are in a lot of trouble. There is an inherent conflict of interest to have fellow fire fighters serve on a board that decides the compensation of the Fire Chief. I do not care if this Fire Chief is the best Fire Chief in the world, our public budgets are finite and can not afford these huge run away pensions for life that these individuals start collecting at age 50. No private sector employee gets a pension anymore, much less a pension that kicks in at age 50, for life. It does not matter if you are a Republican or Democrat, any tax payer should be concerned about these huge pensions for life by public employee unions.
Quite frankly, public employee unions should be outlawed, as there is a conflict of interest in those who are allegedly monitoring them, and until we wake up and realize this issue, there will be more cities like Stockton and Vallejo going bankrupt, and our public coffers simply can not afford these huge pension give aways.
Posted by Factchecker, a resident of another community, on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:49 am
How nice of you to answer your own question, however once again you “assumed” with your little innuendo.. For the record I happen to know quite a few private (nonpublic) sector employees that make over 300k a year. At least 5 on my street alone-one of which retired with an income of several million a year, and he is in his late 40's.
Need I remind you that private enterprise has NO salary limits and NO age limits, whereas public employees are generally limited by a salary range and years of service. I guess that inconvenient piece of information escaped you. How much do you think Apple/Microsoft/Oracle/EMC/Chevron/or any large corporate CEO retires with? ...because the specific examples of public sector retirements you cited (Fire Chiefs) are the CEO's of emergency services and are the exception-not the rule. But again, pointing out that fact doesn't really help your innuendo based argument does it?
It does however make JRM one hundred percent wrong.
Not emotional, not hearsay, but rather is simple, straight forward non-partisan review of the evidence.
Looks like it is time for you to try a different angle, 'cause this one aint working for ya...
Posted by jrm, a member of the Vista Grande Elementary School community, on Jul 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm
To "Factchecker from another community"-
You clearly have a dog in this fight that probably is your own pension so your response is understandable and to be expected, and frankly your overt partisanship on this issue impedes the impact of your rebuttals. Let's cast a bit of sunshine transparency on the loaded annual pension expense of the recently retired Public Information Officer (PIO) in San Ramon....now documented at an annual benefit of $247,000 for the rest of her life. Not besmirching the individual but a PIO is in essence a public relations person, not a CEO of a fire department. Secondly, "factchecker" PERS announced this week that they had projected a whopping 7.75% return for fiscal 2011 but unfortunately documented a mere 1% return on their investments. The fact a PIO retires at $247,000 per year is indicative that this is not "limited to a few" but is endemic in a system that is rewarding at levels that are simply not financially sustainable. I don't fault you for not being able to be financially objective about this runaway train but please don't take it personally when many of us with profit/loss and budgeting experience in the private sector are getting gravely concerned about the 5 and 10 year trended pension expenses.
Posted by Factchecker, a resident of another community, on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm
I won't waste much more time confusing you with the facts-you seem to be stuck on cherry picking fringe examples. Just as there have been down years there have been many years that have far exceeded predicitions and optimal returns-after all, no one has a crystal ball. It is the historical averages which remain as the best indicators, but you seem to want to use a down year in a bad economy as your example of shedding sunshine and transparency? You are a real ray of light!
All of this is probably beyond your pay grade, therefore I understand why you have taken such a "dim" position. Thank goodness the real experts know that it is better to look at a much bigger picture.
If my "overt partisanship on this issue impedes the impact of my rebuttals" then why are you so worried about defending yourself and moreover your position? I don't think it is that at all...
It really does come down to this jrm;
“Quit blaming public servants for your poor career choices.”
Posted by jrm, a member of the Vista Grande Elementary School community, on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:33 am
Wow...you are incredibly smug. You know nothing about my income or financial portfolio yet assume I made a wrong career choice and that is why I and many others are concerned with runaway pension expense trends.
Posted by American, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jul 27, 2012 at 11:21 am
Factchecker: I was discussing pension for life by public employees, not salary by private employees. I am not responsible for your neighbors in private sector salary, but I, and all taxpayers, are responsible for your public employee pension for life. Big difference, that you either are not intelligent enough to understand, or you chose to ignore the facts.
Good news is voters are on to you and your run away pension abuse. Fact that a conservative Mormon could actually get elected in a Democratic district, due to her platform of stopping your pension abuse, should tell you that public is tired of public union abuses.
Your attack on JRM was childish and shows how defensive you truly are. Your gravy train is coming to an end.
Posted by R U Kiddin, a resident of another community, on Jul 27, 2012 at 5:30 pm
You folks must go apoplectic every time you guy gasoline.
At the end of 2005 Lee Raymond retired from Exxon........with a $400M exit package.
He's just one example from the private sector. There are tens of thousands of others that make much more than the $250k you're all upset over here.
I know what you're thinking. It's different. That's the private sector money. Not tax dollars.
So you don't buy gasoline? Or you don't think similar compensation exists with alternative products at Shell or local headquartered Chevron? Or you don't think the runaway cost health care industry has a few of those running around?
Go ahead and explain how private sector goods or services are different than government provided. I'm all ears.
If you consume any of those products or services in the private sector, it impacts you. It's just those employee salaries are not served up in a brain dead database by your local news rag to play on your emotions. But it's out there in the private sector as an order of magnitude larger problem.
Informal poll; how many haven't figured out yet they are being played by the Times to sell print?
If you trimmed the compensation of just a couple of those private sector CEOs who are paid for with dollars that at some point came out of your pocket, you could probably cover every single public safety head in the retirement systems across the country.
But then you'd have to go find something else to get all bent out of shape about.
Posted by Factchecker, a resident of another community, on Jul 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm
Jrm, American, and Sponge,
Your hypocritical responses had me rolling on the floor! I think it best to take your softball replies individually and give credit where credit is due.
Jrm, Smug you say? Probably because I meant to be, glad you figured it out! After reading your boorish posts on this forum for quite some time I figured you needed a little of your own medicine. You see, I have witnessed you beating up on public officials and public employees for far too long. You don’t really get it do you? They are all doing their best to make this little slice of Contra Costa County a better place and all you can do is insult them again and again. Well guess what-Now you have insulted me by doing so-especially, when the best you can do is back up your rhetoric with innuendo, insults and hyperbole. So please take it personally when I say, that you could not carry my wallet and that I know a fair share about your income and financial portfolio, (I assume very little). The truth is (since we are discussing economics) that you could not hold a candle to me when it comes to experience on this topic. I have experience with both public and private sectors, owned successful businesses and have a proven track record of economics. I honestly doubt you could afford to own a home on my street or partake in my lifestyle (so don’t assume to know about my income or portfolio). However my point is, regardless of my economic or financial status and to the issue; I respect those who invest time in producing positives for our community-not those that insist on tearing it or them down. You sir are the latter. How is that for smug? I call it reality, which must be tough for you. Based on all of your posts, you clearly have a chip on your shoulder against those that exceed your own self-imposed standards of living. While I am stretching my limits to be smug with you, because you, come across as nothing more than an angry and closed minded penny pincher. Probably a card carrying member of the CCTPA. I wish you the best in your frustrations-I really do. Hopefully someday you will see that not everyone is trying to get into your pocketbook or that not everyone is a crook. Fail.
American, Not sure where you were going with your rebuttal. It is obvious that we were discussing retirement (pensions). No great mystery there.
But as far as your comment; “I was discussing pension for life by public employees, not salary by private employees” which YOU posted…
Did you somehow forget asking?; “How many non-public employees do you know, or have heard of, that make a pension of $267,000 per year for life, starting at age 51?
The example I gave was for a “nonpublic” employee…or what is also called a PRIVATE sector employee! Geeesh! …you asked “How many” I knew. Well apparently the fact that I know quite a few that have RETIRED with pensions that EXCEED 267k sent you reeling into denial. I gave you a very simple answer to your question-and now you want to twist it? Of course you do! And for the record, as the poster (above) pointed out, actually you are responsible for the salary and pensions of private sector. You do know that is what happens when you purchase their goods and services right?
Lastly, your comment about a "conservative Mormon" being elected in a Democratic District? You are kidding right? Did the facts once again get away from you? You might check the voting record of the person you speak of when it comes to her new position on the Board of Supervisors. Not exactly very conservative when it comes to labor issues. Or have you checked (sorry but I’m not doing your homework for you on this one). I checked and it isn’t in your favor-yeah she is really stopping that "abuse". But wait, it gets worse! In Contra Costa County, Democrats continue to outnumber Republicans in all five supervisor districts. The supervisorial “district’ to which you are speaking is the most conservative of the 5. Nice try, but the Dems only hold a slight 3.3% voter registration advantage. (Hint; all 5 are democratic districts) Web Link .
Oh and thanks for sharing your severely flawed “opinion” that my “gravy train” is coming to an end. I’m genuinely curious, what “gravy train” would that be? (For the record, I don’t collect pension checks and am 100 percent debt free-you figure it out). Fail…
Sponge, I must admit; you, jrm and American brought out the “jerk” in me. Yep, I guess at some point you must fight fire with fire (no pun intended). You individually brought it on by attacking a well-known, well respected fire chief who had the misfortune of having a fire in his home. A fire chief that works for ONE dollar a year to continue serving his community. Instead of dealing with the topic of the tragedy, YOU all turned it into a springboard for some kind of personal attack on public pensions. However even as a “jerk” I employed logic-and you employed nothing. Reading your post, you actually implied; that you “think” you know more than the experts. Yeah, let's vote out all that experience (great plan!). I wonder how you got to be so smart. Was it from all of your postings of innuendo, frustrations, half-truths and just plain bad information? You get a vote, that is your right, but I hope that at some point you put your tunnel vision and hearsay aside and examine why you really are so frustrated.
Posted by JRM, a member of the Vista Grande Elementary School community, on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm
Oh my goodness...I am happy "Factchecker" is not a neighbor of mine, not sure where he lives but posts like the previous one from him or her is really something. You are one scary person. I am certain mental health is part of the benefits I am funding for you, please access them in the immediate future, I will pay your co-pay although I doubt you have one.