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East County News Service

January 24, 2017 (Spring Valley) – San Miguel Fire District’s board meets Wednesday, January 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the District’s board room (2850 Via Orange way in Spring Valley).  The hot agenda item is a proposal to shift dispatch services from CAL FIRE to Heartland Communications, by joining Heartland’s Joint Powers Agremeent along with the cities of El Cajon, Lemon Grove,  La Mesa and Santee as well as fire districts in Alpine and Lakeside.

Patrick Walker, Deputy District Vice President for CAL FIRE’s union local 2881, says this would cost over $800,000.  “CAL FIRE Firefighters Local #2881 opposes this move,” says Walker, adding that “the agreement is $250,000 more than the cost of CAL FIRE dispatching.”  He faults the board, stating, “Once again, no study was done and they refused to obtain a free quote, not just from CAL FIRE, but other agencies as well.”

The board, prior to the November election, voted to undo a partnership with CAL FIRE and return the district to local control as a free-standing district.  San Miguel partnered with Cal Fire initially when the district was facing a budget shortfall during the recession.  But Walker slammed current board members backed by former San Miguel Firefighters union members, as being “irresponsible” and influenced by special interests.

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Lets Save some Real Money Local 2281

That Union backed the two board members who are behind the rediculous 4000 feet away fire station San Miguel is building. Dave Rickards and his sidekick William Kiel should be the ones recalled.

Let's Save Some Real Money Local 2281

Despite spending just north of $39,000 on this local board election, the 6000-member Cal Fire union, Local 2881, lost the election; that is, they needed four of their candidates to win in order to seize control of the local fire board and they only got three elected. It figures they would now oppose anything the new board supports. I would view the union's dollar numbers with respect to dispatch services with the circumspection to which it is due. That said, I have an immediate solution for the San Miguel Fire Board to save not hundreds-of-thousands of dollars, but literally MILLIONS! Abandon the ridiculous project to build a new fire station in Lakeside. I know definitively that the taxpayers in Lakeside do not need this station. Why? Because Lakeside has already opened a new station a mere 4,000 feet away from the proposed San Miguel fire station. Lakeside started operating out of their new Station 1 in May of last year. The region does not need two fire stations in such close proximity. Maybe the San Miguel board should choose a location in their own district that makes sense from a REGIONAL fire protection perspective. While they have been virtually silent up until this point, perhaps Local 2281 should weigh-in on the actual savings of taxpayer dollars that would be realized by ditching this stupid project?