Editor: This past Tuesday afternoon, more than two dozen mostly Brentwood residents learned just how bad the public safety services situation is in East Contra Costa County, and what they could do to help improve the dangerous situation.
With coordination and promotional help from Mike Sloan, residents of the Summerset IV community gathered in the Lodge ballroom and heard Bryan Scott, Chair of East County Voters for Equal Protection (ECV), describe the dramatic under-funding of the local fire district, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD). Because of this under-funding, ECCFPD is unable to respond to emergency calls for significant periods of time each month.
In 2018, this time totaled over one full 24-hour day each quarter. ECCFPD is unable to fight a structure fire, like a house fire, without receiving the assistance of six firefighters and two fire engines from a neighboring fire district. Response times throughout the 249-square mile jurisdiction of ECCFPD far exceed industry standards, causing increased risk to life and property of area residents.
A workable solution to this government-pending problem was also presented.
Scott described a grass-roots plan to increase public safety services funding by nearly $9 million in the region, with no increase in taxes, using the voter initiative process. A summary of the ‘Brentwood Emergency Response for All Initiative’ was distributed, and Scott described how the initiative’s plan would require the cities of Brentwood and Oakley to spend $7,912,005 of the growth in sales and property-tax revenues on public safety services, as defined in California’s Fire Protection District Law of 1987.
There would be no new taxes, and the plan would be a first step to correct an egregious fiscal policy. The initiative process is defined in the California constitution and has been used repeatedly since it was enacted in 1911 to cure legislative inactivity.
ECCFPD has stated publically and in press releases that it is unable to provide adequate service to area residents. This under-funding problem has been documented by the county’s grand jury, the Local Agency Formation Commission, an inter-governmental task force and fire services industry consultants. Previous attempts to remedy the under-funding situation involved various forms of new taxes – attempts which all failed.
ECV is now engaged in fundraising the nearly $50,000 necessary to cover the costs of getting the two voter initiatives, in Brentwood and Oakley, on the November 2020 ballot.
Checks can be mailed to East County Voters for Equal Protection, 1300 Crescent Drive, Brentwood, CA, 94513. Donations may be made online at https://donorbox.org/east-county-public-safety-services.
East County Voters for Equal Protection is a nonpartisan citizens’ action committee whose aim is to improve funding for the ECCFPD. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 925-418-4428.
The group’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/EastCountyVoters.
East County Voters for Equal Protection