A burning issue
I was well into a long night of research into our weather issues when I spotted it, on the SFGate website: An ad bearing a familiar wall of flames and even more familiar lines of block type. IT’S A BURNING ISSUE, the words read. Ah, another campaign milestone for … The San Francisco Fire Department?
It appears that the SFFD is fighting a City Hall proposal to make cuts that would “brown out” engine companies (sound familiar?), something their firefighters union opposes. So they’ve set up a website to get their message out. They’re even on Facebook.
“(San Francisco) did a campaign like ours a couple years ago, and are now working on a re-affirmation,” Domenick Weaver, president of the local firefighters union, said when I asked about the similarities in the campaigns. “We have talked with them on many occasions, and since we share similar issues, are traveling down a similar path.”
San Francisco’s firefighters put a measure on the ballot in 2005 to halt rotating brownouts of their city’s engine companies, Tom O’Connor, treasurer of San Francisco’s firefighters union, said. But the measure’s language has some “wiggle room” in it, O’Connor said, and they are proposing fresh brownouts this year.
As I’ve reported already, the union is working to put a measure on the ballot that would require the city to staff the fire department at a minimum level of 27 fire staff per shift (plus one supervisor). Weaver said the union reached out to Oakland and Berkeley, whose firefighters put similar measures on the ballot already, to research their own.
But O’Connor wasn’t aware that the two cities were using the same tag line for their campaigns to halt brownouts. (In the past, they’ve used slogans that included “Not my neighborhood fire house.”)
“There’s always a handful of catchy fire slogans that the consultants use,” he said.
If you’re looking for more information or to compare the two campaigns, Alameda’s website is here. Incidentally, Weaver said they’ll host a town hall to lay out the specific wording of the ballot measure and discuss the impact of the engine company brownouts here at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 11 at Otaez Mexican Restaurant, 1619 Webster Street (they’ll be upstairs).