Wednesday, October 13, 2004

To maintain fire safety in the city, vote YES on this referendum

Letters to the editor, 10/13/04

Letter in the comments....


Anonymous said...

In his Oct. 7 column, 'Fire Safety Referendum May Be a Meaningless Vote,' Brian O'Neill suggested: 'If voters truly believe the people they've elected would willingly put their lives in danger, they should vote for the [National Fire Protection Association 1710] resolution.'

Whether or not Mayor Tom Murphy and/or other public officials would 'knowingly' put the residents' lives in danger is irrelevant. When speaking of lives in danger, what most matters is keeping people alive. When one loses a family member, the fact that the public officials may have known better or merely made a mistake is meaningless -- the family member is still gone.

The fact is, no one can dispute that the National Fire Protection Association is the ultimate national authority on fire safety. The mayor and his administration know this to be true.

Fact No. 1: Within a July 30, 2003, memorandum from Arthur George, the city fire chief at the time, to Robert Kennedy, deputy mayor, the fire chief stated the following:

'One minute (60 seconds) for turnout time. Four minutes (240 seconds) or less for the arrival of the first arriving engine company and/or eight minutes (480 seconds) or less for the deployment of a full first alarm assignment. Fire departments should establish a performance objective of achieving these individual time objectives 90 percent of the time.'

The fire chief recited the precise NFPA 1710 fire response requirements.

Fact No. 2: On May 12, 2004, Mayor Murphy himself stated that the following was a key performance measure objective: 'To respond with fire equipment and personnel so that first engine company arrives within four minutes and/or full first alarm response arrives within eight minutes in 90 percent of fire suppression incidents.'

Again, this is precisely the NFPA 1710 response requirements.

Fact No. 3: During April of 2003, City Council passed a resolution requiring that the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau meet the NFPA 1710 response times 90 percent of the time.

Rather than leaving the city if you do not trust the mayor on public safety, as Mr. O'Neill suggests, take the matter in your own hands and vote YES on the referendum.

Attorney for Pittsburgh Firefighters, Local 1

Mark Rauterkus said...

Posted as blog comments elsewhere -- as in Jack's Place:

The way the ballot question is being presented is explicit. The ballot question is clearly stated and leaves nothing to be implied. That is the beauty and simplicity of democracy.

Only spin misters, pundit preachers, editorial air-bags and champtions of folly would suggest that this vote is anything but exactly what the question asks. The voters need to vote upon the question -- as asked -- in good faith.

If you have no faith, if you have no respect for democracy, if you have the illusion that you are better than everyone else combined -- then you'll put a TURD in our shared well of democracy. Others around here do have the impression that their poop doesn't smell. We don't need any magic, royalty, air-fresheners.

Same goes with a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. No way. A vote for Badnarik is a vote for Badnarik. There is no room for twisted minds in a straight-forward world of democracy. We have to call it like it is. When we can't have any agreement on the facts -- we can't get anywhere. When the language is twisted, when the obvious is discounted to falsehoods -- that stinks.

The stadium vote is another example. People are skeptical. People who twist the truth give cover to Tom Murphy and the others so that they are able to build stadiums when the people voted "NO" -- desipite the ad and PR machine on the other side.

I'm all in favor of stand-up people who speak straight. And, I'm all in favor of democracy rather than royalty running our city. This should be America's distinct advantage.

Agree: Murphy has put this city in ruins. Agree: Unfortunately, the state of our city government cannot bear much more.

However, now it comes to what way to move. We can fall on the side of democracy. Or, we can fall on the side of more authority, more royalty, more dictatorships, more smoke, more backroom dealings, more elitism, more fear, more wars that result in outward migration.

The powerless with some assets still at their disposal have fled or are still to flee. The poor and powerless are stuck here. Serfdom? Kingdoms?

I think we need to be open, direct, obvious. I think we have to shun the attempts to 'spin' and we can't give cover to those that rely upon it at every turn. We need more light on these matters, not less. I understand that 'life isn't fair.' However, there are a few places in life where we rely upon fairness, justice and squeeky-clean actions and values -- our courts, elections and our public process. To cloud the matters by saying this is a pro-labor or anti-labor vote is to be too-smart for our own good at best. Really, it is simply a lie to say the ballot question is a pro-labor or anti-labor question.