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October 19, 2005


Firefighting is cool

Where's the line item to outfit OCFA fire stations with Playstation 3s and Xbox 360s?


I have been doing a little checking on this issue and came across this item on the AOCDS web site.

I am shocked to see that the deputy's are the highest paid cops in the state and they brag about it.

by Robert J. MacLeod

Lay it on the line time. Like it or not.

AOCDS, the organization, and its members are what are important…..no, not important….crucial, to every one of you and every one of your families. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Carona or a Hunt supporter; a Republican or a Democrat,
nearing retirement or a new guy. AOCDS has produced for each and every one of you.

When we were formed in 1976 our pay and benefits were near the bottom of the County and the State. We continually gained until we’ve been at or near the top for years now, and we’ve maintained that leadership position.

I don’t know of one other association that can truthfully say that; not one. Every one else has had good times…and bad times. Huntington Beach and Anaheim use to be at the top, they dropped like rocks. Others have done well for a while and then tanked.
Santa Ana POA is on a great streak right now, and they are a great organization, but they were down for a long time.

Some members say we’ve done well because we’re so big. Bull. LAPD and LASO were at the top once, too, and they are far behind us and have been for a long time now. Others say we’ll do fine no matter what. Bull. Everyone who’s at the top says
that, and not one, other than AOCDS, has been able to stay.

Others say the department is more important than the Association; that staffing levels are more important than our salary and benefits; that we should be doing things some different way even if we aren’t successful.

That’s all easy to say, and it may sound noble to some, but it’s bull. We are on top, and have been, because of three
things: unity, political strength and continuity of leadership.

Continuity of leadership – This is a omplicated and delicate business. No one can walk in the door and understand the
scope of public sector labor relations, political strategy, collective bargaining and member representation. No one.
There is a lot to learn for anyone who assumes a leadership position on the Negotiations Team, the Political Action
Committee or the Board of Directors. The crap I’ve heard from one particular numbskull that we need to clean house and have new leadership is merely evidence of his lack of knowledge and judgment. Organizations with experienced leadership have an opportunity to be effective, organizations without it don’t. Period.

Political strength – It doesn’t matter whether you are liberal or conservative, politically knowledgeable or not. We have to be in the political game, and we have to be effective at it if we are going maintain good salary and benefits and workplace
protections. Doing so positively benefits you and your family. We’ve done very well; no matter which party has the Presidency, the Governors Office, or any other elected position. It’s easy to say who you want in office is more important. But I guarantee you, if all of a sudden our salary level goes in the toilet, we lose our retirement formula, our workers comp benefits go in the toilet, we don’t have proper safety equipment, or we’re facing layoffs and the Deputy next to you and his family are without income or benefits, what’s important will become very clear very fast. Vote for whomever and whatever you want to. But don’t lose sight of the fact
that AOCDS is the only one looking out solely for you and your families’ welfare. Let us do our job, and don’t lose sight of
that fact.

Unity – Unity is the most important factor. If we don’t have unity, we will not be effective. Case closed. Different ideas and opinions are fine. Wanting to do things differently is fine. Having new ideas and presenting them is fine. But it needs to be done in a positive way. It has to be done in a way that can help us improve what we have, not destroy it. There is also a big difference between presenting ideas and
attacking individuals. Anyone who is out there attacking Wayne Quint, or Brian Heaney, or Steve Torres, or anyone else
who has stepped up to the plate and done their very best representing you, is not working toward you or your family’s
benefit; or for that matter, for their own. They are too engrossed in their own agenda, well intentioned or not (usually not) to understand or to be concerned with the fact
they are damaging their most important resource and advocate, AOCDS.

I have been a part, a small part, of AOCDS for almost 30 years. I care about this organization and its members. And I’m proud of what AOCDS has accomplished. I want what is best for every member, from the day they are hired, throughout their career and their retirement. And if we ever come to a
point where a big majority of us don’t feel the same way, then we won’t be effective for any one member.

Today’s Orange County Deputy Sheriffs and District Attorney Investigators have a better, more prosperous, safer, more secure life for themselves and their families, than any other law enforcement organization, and much more than any other
Orange County employee. If we take it for granted; if we let it be destroyed by people who don’t recognize and treasure what we have, we will have a very hard time ever getting it back.

Right now, today, individuals and groups are coming after your retirement, your retiree medical grant, your POBR and worker’s
compensation protections, and the strength and influence that AOCDS has built over almost thirty years. Do we want today’s
AOCDS standing between us and those individuals and groups, or something less?

Do your part to keep AOCDS strong, and stand up to anyone who is trying tear it down. If you don’t, you and your family will ultimately be the ones to pay for it.


I guess we see things differently. I see the YES firefighter message as being far more positive. I don't see any of the implicit messages you are so desperate to claim.

But I don't see anything in the NO piece but fear. Nothing about tax shifts and vacancy rates that MacLeod says are less important than pay and benefits.

Just fear of a non existent bogeyman.

Vote YES on Measure D.

Jeff Flint


I appreciate you have a position on Measure D, and I suppose it is too much to expect any sort of objective analysis, but please don't tell me you think the No piece is not far over the top.

The Yes piece has a chart of Prop 172 funds, pulled from the analysis of the OPPONENTS of D. It shows that fire, police and prosecutors all share in the growth of 172 funds.

Surely you don't fall for the lies that 210 deputies will lose their jobs and law enforcement serviecs will be cut, as in reduced, from today's levels. At least say that their messages are slimy, deceptive, but possibly effective.

I do appreciate that you thought our photo selection was clever, though. Thanks.


anon ii

Clever? Showing some poor old pre-retiree from retirement city fire station #40 (Coto de Caza) after his workout at 24 Hour Fitness?
(OCFireStorm, you gotta admit that's funny- try to top it!)

Anon ii, it is easy to be critical from the comfort of your office chair at the sheriff's sub station, one hand typing slowly and the other gripping a jelly-filled cop pill.

But I assure you the firefighter shown in the above picture left it all inside the burning building and isn't posing like the fake BS put out by your association. “Hello – is anyone there? Please, someone…

Why not put out the truth about police work - the hardest thing you do all night is brush away the sugar crumbs from your uniform and pick up after the police dog.

Tell that to the families of Deputies Steve Parsons and Brad Riches while they visit the graves of those lost in the line of duty (not too long ago)...and while you're at it, you can call Deputy Mike Guard (the guy who does nothing but clean up after his police dog) who is still rehabbing from an injuries sustained in the line of duty 3 years ago.

Make your point, but don't disgrace yourself with ignorant remarks!

And the same could be said regarding the derisive remarks towards firefighters.

We've had folks die in the line of duty or as a result of duty related injuries in the last ten years. Ten of them in fact.

Give it a rest.

OC Fire Storm

Yeah...and one is in the hospital as we speak undergoing chemo for job related cancer.

Bob Wren

Firefighters and law enforcement pointing fingers at each other and making derisive comments is a disgrace. I must admit that I've poked fun at firefighters during my 19 years at OCSD (Lazy-Boy recliners, getting paid to sleep, working out all the time, etc.), but it was always good-natured. Anyone who thinks that we don't rely on each other, or that either profession isn't dangerous, has been out of the field and behind a desk for too long. This is truly sad and, unfortunately, I'm sure it's too late in the game for reason. In the end, both unions will have spent over a million dollars of their members' dues in a short-sighted fight over the same pie. There is plenty of hype, on both side, to go around. The scare tactics, again on both sides, are a truly unfortunate element of politics today. But when you take away the hyperbole, you are left with an agency that does not need the money ($80 million Fire Training Center Taj Mahal)trying to take funds from two agencies that do need it. Hopefully, Measure D will be defeated. I also hope that our unions will not allow fire and law enforcement to be pitted against each other again.

Hey Bob.

Ask yourself this questions. It is well known that Prop 172 would have failed had it not been sold as aiding fire departments.

Where would you (or the county for that matter) be if it had failed?

And from what I can tell. The only ones hurling churlish insults (greedy, lazy, staging) and remarks has been the law enforcement side.

One need only surf into AOCDS website or Tin Star and see some of Sarge's or AOCDS' GM writings. Yet there is nothing like that coming from the fire side.

If you had a neighbor/friend who asked your help to get something promising you would benefit and then that same neighbor told you to get lost when you asked to be part of the benefit, I would have to think any of us would rethink just how good a friend that person was in the first place.

Bob Wren

Comment #1: I'm assumnig that you are implying that it's not fair that fire was used to help pass 172. I agree, it's not, but life isn't fair. It's not fair either that a major part of OCSD's and the DA's funding source was shifted to education. It just is. Fire kept their funding source (property tax). Sheriff/DA did not.

Comment#2 The only insults I was referring to were the ones above, on this page (donuts, we don't do anything on midnights etc.). As far as any other insults, I hope they were not directed at firefighters. I think the fire union leaders who started this mess might be getting hammered and I don't have a lot of sympathy for them.

Comment#3 I'm assuming you are talking about the Sheriff's campaign video promising to give 172 funds to fire.A friend of mine works for OCFA in Tustin. He told me he walked precincts in 1998 for Mike Carona after he promised OCFA he'd make sure they got a share of 172. My friend is now pissed and I don't blame him. I'd be pissed too. However, we (rank and file OCSD)did not make that promise and we (and the citizens of Orange County) will be the ones hurt by Measure D.

I agree, it's not, but life isn't fair.

Bob. Thanks for that. I already heard that from my dad long ago.

Measure D lets the voters decide or not if they want to reaffirm what they intended back in 1993.

Shouldn't be too hard to let that happen since we all believe in the democratic process.....right??

And this goes way back past 1998. And as I stated earlier. One has to wonder just how good a friend they were in the first place.

As far as rhetoric only being directed at the union officials. How's this from Wayne from way back in April '04.

But don't worry Joe; this supplemental money that you and the Fire Authority Board are attempting to rip off from the citizens of Orange County will create safer communities as you will be able to put one more firefighter in your million dollar firehouses. How convenient for you to now need additional personnel after you conveniently and quickly disposed of the Paid Call Firefighter (PCF) program that even the guidelines you always point to say you should have. Considering that large Orange County cities like Irvine have gone months without a single "working fire" that required firefighters to hook up to a hydrant, residents will sleep easier knowing that Orange County is a much safer place while a fourth firefighter sleeps comfortably in your multimillion dollar firehouses. I know all the cops in Orange County will be feeling safer when you're up the street "staging" your additional firefighter while the cops are in the danger zone.

If that isn't blasting firefighters as lazy and cowardly (especially the bolded part) I don't know what is.

You don't see anyone from the fire union recommending there be fewer police officers on the streets because the opportunity to use deadly force may never arise during one's career. Do you? But the other side has been the first and continues to be the only group making the attacks personal.

OC Fire Storm

Bob, don’t try to sound sincere then close with a zinger at the end. Yes, it’s too bad D is separating police and fire. However, the Sheriff has a new training facility and a new helicopter and another on the way. I’m looking at an open house flyer for the Sheriff’s Coroner’s facility, also new. It says it’s the “State’s Premier Coroner facility” and “California’s Only Training Center for Medicolegal Death Investigators.” The AOCDS website brags about your high pay and the low vacancy rate of the Sheriff’s department. Every time I see a patrol car it’s new or in like new condition.

It’s disingenuous to criticize us because we had to move out of our 1930’s era headquarters into a new one. Judging by the looks of the SO’s equipment and facilities, you guys are doing just fine.


The argument presented by the firefighters and their consultant continues to be a debate over what came first - the chicken or the egg?

The firefighters need to justify why THEY need the additional funding and what THEY have done to be more efficient and responsible with the funding they currently have.

Deflecting the argument onto the Sheriff or the District Attorney is a deliberate strategy to confuse the voters by making these agencies out to be the bad guys.

FYI, The academy building opened two years ago and was well over ten years in the planning stage - which included saving money in every budget over the years to get it built. It included private sector partnerships, non-profit partnerships and other public sector partnerships that helped pay for the building and which continue to generate income for its operations.

The building replaced WWII era buildings that burned down years ago, after an electrical short circuit. After these buildings were torn down, training staff and classes were held in hotel meeting rooms for around ten years because there was no room in other county facilities for the staff or staff worked out of leased trailers that served as offices and classrooms, some for well over twenty years. OCSD rented and leased office space that drained revenue that could have been put to better use.

The Coroner's Facility was funded with various sources of money that primarily comes from user fees charged to those that use the coroner's service. This is a good arrangement because the users don't complain much, even the conservative ones!

But, again -the firefighters put Measure D on the ballot. They have the burden of proof.

Why should the Sheriff or District Attorney need to defend themselves when they have managed their agencies with the fiscal resources given them through a special sales tax revenue source and others?

The firefighters wrote the ballot measure, they gathered the signatures to have it placed on the ballot, they want to continue to receive their dedicated property tax revenues AND get a new source of revenue by skimming off Proposition 172 sale taxes that are used by the Sheriff and District Attorney.

The firefighters need to make their case.

The firefighter's logic is similar to a home burglar who justifies his crime by saying that the home owner has insurance and therefore can afford to have his property stolen.

The home owner in Measure D is the Sheriff and District Attorney and the insurance company is the taxpayer.

If Measure D passes, the home owner will need his stolen property replaced and the insurance company will charge higher premiums in order to do so. Meanwhile, the burglar sits on the sidelines counting his bounty and looking for more crimes to commit.

Bob Wren

Last Comment. My only desire to actually post a reply was because I hate seeing us and fire at each other's throats, and I'm not pretending to be sincere. You obviously didn't like my comment on fairness but, as I see it, that seems to be OCFA's main argument. I regret the name calling by both sides - it's counter-productive and infantile. I'm not begrudging your new training facility, I'm just saying it's difficult to cry poverty from an $80 million building. And lastly, the patrol car I drive has 88,000 miles on it, has squeeky brakes, and the map light never seems to work. So I need to get one of those new units you keep seeing.

Bob Wren

Last Comment. My only desire to actually post a reply was because I hate seeing us and fire at each other's throats, and I'm not pretending to be sincere. You obviously didn't like my comment on fairness but, as I see it, that seems to be OCFA's main argument. I regret the name calling by both sides - it's counter-productive and infantile. I'm not begrudging your new training facility, I'm just saying it's difficult to cry poverty from an $80 million building. And lastly, the patrol car I drive has 88,000 miles on it, has squeeky brakes, and the map light never seems to work. So I need to get one of those new units you keep seeing.

Bob Wren

Last Comment. My only desire to actually post a reply was because I hate seeing us and fire at each other's throats, and I'm not pretending to be sincere. You obviously didn't like my comment on fairness but, as I see it, that seems to be OCFA's main argument. I regret the name calling by both sides - it's counter-productive and infantile. I'm not begrudging your new training facility, I'm just saying it's difficult to cry poverty from an $80 million building. And lastly, the patrol car I drive has 88,000 miles on it, has squeeky brakes, and the map light never seems to work. So I need to get one of those new units you keep seeing.

OC Fire Storm

That's a lot of last comments, Bob.


Hey Sarge,

For months we've been hearing about tax shifts and vacancy rates. Now you've dissolved into fear and threats.

Your arguments about having to prove need have been more than adequately answered in other places. Your response was to whine about firefighters having bright shiny cars.

If this were a court of law, you might have a valid point about burden of proof. But it is the court of public opinion. And the fear card isn't working. It didn't work in 1978 when Prop 13 passed. It didn't work last election in LA when Sheriff Baca tried it. It didn't work when Brad Gates tried to get his jail tax passed. It didn't work in 1993 when the Prop 172 campaign was law enforcement based. When the campaign became fire oriented it passed. Barely, but it passed.

But hey what do I know? I'm just a crazy guy in LH who bothers to look into the government's finances. You need to look into the Auditor Controllers website and look up an account called the County Public Safety Sales Tax Excess Revenue (aka Prop 172 revenues). And then ask yourself how efficiently those revenues are being used when there is almost $55M sitting there and growing?

The County doesn't even spend all the revenues it receives now.

Vote YES on Measure D.

Blog Watcher

According to OC Firestorm over on the Tin Star, Norby admitted in front of the press that no deputies would be laid off if Measure D passes.

That pretty much dispels that myth.

OC Fire Storm

Roger that, Blog. Norby admitted that no Deputies would be let go. Here’s what Green Machine said to my posting on the Tin Star:

>>>its not the current staffing we are worried about, its the vacant positions that aren't even being counted right now. They are termed "blue ribbon" positions and they don't show up as vacancies. Our budget has been reduced and we are desparately hoping to get those positions back so that we can better accomplish our mission.

It is funny how these vacant/”Blue Ribbon” positions only became an issue after Bob MacLeod, General Manager of the Sheriff’s Union (AOCDS) admitted that no deputies would be laid off. When pressed at the debate, Norby admitted the same. People being laid off vs. vacancies not being filled are two different animals (if vacancies really exist at all.) Now they are trying to use these Blue Ribbon positions as their equivalent of our 4th man! (They should go get their own argument.)

What’s sad is that AOCDS needs to resort to fear tactics to support their position, as shown on the various blogs and mailers (lay offs, no one answering 911, etc.) What’s more troubling is that they knowingly put false information into the Arguments for Measure D information submitted to the Registrar of Voters. I’m not a decision maker, but my guess is that this issue will be looked into at the appropriate time. Somebody needs to get their ducks in a row…

PS. Multiple sources tell me that the team of Norby/Quint was well outclassed by Joe Kerr and Jim Lacy at today’s debate.

Yes on D

See Sheriff Corona supporting 172 funds to fire fighters at firefightersforpublicsafety.com

OC Fire Storm

>>>What’s more troubling is that they knowingly put false information into the Arguments for Measure D information submitted to the Registrar of Voters.

Oops...I meant Arguments AGAINSNT Measure D, but you probably knew that.

I bet Norby started singing and asking people where they went to high school so he could dazzle them with his vast knowledge of their alma mater's mascot.


On the front page, Quint states there is a low vacancy rate in the AOCDS.

If these Blue Ribbon position were such an issue, why are they never mentioned anywhere but here.

As I recall. One of Carona's other campaign promises was to cut the OCSD budget.

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