Baskin: “People will die” if SLO measures pass

July 10, 2011

State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian and Erik Baskin

The president of the San Luis Obispo firefighters union warned Friday that “people will die” if local voters pass two ballot measures in the upcoming August special election.

Erik Baskin made the prediction during a live radio interview Friday afternoon on KVEC 920 AM.

San Luis Obispo voters are being asked to decide two separate issues—Measure A, which calls for pension reform and Measure B, which would do away with the current system of binding arbitration.

Baskin suggested that California cities, like San Jose, who have done away with binding arbitration, ended up laying off police and firefighters. Any reduction in staffing, the union leader argued, threatens response time and community safety.

Andrew Carter, San Luis Obispo city councilman, issued a response to Baskin’s comments, saying “Nothing could be further from the truth . . . City Council has placed Measures A and B, pension reform and the repeal of binding arbitration, on the ballot in an attempt to rein in out-of-control employee pay and benefit costs. It is these increases which could threaten public safety staffing, not the repeal of binding arbitration.”


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Another example of CCN fishing for controversy and the extremes biting. Simple math for you: less fire engines equal longer response times, longer response times equal more fatalities. Mr. Baskin is doing his job and relaying that info to the public since obviously there is a misunderstanding. You can bet your a** as soon as the city is able to eliminate binding arbitration, there will be cuts that cost lives.

Volunteer fire departments are for small towns. No one wants to volunteer their time for 6000 calls a year (that’s a wild guess to what SLO FD runs, sorry if I’m wrong). As for Paso boy, youhave a mostly volunteer fire dept. That’s what you get; LONG response times! If that’s what SLO wants, say good by to happy town and hello Santa Maria.


PISMO 20 has got it right..

Look at the stats below from

Below is a list of San Luis Obispo “Nature of Call” counts for the 48-month period. These

counts are based on first apparatus arrivals so they represent incidents as opposed to apparatus

responses. Only call categories of 10 or more were included.

Nature of Call Count

Medical 9,770

Alarm Fire 986

Public Assist 845


Electrical Haz 209

Fire Ill Burn 173

Hazmat Small 151

Alarm WaterFlow 135

Fire Structure 131

Smoke Check Out 127

Fire Vehicle 111

Fire Sm Trash 106

Medical Non-Em 99

Fire Wildland 85

Smoke Check In 74

Fire Rpted Out 64


Gas Inside 58


Gas Outside 55

Fire Flames 39

Fire Flood 20

Interesting stats. and out of almost 10,000 so-called medical calls, I bet a huge percentage of those weren’t even life-threatening. maybe fewer people would be so quick to dial 911 w/silly issues if they knew it would be an automatic $50 penalty for frivolous calls.

That was an interesting document . I took a few curious minutes to read it an did a little analysis.

So the SLOFD Averaged 15,757 responses over a 4 year period or an average of 3939 responses per year. (I included all categories even those with 2 or 3 response calls in them). This would equal 328 calls per month or 10.76 per day.

Of these 15,757 calls they logged 33,679 apparatus responses. This averages out to 2.13 vehicles being dispatched per call. It appears that they are actually their own second responders (check the response times between the engines), even on medical calls! How many of them can actually work on a person at one time? 62% of their response calls are for emergency medical, where an ambulance crew takes over upon arrival. It took CityGate Associates a lot of crunch time to generate the data, all in an effort to determine the actual response ratio (number of calls responded to) verse the apparatus that responds to each occurrence, because the SLO FD seems to prefer to maintain their records by the trucks that roll rather than the number of call’s they go out on.

We all know that the FD always show up with a bunch of apparatus ie: 2 or 3 fire trucks for most everything, what a waste, but it does generate overtime . Sure they will tell us that they respond to horrific accidents with many injuries but they don’t respond to 2442.5 major car accidents a year, the majority of those emergency medical calls are for single individuals in distress and don’t need 2 and 3 trucks. One truck and a couple of paramedics will do just fine until the ambulance arrives, no?

By the way, 75% of their calls come in between 7:AM and 9:PM. I wonder how many crew hold down the third shift? Zzzzzzzzzzzzz……….

If anybody wants to address this, I’m more than curious to hear a different side. Because right now it sounds like we have a lot more FD Employees than we need, I suspect that there is an explanation and plenty that I don’t know jack about. No doubt somebody will straighten me out.

These are union scare tactics…

As one who is from a small department without a huge budget and union staffing we run on all calls same as the big guys and do as good a job without having to scare the public…

This is pure poltical pandering, just look at the photo and who is getting that face time…

Get with the times Scapegoat. You are WAY BEHIND!!!! Paso hasn’t had a volunteer dept. in over 20 years!!! See just goes to show how off your thinking is. Take my origianal advise and don’t let them talk you into a drink of you know what.

Really? Here is a release from PR City abolishing the volunteer program in 2004 and changing it to a “Reserve” program. Reserves are glorified volunteers. There is nothing wrong with Volunteer/Reserve departments. They are skilled workers and capable of most incidents. The issue is they have day jobs and can not commit to the Fire Service training and work load of larger City departments.

Why don’t you guys put this effort towards bringing in business and fixing our economy instead of bringing everyone down with the ship?

Do you mean that 6 paramedics can go twice as fast as 3 paramedics? Is it sort of like if two trucks drive at 50 mph they will collectively be going 100mph and get their faster?

GOOD GOD!!! Please nobody drink the kool-aid!! Let me start by saying Mr. Baskin you are a piece of S**T for even suggesting this.

I (living in Paso) have heard this same responce time kool-aid sold here. So we (Paso) hire back in the early 00’s to have a five minute or less responce time. We were told had to have it or people will die. So about two years ago I had a minor vehicle fire in my driveway. Now I can tell you all in normal circumstances I can drive from here to the fire house (through lights etc.) in about five minutes. Well from where I live you can hear the sirens as they leave the fire house. Well I didn’t even hear them leave till about five minutes after I called and they got here between 8-10 minutes. They said all this hiring would save us!! Well at about ten minutes I COULD HAVE DIED!!! (Tongue in check)

This is all BULLSHIT they try and sell people. Again Mr. Baskin is nothing but a Union Hack. I hope they have a not so special place in the after life for people like you.

BTDT, If you look at the report that Apathy provided the link to, you will find that the SLO FD response time is at an over all average of only 80% compliance where turn out and response time is calculated during the daylight hours. They drop off to only 60% compliance during the early morning hours when they are sleeping rather than conforming to an emergency preparedness routine (like being awake and ready). They don’t have the greatest response times and many a heart attack or asthma victims go beyond the 6 minute threshold of oxygen deprivation waiting for them no matter what time it is.

They always bring at least two trucks (sometimes 3) and the second truck always arrives a few minutes behind the first responding truck, they arrive for back up I guess. Plenty of money could surely be saved. Have you ever called an ambulance and had two of them show up? Did anyone ever need two ambulances when only one individual required emergency services? Why do the paramedics think we need two or three trucks and 4-6 guys?

With the funds that the ambulance company is required to pay the cities and county to provide the paramedics as first responders, the ambulance company could purchase more vehicles and you get my drift. We are currently paying $1,800 when we need an ambulance becasue of all this foolishness.

Been There Done That… Quit being such and idiot and do you homework. Stop making ignorant post if you don’t have the facts. As a citizen of Paso Robles I regulary attend the city council meetings and felt the need to provide you with the facts since your incapable of doing it yourself. Scapegoat is correct that the volunteer program was disbanded around 2004. Paso Robles was strictly a volunteer fire department until around 1993 when they hired a couple of full time firefighters. Paso Robles growth expanded so quickly that in 2001 they expanded to 14 fulltime personnel and still maintained the volunteer force. The emergency call volume continued to increase so much that the volunteers did not have enough time to take away from their fulltime jobs to respond to so many calls so they did away with the volunteers in the department. State regulations for mandated training also played a role in that decision as well which was also presented at one of the council meetings you obviously didn’t attend.

As for your comment on response times… The public did vote for a, “four minute response time 90% of the time” but just because the public voted for it doesn’t mean it was enacted. Your city council makes those final decisions and based on the economy it was never enacted. I would suggest you start attending the city council meetings and quit shooting from the hip like you know what’s going on in Paso Robles. As for the ten minute response time to your vehicle fire… get used to it. If you log onto the city website and look at the fire departments call volume you’ll see they are responding to all emergency calls out of two fire stations. The city I came from ran the same amount of calls that paso does and had 4 fire stations.

I say, Let’s take a chance and see. If we dump binding arbritration and all of our police and fireman quit and people do die as a result, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

I have a sneaking hunch they won’t quit, but if they do there are boatloads of other well qualified candidates to take their place. I’m betting they will be grateful for the opportunity.

In fact. I’d be willing to sign a “Hold harmless” agreement with the City of SLO for any loss of life resulting from that decision.

These guys still don’t get it! It isn’t that we don’t appreciate what they do, it’s just that we’re out of money. We’ve been out of money since 2006.

Ronald Reagan had it right – fire them all.

R.R.’s SCAB air traffic controllers allowed 9-11-01 to happen, just sayin.

Because everyone knows that air traffic controllers are responsible for gate and on plane security.


the man who speaks the truth is chased from nine villages.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. – Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan


Fact that remains : four hijacked aircraft went off course one day, the people working that day were busy doing other things until three out four missiles had found targets. PATCO wanted more workers and less hours for very stressfull work conditions , were fired for their strike, you get what you pay for, safety on the cheap is what RR left us. .

Someone stole all my tin foil!! Give it back!!!

LMAO, You caught me off guard with that one, Good One ;)

No mention of any twin towers or missles at your link.

Correlation does not imply causation


On October 1981, PATCO was decertified by the Reagan Administration, and a year later PATCO filed for bankruptcy due the governments union busting tactics.

In 1996, PATCO Co-Founder and National Coordinator Brother Jack Maher re-formed PATCO as an independent, autonomous organization.

On October 15,2008 the Teamsters Airline Division signed an agreement to form an alliance with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO)

planes become missiles when they are directed at a target. I am so sorry for any misunderstanding the term “missile” has caused you.

four planes went off plan, controllers did not catch it until too late, too bad they did not have enough qualified people working that day to insure zero margin of error because that is what the standard was … may have to do with the union being gutted by R,R. in 81 , Firing the air controllers was a mistake, firing all of the firemen poses similar misstep IMHO,.

firemen are like lawyers too expensive and not worth it until you really need them.. we can adjust a contract, vote out binding arbitration whatever

So, take a look at the photograph and tell me whose side our Legislature is on.

I take Mr. Baskin’s statement that “people will die” as a terrorist threat!

Nobody talking a reduction in man power. Just a possible reduction in pay.

I presume Mr. Baskin is also a fire fighter and he should be FIRED immediately for making that statement!

If you have an emergency that requires SLO fire to the rescue do you really want them to show up with the attitude that they are not making enough money so your safety might be compromised to the point that “you could die”!

This statement is OUTRAGEOUS and Baskin needs to go the way of Mason!

This sounds of desperation on an irrational level …

The entire country is going through a severe economic stress right now and as a community we need to look at how much services we really need? Fire Protection is nice… but how much do we really need? And we need to privatize services that won’t drain the taxpayer further. As we have seen here locally, public employees have no restraint when it comes to diving into the taxpayers pocketbook and raising their salaries to levels beyond absurd… by the way… like your new higher rates in San Luis Obispo??… I am sure you are all aware that the second shoe is going to fall with another increase in the near future?

As for saying “People will Die”… as I started to say, this is a sad commentary on the desperation of some public employers who have an unrealistic view of the importance of their job in society. Right now, we need people who can bring jobs into our county.

Job creation is the key.

Job creation is the key.

China swallowed our key.

thank you trade ambassador Bush and bankster fiends.

@zap, I don’t feel like getting into this one but good comment..

An outrageous and unwise remark.

why are you public servant who will refuse to service the community if you can’t have you way

How do you conclude such a stupid assertion? Give me a pager and I’ll do it for free—like 70% of America’s fire service. More people should take interest in their community.

An outrageous and unwise remark? Just a question sir , not a stupid assertion, public employee colective bargining is a crime against the taxpayer when people like Baskin make statements like that he should fired


Your first reply is ambiguous and confusing and seems to be directed at my comment. However, your further comments seem to indicate we are on the same side of this issue. Thus, if your first reply was not directed at me then we are in agreement and I retract my retort.

It does seem to me that the union is threatening lesser service.

SORRY slorider, thought your post “outrageous and unwise” was directed at my fist comment my mistake we are in agreement here

A perfect example why public employee’s should not have collective bargining right’s

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