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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In this game, I do not really think Eric, was skilled a politician to consciously realized to the public perception he was using scare tactics.

Whether your are religious or not, there is a truism from Proverb 16:18 “Pride or arrogance precedes the fall.”

Baskin looks young so it’s understandable that he came up with, “…people will die…” Talking about no finesse. He’s going to elicit anger from most people as that comment suggests he’s hoping to get around ANY self-sacrifice from his ranks and even a bit of a threat. Baskin, the American FD’s are being praised to the moon for JUST THAT today! And you just stabbed that asset in the heart while looking for money effectively! That kid couldn’t have blown it more as anybody’s union rep.

FD has to sacrifice money like everyone else. Not their safety, their wages.

Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers on August 5,1981. 9-11 was some 20 years later and you still blame RR for it happening. Give us a break.

The police and fire departments are overstaffed and overpaid…. their pensions are ridiculous. PERIOD.

Over paid?? consider this…the average policeman in SLO makes over $90,000 per year. They get 90% of their salary as pension (plus health benefits). So they are really making $171,000 per year to be a policeman in SLO, This ain’t WATTS, it’s SLO where violent crime is negligible.

Over staffed?? have you noticed that every time a cop pulls someone over or talks to a pedestrian, there are ALWAYS 2 if not 3 cops cars there…..why ???????

when the best jobs are in the public sector the economy will fail…period.

When I moved here 18 years ago, everyone said that I will only half of my old salary up here, but its the cost of living in “God’s” country. And they were right……However, when the police or fire depts hire, they claim they have to pay top dollar, competitive wages to attract good people………bullshit.

$90k? Maybe if you are only looking at classification range, but actual salary w/overtime looks to average out at about $125k!!

He didn’t only fire them, they were banned for life, Clinton later recended the lifetime ban, I blame RR for firing people dedicated to air safety for ideological purposes

and allowing:employers who demand that these controllers meet or exceed the standards required of their Federal counterparts while keeping their pay at minimum standards.

” fly the friendly skies”

Where is your evidence they were “dedicated” to anything except their paychecks?

zap, I had a friend who was an air traffic controller at LAX in 1980. He made fantastic money and had great benefits. His job was stressful because he knew that he was responsible for 100’s of lives at any given moment during his shift. I do vaguely recall that he was constantly stressed out by the contention with the Teamsters and the FAA or maybe it was LAX management, it sort of went with the job and benefits. You seem to be saying that they were expected to meet the same standards that were achieved by others for less pay and somehow, that knowledge (of less pay) created intolerable working conditions/environment? Are you saying that they were envious because they knew that somebody was earning more than they were and they went on strike because it wasn’t fair? Please don’t say their pay was at minimum standards. Mark was able to afford a high end condo in Redondo Beach, a new sports car (can recall the make) and threw the wildest and biggest beach parties at his “decked out” pad complete with open bar and free cocaine, almost every month during his 4 day weekends unless he was off boating in Cozumel.

I also find it difficult to swallow the idea that after 30 years, no traffic controllers have ever been as competent or dedicated as the gang from 1981. I don’t get it. The air traffic controllers thought they were indispensable not even for a day and they found out that they were in no position to take this country down to it’s knees. I just hope I’m right about the year 1980 and not 1981. I’d hate to be talking about a guy that was a scab!!

As a former fire commissioner in a city the same size as SLO….we had one (1) chief and (3) captains covering five (5) fire stations. I understand that we have fourteen (14) captains covering the same number of fire stations. Is that the new staffing requirement nowadays. My city was in New England where fires were a real danger, i.e., old wooden stuctures and fighting fires in zero (0) wintertime

degrees. I admired my fire personnel…they trained hard and had real life-threatening fires and for much less $$. Please vote to do away with binding arbitration and pension reform; otherwise, we will have no alternative but to lay off fire/police and contract protective coverage with county fire/sheriff personnel.

Question: Has the city given fire personnel permission to use city–owned fire trucks to plead with citizens not to vote for the ballot intiative?

I gave you a thumbs up because I think you meant :”Please vote to do away with binding arbitration and “VOTE FOR” pension reform” ?

I heard about that, Scoop. They were in a fire truck, in full regalia, with banners to vote for or against Measure A and B. If they were using our trucks and the uniforms we pay for they should be fired on the spot, as the young man Erik above should be. Fired on the spot.

Did you hear the two jokers promoting the firefighters on Congaleton earlier? They wanted to compare the Mayor’s pay with theirs. Can’t. But they wanted to in very misleading fashion.

If the way they go about getting their way is any indication, they should ALL be fired.

Measure C is missing on the Ballot. Measure C – fire them all.

That sounds fair, let’s pay every fire fighter what the mayor make!

Wasn’t the City’s fire truck.

scoopone……I love how you try to give out mis-information. In SLO there is a Captain at each station (4) and 1 battalion chief. Jesus.

I have only one request if measure A and B pass.

Since the Tax Payers are being squeezed to make a workable budget.

And Safety Officers are being squeezed to sustain the budget.

I think it is only fair that the City Mayor and City council (All high paid) should also contribute as well.

Don’t forget the City of Bell outrage was facilitated by the the City Managers, Council Memebers, and Manager Level (Chief of Police).

So if the Pon are to suffer wage cuts then so should the people they serve who all screw the tax payers.

We are all in this together except the above mentioned and they also must participate, no one should be exempt

They plan to increase “reserve” LE and Firefighters but it is also possible to have competent volunteer (and they exist) Mayors and City Council People.

Willie, you are incorrect about the Council being “high paid”. It’s peanuts. Look it up. Staff is another story.


I am only assuming because of the Mayor’s high salary.


The mayor makes peanuts. You are confusing the mayor with the City Manager.

“The Mayor receives $1200 per month and each Council member receives a monthly salary of $1000, as specified by the Council Policies and Procedures Manual. However, on January 4, 2011, Council adopted Resolution No. 10241 (2011 Series) reducing the monthly compensation of Mayor Jan Marx to $1,100 per month and modifying Council Member Dan Carpenter’s compensation to $8,600 annually for the remainder of each of their terms.”

Marx and Carpenter already took voluntary cuts. $100 and $287 dollars. Interesting that a council member took a much larger cut then the mayor.

OOPs, sorry SloRider, we were posting at the same time.

It isn’t the mayor that earns a high salary, It’s the City Manager (staff) that earn the presidential salaries and benefits. City Council receive a stipend to serve, they are supposed to be in service for the benefit of the community and not for any personal gain other than the satisfaction of watching out for the citizens!! It gets confusing because ,every now and then, Jan has a mishap and exposes her envelope’s.

I was swapping back and forth on measure A & B, “don’t know which way to vote”.

One side say they make too much, the other side say they don’t.

(I thought they were all making the big bucks, self serving and hypocritical)

SLORider, Cindy, thank for clearing this up.

The Pons in a chess game are all expendible.

Do they really serve the people or the royalty, maybe LE is getting what they deserve.

(I am partial to fire fighters despite some recent bad blemish-they’re focus is to save lives, not write CS citations)

This is a joke right? I mean c’mon, this guy didn’t really threaten that people would die did he? His words must have just totally been taken out of context right? Would somebody please assure me that somebody in that position would not seriously utter a phrase like that. He couldn’t possibly be that dumb could he?

Couldn’t be that dumb?? He’s a Union Man. They aren’t rocket scientists!! Yes I bet he’s that dumb.


1. The Pubic Believes the Profession is Inherently “Dangerous” – The fact is, however, some firemen never even see a live fire, but rather cart around senior citizens and illegal immigrants that call 911 for a paramedic. Rather than receiving an ambulance, however, an entire fire truck arrives equipped with the latest gadgets and numerous firemen who stand around and watch the spectacle. Firemen are also not listed on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics top ten most dangerous professions. Nevertheless, they boast to the public about how dangerous their profession is, and how such justifies their outrageous pay. Ironically, those employees in the top ten are silent concerning the hazards of their profession, notwithstanding their significantly lower pay. Sounds like “hero lobbying.”

2. Only High School Diploma’s Need Apply- Unlike other professions that require years of foregone income and student loans (e.g., professor, dentist, lawyer, doctor, etc.) becoming a firefighter has very generous admission standards only requiring a high school diploma, and the prerequisite young age of 18. See e.g.,

3. The Pay that Keeps on Giving – Setting aside the fact that you only work 15 days per month, get paid while you sleep, hang out with your buddies and watch porn at the fire station, the pay is outstanding! When you include overtime pay such is often in excess of $200,000. This is not to mention your generous “defined benefit” plan. Most of us in the private industry do not even know what such is. In fact, their pay has been increasing even in light of the current California budget crisis. But they are heros and therefore they deserve such extravagant pay – what a minute, is that what it takes to be a hero, excessive pay? Some make more than the base pay of the president of the United States! See e.g.,

4. Don’t Worry About Uncle Sam – Many firemen are completely exempt from social security and medicare taxation because they have their own “qualifying public retirement systems” and “voluntary agreements“ between the state and the social security administration. They may also be exempt from federal and state taxation if they obtain “line-of-duty pay.” How is that for doing your part as an American. Do our soldiers get the same treatment for their line of duty?,,id=111350,00.html

5. Time to Get the Golf Clubs Out – With all of your days off (every month), you will have lots of time for numerous rounds of golf. Case in point, one FDNY firefighter was known for playing 50 rounds of golf in one year. Maybe that is how the disability occurred.

6. Union Protection from Salary from Disclosure – If the salary is justified why do they not want us to know about it? As a member of the union, you can rest assured they will fight the pubic disclosure of your salary and overtime pay all the way to the Supreme Court of California. I thought the public paid their salaries?

7. Claim a “Disability” Enhance your Pension, Retire Early and Get a Second Job – This is the typical path of a firefighter. You claim a “disability” by setting the stage with your dangerous profession/hero status and then you retire early at 50, enhance your pension and find a second job.

8. Why go to School and Earn Far Less. – Need I say more, notice the average salary for post-secondary teachers (with far more than a high school diploma) who earn on average $58,830. Private ambulance drivers conducing a substantially similar service earn a median wage of $30,000.

9. You are Immune from Budget Cuts – Each time a budget cut occurs in California, “emergency service personnel” are exempt from budget cuts and furloughs. It is your essential status.

10. Good Old Boys Club Membership – If you are a minority and are not part of the circle of nepotism you need not apply, as these magnificent benefits are not leaving the “family business.”

Nailed It Nice Job

Thanks stopadenda21 and mkaney. I can’t take credit for the 10 Reasons to be a Fireman post . Last year the owner of V, Sattui Winery in Sonoma County, wrote a letter to the editor of a local Sonoma newspaper voicing his displeasure with the overpaid FD and their unreasonable entitlements. As A consequence of his letter being published, he was attacked full force by FD union members from across the entire state. They tried to boycott his business and the FD were threatening to let his winery burn down as well as the homes of any other citizen that defended Sattui. They (the local FD and statewide union members) were writing this stuff in the blogs of the magazines and news sites that were carrying the story.

At the time, I ran across the above post someplace and decided to paste it into all the blogs that the FD unions and their wives were spamming. Eventually the city managers in the Sonoma, Napa, Santa Rosa area etc. called the FD on the carpet and the union heads calmed down but the damage had been done, The FD looked like a bunch of thugs and many posts remain to be seen from their tirade , just google Sattui Winery and Fire Fighter Boycott!

After reading what Baskin had to say, I figured it was a good time and place to resurrect the post by the unknown author.

Nice job Cindy

Hello Cindy. Just one correction on item #3.

SLO fire works 10 days a month not 15.

Full on congratulations for this post, Cindy. Please consider continuing this objective vein.

I remember when the Sonoma winery gentleman was written about on this website.

It sure seems to me that the first people to sound the alarm, often do it clumsily. They are vilified in the press and the community, then after the defensive furor dies down, everyone slowly turns and says, “Yes, what he said!”

Sheep need leaders, not psychopaths. The first shepherd to bark is told to shush you crazy dog. The second is asked, “what are you crazy, too?” The third is looked at dubiously and then curiously. The fourth is listened to as if he is saying the most profound information. The fifth is told, “Yea, we already know that.” We are looking at the third…soon, the whole SLO community will be the fifth. I predict a rousing defeat of these men and their tactics. No place in my community for them.

Paul Anthony

This is excellent, I am one of those in syndrome of confusion and delusion.

I made some earlier post out of ignorance and assumption.

What I gottened out of this site is my clarity back


4 of my best friends are firefighters. They are honorable men and all but one of them would agree wholeheartedly with this post. Attention glorified paramedics: get while the gettin is good. Take your medicine, shut up, and hope this scam holds together for another 15 years when you become a “full-time” general contractor. But be careful construction is much more dangerous than your current vocation. BTW, great job having this twit represent your union. Just like Mason, another bully.

Well at least we know he’s not to be trusted now. I say we fire him for even making the comment, I don’t care much for being threatened.

Baskin is at the helm of a ship of fools. If this is the best SOS the SLO firefighters association can send to the community. Then I suggest they abandon ship now!