Measures A and B landslide wins

August 31, 2011

The contentious battle over binding arbitration and benefits between San Luis Obispo city and its safety workers has ended with a landslide victory for the City Council.

A preliminary count of ballots showed that both Measure A and B passed with more than 70 percent of voters in favor.

Measure A allows the City Council to change employee retirement benefits without seeking voter approval. Measure B ends binding arbitration –  safety worker’s unions can no longer bring in a third party negotiator if labor talks are at an impasse.

“The working men and women of the San Luis Obispo City Police and Fire Association are grateful that the special election called by the San Luis Obispo City Council has concluded. While we are disappointed with the results of the election we are grateful that this divisive campaign is now behind us and that we can return all of our focus to providing the best public safety possible to the citizens of San Luis Obispo.

“It is important to note that this special election was brought to you by the members of the San Luis Obispo City Council and that throughout the campaign we remained dedicated to our jobs and committed to providing exemplary public safety,” said Erik Baskin, president of the San Luis Obispo Firefighters Association.



  1. Myself says:

    Comments have been made several times about closing a fire station and laying off employes, I really doubt that is going to happen, the State of Ca has set rules of what goes on, such as response times, if there is a station in a certain part of town its because it has to be there for a set response time, so just for instance say that Laguna was closed Broad street couldn’t get there in the alloted response time, its that simple, as far as cutting personal the same has applied the state has mandated how many people will run on a truck or squad and for what reason, unfortunality this is why $300,000 fire trucks run out to assist a fall incident, there isn’t enough personal to go on just a squad unit alone so other paramedics have to roll to assist, taking an engine with them in case of a fire, so that they can respond from where they are at. My thoughts would be to leave that $300,000 engine in the station where it belongs, to be used for fire, and with some cuts, maybe more personal could be hired to run on a medical call in a unit that is cheaper to replace and faster to get around that a fire engine,m this could be a win win for everyone involved.

    (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
    • Bugcatcher says:


      You have a good point, the fire service in general has gotten out of hand with the “bigger is better” concept for fire engines and ladder trucks (referred to as pavement queens or princesses, because they weigh to much). Approximately 80% of the FD’s calls for service could / can be handled with what is classified as a “light engine”. It is a rescue squad / truck that also has the capability to pump water from a small water tank. This unit can be used on small initial attack fires (oufit with breathing apparatus), medical aids (staff with FF paramedics or EMT’s depending on level of service), traffic accidents (have JAWS of Life on board) public service requests, etc. There is alot less maintanence costs and the life span of these multi-thousand dollar fire engines to million dollar ladder trucks would certainly be extended.

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  2. standup says:

    “We can return our focus on providing great service………”. Right. We can have our firemen beat the crap out of the public and get away with it. We can have our off duty cops follow people onto private property and beat the crap out of them. We can have our cops fake back pain and entrap medical marijuana providers then raid people homes and abuse children and kill dogs. I don’t know if I like their brand of great service.

    (5) 19 Total Votes - 12 up - 7 down
  3. WiseGuy says:

    Andrew Carter for Governor!

    Finally a local politician that Republicans and Democrats can come together and support.

    As for the police and fire personnel, they can thank Rush Limbaugh, Beck, Fox News, etc. for breeding the contempt for government that pushed this defeat into landslide territory. The tea party is disgusted with law enforcement along with anyone who has ever smoked pot, or been the victim of all-too common police abuse and arrogance and the poor training and screening that is endemic in modern law enforcement.

    There are plenty of good cops, and most firefighters are respectable, well-liked people, but they too often follow a morally corrupt code in protecting “their own” even when “their own” is screwing up royally.

    (1) 21 Total Votes - 11 up - 10 down
    • SLORider says:

      Oh, stop it. San Luis Obispo isn’t 72.67% tea party. Post a rational comment.

      Plenty of Libertarian tea party types oppose police abuse and support legalization of pot along with other freedoms that you abhor.

      Oh look–Here’s a post on the “Christian Tea Party” web site that refutes everything you assert:

      Another one about a Tea Partier supporting legalization at a Glen Beck rally:

      “Gary Johnson…took the podium at Glenn Beck’s 9/12 rally to talk up economic issues. He warmed up the crowd of tea partiers with tales of how he’d fended off unnecessary state spending through liberal use of the veto stamp, and how he’d boosted educational competition through charter schools. Then Johnson dropped a bomb. “Half of what we spend on law enforcement, the courts, and the prisons is drug related,” he proclaimed. “I suggest that legalizing marijuana will make this country a better place.””

      (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
      • WiseGuy says:

        Forgive me. My phrasing was confusing. What I meant is that both the Tea Partiers AND pot smokers have a beef with government. I didn’t mean that tea partiers are against pot. (Far from it, as so many seem to be “on” something.)

        Also, I didn ‘t write that 72 percent of SLO was tea party. I meant that it was the tea party that BOOSTED the win into landslide territory.

        Lots of factors went into this landslide result. But the constant criticism of government by the extreme right wing windbags on radio and Fox etc. certainly is a factor in adding to the contempt that so many in public have for law enforcement., right or wrong.

        The point being that its now ironic that the right wing has a large faction that is critical of law enforcement in ways that the right wing traditional has not been. There’s been a big change, and that I attribute, in part, to the right wing extremists . They are the ones fueling the general contempt for government workers, including police and fire. And the fact that law enforcement leaders continue to want to maintain the non-sensical, expensive war on pot is what has shot law enforcement in the foot.

        Funny how law enforcement has more to fear from the right wing than the left these days. An d that truly is attributable to the tea party and the right wing media blow hards like LImbaugh, Beck, etc.

        (-4) 6 Total Votes - 1 up - 5 down
        • bobfromsanluis says:

          Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner …. Let’s remember back a few years, okay? How many disgruntled left wingers showed up at rallies with firearms strapped onto their bodies as a protest of intrusive the government supposedly is while George W. Bush was president? Surely most of you remember the “patriots” who showed up strapped on after Barack Obama was elected to show that they weren’t going to let the federal government “take away their guns”, which is total nonsense anyway. The point is, it is usually the ring wing extremists who are more of a danger due to their affinity for firearms and talk about “jack-booted government thugs”. The impact of the Tea Party is magnified by the media for a couple of reasons; the media loves to show Tea Party gatherings since they try to paint them as “ordinary citizens” who are fed up with too much government, but in reality the media is pushing the meme that government oversight is too intrusive, takes away the ability for huge corporations to make excessive profits (which the media companies are, huge corporations) and protest against government intrusion into health care matters when it benefits the huge corporations in the health care insurance field, and on and on. What people who believe in the message of the Tea Party do not realize is that they are being played by the corporations to work against their own best self interests. I truly wish some of them would see that and wake up.

          (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  4. willie says:

    We voted for binding arbitration because we care for Safety Officers.
    We unvoted it because of the reality of the financial chrisis.
    We will be watchful for vindictive behavior now that their true colors shows.

    (16) 26 Total Votes - 21 up - 5 down
  5. SLOly_decaying says:

    How are the fire ladies going to afford brand new 2011 Lifted Diesels and new wake boarding boats now? Black Firefighters carrying babies out of burning buildings… knives in backs… billboards… boycotts… it is all quite comical. These goons could be replaced OVERNIGHT. There’d be a line of truck-washers around the block for HALF of what these guys get paid. I wonder if Kennedy is going to have to bump the discounts they get on gym memberships now that they are going to be “poor”. Here’s an idea fire-babies… Go back to Cuesta… and ACTUALLY finish this time. Also, no more knockout punches in bathrooms, someone making 1/5th of your wages winds up cleaning up the mess. Then cops making 2x your wages have to delay for 5 days before they “arrest” you.

    (16) 24 Total Votes - 20 up - 4 down
  6. Kidholm says:


    Your arrogance and narcissim is astounding! You give the impression that firefighters are some kind of annointed, modern-day super heroes that will permit mayhem and anarchy to ravage our community if we don’t offer an acceptable sacrifice. It’s just laughable!

    The fact is, you are very well compensated and extremely fortunate not to be subject to free market competition. Let’s say tomorrow fire departments were privatized and firefighters were paid $20/hr with no benefits. What are you going to do, quit? What else are you qualified to do with your high school diploma, paramedic certificate and fire science course? You could be an ER clerk/tech for $9/hr or mow lawns -that is, IF you could find an opening. How long do you think you FF job would go unfilled, particularly in this economy? Really, Jo, be thankful for what you have. You are far more fortunate than you realize.

    (25) 37 Total Votes - 31 up - 6 down
    • slojo says:


      For the last time, I am NOT a firefighter or a cop or a nurse or a teacher. Narcissistic? Maybe a little….but aren’t we all?

      This is the beginning of something very bad. We will now all have to sit back and watch the city council cut cops and firefighters from your streets and there is not a DAMN thing you can do about it. They will take paramedics off duty and they will shut down a station. You as citizens think “oh no, we won’t let them do that”….well guess what? You just did.

      (-26) 50 Total Votes - 12 up - 38 down
      • Kidholm says:


        You, as well as your doomsday touting brethren, are incorrect in your assertion that “lives will be lost” by scaling down paramedic support. The fact is, the scientific literature has never found any difference in survival-to-hospital-discharge in pre hospital care delivered by EMTs with AED’s and bag mask skills than with paramedics.

        “This review of the scientific vacuum of EMS suggests that for most patients, reassurance and transport is the only important intervention EMS can provide. Those who promote EMS as “saving lives” will invariably create unrealistic expectations, because there will always be relatively few patients in whom a simple intervention applied in a 15 minute time interval will dramatically change outcome. The emphasis on lifesaving is mostly related to the historical focus on cardiac arrest and major trauma, and has distorted our vision. The majority of EMS patients have far more chronic, complex problems that are not amenable to a quick simple fix in the field. We cannot deliver on the promise of ‘saving lives.'”

        – Quantifying the Scanty Science of Prehospital Emergency Care. M.Callahn. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 12.97 30:6

        (13) 25 Total Votes - 19 up - 6 down
        • slojo says:

          Tell that to all the people who’s lives have been saved by SLOFD.

          (-16) 28 Total Votes - 6 up - 22 down
          • Kidholm says:

            How would you know how many lives have been saved, as you are not a firefighter and have nothing to do with firefghters, or so you say?

            (20) 30 Total Votes - 25 up - 5 down
      • Crusader says:

        You were a lying shill on behalf of the bargaining units throughout this entire process — no matter what you do for a living. You should be ashamed of yourself.

        (8) 22 Total Votes - 15 up - 7 down
      • Crusader says:

        You were a lying shill on behalf of the bargaining units throughout this entire process — no matter what you do for a living. You should be ashamed of yourself.

        You’re still lying. When the city was handcuffed with binding arbitration, all it could do was cut positions to reduce costs. Now it has at least a chance of reducing bloated compensation levels. In other words, and let me type this very slowly for you, the absence of binding arbitration could well serve to maintain current staffing levels. Do you get that or are you going to continue to shill for the unions?

        (12) 24 Total Votes - 18 up - 6 down
        • slojo says:

          Do you have any other words to call me besides “shill” It’s getting old.

          Let me type this slowly for you… are a complete idiot. Carter is going to cut staffing and close a fire station so he can install astroturf at Damon Garcia park.

          (-16) 32 Total Votes - 8 up - 24 down
          • Crusader says:

            You’re simply continuing to lie. You’re trying to use hyperbole and emotion to antagonize people and it’s become mighty offensive. If SLO was still handcuffed by BA, the only solution to reduce costs within fire safety would have been to terminate the employment of FFs. Now the SLO City Council at least has the opportunity to reduce horridly bloated compensation packages. I personally hope the biggest cuts come with the SLOPD.

            It seems to me that once people get past your lies that you feel either taxpayers should pay more or something else of comparable cost should be cut. Not this time. If the SLO City Public Safety employees weren’t overpaid thing might be different, but they are. It’s their turn to take a giant bite out of the crap sandwich many people have been living on now for more than a decade.

            (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
            • slojo says:

              I’m not lying, you just don’t want to hear the truth. The cops and firefighters said they would take their portion of the “crap sandwich”. That’s not the issue. The issue is staffing which has a direct affect on the public’s safety. And yes, believe me when I say having binding arbitration protected staffing levels. Now that it’s gone, they are not going to cut wages and hire more people. They are going to cut wages (fine) and people and the citizens will suffer.

              (-4) 8 Total Votes - 2 up - 6 down
              • NorCoMod says:


                At this point I think it’s obvious that 75% of SLO is willing to give it a shot without binding arbitration and see if staffing levels are truely affected.

                So far all of this has played out like the handing out of pink slips to junior teachers every spring and come fall they’re mostly all back at work. Tons of drama but mostly much ado about nothing.

                (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
      • unclebeerman says:

        “This is the beginning of something very bad. We will now all have to sit back and watch the city council cut cops and firefighters from your streets and there is not a DAMN thing you can do about it. They will take paramedics off duty and they will shut down a station.”

        Really? Most cities don’t have binding arbitration. They seem to do just fine. Yes, there is a DAMN thing that can be done if city council strips the departments & the needs of the city aren’t met. You vote them out.

        (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
        • slojo says:

          And what will voting them out do?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          (-5) 5 Total Votes - 0 up - 5 down

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