Saturday, December 2, 2017

Why Is The Sierra Madre Volunteer Fire Fighters' Association Still Soliciting For Donations?

Per all of the accounts I have seen the City of Sierra Madre no longer has a volunteer fire department. It is quite officially now a thing of the past. The Fire Department was having some serious difficulty attracting folks who were willing to do the gig for free, so much so that it was becoming a potential safety hazard for the residents here. The sad fact was nobody wanted to do that job anymore. Here is how this was described on the City of Sierra Madre website during the run-up to the SMVFD's demise (link).

The City Council will have to carefully consider the future of Sierra Madre’s fire service. The current structure of the City’s Fire Department requires review to ensure that it is safe and sustainable. Sierra Madre has a long and proud tradition of relying on volunteer firefighters and paramedics to augment the City’s fire service.  Over time, we have shifted to a hybrid force, with some full- and part-time paid personnel and some volunteers.  Changes in State regulations governing the certification of fire fighters means that volunteers must receive the same training as full time staff.  Once trained, these volunteers quickly find paid employment in other communities, and we cannot offer them similar opportunities.  This means that we can no longer attract and sustain enough volunteer participation to ensure that our Fire Department is always fully staffed and ready to respond to emergencies.

Obviously when that bit of woe was written earlier this year the end was near. Then, in an October 4, 2017 article titled "After nearly 100 years, Sierra Madre gets all-full-time fire department," the Pasadena Star News (link) described the final passing of the last volunteer fire department in Los Angeles County this way.


Which leads us to the this. Earlier in the week a resident had forwarded me the following solicitation for money from an organization called the Sierra Madre Volunteer Fire Fighters' Association. Not necessarily averse to charitable giving during the Christmas holiday season, the resident still wondered why a volunteer fire department that no longer existed might still be asking for money.

Here is what I was forwarded:


It is always important that any organization soliciting donations for charity operate in the most ethical and upright of ways. And doing so in the name of a volunteer public service organization that no longer exists doesn't quite rise to that standard.

Hopefully someone can explain this and set our minds at ease.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

81 comments:

  1. My first guess is that word has gotten around that Sierra Madre is a soft touch for any cause to give money too?

    ReplyDelete
  2. What explanation is needed? Even tho the SMFD is no longer the SMVFD the good work that they do will continue. The mailer says it all. They help finance programs in town like movies and concerts in the park, Huck Finn Derby and the Christmas Eve visit from Santa along with the Annual Easter Egg Hunt. They will continue to sponsor local youth athletic teams and assist those in the community that need help. They will continue visiting City of Hope where they give presents and joy to sick and dying children. In case you wonder I am not a member of the Fire Department but have been aware of the good work they do. A firefighter is a different breed that study and practice the skills that save lives and property. They don't hurt people they help people. Thank you Mr.Tattler for bringing this fine organization to the lime light for all of us citizens to remember the good work they do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What percentage of their money will go towards their political activities? Sure they do some charitable work. But so does the state prison guard Union. They are the most powerful union in the state and use most of their money to support their agenda which includes making them some of the highest paid "public servants" in the state.

      Delete
    2. This association campaigned loud and long to turn the volunteer force into a paid service. They were all over Sierra Madre's many Facebook pages. This smacks of union fund raising to me, and under false pretenses.

      Delete
    3. The public employee unions have thought this all out. They realize the money they make, the pensions they get, and the early retirement ages are obscene. Most of us taxpayers are paying more in taxes, working longer hours, retiring at a later age and actually receiving less city services in order to pay our "public servants" more and more. So the unions figured out a public relations campaign. They sat around a table and said: "Let's sponsor the Huck Finn Derby, the sports teams and the pancake breakfast with all the money we are making. In fact, we don't have to even take it out of our salaries. We can use some of the donation money we receive for those worthy causes and the rest we can use to bankroll the campaigns of those City Council candidates who will vote to keep increasing our salaries." Pretty clever unless the residents see through it. And keep in mind that we are the ones paying for any of these good deeds as well as financing the very campaigns that increase our taxis and diminish other city services. All unions are following the same playbook now because they recognize the public is finally waking up to the fact that they are being fleeced. Hopefully they wake up before the city itself goes bankrupt.

      Delete
    4. What's this "they will continue to sponsor...." We are paying for it. We pay their salaries and we make the donations.

      Delete
    5. Where do they get the time to do all the things 6:38 talks about? Something is wrong when firefighters become philanthropists. Nothing wrong with that except when your full time job is supposed to be fighting fires.

      Delete
  3. It looks like fraud to me. They don't exist anymore. Plus all the money is not going to charity. The letter itself states that some of the money will be used to "sustain" the Volunteer Firefighters Association. Why do we want to sustain an organization that no longer exists. All of these "Associations" are actually unions but they don't want to use that name because it has a bad taste for many people so they call themselves "Associations". Unfortunately, all of these Aasociations use their money in a big way to influence elections and try to elect City Council members who will promote the pro-union agenda of higher taxes to support the lavish and unsustainable salaries, benefits and pensions of the firefighter union members. Granted, we may have needed better fire protection but now we add one more public employee union to Sierra Madte that will be meddling in elections and agitating for their members at the expense of the taxpayer. Sorry but I won't be making a contribution.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think that by continuing to use the name "volunteer" it makes the act of giving more easily done. They are volunteers, they give to the community, so therefore you need to give back. However, Sierra Madre's fire department no longer is a volunteer force. They need to change the name of this effort. Does anyone know who runs it?

    ReplyDelete
  5. 6 AM, this is not a TAX, this is charity at it's best, helping those who need help.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How about you actually do some journalism and find out what they use the money for instead of this asinine muckraking you engage in. You know those movies in the park? Guess who pays for it and how? Amongst other philanthropic things.
    You have zero integrity and your pathetic excuse for journalism is nothing but an insindiary click bait tool that panders to the least common denominator. You tear down this commmnunity and you don’t even live here. Get a life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, OK. But you did get up early to read it.

      Delete
    2. 6:46, “ tear down the community”, say what? Guess someone questioning anything in a city is too confrontational for your Pollyanna world. Maybe better to spend your day at make believe Disneyland where you’ll feel safe.

      Delete
    3. Tearing down this community is usually the exclusive right of its city government.

      Delete
    4. 6:46 says the firefighters union is paying for it. No we are paying for it. All their money comes from the taxpayer. They made a very calculated decision to improve their image while we pay their exorbitant salaries, pensions and benefits. Don't fall for it. The union bosses thought up the PR campaign and all the unions do it and they all send out these solicitation letters for more money most of which is used for their lobbying efforts. Look up the numbers of who the biggest donors are to Democratic campaigns. Less than 1 percent goes to any Republican candidates because Republicans tend to not like a big government ruling over the citizens.

      Delete
    5. That's right. Their solicitation letters make no mention of the fact that some of your donated money will be used to influence elections that will inevitably result in tax increases for those making the donation as well as every other resident in Sierra Madre. That probably wouldn't be a very effective letter so they say things like the Huck Finn Derby, feeding the hungry and sponsoring sports teams. People need to wake up and be smarter than the unions.

      Delete
    6. Can any of you hobbits prove your damning accusations? How about just one circumstantial piece of evidence? No? Well I guess you should continue to demean them and their exorbitant salaries of $15/ hour for saving your ungrateful ass. But don’t say anything about the librarian and her 150k salary.

      Delete
  7. 501(x3) still works for tax free organizations, regardless of their name.
    The monetary donations for Sierra Madre children and out reach continues on.
    The volunteering was no longer an option when the Fire Department pushed to become Mutual Aid.
    When the Council voted for the first paid Freighter back about ten years ago, that signaled the end of Volunteers.
    No Holiday Grinch's need to be concerned about opening their pocketbooks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What would have been wrong with using the name of the fire department for this letter? Instead of a volunteer fire department that no longer exists?

      Delete
    2. The association still exists

      Delete
    3. Because "volunteer" sounds better and people tend to want to compensate the volunteer more than people who are already getting paid. They can't have it both ways.

      Delete
  8. Don't forget that the Sierra Madre Fire Department helps train and sponsor our CERT members. CERT is an acronym for Community Emergency Response Team. In a major disaster these trained local citizens respond in the community to lend a hand where it is needed. These are you neighbors who have volunteered to learn and practice their skills that save lives. They work directly with the Fire Department and City Hall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are the Sierra Madre Volunteer Fire Fighters' Association and the Sierra Madre Fire Department the same thing?

      Delete
    2. No one denies they do good things 6:56. It's only that they are grossly overcompensated for fighting an occasional fire. It even got to the point where the fire trucks were required to roll out on every call including for non- fires just because they needed to have people see a fire truck occasionally and hear a siren.

      Delete
    3. $15 an hour is grossly overpaid? Have you even read the council resolution?

      Delete
  9. WOW, 6:46 got up on the wrong side of the bed, what hate that person has. I feel sorry for someone with that much hate, hope he doesn't own a gun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Better send the kids to grandma's house.

      Delete
    2. "If you don't like The Tattler, then don't read it."

      Delete
  10. 6:40, the all paid fire department just started December 1.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you work for free and give up your weekends for training? I think not.

      Delete
    2. I didn't volunteer either 9:27. I suppose the all volunteer Sierra Madre Search and Rescue should get paid too. They have done it all these years because they love it. The same way the all volunteer fire department used to feel about it.

      Delete
  11. Was their a nerve hit at 6:46 am this morning? Remember folks, where there is smoke there is FIRE and smoke should always be investigated sine what is burning might be all that money collected under false or misleading advertisement? If you see something say something to correct so many illegal activities taking place in city hall.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think The Tattler has done a good job of bringing a subject to the public's eye of what good the Fire Department does. Journalism is designed to inform the public of whats going on in the community and this article sure got a rise out of some of you. Some people just look for any reason to spew hate where ever they go. Mr. 6:46, get a life and learn to love and not hate.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 6:40 & 6:46 must be the same Grinch of Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 7:19, please don’t use the word Christmas, many may find it offensive. All references to this religious event are best if using “Winter Holiday” instead.
      Thank you !

      Delete
    2. The Community Christmas Tree is handing out identity preference holiday theme survey postcards today. Let the tree know how you self-identify.

      Delete
  14. Certain people are getting very defensive here which sets off alarm bells for me. I only give to charities where 90 percent of the money goes towards directly benefiting those being helped. I don't give to charities where 10 percent goes towards directly benefiting those being helped and 90 percent goes towards administrative costs i.e. salaries and for political activities. Every charity does some good. But no one should be afraid to tell how the money we donate is being allocated. To put it another way, if the firefighters union spends $1,000 on the Huck Finn Derby but also spend $10,000 to elect John Smith to the City Council who pledges to increase the UUT tax on every resident in Sierra Madre so that the firefighters union gets a salary increase and gets to retire at 45 with a $200,000 pension for life, then I become reluctant to make a donation. Understand now?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I suspect that 6:46 is a member of the firefighters union. That's what happens when volunteers start getting paid and now want what other public employees have. There's a lot at stake for them when they can retire as young as 50 with a lifetime six figure pension. Unions rarely tell you where all the money goes that people are duped into donating. They do list things like the pancake breakfast or feeding hungry kids but that's always a very small percentage of the money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Public employee unions spend a lot of money on city council candidates that once elected will give them money. John Harabedian is a candidate that received a lot of public employee union support. Are you convinced that he has worked for you?

      Delete
    2. I’m not a fireman, Nor am I one to stand by when uninformed trolls level accusations at upstanding citizens who work hard and receive very little in return. You are guaranteed freedom of speech, when truth is involved. But you are not spreading truth, nor citing facts, just what you think. If you attached your name to this nonsense, you would be liable for slander. But being that this is all anonymous,it’s ok right? No need to take responsibility for ones actions or words when there is no consequence.

      Delete
  16. Are you people serious. I’m throwing hate because I called out the lack of integrity in tearing down a philanthropic organization with zero (0) facts, just jaded assumptions. I would say you should be ashamed of yourselves but that would be a fools errand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? You do seem qualified.

      Delete
    2. So the firefighters union is now a philanthropic organization! I thought I'm paying them to put out fires. I guess they have too much time on their hands and this proves it.

      Delete
    3. 7:33, didn’t Mummy and Dada get you to Disneyland yet?

      Delete
    4. He should go. If only to forget his problems for a little while.

      Delete
    5. I don’t want anyone choosing to ‘throw hate’ working as a firefighter. Find another retirement plan

      Delete
    6. I’m not a firefighter.
      By the way, anybody here know what they get paid in Sierra Madre? Facts only please.

      Delete
  17. Repubs just passed two versions of back-dealing tax scribbles for Drump's signature (this is all illegal, by the way). Nobody knows what's in the things (including those that voted for it) except for the giveaway of public money to the corporations, and that these charities will no longer be a middle-class tax deduction. Expect the stock market to soar, and then come crashing down bigtime when the whole corporate scheme unravels and the carney barker and his flunkies are impeached.

    ReplyDelete
  18. CERT isn't under the Sierra Madre Police Department?
    When did training under the Fire Department begin.
    I assumed the County or State sponsored all the volunteer training hours inorder to be properly certified.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SM CERT is not trained by the SMVFD. For the for the first two sessions +/- 10 years ago the training was provided by LA Co FD. City administrator gave zero support towards seeing that the SMVFD assisted then CERT organizers Mike Kenny, Gary Hood and Caroline Brown. A trainer now comes from Altadena CERT and the last session had 55 people sign up--some for the entire session and some to make up lectures missed at other venues. SMCERT is under city fire department as their lead but there has been minimal support. Maybe that will change with new City Manager. In the North Bay Fire Complex, Santa Rosa CA etc. it was observed by some that everyone should be CERT trained.

      Delete
  19. Governor Jerry Brown and the Prison Guard Union have created the mess that California is in.
    This will be a drop in the bucket compaired to who are on the ballot for the upcoming Governor's election. Maybe California should be it's own state; a state of disarray.

    ReplyDelete
  20. 7:02am. Whats with your gun fetish? Just take your meds and every thing will be alright.
    Hatred does not need any weapon but for your soul to be afflicted, confused, twisted by other angry hateful agitator's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go worship at the community tree and do your penance

      Delete
    2. There will be interpretative tree dance lessons at Kersting next Saturday at noon. "Sway In the Breeze" and El Niño Wind Dance" will be the themes we are working with. Do plan to attend.

      Delete
    3. I tried the El Niño Wind Dance once. It is very demanding. My back still hurts me a little.

      Delete
  21. Hooray the Tax Cut Bill passed.
    Nothing illegal about moving the economy ahead; unless you are referring to the Obama Healthcare Bill that passed in the same way.
    No bi partisan votes.
    That is not illegal, just immature and coddled politicians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a tax hike on the lower and middle class. The GOP just committed political suicide in order to pay off their big campaign donors. Have a nice trip off the cliff, lemming.

      Delete
    2. Indeed- Adding a trillion $ in debt is sure moving the economy forward.. over the cliff

      Delete
    3. 12:44 That's the idea behind GOP economies.

      Take money from the middle class and give it to the rich, create an enormous economic bubble, then when the bubble collapses, buy all the assets cheaply. Once the newly elected democrats get the economy rolling again, convince lazy red state whites who refuse to educate themselves that the poor are their problem, elect GOP demagogues who really screw them, and repeat the process.

      Lather, rinse, repeat.

      Delete
    4. That’s what the bush2 cronies did. And the whole system went bust

      And so many impoverished fools voted for them again republican again

      Delete
  22. 7:33am. Are you the individual in charge of the "new way" this City will be conducting future elections?
    Talk about a sham and hidden agenda's stacked in favor of City Hall.

    ReplyDelete
  23. 9:04am. What? the tax cuts just limited the amount of Government freebies you get?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My, what a nasty liar you are.

      Delete
  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Sorry Arcadia neighbors for putting out our Christmas display items in our yard. Hopefully the time your kids paid attention to them as your hurriedly drove by didn’t distract their studying in the car and lower their SAT score. I’m sorry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No true Christian would waste time thinking or whining passive aggressively like this

      Delete
  26. Workers are are often named by the work they perform. So called firefighters should be called TV watchers, diners, or nappers depending on the time of day. They call the supervisors of 2 people "Captain?" I thought Captains are in charge of floating cities, like aircraft carriers worth billions of dollars staffed with 5,000 people.

    They do nothing most of the time and get 3% per year "safety employee" retirements even though it's probably more dangerous being an Uber driver. They get the same 3% that police get even though the constant driving policing entails makes it riskier, not to mention the far greater risk that comes with all the knuckleheads police encounter every day. Quite a racket considering that volunteers put out fires across the country. Heck, even prisoners help put out the more risk-laden forest fires.

    People complain about the salaries of government office workers who are actually working all day. Why not have "firefighters" do actual work that benefits the city throughout their shifts?

    And please spare us the statistics padded with their dramatic appearances at fender benders. The stats should show actual fires fought per month with paramedic call stats separately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Firemen are the biggest abuser of Workmanship Cop. On or off the job injuries are claimed as training accidents. Such a scam

      Delete
  27. Remember: they are the First Responders (even if it’s a fender bender). So, they deserve the incredible pay. Check this website for a typical Joe Blow Firefighter I salary:
    https://transparentcalifornia.com

    Don’t read a typical small city Fire Chief salary (such as Arcadia) or you may be dialing 911 soon due to cardiac arrest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it’s a fender bender and there’s no fire why should the fire department respond? They must bill someone for their time

      Delete
  28. If you go to guidestar.com you get all the info you need. What’s interesting is the president of the association was at one point the owner of only place in town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. incorrect on my part. THey share the last name but not the same person.

      Delete
  29. Ok so apparently there are some questions that need to be answered.....I will try and answer as much as I can and remember based on previous comments.

    For the record, the Sierra Madre Volunteer Firefighters' Association and the Sierra Madre Fire Department are two very different entities. The later is an arm of the City of Sierra Madre SERVING the community of Sierra Madre since 1921. Doing so safely and effectively. The fact that the department needs to go full time is because there are no longer people willing to volunteer for these positions as there are many of these positions on paid departments available. As for the First SMVFA, it is a 501c3 non profit corporation founded by members of the Fire Department years ago as means to accept donations that can then be dispersed to those in need within our community and surrounding. NONE OF THE MONEY RECEIVED EVER GOES TO TRADITIONAL ASSOCIATION BUSINESS (we are not a Union)....ie campaigning or in any way involved with politics and elections. This goes agains our bylaws and is not anything we as an association engage in. We are strictly a philanthropic organization.

    As the previous person somewhat eluded to and then took back, the Current co-owner of The Only Place in Town is indeed the president of the Sierra Madre Volunteer Firefighters' Association and I am also a current Engineer with the department and have served in the department for 10 years. Also I am not sure why that is interesting as the previous anonymous person said.....

    I welcome anyone who would like to know the truth about the association to come and talk to me. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    The members of the department have served this community well over the years and do not deserve any of these negative comments by those out to destroy what many in this town have benefited from.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How does a discussion about the validity of your fund raising efforts under the name off an organization that no longer exists destroy anything? Aren't you simply telling g people to shut up here? And if anyone has destroyed something valuable in this town it is the gentleman who owns the Only Place In Town.

      Delete
    2. 12:47 - If you would like people to come and speak to you can we at least have your name? You allude to Wm. Kefales in your comments. Why is his name not on this document? Are you telling the truth?
      http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/954/954380070/954380070_200312_990.pdf

      Delete
  30. To Moderator.....or should I say Instigator? It seems you are more interested in starting trouble than reporting facts. I'm not sure how I alluded to Wm Kefalas in anything I said in my previous post but as I said I am the Co-owner of The Only Place in Town along with my brother Wm Kefalas or William Kefalas with whom we all know you have a big problem with beacuse of his destruction of a so called historic home.

    My name is Michael Kefalas and I can be found most days working at The Only Place in Town. If you're interested in the truth, come by and see me so we may have a conversation and maybe I can deliver the FACTS to you rather than your typical making them up as you go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sierra Madre no longer has a Volunteer Fire Department. You need to come up with a new name, Gun Bunny.

      Delete

The Tattler is a moderated blog. Annoying delays when posting comments can happen. Thank you for your patience and understanding.