Mario Gardea is a third generation Stockton firefighter and president of Stockton Professional Firefighters Local 456.
They are strongly endorsing Kevin Lincoln for Stockton Mayor. The below written answers to our questions were provided to us by President Mario Gardea on behalf of his membership.
Didn’t your Union support Mayor Tubbs during the last election? Why the reversal?
Yes we supported Mayor Tubbs last election as we wanted to see someone eager and motivated to lead Stockton out of bankruptcy and he fit that criteria. The reason for the reversal has to deal with empty promises and lack of following through. Tubbs has met with us in the past to hear our concerns on the state of the fire department. We detailed many issues that needed to be addressed as he and his assistant took notes and requested we email them to his team. To date we have never heard back from Tubbs or his team. We offered solutions to problems that needed his influence to bring in funds for the fire department and they were ignored by him. At a city council meeting he requested the city fund a Standards of Coverage that looks at our delivery model and staffing levels; to date he has not followed through on that as well. We feel his priority is not to improve city services but to enhance his career.
Would you agree there has been a dramatic increase in fires under Mayor Tubbs’ leadership? If yes, what do you think is the reason?
The numbers don’t lie. This Fire Department is on the verge coming unglued due to call volume and retention of firefighters.
There has been a 30% increase in fires in the City of Stockton during his tenure. (*) That’s a huge increase. You can see it every day in this City, and I would have to guess that it primarily has to do with the homeless. We only just started using a new incident reporting system this year, but we have been able to track the responses and call volume as how it relates to homelessness and homeless fires. For instance, Engine 2 is located at Sonora and Commerce. It is in the southern end of the downtown area. It is routinely one of our busiest fire engines. Engine 2’s district includes multiple shelters and countless homeless encampments. Our reporting system has recorded that this year, 50% of Engine 2’s responses has been related to the homeless. Half. Last year they ran over 6,500 emergencies- which is a ridiculous amount. The tax payers are paying for that fuel, maintenance, and other costs. Engine 2 averages 3 to 5 rubbish or homeless fires a day- intentional or unintentional. It’s all very troubling, and under Mayor Tubbs, it has only increased.* Tubbs mayor since 2017. Total calls for some type of fire in 2016: 2,563, in 2019 is 3,393. More than 30% increase.** (https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v20i1_glance.pdf Only 4% of all reported fire department runs were fire related. In Stockton: 51,269 Total Emergencies; 3,393 fire calls= 15.11% or Over 3 Times the National Average).
Compared to other fire stations in the country, are Stockton Fire’s rate of calls for service normal?
Numbers seem to run everything in today’s world, and people can twist them to whatever they want. But you want to know real numbers that you can’t twist? The Stockton Fire Department is literally twice as busy as the national average. Fire department statistics can be hard to come by, but the most reputable source of national figures would be the ‘Firehouse’ annual run survey. They state that the average emergency response apparatus tallies just under 2,000 emergency responses a year in 2019. (*) Stockton Fire apparatus responded to an average of 4,291 emergencies. (**) We have multiple apparatus responding to more than 6,000 emergencies a year. If every department in the nation could offer only their busiest apparatus, Stockton Fire Department’s Engine 9 would be ranked the 6th busiest Fire Engine in the United States. Our rate of calls are wildly beyond normal. In part due to a sharp increase of call volume of the last few years, and partly because of gross cuts to staffing during bankruptcy.* (https://www.firehouse.com/careers-education/document/21138051/national-run-survey-2019-part-1 “They provide the services with 3,375 engine companies, 1,266 ladder companies, 1,730 ambulances and numerous specialized units. They responded to nearly 1.5 million fire calls, nearly 9.5 million EMS calls and approximately 12.5 million total calls in 2019.” 12.5 million total calls divided by 6,371 total units is 1,962).** 64371 emergency responses in 2019 divided by 15 apparatus is a 4,291 response average.*** https://cdn.baseplatform.io/files/base/cygnus/fhc/document/2020/06/NRS_part_2_2019.5ef3a22a0cbd8.pdf
How would you rate Stockton fire’s overall staffing levels?
According to the NFPA, the average number of fire stations a city of our size should have should be 21. (*) 21 Firehouese. We have 12. NFPA recommends 4 firefighters per Fire Engine. We staff 3. Most departments in the nation average 1 firefighter per 1,000 people,** we have 1 firefighter per 6,900 people. But it wasn’t always this way. Our department used to work closely with city administration to stay close to the recommended 1 per 1,000. Our City and Department were both one of the most reputable and respectable in the nation- so much so that Stockton was one of the first 6 ‘Class 1 Cities’ in the nation named by the I.S.O. in 1971. We kept pace with the Class 1 requirements is staffing until shortly before the bankruptcy in 2011, when city officials gutted our resources. We’ve never recovered. Despite a sky-rocketing call volume, we remain at the same staffing we did after the cuts in 2011. In fact, despite our cities population growing exponentially, we have the same number of people on duty a day as we did in the 1970’s. The same staffing as the 1970’s?! It’s insane.* https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Emergency-responders/osFDProfileTables.pdf(page 16 of 27. City of 250k to 499k averages .06 stations per 1k. 350k multiplied by .06 is 21 firehouses).** https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Emergency-responders/osfdprofile.pdf page 4/7. Fire departments protecting communities of 25,000 people or more had median rates of 0.87 to 1.32 career firefighters per 1,000 people. *** 51 firefighters a day divided by an approximation of 350k citizens = 0.1457. This means Stockton has 1 firefighter for approximately every 6,900 citizens.
How many fire stations have remained closed since the bankruptcy?
Stockton Firefighters: Our staffing was cut from 4 on a engine to 3 and 5 on a truck to 4. Fire station 1 on Fresno ave. was closed permanently. The City parked a old fire engine in the bay so that the neighborhood would think it was occupied. That neighborhood and the Port of Stockton must rely on the busiest fire station downtown or all the way from Weston Ranch.
Final question. There is an old fire truck driving around Stockton that has Lincoln for Mayor signs on it. Who owns that truck and who is paying to operate it?
Stockton Firefighters: That’s an important question that I was hoping you might ask. The Fire Department and the Firefighters Union are two different and separate entities. Though both consist of basically the same people, it is important to differentiate the two. When firefighters are on duty, everything they do must be for the city and citizens and they must not act politically. When firefighters are off duty, they can participate in union events and political awareness. This antique tiller truck is owned by the union, and the firefighters on it are off duty and participating in their own free time. Mayor Tubbs supporters tried to act against this and even shut down events that we have participated in. We participated in Stockton Cruise Night with our Union owned antique tiller truck with Kevin Lincoln on board. We where able to cruise down the Miracle Mile ave two times before it was shut down. This event was a outdoor event showcasing the deep car cultural Stockton has to offer. I think Stocktonians are tired of having this Mayor more concerned about hollywood and twitter than our community here in Stockton. I think everyones tired of having absent leadership in our local government, spending more time traveling on the cities dime than addressing the problems people here face. That’s why Stockton Firefighters and all of Stockton Public Safety are supporting Kevin Lincoln for Mayor. Lincoln is already more interested and vested in the community than Tubbs ever was. Lincoln has a plan. Lincoln will be here to live and work in our communities, to better our communities. Stockton Firefighters endorse Kevin Lincoln for Mayor.
To All Government Unions Keep Supporting These Anti-GOD, Anti-America, Anti-Police Liberals In Our Government. Hey, You Get What You Ask.
We Need Biblical Values Government. GOD Bless America and Viva TRUMP 2020
California public employee salaries and pension database https://transparentcalifornia.com/
Mario Gardea is not only NEEDED for the
Stockton Fire Departments success but more importantly for the safety of its residents.
It’s a no-brainer decision who Stockton must have leading its city!