Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

NO on FF Campaign – It is a matter of life and death

Congresswoman Judy Chu, Former Assemblyman Mike Eng Join Monterey Park’s No County Fire Effort

Congresswoman Judy Chu has endorsed the “No on County Fire” effort in Monterey Park.  She joined a citizens No County Fire rally in downtown Monterey Park June 1. “We’ve already voted on this,” she said. “Why do we have to do it again?”

That was a reference to a 1998 firefighter initiative similar to Measure FF, which will be before Monterey Park voters July 2, 2013.  Despite being outspent 9 to 1 by the firefighters on that campaign, the residents stopped the effort to allow the firefighters to go county with 67% of the vote.

Former Assemblyman and Los Angeles Community College Trustee-Elect Mike Eng also attended the rally and threw his support behind the “NO” campaign.

Chu and Eng, Monterey Park residents, join the majority of the Monterey Park City Council in opposing FF. No local office holder has come out publicly in support of FF, which, if passed, would turn over the city’s fire department to Los Angeles County.   In addition, the Monterey Park Police Officers Association and the General Employees of Monterey Park SEIU 721 oppose the measure.



Congressmember Judy Chu, Board of Trustee Mike Eng, Monterey Park Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Wong, Councilmember Hans Liang, Councilmember Peter Chan, former Mayor Rita Valenzuela, Alhambra School Boardmember Bob Gin, Garvey School Boardmember Henry Lo, former Mayor David Lau, former Mayor Francisco Alonso, members of the Concerned Citizens of Monterey Park, residents, members of the Monterey Park Police Officers Association and members of SEIU 721 attended several rallies on May 10, May 30 and June 1 to educate the residents on Measure FF.

This Measure FF if approved would command our City Council to give our city fire department to Los Angeles County at any price.

Currently Measure J allows the voters to determine the fate of our fire and police departments.   This measure requires the same or better service, the same or better response times, the same or better equipment and no additional financial burden to the city They cannot be given away without a study of the costs, response times and financial history of this merger.

The study has been completed by ESCI that fails to meet our current standards of the same response times and the same number of service personnel. The annual costs have yet to be determined and the estimated costs of this merger exceed $2.5 million dollars.

The voters will determine on July 2 if they want to lose their Advanced Life Support Paramedic Ambulance Service, our fire trucks and equipment and local control over our budget.


Members of the Concerned Citizens held a fundraiser on May 10 at Ocean Star Restaurant to raise funds to defeat Measure FF that would cripple Monterey Park.

Terry De Wolfe and Stephen Lam addressed their concerns in English and Chinese to the guests. This merger would not benefit the residents and employees of our city.


SEIU 721 President Chris Reyes, Police Officers Paul Villalobos, Bing Han and Bob Hung agreed that this merger with the county would not benefit the residents, as we would have fewer firefighters on duty that would reduce our response times to an emergency.  We would lose our Advanced Life Support Paramedic Ambulances. This is not a good roll of the dice. It will affect our parks, streets, library and city hall. Monterey Park had a budget shortfall and had already laid off some general employees over the last two years. We do not want to reduce our budget by merging with the county. Keep our fire department in town. The police officers in Monterey Park will not get raises and could be laid off. Currently there are frozen positions in their department. They are very worried about the city losing our fire department.

Mr. De Wolfe spoke about how the firefighter lied to the residents to get them to sign their petition. They placed tables 100 feet from the polling places in November and asked people to sign their paper work. Some residents believed that they had to sign their petition as part of the voting process. The firefighters have told so many lies to the residents just to get their required number of signatures on the petition. Now the firefighters are still lying to the resident on this important issue.


Capt. Luka Jazvic, Retired Government Office of Emergency Serves said he retired after 28 years in Los Angeles County. He advised the residents to keep their fire department at home. We need a community-based fire department. He supports keeping our fire department at home.  He supports NO on FF.

Mr. De Wolfe called this a citywide issue to keep our fire department at home. The county fire service is trying to take over all of the independent cities by forcing them to join with the county fire service.


Yukio Kawaratani, who helped to create Measure J in 1999, spoke about the intimidating practices used by the firefighters to gather signatures on their petition. Please do not be intimidated by the firefighters.  Please vote NO on Measure FF to keep our fire department in Monterey Park.


Tilda De Wolfe shared the opinions of several residents from cities contracting with the county.  They said their cities have lost their local control and the county fire service gets paid before the other employees and the county fire union runs their City Councils.  These residents are not happy with the county take over of their hometowns.


David Lau said it is great to see this turnout of supporters. We are concerned with our city and our residents. The county fire department has a deficit of $43 million dollars. Where will they get the money? They will squeeze our citizens for more money and give us slower service. We will lose our Advanced Life Support Paramedic Service. We all need to vote NO on Measure FF on July 2. It is a matter of life and death.  This is our community.


Councilmembers Anthony Wong, Hans Liang and Peter Chan signed off on the Argument against Measure FF.

Mayor Pro Tem Wong addressed the audience in English and Mandarin. We have a good fire department in Monterey Park. We don’t want them to leave us.

Councilmember Liang said we are here tonight to support this cause. This issue is about merging with the county fire service. Please vote NO on FF July 2.

Councilmember Chan said please vote NO to county fire. The firefighters are only doing it for themselves not for our city. We have spent $100,000 for this election.



Cici Lau led the chant “NO on FF” and a dance with several members of the audience.

Bob Gin thanked everyone here tonight for their support. Please vote NO on Measure FF.


Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Wong, Councilmembers Hans Liang and Peter Chan, former Mayor David Lau, former Mayor Francisco Alonso, former City Clerk Dave Barron, members of the Concerned Citizen and residents held rally in front of our Fire Station 1 on May 30.

Members of the local media attended this event and newspaper articles were published in both English and Chinese for the voters.


Elected officials, residents and employees attended a NO on FF rally at Anthony Wong’s office on July 2.

Terry De Wolfe stated we are fortunate to have the support of Congressmember Judy Chu.


Congressmember Judy Chu supports NO on FF. 15 years ago when she was Vice Mayor on the City Council the firefighters tried to take our fire department to the county.  They outspent us 9 to 1. We won by a 2 to 1 margin. The residents spoke loud and clear then. Now we must go through it again. We can’t lose our paramedic ambulance service. Our paramedics know our needs. Every second counts. We can’t lose our fire department. We will never get it back. We can’t lose control of our budget to the county. They will raise our fees 5.5% per year. This will cost us a lot of money. The residents need to come together. Members of the SEIU and MPPOA support NO on FF. It is a matter of life and death. We need to vote NO on FF.

Members of the Monterey Park Police Officers Association support NO on FF. They are against this measure that endanger our residents’ health and city budget.

Mr. De Wolfe reminded everyone that only one firefighters lives in the city and the firefighters are the ones to put this measure on the ballot.


Mayor Pro Tem Wong thanked Judy Chu for her support. Measure FF goes against our budget.  Year to date (2012-2013) there have been 3,344 calls for medical emergencies. Our paramedic response time is 4.36 minutes and our fire response time is 5.12 minutes. We currently have three fire stations with 17 firefighters per shift. If we contract with the county for 10 years they will cut our firefighters staff to 12 members per shift. We will lose $2 million in the first year as well as $1.4 million from our paramedic ambulance services and $400,000 income from building inspections and permits.  The county will raise our fees by 5.5% per year for five years. They will raise our fees by 10% for the next five years to cover their $43 million dollar losses.  It will affect our budget like the contract cities of Pomona, Covina and El Monte. It will cut out the current police and general employees benefits. It will hurt our budget too.


Former Mayor Rita Valenzuela and Councilmember Hans Liang addressed the audience. Councilmember Liang stated we need everyone to vote NO on FF. We have our own fire department. We don’t need to give up our local control. It makes no sense to go county. Former Mayor Valenzuela said she was on the Council 15 years ago. You could lose a job or a car. To lose of life is hurtful. A person can’t afford to wait on a heart attack. You need an ambulance, paramedics and a fire truck as soon as possible. We need to keep our paramedic ambulance service. It is a matter of life. Vote NO to keep home rule.


Chris Reyes from SEIU 721 stated the Monterey Park union and statewide union is 100% behind us. To protect their families they are not afraid of the firefighters unions who are intimidating people. Our firefighters have nothing to lose. They are short 2.5 staff members and earn 1.3% in overtime a year. They want to leave for their own personal issues. It is not about our safety. It is about their salaries and pensions. It is disgraceful the firefighters are only thinking about themselves. The police took a 5% pay cut for two years. The general employees have had staff reductions and furlough days. The firefighters have not been affected at all. We need our control over our fire department.


Alhambra School Boardmember Bob Gin said we are concerned for the safety of the school kids. They come first. He supports NO on Measure FF.

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