Letters to the Editor

Controlling Our Taxes Going To MOFD
    By the time this letter is posted, a petition with over 1,000 signatures will have been presented to MOFD Director Greg Baitx and the entire MOFD Board demanding that Baitx recuse himself from the firefighter wage and benefit contract talks and vote because of a serious conflict of interest. 
    His conflict of interest is obvious (see www.orindaroadfacts.info/mofd-recusal-petition for a summary). Two other Directors also have a conflict (major underwriting of their campaigns by the employees’ union – see www.orindaroadfacts.info/other), but if they all recused themselves, there would not be a quorum of the board to agree to a contract. If only Baitx recuses himself, then the independent directors (Jorgens and Jex) will be on an equal footing with the union-affiliated directors (Danziger and Donner) and the communities best interests can be served.
    The real story, though, is how Orinda and Moraga have given up or lost control of 29 million tax dollars, annually dedicated to emergency services. How a small group of municipal employees, whose services we appreciate and require, can take over our independent “fire” department. This needs to be understood by the community.
    The City of Orinda and Town of Moraga need to separately and jointly rectify this loss of control. They first need to understand (by creating standing committees/commissions) what services we are receiving from MOFD and what we are paying for them; and then they need to make sure we are getting the services we want and need and are paying for (but not receiving).
    Individuals cannot do this alone. The cities need to act on our behalf to ensure our well-being. That’s the whole purpose of representative democracy.
    – Steve Cohn