Fire With Fire

Considering how hard she’s been pushing for Measures V and W, former vice mayor Pat Dando might be having second thoughts about her star turn, back in 2000, in some San Jose Fire Fighter’s Union promotional videos. Since June’s primary election, the Chamber of Commerce chief has been outspoken about public employee cost-cutting. Now she’s at the forefront of the campaign to repeal binding arbitration, a move to reduce labor costs and the subject of the two November ballot measures.

Of course, the fire and police unions are against the measures. And Dando can now be seen in two spots on, a firefighters union’s website, chatting about the importance of maintaining public safety funding.

Backed by a high-energy soundtrack that would seem more appropriate to an Angelina Jolie action-adventure flick, Dando seems to be opposing the very measures she is helping spearhead: “During my time as vice mayor and city councilmember, I was very pleased that the city council had the wisdom to approve the strategy for making sure we had a fire department that would serve us well,” she says.

The website, which is run by Randy Sekany’s Local 230, also offers up fear-inducing facts about how response times will be affected by the two referenda. Next to Dando’s mug, a blurb reads: “Is it possible that City Administrators have cut too far? None of us want anything similar to what happened on May 9, 2009.” That links to a Columbus Dispatch news story about a toddler and baby that were killed in a fire in Ohio.

Perhaps Dando’s reaction to these videos will be the same as her response to Sal Pizarro when he asked her about popping onstage with the Funkadelic genius George Clinton at the San Jose Jazz Festival on Friday the 13. “It seemed like a really good idea when they suggested we do it.”

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. “The website, which is run by Randy Sekany’s Local 230”…?

    My guess is the fly has never belonged to a union, if he has he would know that Local 230 or any other union is run by the members and that the figure head or president, is Randy Sekany….

  2. I think the bigger story here is the lack of Firefighters in this city….

    Facts are facts, there are around 1.1 Million people in this city and we only have 650 Firefighters total, Less than 200 on duty at any one time… That is WAY below the national average.  Ask yourself why it took 10 minutes to get to a confirmed fire… Because the city council laid off 50 firefighters and closed 5 stations…

    If you don’t think the danger is real then just watch the news……

    • > If you don’t think the danger is real then just watch the news……

      This sounds almost like a threat.

      A number of years back, BART was plagued to a rash of fires on BART trains.  Someone would start fires on the seats of the trains.

      Eventually, the authorities arrested someone associated with the contractor who repaired the fire damaged seats.

      But, or course, it has NEVER happened before that a union has been involved in anything of this nature.

      • Uh…. OK??? 

        So I guess your concern is greater for the fact that you think that a Firefighter might be setting fires???? That is so OUTSIDE the box of the normal way of thinking that my only response is that you should be on medication.

        This city is in danger, the danger is real, the stories of loss are real.  The next story that is coming will be the death of our residents or firefighters as a result of the lack of coverage in this city.  This is criminal…..!!

        • > That is so OUTSIDE the box of the normal way of thinking that my only response is that you should be on medication.

          Based on actual court records.

          Are you calling the judge a nut?

    • The City laid off those firefighters because, unlike many other unionized trades and professions, including the police, the senior firefighters chose to throw their rookie bretheren under the bus so that they could keep their jobs.  They re-affirmed that lack of concern for both their rookie bretheren and the people of SJ when they overwhelmingly voted not to accept necessary compensation changes.

      I guess “The Me Generation” started earlier than we had previously thought.

      • Actually, They voted to not accept a 13 plus % paycut which is more than any other union in the city has been asked to give…. If you recall the city took the cops deal at 5.25% and kept 80 officers… So why are they asking for 13 + percent to keep 49 firefighters….?? hmmmm, any 2 year old can see that math doesn’t add up as well as see that this is about fairness which apparently isn’t in the city’s dictionary.

        There is an offer on the table and has been on the table for months.  This offer was more than enough to keep the 49 firefighters from being laid off but the city rejected this because they wanted more and are willing to gamble with the lives of the residents in the city.

        The city is playing politics with your safety…… Either way, the math is simple, 1.1 million people protected by 650 firefighters…. less than 200 on duty per day.  That simply is not enough……

        Those are the facts and it isn’t a generational issue.

        • Actually, SJPD took a 5% paycut last year to fund GASB, they took another 5.25% paycut this year, they agreed to give back their uniform allowance for this year, and also agreed to huge increases in their medical copays. SJPD officers now pay 22% of their gross salary into their retirement fund which is way more than the fire department pays. It is, in fact, the highest percentage of any city in the United States that officers pay into their own retirement fund. Check with the city if you need to verify.

      • Why don’t you ask the city manager why she hired these new recruits in light of nearly closing 2 engine companies last year (Eng 30 and 33).  At the eleventh hour they found the funding the keep them operational but stated that next year the budget situation would be much worse. So, they hired two academies of new firefighters to bring the fire dept staffing right up to the maximum. Could it be to use them as human leverage against the union?  How else could you explain hiring 60 new firefighters knowing that you would need to close fire stations several months after they graduated from the academy?

        • I don’t trust the city manager as far as I could throw her. I have no doubt they are playing games.
          I was just putting out the correct information as to the exact figures of the SJPD givebacks. The 5% GASB from last year seems to have been forgotten, as well as giving up the uniform allowance and huge increases in medical copays.

      • It is not the responsibility of the firemen to provide a working force for the city.  How much can I pay you to run into a burning building and save my family??  5-10 bucks an hour???  the purpose of government is to provide for the public safety. Not build elaborate city halls and spend millions on mariachi festivals.  I believe the police and firemen of this city deserve every penny they make and if you want a professional, well trained and equiped police and fire department, you have to pay for it.  You always get what you pay for.  Just look south and see what happens when you do not adequate support your public servants.

  3. There is no argument that San Jose has in past and will in future have major fires or medical emergencies where

    – people die that could have been saved
    – homes or business burn down that could have been prevented

    due to FD under staffing

    City staff hides response times, excessive damage and high death numbers from public

    San Jose does not provide public comparisons to other cities so public can see impact of slow fire departments response due to under staffing and not enough stations for city of 1 million people

  4. > More Deaths / Fire Damage

    > There is no argument that San Jose has in past and will in future have major fires or medical emergencies where

    > – people die that could have been saved

    Playing the fear card, are we?

      • > Be very afraid….

        I AM AFRAID!!!!

        Barack Hussein Obama is my President.

        Joe Biden is my Vice President.

        My Congress is run by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

        Barbara Boxer is my Senator.

        Al Franken, Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, and Pete Stark are in the Congress.

        Mike Honda and Joe Simitian are in the legislature.

        Al Gore is running the environment and molesting women.

        Hillary Clinton is making U.S. foreign policy.

        William Ayers is defining education policy for American education.

        HELL YES I’M AFRAID!!!!

  5. I’m more afraid of narrow-vision folks like you that can only blame one party for all the ills of the world.
    There is enough blame to go around and neither party gets off free of taint.
    Reading your comments one might think that Gingrich, Bush, Bachman, Boehner, etc. etc. did not exist and had nothing to do with our current situation.
    Despite what you would like to believe, the reality is that the Dems and the Reeps have caused problems and until they and folks like you start working together to right the wrongs, all we will have are silly little posts like yours to discuss but no real solutions.
    BTW – Honda is in the Congress not the Legislature.

    • In this episode of The O’Really Factor we observe the classical characteristics of the ideological liberal. The compulsion to imply that his mind is untainted by any ideology, as demonstrated in paragraph 4, is a universal trait of this type of self deceiving idealogue. Note the smug correction of a minor technical point in paragraph 5. This is further evidence that we are dealing with a true leftist- even if he claims, nay, actually believes- that he is not.
      Fellow SJI readers, O’Really’s writings afford us an opportunity to observe a specimen of this curious species in it’s natural habitat. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to gain some understanding of the contorted workings of the mind of the American Leftist.

  6. The latest antics of the Chamber of Commerce with reference to “labor cost cutting” concerning Public Safety (Police and Fire) could be likened to the antimated decomposing remains of a corpse who, after rotting in a well deserved political grave for some time, is now back in our midst spewing nuggets of wisdom on her past glory days as a “Vice Mayor”.

    The overall lack of knowledge of city operations that have “gotten out of control”, not only during the days of “former Vice-Mayor” but as well as today is of paramount concern. The former Vice-Mayor offers only popular remedies discussed in the press.

    I think the ex-political matron representing the “Chamber of Commerce” should use the bully pulpit to bring commerce to San Jose. And be thank-ful to God that she recieves a questionably handsome paycheck for doing so.

    Her foray back into the political arena is boorish and contemptable. She has had her day in the “political sun”. Her accomplhisments have been weighed and have been found to be less than her position on the issues facing the city today.

    Such behavior only serves to create carbon dioxide and or other associated obnoxious gasses.

    Go back to the “political grave” and stay there.

    David S. Wall

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *