Letters to Editor
From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 2
[Re: Les Robbins, Jan. 25 issue]
I'm not a firefighter but 150 guys in a 16,000 sq ft. building is one every 10 sq ft. You add in the dozen or more police personnel parked in the middle of the street and the pensions alone will put the city in the hole.
It seems to this average citizen there's a great deal of waste involved in such incidents and one presumes that's what chiefs are supposed to be for. Not to overload the incident but make sure it's safe without having so many personnel it looks like an "Idol" audition.
This doesn't take into account the hours spent sitting around the firehouse eating, sleeping, shopping, watching television or films, talking on phones etc. I've got two fire stations within ear shot and I have to tell you I don't hear sirens all that often. If you add the number of times they accompany EMT's and go out to check fire hydrants and such I'm certain that far outways the real need for firefighters actually doing firefighting.
I'm not saying they aren't needed or they don't on occasion do a rather dangerous job but let's come to a compromise that makes sense in reference to needed personnel, pay scales, pensions and benefits and actual work load of actual work.
By the way does Long Beach still have a $12 million overtime budget for firefighters? That's just offensive to anyone paying taxes!
I can't take the whining anymore, column after column.
If Les Robbins is so concerned with LB Fire Dept. staffing,
maybe he should approach their union and get concessions
so the city can hire more personnel.
Otherwise, what does he want? More taxes from hard working,
property owners? Let's impose an 8% surtax on all public employee
pensions in California and promise to only have it for five years. (smirk) That will raise enough revenue to solve all our financial ills, and force these retirees to pay their fair share.
Robert Van der Upwich
[Robbins' Response to Frederick]
Vance, how many fires have you been at? How many fires have you fought? How many multiple vehicle accidents with serious injuries have you been at? You talk out your ass more than anyone I kinow. You are just plain ignorant ... and every time you write you demonstrate that very plainly!
Right back at you sir. Except I actually look at what I've written several times over so I don't make statements like you do in what I can only say seem to be emotional rants of a democrat who can't figure out why taxpayers are upset that government wants to tax and spend and give the public unions far more than any private sector employees make because they simply don't have to care. It doesn't come out of their pocket and they haven't a clue what a budget means to the average family.
I worked for what still may be the third largest employer in the state. The studios make good money and spend good money in this state but have nearly been run out by the taxes, regulations and governmental hoops that are California. Like so many businesses that can't continue to pay when other states are begging for their business Hollywood is going, going and nearly gone.
When I had to retire in 2005 I made over $31 a hour, had medical benefits that are not as good as my wife who works for the school district and we had what was called a private union cadillac health care plan. I have a pension that is far less than many public employee and the only reason I did so well is because I worked for the studios. We had no sick days and we were routinely laid off and moving to another show or studio. The average Joe makes no were near what I made and public unions make my middle class income look like pig slop.
THAT SIR is why I'm angry and write what I do about public union employees who think they deserve so much more than we lowly middle class people who pay for them to live life with pensions, benefits and salaries that are far beyond the average citizen in this state. MY GOD MAN legislators in Sacramento take a cut in pay to go to Congress. Why can't you understand outrage about this kind of behavior?
No, I have never fought a fire but I've built sets, props, miniature special effects and much more seen by millions of people on a weekly basis and I know families of firefighters who tell me constantly how they brag about being able to get over time anytime they want and that they make money sitting around on their asses 90% of the time.
Do you think that makes my wallet get all filled up with pride? Or that my working as many as 16 hour a day 7 days a week for months that is physical torture working on something that had to be done in a very specific time restraint should mean so little to someone getting paid time and half or double time to do NOTHING!
Just because I was a carpenter doesn't mean I don't understand overtime verses the additional costs involved with an added or new employee. I was a carpenter as I said for the 3rd largest employee in the state. I'm not an idiot and I don't like being thought of or written to as one. Perhaps you should climb down from YOUR ivory tower, even though you're retired, and act like a gentleman. Up until this letter I have tried to be civil and even sent a copy directly to you.
My question to you might be along the lines of what are you so upset about? Is it because you were directly involved with this kind of situation and felt at the time and now that you deserve all the profit you derived from taxpayers who entrusted you with safety?
Do you think that I should feel all filled with pride that I worked myself into disability after nine operations in 30 years as a studio carpenter as a propmaker and model special effects man to foreman in control of many only to be told a guy sitting in a firehouse thinks his job is far superior to mine in work or difficulty while putting himself on the line and that he deserves not only superior salary and benefits but better pension as well?
I worked hard for my employer and I am proud that I did a great job and I should not be put in a hole by some guy driving around in a beautiful firetruck from a nice firehouse in a uniform all paid for by my taxes that I most certainly worked as hard to get as these guys and I put my life on the line many a time as well. He believes himself more deserving of being comfortable than I because he had politicians who didn't have anything coming out of their pockets lining his. They simply lined their union-flyer-reelect-this-guy public union buddies pockets and now the city is broke, infrastructure has failed, public union bosses tell managers what to do and if any of this doesn't sound familiar YOU sir are naive and unfamiliar with how things are done in this city.
I will no longer waste my time reading your liberal drivel or doing anything with the paper you write for other than putting it into the recycling bin. There is no sense wasting my time on someone with as little grasp of civility and responsible discourse as you seem to have. Have a wonderful time in whatever it is you think you are doing but try and grasp that all you know is public unions and politics and they have absolutely nothing to do with the reality outside of your closed mind.
Have a wonderful time in fantasyland and when Governor Brown gets his bullet train to Sacramento you can be the first and probably only passenger on Governor Moonbeams boondoggle to nowhere. If Vegas doesn't build one because they KNOW it won't be profitable going to and from Vegas to Los Angeles why doesn't our delightful governor understand he wants to go from San Diego to Sacramento? Can you say farce and lack of understanding? You guys truly amaze me with you complete misunderstanding of what goes on with people who pay your bills. Truly amazing.
P.S. I doubt you'll read all this but I must try and at least have discourse with those who will undoubtedly never find themselves with understanding because they never question or listen to anything other than themselves and those who agree with them. I sir am only an idiot for continuing to read your column and that is at an end. Sorry I didn't go over this as thoroughly as normal but I'm just tired.
You know Vance, I did read your entire rant! Yes it was a rant. "I am not a firefighter but" epitomizes the rest of your incorrect assumptions about how firefighters work and about how they operate. You fill your article with shit that is just not true or accurate ... very republican and so very much like FOX News.
You might find it interesting that members of the United States Congress make MORE than members of the California State Legislature and they have far superior health and retirement benefits than does our state legislature, so no one in the California State Legislature has taken a cut in pay to go to Congress. YOU NEED TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK MAN!
While I don't doubt that you worked hard, if you want to compare wounds, surgeries, etc. with me go ahead because I have had sevem, all related to my employment of 32 years on the Sheriff's Department and NO I retired on a regular retirement NOT A DISABILITY retirement.
You just need to stop talking out your ass man! How many Christmas, Thanksgiving, Birthdays, New Years, 4th of July's did you work during your working days? Probably not one tenth of the ones that I did and that most police and firefighters do. Plus, you didn't have to deal with the dregs of society each and every day.
YOU need to get over your extreme jealousy and just suck it up. Your letter is so ignorant of the facts that it is almost laughable. What made you think that all 150 of those firefighters were IN A FUCKING BURNING BUILDING YOU IDIOT?" That was such a stupid comment and anyone who knows what the real world is like probably couldn't stop laughing after your first two sentences in your letter. You are just lucky that Jay Beeler printed that piece of garbage.
I'm sorry it's obvious to me you're a true gentleman who deserves all the praise and profit you can get from us stupid little people who just work for your pleasure after your hard days work. I was told by my doctor to retire because I could no longer do my job. I tried for over eight months of diligent physical therapy to prove him wrong. He was right.
If you can't figure out I was trying to make a point with my analogy of a person every 10 square feet I guess you just don't understand much and prove it again and again every time you write an article or send me an email. You are so stuck in your own little world you have no clue sir and that is most definitely the truth.
You can't even fathom that I am talking about the government's lack of ability to deal with revenue as you have never worked for anyone who HAD to make a profit and not just spend it anyway they want. You can't see much when you don't want to open your eyes.
I have never called you the things you have called me here and I can't understand why you find it impossible to act like a civil person instead of writing insults. Here's something you may understand you make Bill O'Reilly look like a choirboy. My surgeries where all related to my employment as well. Four knee surgeries, one back surgery that didn't help because of the other disc problems, three hand surgeries, one hernia surgery and well that's enough about me.
You have a great time with the rest of your life. Don't send me any more of your colorful emails unless you get a real job, cut the cursing and realize folks like me gave you everything you have.
So now we have a former Long Beach City Councilman unhinged,
verbally abusive and slinging profanity at a disabled individual because he said, "150 guys in a 16,000 sq ft. building is one every 10 sq. ft."
Robert Van der Upwich
Another Reader Responds Via Facebook. "Like us" at Beachcomber Newspaper
Les Robbins never changes. Still whining and still writing at the level of a high school freshman in the remedial class!
Rebecca O'Reilly Boyle
Note from Beachcomber Publisher Jay Beeler
Effective January 29 Les Robbins has resigned as a Beachcomber columnist. We wish him the best in future endeavors.