If you want to see the portion of last night’s Alameda City Council meeting dedicated to the controversial incident in which Alameda fire and police personnel watched from shore as 52-year-old Raymond Zack committed suicide by drowning, the archive is now up.

Watch here by clicking on the “7-A Crown Beach” link in the pane underneath the video window on the left.

The city is conducting a review, and not a whole lot of official information was discussed. The Acting City Manager announced that documents related to the incident will be put on the city’s web site soon, and Mayor Marie Gilmore spoke.

The public comment period, however, was fairly vitriolic, as you might imagine.

Video: Last Night’s Alameda City Council Meeting Discussing Drowning Incident 25 April,2014Jon Brooks

  • The reason it was “fairly vitriolic? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: The AFD has repeatedly shown that they are unable to effectively, or are unwilling, to engage the correct mutual (ACFD, OFD), regional (BAAQMD), state (CalEPA), or federal (USCG) agencies when they cannot do the job themselves and need help. Each time they fail in this, the public and the environment get harmed. This time the harm is visible in the death of Mr. Zack. There is something very wrong within the AFD. Not one chief has made a swift action against any incident commander who failed to perform, and they’ve failed BIG TIME (2009 FISC fire, 2010 Crude Oil Transfer & Spill). As far as I can tell, the organization’s SOPs are extremely outdated, the IAFF Local 689 is callous and 100% okay with letting the public suffer at their hands: EVERY first responder knows that when you see something toxic in the air, you call in the air district and CalEPA. EVERY first responder knows that when you see something toxic in the water, you call in the US Coast Guard and CalEPA. The fire departments are not expected to know what is in the air and water or how toxic it is, and they are not expected to know how to protect the public and environmental health. They ARE expected to know when and how to engage the other agencies so that they do effect protection of the people in the city in which they work! The common thread throughout all these three events (FISC fire, crude oil, Zack) is this: they happened when the Fire Chief was not on duty, other agencies needed to be engaged effectively and were not. That and the AFD fire fighters NEVER get corrected for failing to perform. Between that and the ineffective and incomplete policies and procedures… What do you call that? Organization-wide managerial incompetence: the chief and all his ranked officers are responsible here! We CAN blame the first responders. Something needs to change. If they cannot handle these three simple problems, they will more than fail us when The Big One comes: we are nearby to an earthquake fault that is due for a 7.0 or 8.0 earthquake any day now….


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of EconomyBeat.org, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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