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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by townonenorth View Post
    At least half of them, yes. Unicameral legislatures are just as efficient. Add part-time legislature to the mix, then you may be on to something.
    So then when business interests draw up the legislation they want, the people who decide don't have staffs to examine the legislation and see if it's in the public interest? They don't have staff to research and examine matters minutely so the lawmakers vote knowledgeably? No thanks, townonenorth. I'd rather give legislators and councilmembers budgets and staffs. I should imagine that legislators who make good calls thanks to competent staffs and adequate budgets produce a government that is more "efficient" in the long run.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    So then when business interests draw up the legislation they want, the people who decide don't have staffs to examine the legislation and see if it's in the public interest? They don't have staff to research and examine matters minutely so the lawmakers vote knowledgeably? No thanks, townonenorth. I'd rather give legislators and councilmembers budgets and staffs. I should imagine that legislators who make good calls thanks to competent staffs and adequate budgets produce a government that is more "efficient" in the long run.
    Actually, staff that are picked by elected councilpeople and mayors are notorious in their inefficiency. The trend seems to be to hire 'friends and family", and to keep the staus quo, no matter how bad their performance is. I think that a city manager form of government is more efficient, letting him or her pick the staff would be a far better call.

    The legislature we have now is just a rubber stamp for Calley anyway. Why bother with research when you can just do as you are told and vote the party line? Think of what will happen when the vote out the personal property tax. That's the end of cities and the state as we know it.

    You always could incorporate, that may save you some cash.
    Last edited by townonenorth; April-13-12 at 05:31 PM.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by townonenorth View Post
    I think that a city manager form of government is more efficient, letting him or her pick the staff would be a far better call.
    100% agreement.

    Here in Warren Mayor James Fouts immediately lined city hall with his campaign staff and supporters. Fouts' neighbor made all his campaign signs for free, and in exchange for it he now runs a city department and has a city car. That's just one of MANY examples.

    City Manager form of government cuts out a lot of the BS politics and provides stability for city workers, so their department heads aren't changing every four years.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buy American View Post

    There is minimal protection now, long response times because there is no manpower, firefighters working overtime to the extent that it is now dangerous to themselves and others (due to fatigue)
    What percentage of the Detroit Fire Department are staffed by volunteers? Are there any? I couldn't find anything on it.

    When I google other cities fire departments in metro like Troy, Michigan, I am finding that over 94% of Troy's fire departments are staffed by volunteer firefighters: 6 stations, 10 career firefighters and 180 volunteer firefighters. http://troymi.gov/fire/ Couldn't the DFD be staffed by more volunteer firefighters if they are overworked "to the extent that it is now dangerous to themselves and others (due to fatigue)"?

  5. #30
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    Are you volunteering, davewindsor?

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolla View Post
    Are you volunteering, davewindsor?
    I can't. I'm not a resident of the city.

  7. #32
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    "When I google other cities fire departments in metro like Troy, Michigan, I am finding that over 94% of Troy's fire departments are staffed by volunteer firefighters"

    Troy is nothing like Detroit. In suburbs like Troy, you can count on one hand the number of actual structure fires that occur. Most of the "fire" runs are really medical runs. Detroit has actual structure fires and needs a professional fire department.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novine View Post
    "When I google other cities fire departments in metro like Troy, Michigan, I am finding that over 94% of Troy's fire departments are staffed by volunteer firefighters"

    Troy is nothing like Detroit. In suburbs like Troy, you can count on one hand the number of actual structure fires that occur. Most of the "fire" runs are really medical runs. Detroit has actual structure fires and needs a professional fire department.
    You can't count it on one hand. Total fire incidents were 170 in Troy in 2010. Structure = 68. http://troymi.gov/fire/FrontPageLink...10_Summary.pdf Detroit also has 10 times the population of Troy, so obviously it will be higher and also need at least 10 times the volunteers

    Regardless, that still does not show that Troy's volunteer model would not work in Detroit.

    The city cannot afford the status quo anymore. So, there are three options: 1) Switching to Troy's model of a volunteer fire department, 2) Privatization, or 3) the fire and police unions are going to have to give up on work rules (not directly affecting the hourly wage of a front line firefighter) like the Big 3 did, which raises the city's budget considerably like unfunded pension liabilities and heath care costs. If not, police and fire (which make up 60% of the city's budget--at least according to Stephen Henderson from his talk show) is going to have to consider other municipal models from more successful metro cities like Troy.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    So then when business interests draw up the legislation they want, the people who decide don't have staffs to examine the legislation and see if it's in the public interest? They don't have staff to research and examine matters minutely so the lawmakers vote knowledgeably? No thanks, townonenorth. I'd rather give legislators and councilmembers budgets and staffs. I should imagine that legislators who make good calls thanks to competent staffs and adequate budgets produce a government that is more "efficient" in the long run.
    In the case of Detroit, now is not the time for the City Council to be settling matters of industrial policy, as you rightly suggest requires some support.

    They should be (and should have been) sticking to the task of running the mechanics of a city.

    We all likely agree that they don't to have more than most other American cities right now.

  10. #35
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    "Regardless, that still does not show that Troy's volunteer model would not work in Detroit. "

    The stats may say that Troy had a double-digit number of "structure" fires. If you dig into those numbers, I can guarantee that you'll find that most of those are minor in nature and are nothing like the intensity or scale of what you see in Detroit. When was the last time you heard of multiple homes engulfed in fire in Troy? Never because Troy never sees the kind of structure fires that happen in Detroit.

    As far as the volunteer model, what makes you think it can scale up to a city the size of Detroit? Can you name one other city Detroit's size that operates that way? Using your logic, Detroit doesn't need the level of bus service provided because Troy gets away with much less transit than Detroit. Troy is "successful" and Detroit is not, therefore follow the Troy model. There's a reason that major urban cities don't rely on a volunteer model. It's not feasible, it's not practical and it would lead to many more deaths and injuries among the civilian population and fire department personnel.
    Last edited by Novine; April-15-12 at 10:19 AM.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novine View Post
    Using your logic, Detroit doesn't need the level of bus service provided because Troy gets away with much less transit than Detroit. Troy is "successful" and Detroit is not, therefore follow the Troy model.
    Holy shit, I think davewindsor is Dave Bing! My mind is blown.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novine View Post
    "Regardless, that still does not show that Troy's volunteer model would not work in Detroit. "

    The stats may say that Troy had a double-digit number of "structure" fires. If you dig into those numbers, I can guarantee that you'll find that most of those are minor in nature and are nothing like the intensity or scale of what you see in Detroit. When was the last time you heard of multiple homes engulfed in fire in Troy? Never because Troy never sees the kind of structure fires that happen in Detroit.

    As far as the volunteer model, what makes you think it can scale up to a city the size of Detroit? Can you name one other city Detroit's size that operates that way? Using your logic, Detroit doesn't need the level of bus service provided because Troy gets away with much less transit than Detroit. Troy is "successful" and Detroit is not, therefore follow the Troy model. There's a reason that major urban cities don't rely on a volunteer model. It's not feasible, it's not practical and it would lead to many more deaths and injuries among the civilian population and fire department personnel.
    If you're challenging the validity of the structure fires Troy uses in their statistics, you have to show the proof. You haven't shown any. You've only offered an opinion. Are you the Chief of the Fire Marshal's office for the State of Michigan who is qualified to offer such an opinion? If not, you need to back it up with facts, not your opinions.

    Comparing bus service to fire departments is like comparing apples and oranges. I'm not even going to warrant it with a further response because it's not relevant. We are talking about the fire department, not bus service. If you're going to debate the issues, use relevant facts like other fire departments in metro or don't bother.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewindsor View Post
    If you're challenging the validity of the structure fires Troy uses in their statistics, you have to show the proof. You haven't shown any. You've only offered an opinion. Are you the Chief of the Fire Marshal's office for the State of Michigan who is qualified to offer such an opinion? If not, you need to back it up with facts, not your opinions.

    Comparing bus service to fire departments is like comparing apples and oranges. I'm not even going to warrant it with a further response because it's not relevant. We are talking about the fire department, not bus service. If you're going to debate the issues, use relevant facts like other fire departments in metro or don't bother.
    I don't think its at all fair to limit opinion issuing to certified authorities. One doesn't have to be a specialist to enter a discussion on general ideas.

    That said, Troy being a volunteer department is fascinating. While Troy may not have nearly the volume of 'business' that DFD has, they are one of the few suburbs who have true 'high rise' buildings. I believe the fire codes for high-rise start around 10 stories. To have a building that tall, there's an entirely different set of code requirements for the buildings, and an entirely different set of requirements for the local fire department.

    (btw, I'm not a Fire Chief, but I do have multiple years of high-rise building management experience, and have memberships in several building trade associations.)

  14. #39
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    "If you're challenging the validity of the structure fires Troy uses in their statistics, you have to show the proof. You haven't shown any. You've only offered an opinion."

    You're right, it is only my opinion. Troy doesn't provide enough detail about its structure fires to be able to show what's true in other suburban communities is also true in Troy. Maybe Troy is a magical city where the statistics really mean that Troy has a major structure fire more than once a week. If that was the case, you would think it would make the news once in a while. Odd that it doesn't. But if want to believe it, carry on with believing that. But don't expect anyone to take your idea that a volunteer fire department serving a community like Troy can scale to serve a city like Detroit. It's laughable and you won't find anyone with any kind of real world experience in firefighting to buy into your idea.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novine View Post
    But don't expect anyone to take your idea that a volunteer fire department serving a community like Troy can scale to serve a city like Detroit. It's laughable and you won't find anyone with any kind of real world experience in firefighting to buy into your idea.
    I wouldn't expect anyone from the DFD union to say anything other than a complete defense of the status quo out of self-interest. You still don't offer a solution to Detroit's financial crisis, just a denial of real world reality. But, in your defense, if I was in your union, I would probably do the exact same thing discrediting what fire departments in other cities are doing to keep their payroll costs down.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewindsor View Post
    I can't. I'm not a resident of the city.
    Sure you can, other than the union steward, they won't care. And he won't care if you're a resident or not. Most firemen don't live in the City anyways.

    The key difference between Troy and Detroit, is that Detroit firefighter work thier asses off.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPlanner View Post
    Most firemen don't live in the City anyways.
    HAHAHA, so that's why they come to Detroit for work. They can't make that kind of money in their own cities like Troy.

  18. #43
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    "But, in your defense, if I was in your union, I would probably do the exact same thing discrediting what fire departments in other cities are doing to keep their payroll costs down."

    What union? If you think I work for DFD or the unions, you are way off-track. But if that helps you believe in your pipe dream, keep on believing. The solution for Detroit isn't a volunteer fire department and no rational person believes that.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novine View Post
    The solution for Detroit isn't a volunteer fire department and no rational person believes that.
    Typical union argument--anyone who doesn't agree with you is not rational.

    Troy isn't an agrarian village. It's a highly developed and successful city in metro with office towers up to 25 stories, a world class mall, expensive mansions with some of the richest people in country and yet they still have a voluntary fire department. Geez, it's completely irrational for something like that to exist...

    So, voluntary fire departments work in agrarian villages on one end of the spectrum. Voluntary fire departments work in highly developed and successful cities on the other end of the spectrum. Yet, it couldn't possibly work in a city the exists somewhere in between like Detroit.

  20. #45
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    "Troy isn't an agrarian village. It's a highly developed and successful city in metro with office towers up to 25 stories, a world class mall, expensive mansions with some of the richest people in country and yet they still have a voluntary fire department. Geez, it's completely irrational for something like that to exist... "

    It has almost nothing in common with Detroit. Most of Troy was developed since the advent of modern fire codes. Most of Detroit was not. The homes in Troy aren't packed on top of each other where a fire in one can quickly spread to others, as happens all too often in Detroit. Troy doesn't have thousands of abandoned and vacant buildings, many of them fire traps that can collapse at a moment's notice. Troy doesn't have a population that lacks the ability to pay for basic medical services and relies heavily on emergency services to address all levels of emergency care. In short, Troy is nothing like Detroit.

    "Voluntary fire departments work in highly developed and successful cities on the other end of the spectrum."

    Which cities are those? There are hundreds of cities with populations of the size between Troy and Detroit. How many of them rely on a volunteer fire department?

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novine View Post


    It has almost nothing in common with Detroit. Most of Troy was developed since the advent of modern fire codes. Most of Detroit was not. The homes in Troy aren't packed on top of each other where a fire in one can quickly spread to others, as happens all too often in Detroit. Troy doesn't have thousands of abandoned and vacant buildings, many of them fire traps that can collapse at a moment's notice. Troy doesn't have a population that lacks the ability to pay for basic medical services and relies heavily on emergency services to address all levels of emergency care. In short, Troy is nothing like Detroit.
    This is so ridiculous, Novine. What are you saying now?! So, volunteers in Troy who have the technical knowhow to deal with a fire breaking out in a 25 story office tower do not know how to connect a hose to a fire hydrant and hose down a fire that broke out across several abandoned townhouses? Gimme a break. Volunteers in Troy are not imbeciles because they are volunteers. Just the opposite. I'm sure a lot of those volunteers are highly qualified engineers and other relevant trades in their regular jobs and offer a lot of transferable skills and training that a professional DFD firefighter wouldn't have when they volunteer. You're just defending your paycheck at the expense of insulting the good people who volunteer their time for nothing other than wanting to help their fellow man.

  22. #47
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    I really think Novine is arguing against a straw man here. There are no cities in the US anywhere near the size of Detroit that have a volunteer fire department. Detroit isn't going to have one either, and as far as I can see Davewindsor wasn't proposing that. What I thought he was suggesting is that Detroit could supplement its fire department with volunteers, which seems reasonable to me, as this is done in many cities, including large ones with challenging conditions like New York and Berlin.

    If people think that would be a bad idea, they should argue against that, not against the idea of volunteer fire departments in general. I will make one argument, which is that while I think it might be a good idea in the abstract, in a context where professional firefighters are very likely to be laid off, it is easy to see how there could be some serious friction between the professionals and the volunteers--this is the sort of program that would be a lot easier to implement when people aren't worried about their jobs.

  23. #48
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    "Volunteers in Troy are not imbeciles because they are volunteers. Just the opposite. I'm sure a lot of those volunteers are highly qualified engineers and other relevant trades in their regular jobs and offer a lot of transferable skills and training that a professional DFD firefighter wouldn't have when they volunteer."

    Who said they were imbeciles? I never criticized the skills of the volunteers in Troy. But the fact of the matter is that most Troy firefighters have never dealt with the kinds of fires that Detroit firefighters deal with every day of the week and I'm sure the Troy volunteers would be the first to admit it. There's a world of difference of having the knowledge of how to fight those fires and actually fighting those fires. It's like saying that the local police in Clawson or Clarkston could easily step alongside the officers in the Detroit Police Department. Good luck finding many officers from the suburbs who would be willing to do that.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novine View Post
    "There's a world of difference of having the knowledge of how to fight those fires and actually fighting those fires. It's like saying that the local police in Clawson or Clarkston could easily step alongside the officers in the Detroit Police Department. Good luck finding many officers from the suburbs who would be willing to do that.
    Again, you're making assumptions about the background of those volunteers. I get the impression you think they just sit around all day drinking coffee and eating donuts and for the most part that's all they expect to do, living the easy life, and that's why they do it.

    I have two cousins in Virginia. One is an engineer and the other is a CPA. Neither of them could afford tuition so they had to sign off a couple years of their life to the marines so the military would pay for their tuition. I'm sure there are a lot of engineers and other professionals out there who didn't come from money and had to go through the military to get their tuition paid. Are you telling me that if someone's an engineer in Troy with a military background and volunteered once a week at the Troy fire department that they couldn't handle a shift in Detroit? It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of those volunteers had some applied military training in addition to their skills they would bring over from their regular jobs.

    I'm sure there would be a lot of people willing to volunteer at the DFD like the the Troy FD to serve their community if there was something in place to ensure they weren't treated like scabs by the professionals in the union.

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