Friday, December 16, 2016

Proposed Fire Department Consolidation

From Councilman Sam Zurier's December 11 Ward Letter

The administration has presented a tentative agreement with the fire fighters for the City Council to review.  It would produce an unprecedented five-year contract.  According to the Internal Auditor, the contract would produce between $9 million and $11 million in savings over its five-year  term, or between 2% and 3%.  The principal source of savings is the removal of two engine companies and one ladder company.  You can learn more about the contract and the financial and service issues at a Web page I have compiled.  The two engine companies designated for removal are currently deployed to serve our neighborhood; therefore, I have asked Stephen Pare, the Public Safety Commissioner and Robin Muksian, the Director of Administration to come to our neighborhood to describe the impacts of the changes.  The meeting will  take place at the Nathan Bishop Middle School Cafeteria on Wednesday, December 21, at 6:30 p.m.  The doors will open at 6:00 p.m.  

If time permits, we also will discuss the administration’s plans for improving the City’s infrastructure after the voters’ overwhelming approval of a $40 million bond on Election Day which was rendered invalid by a decision by the City Council majority to withhold approval because they were not allowed individual authority to decide how to spend the bond proceeds.  Please try to attend this meeting so you can ask questions about this proposed change.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Providence

By Paul Edward Parker Providence Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — It’s been moved twice, but has remained a fixture in the square in front of City Hall since 1871, and now there’s a drive to give it a face-lift.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, honoring the 1,727 Rhode Islanders who gave their lives in the Civil War, is showing signs of age, according to the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, which is leading the effort to raise $300,000 to pay for restoration of the monument and improved landscaping of the area around it.

Photo essay

Health Insurers List Demands if Affordable Care Act Is Killed

The New York Times
DECEMBER 6, 2016

The nation’s health insurers, resigned to the idea that Republicans will repeal the Affordable Care Act, on Tuesday publicly outlined for the first time what the industry wants to stay in the state marketplaces, which have provided millions of Americans with insurance under the law...

The demands are a sort of warning shot to Republicans. While the party is eager to repeal the law as quickly as possible, and many have promised a replacement, its members are sharply divided over what shape any new plan should take. If they do not come up with an alternative, more than 22 million people would be left uninsured, including the more than 10 million who have bought individual plans on state marketplaces...

While insurers say they do not plan to fight the Republicans’ efforts to repeal the law, they are in no hurry to see it unwound. And Ms. Tavenner said the industry would support a delay so it could prepare for the changes...

Ms. Tavenner said the industry wanted to know more about what the Republicans were planning, including information on the fate of the Medicaid expansion under the law. “We still have more questions than answers,” she said. “We don’t want to disrupt individuals who are relying on our coverage,” she said.

Full Story

Neighborhood Meeting Concerning Proposed Fire Department Consolidation

From Councilman Sam Zurier:

The administration has negotiated a tentative agreement with Local 799 of the fire fighters' union which would consolidate the deployment of fire engines in our neighborhood.  More specifically, the agreement proposes taking Engine Companies 4 and 5 out of service.  Engine Company 4 is currently located at the Rochambeau Avenue fire station, while Engine Company 5 is currently located at the Humboldt Avenue fire station.  The tentative agreement is before the City Council for review.

Because these two engine companies serve our neighborhood, I have invited Steven Pare, the Commissioner of Public Safety and Robin Muksian, the Director of Administration, to come to our neighborhood to explain the consolidation and how fire protection in our neighborhood can be maintained if the tentative agreement is approved. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, December 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Nathan Bishop Middle School Cafeteria.  The doors will open at 6:00.  Please make every effort to come to ask questions and express your concerns.

From David Kolsky (Blackstone and Wayland Sq. Neighborhood Associations)

It appears from this that with its only apparatus (Engine 4) removed from service, the Rochambeau Avenue fire station would seem to have little or no reason to stay open.

The Humboldt Avenue fire station (at the junction with Irving and Cole Avenues) is only losing Engine 5, which would leave Air Supply 1. Until I had to move to Federal Hill last June, our family had lived opposite that station since 1961 (55 years ago) but I can’t verify now if Air Supply 1 is still operating from Humboldt. It isn’t listed in the Fire Dept’s own web pages, but both Wikipedia (current as of May 2015) and the site of the Firefighters’ union (I.A.F.F.) do list it at Humboldt.

This is the current alignment of East Side fire stations as best I could gather from the sites above:

10 Branch Avenue
Engine 2
Ladder 7
Rescue 3
Battalion 3 chief

223 Brook Street
Engine 9 *
Ladder 8
Marine 1

155 Humboldt Avenue
Engine 5
Air Supply Unit 1

270 Rochambeau Avenue
Engine 4

151 North Main Street
Engine 7
Ladder 4 *
Rescue 5

* The 2015 Wikipedia article says these apparatus had been temporarily disabled by staffing shortages. I don’t know if they were later remanned and reactivated.