At tonight’s (5/12) meeting, the Moraga Town Council unanimously agreed to send a letter to the Moraga-Orinda Fire District board of directors, opposing any further exploration of a dissolution or merger with Confire.
Councilmember comments during the relatively brief deliberation were unequivocal, with some bordering on glorious.
We strongly recommend you watch the Livestream video of the meeting available by clicking here. Here are some key moment timestamps:
The agenda item discussion begins at 36:20
Public comment opens 39:30
Union President Vince Wells, who in March initially requested the Confire merger be placed on the MOFD's agenda, speaks at 44:00 [followed by several additional community member comments]
Councilmember comments begin at 1:09:30
Residents (including a former Mayor and prior MOFD board members) speaking during public comment were universal in their opposition to any merger consideration, but it's the union President comments - which we found disingenuous and inconsistent with the curiously changing narrative being communicated by union-backed directors - and the subsequent Councilmember statements that earn our "must see TV" recommendation.
Here are some highlights of councilmember comments:
Mayor McCluer kicked off the councilmember deliberation by referencing specific MOFD board meeting minutes to correct a false claim that no one asked for a merger discussion, and later observed he hasn't heard from residents "one opposing view or one opposing fact of why this [merger exploration] should even be considered."
Councilmember Stromberg observed that in his decades of experience as a mediator is unaccustomed to seeing an issue that is "so one-sided...with NO benefit that [he] has gleaned...from seeing the consolidation of MOFD," further commenting that he understands what the issue is from the Union President's perspective, but it fails "to take into consideration even one iota of what is in the best interests of the residents of our two towns."
Councilmember Sos left no room for misinterpreting her assessment, beginning her comments with "Just to start out, I beg to differ with the characterization of the groundswell of unanimous opposition...as either a misunderstanding or overreaction. This community knows exactly what is going on," and continued by observing "there has been no articulated economic or operational justification for even studying the process of merging."
Councilmember Onoda opened her comments by stating "merging our MOFD with Confire are fighting words in this community" before providing some historical information on MOFD's formation and community priority surveys conducted since then.
Vice Mayor Woehleke - who is one of the council's MOFD liaisons and attends MOFD meetings - said he's "seen nothing at the [most recent MOFD] meeting or since then that justifies serious consideration of consolidating...there's really no business case."
We encourage residents to continue making their feelings known to the Orinda City Council and - most critically - to MOFD. The Orinda City Council meets next week on 5/18 to discuss a similar opposition letter, and the MOFD itself meets 5/19 with the item on their agenda.
The 5/18 Orinda City Council agenda and Zoom info will be here.
The 5/19 MOFD agenda, agenda packet and Zoom info will be here.
NEW! We have a page dedicated exclusively to the MOFD Merger Controversy. Click Here.