Vote “NO” on Measure P, the Fire Union’s Initiative

by Michael D. Robbins
Director, Public Safety Project,

Below is the content from the front side of an information flyer distributed to residents city-wide in El Segundo, California, on April 8, 2014, the Sunday before the April 10, 2012 General Municipal Election. However, the actual flyer was titled: Vote “NO” on Measure P, and Against SCOTT HOUSTON !

The back side of the flyer provided information on Scott Houston’s true ideology, politics, and track record.

A list of information sources for this flyer and a summary of the election results and lack of union electoral success follow the flyer content below.

Vote “NO” on Measure P, the Fire Union’s Initiative


  • Measure P is the Fire Union’s Initiative – They put it on the ballot to maximize their salaries and job security at our expense in lives and money
  • Disbands our Local City Fire Department for at least ten years under state law
  • Forces our City to contract with L.A. County for significantly reduced fire & paramedic services in a One-Sided Contract that gives L.A. County ALL of the Bargaining Power
  • L.A. County will Unilaterally set the Contract Price, Terms, and Service Level

Service Cuts

  • Cuts number of on-duty Firefighters by 31%, from 16 to 11 – a staffing level even Fire Union President Christopher Thomason admitted was unsafe (on 1/18/11)
  • Eliminates TWO of our THREE Paramedic Rescue Squads
  • Permanently eliminates ALL three of our City-operated Paramedic Ambulances – The L.A. County Fire Dept. DOES NOT operate Paramedic Ambulances
  • Forces residents to use Out-of-Town Private Ambulance Companies – with Significantly Increased Hospital Transport Times and Patient Fees
  • We Need Our Paramedic Ambulances Most – Each year there are 0 or 1 major structure fires, but an average of 758 Paramedic Ambulance Hospital Transports
  • Delays Emergency Response – Routes 911 calls through TWO Dispatch Centers
  • Firefighters serving El Segundo will routinely be sent Out of Town to other L.A. County cities, far more often than out-of-town firefighters will come to El Segundo

Other Issues

  • We already have 70 plus Firefighters Available under Existing Mutual Aid Agreements with L.A. County and South Bay cities
  • 70 Firefighters Responded to the 3/13/11 helicopter crash at Raytheon Bldg. E1
  • No Accountability – Insulates Firefighters and Paramedics from Accountability to any City Official – they will Report to a Remote L.A. County Fire Chief in Gardena
  • Lose Ability to Control Costs – Prevents reduction of Fire Union Excessive and Unsustainable Salaries and Benefits costing $150,000 to $335,000 per employee
  • All El Segundo Fire Dept. Vehicles and Equipment become L.A. County Property
  • Any Cost Savings from Measure P will be Temporary, will result from Drastic Emergency Service Cuts, and will go to Pay for More Big Police Union Pay Raises

This flyer is a response to late campaign mailers and late campaign contribution reports.
Check the web site for documentation & responses to any last-minute hit pieces.
Authored by Michael D. Robbins. Not authorized or endorsed by any candidate or committee.
Paid for by Michael D. Robbins, P.O. Box 2193, El Segundo, CA 90245. 4/6/2012 Rev. 4

Information sources for this flyer include:

  • Results from Public Records Act requests by Michael D. Robbins;
  • Text of the Measure P voter initiative petition circulated by the El Segundo Firefighters’ Association (union) members;
  • City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis of Measure P written for the Sample Ballot/Voter Information Guide;
  • The Feasibility Study for the Provision of Fire Protection, Paramedic and Incidental Services for the City of El Segundo by the Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County, approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors 8-17-2010;
  • A press conference held by El Segundo Fire Chief Kevin Smith on March 13, 2011, across the street from the helicopter crash site at Raytheon Company (legacy Hughes Aircraft Company) Building E1 on El Segundo Blvd., attended by Michael D. Robbins;
  • Answers to questions asked by Michael D. Robbins of El Segundo City officials including City Council Members Carl Jacobson and Suzanne Fuentes;
  • Direct observation and photographic and video documentation of Los Angeles County paramedic service operations by Michael D. Robbins; and
  • Analysis by Michael D. Robbins and David Burns.

Election Results:

Measure P, the Fire Union’s Initiative, was defeated with 90.1% voting “NO”. Also, the two City Council candidates endorsed and funded by the El Segundo Police Officers’ Association (the police union) – Scott Houston and former City Clerk Cindy Mortesen – were defeated.

The El Segundo Fire Union probably spent more than $100,000 on their Measure P campaign. The union membership voted on December 6, 2011 to provide their professional campaign consultant Frank Caterinicchio with a $75,000 campaign budget. The union hired an attorney to draft the Measure P initiative and petition, and to file a lawsuit against the City and appear in court in an attempt to change wording in the City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis. The union spent money sending out Measure P campaign mailers. And the union hired a professional polling company to do an initial telephone push-poll and two tracking push-polls of El Segundo voters, with numerous questions related to Measure P and public perception of the fire union and the various City Council candidates. The cost of polling increases as the number and complexity of the poll questions increase.

The union even offered to pay for the cost of an early Special Election within a few months in May or June of 2011, that would have given the union a significant unfair electoral advantage, but after much public pressure was applied, the City Council voted 3-2 to put Measure P on the ballot for the regularly scheduled April 10, 2012 General Municipal Election, allowing sufficient time to run an effective low-cost grassroots campaign against Measure P. The cost of the grassroots campaign against Measure P was insignificant.

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