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Roundtable: Covering The 2007 Fires, SDPD’s Salary Deal

2007 Wildfires, SDPD Salary Deal


Laura Wingard, managing editor, iNewsource

Alison St John, North County Bureau Chief, KPBS News

Leng Caloh, technology & innovation manager, KPBS

Andrew Bowen, metro reporter, KPBS News



The Story

Just before 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 21, 2007, San Diego County began to burn.

The conditions in 2007 — violent, dry winds and intense heat — that sparked the Witch Creek, Harris, Rice Canyon and Poomacha fires were the same as those that stoked the current and far more destructive fires burning in Northern California.

Ten years ago the six large and two smaller fires eventually consumed one-third of San Diego County's land mass. There were 10 deaths; more than 100 injuries, including 89 firefighters; and 1,600 homes lost.

And they occurred just four years after the large and destructive Cedar Fire.

The Discussion

—What was it like to cover the fires? How did journalists and local media manage to do their jobs under such difficult conditions?

—What about evacuation-- then and now? How do people get out? Where do they go?

—How has current technology changed the way we approach fire season?

What lessons have we learned from 2007?

Related: 10 Years Ago: Firestorms Ravaged San Diego County

Related: 2007 Wildfires: Losing Their Homes Changed Their Lives

Related: In 2007, Qualcomm Stadium Became A Refuge For 15,000 Wildfire Evacuees

Related: San Diego Firefighters Amass New Technology To Prep For Wildfires

Related: 2008 San Diego County Grand Jury Report: The Fire Next Time -- Will We Be Ready?


The Story

It's not quite a deal yet, but it looks like it will be.

On Wednesday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a deal between the city and the San Diego Police Officers Association to increase officers’ pay.

The increase is substantial: 25 to 30 percent over the next three years, depending on experience.

The city hopes the plan, estimated to cost about $66 million, will slow down the flood of departing officers, amounting to 12 or 13 each month. SDPD currently has 1,801 officers, but is budgeted at 2,040.

The deal must be ratified by the SDPOA membership and approved by the City Council. The salary increases will also increase the city’s pension obligation by an estimated $9.5 million in 2021.

It is still unclear where the money will come from.

The Discussion

—Where does SDPD pay rank statewide under the new deal?

—Are these increases enough to strengthen the force? What about recruitment?

—How likely is the deal to be ratified?

Related: San Diego Police Union, City Reach Deal On Pay Raises

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