Monterey Park to decide future of fire department

Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte), along with Monterey Park City Council, police officers, and local legislators, urged residents last Monday to vote against Measure FF, a measure that would transfer the city's fire services to Los Angeles County, China Press (侨报) reports. Residents will decide Tuesday whether to keep their local fire agency or disband the department and contract with the county.

Monterey Park Councilman Peter Chan argued that consolidating services would save the city money at first, but residents may pay the price later, according to Pasadena Star-News. "The city loses jurisdiction. If the county decides to increase the price, then we can't say no," Chan told the Star-News in May. "We just have to pay the bill. Then the city might have to cut costs on the Police Department, the parks — just to pay the bill for the Fire Department."

The city held an election for the same issue 15 years ago, and 67 percent of Monterey Park residents voted against the transfer, Chu said last Monday. According to the congresswoman, Measure FF would not actually benefit residents or the fire department. “Fifteen years ago I voted against Measure FF as the mayor of Monterey Park," Chu said. "Today I am standing with the Monterey Park Police Association, council members and all the voters to say no to Measure FF because it is about the safety of the residents, especially for the elderly.”

But according to Monterey Park firefighter Frank Padilla, the city would save millions more than local legislators are claiming, even with potential cost increases from the county. Padilla told the Star-News that transferring fire services would also improve response times since the closest stations to some Monterey Park residents currently belong to the county.

Read the full stories from the Pasadena Star-News and China Press.

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