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Fire Cadet Program Under Fire, Flyer Called Racist

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By Cheryl Brown –

A flyer hanging on the job posting board at the SB Fire Department announcing a new program to train cadets has ignited some citizens of San Bernardino to claim it’s racist.

The cadet program was recently voted on by the city council to give teenagers who live in the community the opportunity to work for the San Bernardino Fire Department, one of the last departments to become fully integrated. Only eight of the city’s 148 firefighters live in the city. They are paid between $90,000 to $160,000 a year. The Cadet program will be funded by the San Bernardino Employment and Training funds (SEBTA) and will not cost the city. It follows the model of the city’s highly successful Police Cadet Program.

The flyer mocks the level of service one can expect with the adoption of the new Cadet program that was fully supported by fire management at the council meeting.

“The flyer is the new kind of racism,” says Councilman Rikke Van Johnson. He continues: “it is a sick individual that put it together who should not be employed by the City of San Bernardino.” The poor quality flyer displays a photo of a young Black male in a uniform with braids, a fat White man in front of the fire truck and a White female, who is a senior, dressed like a forest fire fighter or a beekeeper. The title reads: “Help Wanted… Help the City of San Bernardino augment their staffing levels by becoming a volunteer/cadet/reserve firefighter.”

Below the City Fire Department logo are the words “Professionalism in Action”. At the bottom of the flyer are poor quality photos of Deputy Commander Matt Fratus, Rikke Van Johnson, Virginia Marquez and Charles McNeely, all supporters of the cadet program, as was the council as a whole.

“The program was to give kids in our community a chance to be a fireman in the City of San Bernardino. That department needs to be a reflection of the community it serves,” said Johnson. He also said the program doesn’t target senior citizens but there is hope for the youth and the only photo was that of a Black youth with braids that is why he said it is “ a blatantly racist document.”

“I’d hate to be in the mind of the person who conceived it,” said Johnson.

Allegedly the flyers were placed on bulletin boards around the fire department.

Calls to Fratus, McNeely, and Marquez were not returned at press time. View the flyer online at www.blackvoicenews.com.

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Comments  

 
+1 # Guest 2011-07-09 16:37
Here is a novel idea, get educated by taking the REQUIRED fire classes at the community college and then APPLY, TEST for the jobs just EVERYBODY on the Fire Department???
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+3 # Guest 2011-07-03 19:05
Their are bigger injustices in this world than a job flyer. Stick to reporting real news.
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+1 # Guest 2011-07-03 18:56
It appears that this flyer could have legitimately come from the city. Could this have been created by Fire Management? Why was this idea not explored more by Ms. Brown? I don't see anything thing that is offensive in the flyer. Perhaps Ms. Brown is being too sensitive.
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0 # Guest 2011-07-03 09:42
I don't believe the flyer is directed at the City Council. The flyer is directed at the San Bernardino Fire Department Management. The relationship between the management and the firefighters is less than stellar.
The cadet program is ridiculous. If you want firefighters to live in the city then make it a requirement. But if you do it for the firefighters then it should be a requirement for the police as well. The cadet program when discussed at the council meeting discussed the lack of black firefighters. It shouldn't matter what color or gender a firefighter is as long as the job gets done.
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+2 # Guest 2011-07-01 13:06
Why stop at racism? Why not sexism, ageism and obeseism? Because it is not as sexy as RACISM! Now go crawl under a rock Ms Brown and quit trying to stir things up.
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+1 # Guest 2011-07-01 07:46
I DON'T LIVE IN SAN BERNARDINO, SO IT IS LIKELY NONE OF MY BUSINESS, BUT I THINK YOU FOLKS ARE NUTS! THE FLYER IS FINE... RELATIVE TO ITS PRINT QUALITY, I DON'T KNOW, BUT THE PICTURES, HEY, THOSE ARE 'REGULAR PEOPLE' WHICH IS ALL THE FLYER IS TRYING TO DEPICT ... YOU CAN BE A 'REGULAR PERSON' AND VOLUNTEER IN THE COMMUNITY .... YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A SUPER STAR.

WHAT AM I MISSING? VENOM ????

P.
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+7 # Guest 2011-06-30 21:03
I think the flyer is mocking the efforts of the Council to hire locals. The flyer maker mocks the old, fat, female, and ethnic as being incapable and incompetent of being real firefighters. yes, the black guy with braids is a racial stereotype, but it is not more offensive than the incapable old fat white guy, or the "blonde-joke-woman." So, have the Council phase-in a residency requirement for City employees, and go on with the cadet program--and make sure the cadets are top notch.
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