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San Diego city council quietly greenlights $525,000 harassment deal

Video-only special meeting vote

The fire department disclosed the fact of her complaints and its investigation to the men of the department.
The fire department disclosed the fact of her complaints and its investigation to the men of the department.

A two-year-old lawsuit involving a ream of explosive sexual harassment allegations by an 18-year veteran of San Diego's fire and rescue department has been settled with a $525,000 payment quietly approved by the city council during an April 7 virtual meeting.

The approval came as part of the already obscure special meeting's so-called consent agenda, on which are placed a group of items that are not subject to public discussion before unanimous approval.

Sara Alfaro: "The atmosphere of the SDFD is undeniably a boys' club."

Because transparency laws, including many aspects of the state's open meeting act and the public records act, are being pushed aside during the coronavirus emergency, questions have arisen regarding whether the pandemic has become a way to justify shutting down public oversight of local government.

"By seeking blanket exemptions from the state's good government and transparency laws, California's municipal leaders, through the League of California Cities, are mimicking their counterparts in authoritarian-leaning countries," asserted an April 1 editorial by the Sacramento Bee

"They are trying to use COVID-19 as an excuse to evade democracy's rule."

In her 45-page complaint, lodged April 20, 2018, fire captain Sara Alfaro, alleged she had been victimized by years of sexual harassment by her male peers, claiming, "the atmosphere of the SDFD is undeniably a boys' club."

"In 2013, when Alfaro was at the Station 29 and had her hands full with gear and equipment, now retired Captain Broderick Perkins approached her and partially unzipped her top, exposing her chest," the complaint alleged.

"Previously, when she was at Station 12, Captain Perkins had also slapped her buttocks when she was standing on a ladder."

"Around 2014-2015," the document contends, "when Alfaro was the only permanent female firefighter at Station 10, she left a towel with her last name embroidered on it in a bathroom at the station, and later received a text message with a photograph of a penis physically resting on the towel, next to her name."

"A picture of Alfaro's face with a penis photoshopped in beside it was later passed around the department," the complaint added.

"Men in the department openly express male chauvinist and misogynist views in Alfaro's presence. Alfaro has heard male coworkers in the workplace referring to women as 'subservient' and discussing the bodies of the few women in the department."

Per the complaint, "Instead of taking immediate steps to protect Alfaro, SDFD and the city's HR department disclosed the fact of her complaints and its investigation to the men of the department, over Alfaro's repeated warnings that this would cause retribution by her male colleagues."

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8

It always be funny to see [any achieved] females in higher badges, above the badge of male co-workers. Be it in f.d. or p.d. I remember when this was impossible in the past. This consist of reverse-nerves (be it the badges & the timeline).

April 7, 2020

Here's what I fail to understand: she is a fire captain and has or had 18 years of service. Why is she now settling a lawsuit over things that happened years ago? While it's not a sure thing, it could be claimed that whatever went on didn't hurt her career because, after al,l she is now a captain. It is hard to identify retribution. But I do find it unusual that these claims don't make accusations against unnamed miscreants. This captain Perkins is referred to at least twice. Don't you wonder what the story is about him? I do.

Don't get me wrong; the things that she describes are quite likely, and her claim that the FD is a boy's club is quite apt. In fact, firehouses are one last bastion of society for misogynists and chauvinists. This is just another case, like so many that have preceded it, of how the slobberin' city managed to botch employee complaints and end up on the hook for a fat settlement. Every time you slam through a pothole in the street or read of a water main break and wonder why the city underfunds its infrastructure and maintenance, think of this and other settlements that could have funded proper care.

But now she can head into retirement with a nice not-so-little nest egg, courtesy of the long-suffering city taxpayers.

April 8, 2020

"Here's what I fail to understand: she is a fire captain and has or had 18 years of service. Why is she now settling a lawsuit over things that happened years ago?"

Because it takes FOREVER to get a decent lawsuit off the ground and it moves slowly even when it is going.

".....Every time you slam through a pothole in the street or read of a water main break and wonder why the city underfunds its infrastructure and maintenance, think of this and other settlements that could have funded proper care."

The fools and cheapskates who run San Diego will never fix the mains or deal with the potholes because they can't somehow make a private profit off the thing somehow. As the San Diego government is so incompetent, I feel it should disincorporate and San Diego should become a suburb of Los Angeles. The cops run away to LA anyway because they pay better, why not join the monstrous tumor of Southern California, Los Angeles?

April 8, 2020

If you were even semi-serious I'd be most surprised. LA has city hall corruption like no other city in the western US. Its department of water and power is just one long-running scandal. You can fix incompetence with competence, and although that has escaped San Diego for decades, might still work. Corruption takes root and is much, much more difficult to root out. If the voters in SD wanted city government to work, they could get that, but the first thing they would need to do is wake up and then get informed. Will that ever happen? Very unlikely.

April 8, 2020

What about Riverside & Orange counties??

April 8, 2020

Women and men face discrimination in the workforce if they're going against the grain gender wise. It happens to male nurses, etc. too. Whether or not this hindered her career is irrelevant. She sued, and rightfully so.

April 8, 2020

Speaking of "nurses" and "discrimination" : the nurses must have known well in advance, before the media's informing to the public, about the C-V issue to have been exposed in the atmosphere. As selected civilian sources can be chosen, ahead of others, to be informed.

April 9, 2020

Huh?

April 13, 2020

Sign in to comment

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The fire department disclosed the fact of her complaints and its investigation to the men of the department.
The fire department disclosed the fact of her complaints and its investigation to the men of the department.

A two-year-old lawsuit involving a ream of explosive sexual harassment allegations by an 18-year veteran of San Diego's fire and rescue department has been settled with a $525,000 payment quietly approved by the city council during an April 7 virtual meeting.

The approval came as part of the already obscure special meeting's so-called consent agenda, on which are placed a group of items that are not subject to public discussion before unanimous approval.

Sara Alfaro: "The atmosphere of the SDFD is undeniably a boys' club."

Because transparency laws, including many aspects of the state's open meeting act and the public records act, are being pushed aside during the coronavirus emergency, questions have arisen regarding whether the pandemic has become a way to justify shutting down public oversight of local government.

"By seeking blanket exemptions from the state's good government and transparency laws, California's municipal leaders, through the League of California Cities, are mimicking their counterparts in authoritarian-leaning countries," asserted an April 1 editorial by the Sacramento Bee

"They are trying to use COVID-19 as an excuse to evade democracy's rule."

In her 45-page complaint, lodged April 20, 2018, fire captain Sara Alfaro, alleged she had been victimized by years of sexual harassment by her male peers, claiming, "the atmosphere of the SDFD is undeniably a boys' club."

"In 2013, when Alfaro was at the Station 29 and had her hands full with gear and equipment, now retired Captain Broderick Perkins approached her and partially unzipped her top, exposing her chest," the complaint alleged.

"Previously, when she was at Station 12, Captain Perkins had also slapped her buttocks when she was standing on a ladder."

"Around 2014-2015," the document contends, "when Alfaro was the only permanent female firefighter at Station 10, she left a towel with her last name embroidered on it in a bathroom at the station, and later received a text message with a photograph of a penis physically resting on the towel, next to her name."

"A picture of Alfaro's face with a penis photoshopped in beside it was later passed around the department," the complaint added.

"Men in the department openly express male chauvinist and misogynist views in Alfaro's presence. Alfaro has heard male coworkers in the workplace referring to women as 'subservient' and discussing the bodies of the few women in the department."

Per the complaint, "Instead of taking immediate steps to protect Alfaro, SDFD and the city's HR department disclosed the fact of her complaints and its investigation to the men of the department, over Alfaro's repeated warnings that this would cause retribution by her male colleagues."

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Comments
8

It always be funny to see [any achieved] females in higher badges, above the badge of male co-workers. Be it in f.d. or p.d. I remember when this was impossible in the past. This consist of reverse-nerves (be it the badges & the timeline).

April 7, 2020

Here's what I fail to understand: she is a fire captain and has or had 18 years of service. Why is she now settling a lawsuit over things that happened years ago? While it's not a sure thing, it could be claimed that whatever went on didn't hurt her career because, after al,l she is now a captain. It is hard to identify retribution. But I do find it unusual that these claims don't make accusations against unnamed miscreants. This captain Perkins is referred to at least twice. Don't you wonder what the story is about him? I do.

Don't get me wrong; the things that she describes are quite likely, and her claim that the FD is a boy's club is quite apt. In fact, firehouses are one last bastion of society for misogynists and chauvinists. This is just another case, like so many that have preceded it, of how the slobberin' city managed to botch employee complaints and end up on the hook for a fat settlement. Every time you slam through a pothole in the street or read of a water main break and wonder why the city underfunds its infrastructure and maintenance, think of this and other settlements that could have funded proper care.

But now she can head into retirement with a nice not-so-little nest egg, courtesy of the long-suffering city taxpayers.

April 8, 2020

"Here's what I fail to understand: she is a fire captain and has or had 18 years of service. Why is she now settling a lawsuit over things that happened years ago?"

Because it takes FOREVER to get a decent lawsuit off the ground and it moves slowly even when it is going.

".....Every time you slam through a pothole in the street or read of a water main break and wonder why the city underfunds its infrastructure and maintenance, think of this and other settlements that could have funded proper care."

The fools and cheapskates who run San Diego will never fix the mains or deal with the potholes because they can't somehow make a private profit off the thing somehow. As the San Diego government is so incompetent, I feel it should disincorporate and San Diego should become a suburb of Los Angeles. The cops run away to LA anyway because they pay better, why not join the monstrous tumor of Southern California, Los Angeles?

April 8, 2020

If you were even semi-serious I'd be most surprised. LA has city hall corruption like no other city in the western US. Its department of water and power is just one long-running scandal. You can fix incompetence with competence, and although that has escaped San Diego for decades, might still work. Corruption takes root and is much, much more difficult to root out. If the voters in SD wanted city government to work, they could get that, but the first thing they would need to do is wake up and then get informed. Will that ever happen? Very unlikely.

April 8, 2020

What about Riverside & Orange counties??

April 8, 2020

Women and men face discrimination in the workforce if they're going against the grain gender wise. It happens to male nurses, etc. too. Whether or not this hindered her career is irrelevant. She sued, and rightfully so.

April 8, 2020

Speaking of "nurses" and "discrimination" : the nurses must have known well in advance, before the media's informing to the public, about the C-V issue to have been exposed in the atmosphere. As selected civilian sources can be chosen, ahead of others, to be informed.

April 9, 2020

Huh?

April 13, 2020

Sign in to comment

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