The City of Compton recently hosted a State of the City (SOTC) where the mayor declared she had made significant strides to reduce the city’s deficit. Coincidentally, the SOTC was held the same week the city’s fire department made national news on having defibrillators removed from the paramedic units. A press release was issued late last week proclaiming the defibrillators have been restored, which every major media outlet reported on. Mainstream media were forced to update their stories because it is not true and the upcoming council meeting confirms the city is in dire financial straits.
Acting Fire Chief Brian Batiste, received a letter from Emergency Management Services (EMS), stating defibrillators were back allowed on Compton fire vehicles, after the same department ordered them off a short week prior. The communication to the public failed to include a vital piece of information. Defibrillators would be allowed back, once staff were properly trained.
Media outlets, pounced on this news, and immediately began the task of disseminating it to the public. However, the San Francisco Gate (sfgate.com) was one of the first to update their July 17, 2015, article to read:
First, the public was told the deficit was reduced, yet the Tuesday, July 21,2015, council agenda says the city is declaring a fiscal emergency to ask voters to increase the sales tax. Item #8 isn’t quite clear either.
Finally, the communication on the unofficial city social media accounts, failed to include the verbiage the defibrillators would be back, after staff is properly trained.
Attempts to reach the mayor on these issues, via the public information office, have been unsuccessful because all of the press releases issued, do not list a contact persons name, phone number or email address. The city clerk’s office confirmed they do not have a copy of a contract for public information office services either.