Annexation, Independence and Partnership
Kensington has been independent since 1911 and will remain so. Those that suggest otherwise sow confusion in our town.
“Annexation” is the “Antifa” of local politics: a scare tactic to distract from the progress the KPPCSD has made over the last few years. It would take a ballot initiative to approve and there is absolutely no desire or support by officials or residents. It’s fearmongering plain and simple.
Maintaining Kensington’s independence vs. contracting for services is a false choice.
The fact of the matter is that Kensington has partnered with other jurisdictions in every aspect of our service (parks and rec, solid waste, fire and police) for decades and it hasn’t impacted our independence.
Our park and park buildings are maintained by independent contractors, who also serve El Cerrito. Our recreation programs are provided through the nonprofit Kensington Community Council, and Bay View Refuse and Recycling has a contract for our solid waste removal.
Our Fire Dept., an essential service like police, has had a contract with El Cerrito for our fire chief and all firefighters for more than 30 years. It hasn’t changed the independent status of the Kensington Fire Protection District (KFPD), nor taken away any of the Board's powers. Just a year ago the KFPD marked the signing of a new 10-year contract with a cake and community celebration.
Over the decades, the Kensington Police Department has partnered with Albany, Richmond, and now Albany again for our dispatch service, and has contracted out with other law enforcement agencies to conduct internal investigations. Significantly, over the past year, the KPPCSD contracted for interim Chief of Police Steve Simpkins’ services with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office.
All of these partnerships provide services at a better value than if we stood them up completely on our own. And nothing about them impinges on the independence of our districts, boards or public safety departments.
The question is not “independence” vs. contracting. I’m for maintaining our department overseen by our Board. The question is how far into the future we can afford the operating costs and pension and retirement benefit obligations of a fully-staffed, high-performing department.
As your elected representative, I strive to provide high-quality services at a price we can afford.