Tuesday, May 22, 2007 | Erik Bruvold, an occasional guest contributor on voiceofsandiego.org, is president and CEO of San Diego Institute for Policy Research (SDI), a conservative, limited-government think tank. In recent days, Bruvold and his SDI colleagues have strenuously argued that San Diego firefighters do not deserve a raise, as market conditions do not warrant an increase.

Well, this month, SDI conducted a poll of San Diegans, to measure their feelings on different issues facing our city. Guess what the poll respondents think? Firefighters deserve a raise!

Regarding funding for the Fire/Rescue Department, a whopping 88 percent of respondents felt it was either “extremely” or “very” important.

Do San Diegans know what they’re talking about? In the poll, two-thirds (66.2 percent) were aware of the recent debate over firefighter compensation.

Finally, 61.4 percent of respondents disagreed, to one degree or another, with the decision of the San Diego City Council to deny a raise to firefighters.

Many of us — myself included — feel that, as public safety is the most important duty of government, the mayoral and council decisions to turn their backs on firefighters was wrong. In fact, the poll showed that finding money to be able to give the firefighters a raise should come from reducing funding to the offices of the mayor and councilmembers!

The budgeting process for Fiscal Year 2008 is still a work in progress. Mayor and council: It’s not too late to shift budgetary priorities and give the firefighters the raise they deserve.

What think you now?

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