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The primary difference between the San Diego fires and other national disasters such as Katrina and 9/11 was the ominous predictability as well as precedence of the disaster of this scale. Once burnt, twice prepared.
However, in the city of San Diego, we have made only incremental progress toward fire accreditation, three years after the Cedar Fire, and there are no additional revenues in sight. The funding of three people for brush clearance, when 33 are needed; the increase of $5 million to the fire budget when $40 million is needed; and the addition of one new fire-station when 22 are needed, demonstrates that there is a lack of political will to restructure our public infrastructure.
In comparison, when the Northridge earthquake hit Los Angeles, the city significantly increased Business License Taxes. Now they have more resources per capita and a better firefighter ratio. When the fires struck LA, the city of Los Angeles was better prepared to react immediately with a contingent of local helicopters than wait for state and federal assistance.
On the issue of future growth, reader Juvenal questions the wisdom of growing in the first place.
For many who already own a home here, there’s a belief that new growth leads to new problems with very little immediate benefit.
This comes fueled with the suspicion that our elected officials will want to satisfy campaign contributors (developers) even at the detriment of our quality of life. The suspicion is what has resulted in successful growth control measures across the state, especially after Proposition 13. And no doubt will be raged by community groups in the adoption of the proposed General Plan.
As we rebuild San Diego, we need to rethink our insurance policy, that is the level of fire-fighting service that we provide our residents. I conclude with an excerpt from reader Howeik’s comments:
Mr. Baxamusa’s comments regarding insurance is most telling. I believe that he is telling us that even though San Diegan’s won’t fund public services properly (police/fire), we are paying for it in higher insurance premiums! (Mine went up considerably this year.)
San Diegans are already paying for the current short-sighted tax policy one way or another…