Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Funding fire fighting in CA

Miriam Raftery blogs at Brad Blog about the inadequate resources dedicated to fire fighting in California, including the Governor's veto of increased budget funding for equipment and staff.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and local officials have made media appearances claiming credit for swiftly responding to the disaster. “There is much more equipment available, more manpower is available, quicker action,” Schwarzenegger said, according to the Associated Press.

What the Governor failed to mention is that he vetoed four bills that would have increased staffing and fire resources after the Cedar Fire, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. A fifth bill, signed by Schwarzenegger, requires local governments to first submit safety plans to the California Department of Forestry and will not take effect until 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported in a May 20, 2007 article titled “Fire danger acute as 2003 lessons fade.” That article has since disappeared off the newspaper’s website, but a copy is here.

We can't continue to inadequately fund infrastructure and basic support services. Our funding priorities are out of whack, and in the long run it costs more to constantly rebuild and replace than it would be properly fund these functions in the first place.



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