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FEMA grant

Dear Editor:
I find some disturbing items in this article about the FEMA firefighting grant. (1/10/13)
Describing the Los Angeles County Fire Department as “more robust” seems like you’re editorializing. Yes, County Fire is a much larger organization but whether it is better prepared to undertake fire protection within the City of Downey over our current FD is another matter.
Perhaps we need to make a few comparisons first, such as average response times, average personnel costs, and which department is in better shape with their pension and retirement-benefit obligations?
The heart of the matter is that the FEMA grant is a stop-gap. It allows the city to hire-back the laid-off personnel (if they’re still available) or go out into the market and find replacements – hopefully at a lower pay-rate. But by putting people on the payroll, you’re obligating the city, and the taxpayers, for more than just that one-year hole that the $1.8 million plugs.
Just as we saw in the Clinton-era “Cops on the Street” program, the federal funding only lasts a prescribed (usually short) amount of time, but the expanded payroll goes on and on. This is just slapping a Band-Aid on an open wound, without taking any measure to correct the injury.
The cities and counties and states of this country, and the country itself, has to learn to live within the means of the taxpayers who are footing the bill. That isn’t being done today, it wasn’t done in the past which is why we’re in this mess, and there is every reason to believe that it will not be done in the future, until the whole economic structure of the country comes crashing down upon our heads.
Greece is not just a sunny spot in the Eastern Med.
Drew Kelley
Downey

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Published: January 17, 2013 – Volume 11 – Issue 40



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