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OPINION: Sac to Charge for “Scene Stabilization”

I felt compelled to write this after reading Brandon Darnell’s report on the Sacramento’s City Council’s 5-4 decision in favor of requiring non-resident drivers to foot emergency bills. You can view his article here

I find this to be complete nonsense (not the article, the decision). Especially when reading some of the responses from the City Council and others.

The Fire Chief states that it’s not to bring in revenue, but to recover costs? He’s joking right? What else is this but a new revenue stream? Top that off with the old school mentality of budgeting, especially in a government environment. Towards the end of each fiscal year budgets are reviewed to ensure all monies in the budget are spent. If it appears there will be money left over, it’s spent with no regard to fiscal responsibility. Why? Because then they can claim last years budget was just barely enough and next year they will need a bigger budget to fight increased costs, inflation, etc..

Councilwoman Angelique Ashby said by declining to discuss a confidential memo, authored by the City’s Attorney’s Office, is a way to safeguard the city against potential litigation. I believe not discussing the memo and the comments made by the city council is a perfect recipe for a lawsuit. However, I’m certain by the time this goes to trial they will have figured out a way to charge the public for the City Councils ignorance.

Councilwoman Ashby goes on to say “ . . . There is no free lunch.”. Did she really just say that? Does she not realize how much in taxes people pay to support our government infrastructure? Rather than cut costs cities and states continue to spend money. Why? It goes back to the budget and the “I gotta spend it” mentality along with police and fire unions.

The worst part about this is we will now have yet another contract with another vendor, Fire Recovery USA. Who are these people and why are we going to pay them 17% to handle billing? I’m thinking their friends with someone on the city council. They have to be with people on their team such as:

Greg Schmidt – Developer in and around Sacramento
Rick Benner – Former president of the Sacramento Kings
Kevin Trost – Retired captain for Sacramento Fire
Thorne Auchter – Former director of OSHA under Ronald Reagan

Auchter is the most controversial due to his colorful past. Including his role as CEO for Grace News Network, which landed a U.S. government contract to launch an Arabic language satellite TV news station for Muslim Iraq. You can read more about Auchter here.

Based on Fire Recovery USA’s website it looks like they will be using strong arm tactics. According to their site:

“. . . While there is nothing really different about the way we bill, we do have several interesting recovery techniques in our system. We also have exclusive methods that we've developed during our years of collection experience in other industries that convinces those responsible of their fiscal responsibilities.

That's so Soprano's. Will those techniques include new ways for individuals to sue the city?

Based on the cast of characters working for Fire Recovery USA, I have to believe they have been the driving force behind this being presented to and approved by the City Council.

Having ranted on about this I just wanted to add that the majority of firemen and policemen go above and beyond in providing services to the community. This is a rant about the Saramento City Council and government in general and should not reflect poorly on those that serve our cities.

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