There’s an old expression that goes something like, “You get the kind of government that you vote for.” And we have seen what kind of government the people in the city of Los Angeles have chosen to live with. Basically, they are being led by a band of deceitful ignoramuses who choose to govern by deception instead of accepting responsibility and following good business practices.
On Wednesday we posted a brief notice (HERE) about the city council’s approval of a 37% increase in their already-astronomical fees for emergency ambulance service. Beginning July 1 they will likely be charging their citizens and guests nearly $1,000 for a BLS call and close to $1,400 for an ALS response. Plus….. $15.75 per mile if they transport the poor guy who just dropped with a sudden heart attack. This action by the city council is unconscionable for at least two reasons.
First of all, the emergency ambulance service is a function of the fire department and is funded by taxpayers through the FD’s annual budget. That’s something most people understand…..the ambulance is like the fire engine. Everyone chips in via their taxes to have fire and EMS units available with trained crews to handle emergencies no matter who the victims are. It’s a community function. But the key point here is the funding from tax collections. They do not expect, nor should they, to pay outrageously high prices for government services that are already funded. If the fire department’s budget was not fully funded, then everybody needs to share the shortfall by either paying still-higher taxes or by reducing the size of the FD and suffer the consequences of diminished service.
But the city council believes that they can make themselves look good and clever by shifting the additional cost onto the victims, those people whose lives have just been tragically impacted by an unexpected event and are helpless against this type of monetary attack on their pocketbooks. But for the 98% or so of the citizens who don’t need anything from the FD this year, they don’t see any immediate change in their own tax burden. Presto! Happy voters!
Just as dishonest is the real reason they are foisting these astronimical fees onto the helpless victims. This is a gimmick to “balance” the budget by projecting income that hasn’t yet materialized. They will say that the ambulances will generate X millions of dollars, knowing full well that only a fraction of that amount will ever be collected. So why do they do it? Simple. It allows them to shift actual funds collected from the fire department into other pet agencies and projects that they use as favorite, visible programs that please the voters and help lead to re-election. All this time that people are thinking their tax money is going to public safety, they are really funding unecessary and extraneous programs that are not required for the city to function properly.
Los Angeles City Council, looking the other way…
So what happens next if they can’t collect these draconian charges from the poor sap who didn’t really choose to have a medical emergency inside the city limits? Well, the same thing that happened this year when every city agency came up short. Last year’s phantom budget came up lacking this month and the incompetent (and marginally dishonest) city council will go through the same dance set. It always begins with ordering the agency head to “slash spending.” You know the rest of the routine by now. It is no surprise that the City of Los Angeles is financially bankrupt. Playing this shell game with non-existant monies will only expand and prolong their problem. But that’s what the citizens voted for.
We’d better get this equipment checked out now, that’s not up for a vote. I’ll get some more coffee started and see you back in the day room.
May 25, 2010
L. A. city councilman laments the fact that other politicians are spending their own money
on election campaigns instead of giving it to him to spend on the city’s problems.