I see Firegeezer pointed out yesterday that Minneapolis is about to crack down on the fire department. I suppose they are a convenient target, being a luxury item and all. What is essential to the local government in Minneapolis? Well, they want to spend almost half a billion dollars on a football stadium for a team owned by a hundred-millionaire. This is not unusual. The transfer of wealth and services from the have-nots to the haves is as old as government itself and the only remarkable thing about it is how no one seems to think of it that way.
proposed Minneapolis stadium to be used
for eight games a year. (Star-Tribune image)
The City of Minneapolis and its councilors and mayor are willing to remove the frontline social safety net from under the city's most vulnerable population in order to line the pockets of the ultra-wealthy. Where are the civil rights leaders? Where is the ministerial alliance? Where are reporters? Oh, wait, they're paying $25 for a tee shirt for that football team. For so many of the citizens the fire department is their property insurance and it is their primary healthcare provider. The fire department enables the conduct of commerce by keeping businesses open where they would otherwise be burned out. But even those vulnerable people often don't understand that. If one in ten of them will use the fire department in a given year then that's still nine of the ten who will never think of it. I suspect that at least nine of those ten will be more upset if the football team leaves town than they would if the local engine company closes down.
It is time for creative solutions. I've written before about the urgent need for the fire service to play the race card. But the local unions also need to engage in finger pointing; name names in the paper, on TV, on the web, on social media. The calculus is simple: Councilor A would rather give this millionaire more millions than give your family the protection for which it pays taxes. This should be thrust in the citizens' faces regularly and relentlessly. At the same time you should explain to them that you need X number of firefighters in Y number of minutes for their property to be safe. You don't need to stoop to the "babies will die" argument that is so stereotypical as to be ineffective. Let them draw their own conclusions but give the citizens the framework to understand the issue. This framework consists not only of the exigencies of fire suppression and EMS but also the zero-sum political choices surrounding the issue. Why are we reluctant to point out that second part?
………. Thank you, Patrick Mahoney.
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Also on FireGeezer…
- Let’s Talk About the “Crucible of Fire” – a Commentary – July 25, 2012
- Should Fire Training Be Banned? a commentary – April 22, 2013