”An inadequate level of services”, said 29 Palms Fire Chief Thomson.
When the Lear station closes, 29 Palms may be facing a fire and safety crises. It ought to be a big concern to the city. However, the attitude at City Hall is: “The 29 Palms Fire Department is not our problem.”
You wouldn’t know there is a crisis. But there is. The city never had a Plan B.
The 29 Palms Fire Chief Thomson put it this way. “This community is at a crossroads.” According to the Desert Trail, the Chief described the current level of staffing, with two fire stations, as a minimally appropriate level of service for a community the size of the water district.
The Fire Chief added that a single fire station would provide “an inadequate level of service.”
The Chief is right. And it is the job of the City Council to respond to crises to act in the best interests to protect the public safety and property rights. But are they doing that?
The 29 Palms Fire Department is under-funded and has lost a significant funding source when Measure H went down in flames. While the Lear Fire Station is expected to close soon, the 29 Palms Fire Department is still responsibly for fire safety within the City limits and outside in the unincorporated areas of the 29 Palms Water Water District.
Twentynine Palms Businesses and residents are at more of a greater risk when the Lear station closes it doors. Should the 29 Palms Fire Department be on a fire in JT NP and a horse rescue fire in Desert Heights, a downtown fire could burn to the slab before help could arrive.
One of the most important agenda items at the next 29 Palms City Council/Successor Agency meeting is Tuesday, April 24, 2012 is a presentation of a design concept, bidding and construction of a $120,000 sign to be placed at SR62 and National Park Drive.
While the local fire department financially flounders — the 29 Palms City Council is dancing around a $120,000 sign and continues with their opulent spending on a city-funded playhouse.
There is the attitude at City Hall: “The 29 Palms Fire Department is not our problem.” That attitude is dangerous. It’s time for leadership to acknowledge the 29 Palms Water District can’t solve the city’s fire and safety problems.
In fact, the water district by stature cannot fund the fire department.
In the past that just was the way it was. The city just didn’t fund the fire department. But now since there is a genuine public safety issue immediately confronting the City, it’s time to confront the problem head-on.
Funding the 29 Palms Fire Department finding needs to be center stage. It’s time for the City to open up talks with other entities about funding the fire department.
Why build a playhouse or a superstructure if it cannot be protected 100% of the time?
The City, the Water Department and the County needs a meeting of the minds to come together to look into a very serious fire safety issues facing the city.
It may be something for the Oversight Board to consider. Would they want to fund a superstructure and/or playhouse that may be at risk of adequate fire protection? This is an opportunity for the city to tackle hard problems. The Chief explains, “The community has to decide how to provide the funding to maintain that appropriate level of service.”
It is sad to watch City Hall chase after childish playhouse dreams when their focus is needed on fire safety and fire protection for the entire community and its local businesses.
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