Opinion

Those opposed to Measure L are sadly mistaken

One simple thing that is not being discussed about Measure L is what happens if Measure L doesn’t pass. The staffing levels for Madera County Fire Department have never been increased above the 1928 staffing levels. That is one person by themselves on a fire engine.

This means that every Madera County Board of Supervisors, for 89 years, has refused to increase staffing for the fire department regardless of the increase in population over that same 89-year time period.

This includes boards that have had a retired firefighter and a Madera County volunteer firefighter on them.

Is this because the money was not there? Is this because they felt there was no need? Or is it because the money was needed elsewhere? I don’t know, but I do know that if Measure L does not pass the people of Madera County will have the fire department we have now for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Pero’s issue with the board’s pet projects using tax dollars has some valid points, some of which I actually agree. The raise for the Madera County employees has been approved. Are we to expect that the board takes the raise away from these employees? That’s not realistic and it’s not going to happen.

The thought that county employees are expected to work without ever getting a pay raise is not only unrealistic but a bit cold-hearted. Who out there would work in a job and never expect a raise of some sort? These employees haven’t had a raise in years. Regardless of your viewpoint this means that the money is not there.

Measure L assures that the money will go to fire and law enforcement. It cannot be used for anything else. If approved this and every board of supervisors in the next 20 years cannot change that fact.

They also cannot take the existing funding that is now in the budget. I actually get a great deal of satisfaction knowing that there will be a pool of money that the politicians will not be able to touch and must go to public safety.

I respect the rights of people like Mr. Pero, Mr. Ward and the Republican Party (I am a registered Republican) to fight against additional taxation (Sierra Star, Feb. 16). But if they think that this or any future Madera County Board of Supervisors is going to miraculously find millions of dollars they are sadly mistaken, as 89 years of history has proven them wrong.

This measure not passing will not be taken as a stance against unjustified spending by the government but rather “the people have spoken and this is the fire department that they want or are willing to except.”

Fighting to make sure that our tax dollars are spent responsibly is commendable and I applaud their effort, however this is an issue that rises above politics, party lines and personal agendas.

I am a realist. Without Measure L there is no realistic expectation that the board of supervisors will fund the additional 25 firefighters, three fire stations and nine sheriff deputies that this measure provides.

Measure L is the closest we have come to raising staffing levels in 89 years of the Madera County Fire Department. Please do not throw the baby out with the bathwater just to prove a point. We only hurt ourselves.

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