"Save our neighborhood firehouses"

I wish the firehouses in San Francisco really were "ours," instead of the government's. That way if they were sold the proceeds could go directly to the citizenry instead of into the bureaucracy -- we could use this money to pay for private fireproofing, emergency response, and/or insurance.

  But if you want to save them, let's hear what cuts elsewhere in the budget you advocate in order to pay for it. Unless I missed them, there are no such recommendations to be found on your website (http://www.saveourfirehouses.com/about.html). Finding waste and fat to cut is not such a tall order as politicians and the journalists who uncritically print their solemn pronouncements pretend -- San Francisco has a $6 billion annual budget, reportedly larger than the budgets of 20 states. Something tells me there are a few extra dollars floating around in there.

  One area that comes immediately to mind is public relations. Various city agencies still spend millions of dollars putting out PR -- in other words, they use the money they've stolen from us in taxes to try to put a favorable spin on their activities and manipulate us into believing that they're doing a good job. Here's a radical idea -- maybe they should cut some of that spending to pay for keeping neighborhood firehouses open, and LET US DECIDE FOR OURSELVES how good a job our public servants are doing WITHOUT them lobbying us? If they are going to continue to lobby us, perhaps government employees should have to register their names and personal info in a database accessible to the citizenry, wear name tags, and pay a fee to the taxpayers out of their salaries in order to work in PR. After all, they don't have a problem imposing such requirements on other lobbyists.

  Or how about banning politicians from attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies and parades while on the clock? Small items, but eliminating these "loopholes" that allow them to engage in self-promotion rather than working could save a few bucks here and there, and what good does their presence at these events really do us?

  Or maybe a good place to start would be by cutting the salaries of wealthy government employees drawing six-figure salaries, as Aaron Peskin suggested? Or what about the pensions that promise to pay government employees an annual retirement check of up to 90% of their former salary -- since the taxpayers will be paying these folks nearly as much as they were earning before, to do nothing, maybe they in their nothing-doingness could "give back to the community" a little bit by using some of that retirement pay to fund the jobs of firefighters who are actually working?

  Why not run these ideas by your members, along with whatever other suggestions they may have for cutting still-bloated government in this time of belt-tightening, and see which fiscally responsible positions a plurality of your membership favors?

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))