Districts need public support to make necessary changes
First my personal thanks to Chad Gillis, editor of The Banner, for sponsoring the Fire Commissioner guest commentaries over the last month or so. These commentaries and opinions continue to address consolidation/merger issue both in Lee and Collier County.
The March 15 guest commentary by Fire Commissioner Jim Burke, North Naples Fire District Board is one of the most direct and honest statements about the road to consolidation or merger. His remarks are exactly what the voters of both counties need to hear. He openly states that any district consolidation is a question of politics and not of operations. And he states that there has been an absence of political commitment on the part of most Fire Commissioners
The more than eighty-five Lee County Fire Commissioners over the years have not seriously discussed consolidation because of the apathy of the taxpayers and the electorate. Over those same years most incumbent commissioners were re-elected without once attempting to address efficiency, effectiveness, consolidation, and/or other changes in the county system of seventeen separate fire districts.
Thirty years have gone by since the district system was adopted; thirty years ago a rural, agricultural county fire district system was appropriate. Since that time we have grown into large sophisticated and expensive district fifedoms that the taxpayer can no longer support. Taxpayers recently have acknowledged this fact by changing the make-up of Boards of Fire Commissioners; men and women who promise fire districts restructure are being elected – knowing and accepting the importance of bringing about needed changes.
The Bonita Springs, Estero and San Carlos Park Fire District consultants’ study directed toward consolidation or merger will require the full support of Fire Commissioners, city council persons, community leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, and state Legislators to bring it to fruition. The voters must demand that support from its representatives.
Bonita Springs Fire Commissioner
Plastic bags trashing the world
Renowned environmentalist Katharine Mieszkowski, states the following: “The most ubiquitous consumer on Earth, the lowly plastic bag is an environmental scourge like no other, sapping the life out of our oceans and thwarting our attempts to recycle it”.
You may not be aware there is a swirling mass of plastic waste, much of it plastic bags, 1,000 miles off the California coast. This mass covers an area twice the size of Texas.
The biggest offenders are the stores we patronize everyday. Some of the grocery stores in the area are offering reusable cloth bags for 99 cents. This is evidence that they are aware of the problem. Still they continue to employ high speed plastic bag dispensers at their checkouts. It seems management makes little effort to politely discourage plastic bag use. Some of these checkers are so fast dispensing bags I feel like I am watching a fast draw western movie. Can you believe I had to stop a checker from putting a package of gum into a plastic bag? How about a loaf of bread, it’s already in a plastic bag and they put it in another plastic bag. If you buy a package of plastic bags will they put them in a plastic bag too? It seems the only way most merchants are going to stop polluting with plastic bags is if you and I, the customers, start saying, “no plastic bag please, I want to save the planet.
By the way, is The Banner being delivered in a plastic bag?
Claims don’t make sense
Since the industry is except from Federal Anti Trust, it has developed its own accounting methods. Virtually no competent CPA can understand a set of financials from an insurance company. They’re not supposed to be understood because no insurance company wants the outside world to know what it’s doing. What ever the company is worth half is hidden in reserves and surpluses.
It’s the only industry in the world that can turn a credit of millions of dollars into a debit in a blink of an eye.
The government gave A.I.G. Insurance Company who by the way is a world wide company 150 billion dollars. (See above) Where did it go, who knows? They came back to the trough for more! They may go into bankruptcy! Here in Florida, State Farm the mother of the insurance cabal told our state insurance department “since you refuse to grant us another 50% raise in rates we will pull out of our property (homeowners) coverage’s.” That amounts to 800,000 policy holders who the majority will go into state run “Citizens Insurance Company” at a higher rate. That’s right, a higher rate because when State Farm dumped several thousand policyholders thus causing other companies to do the same because these homes were to close to the water. (In Florida?) With such an influx the state created Citizens Insurance Company. State Farm had the gall to tell the state that the premiums must be higher than regular companies because to do otherwise is unfair competition, cruel, not fair, it’s the decent thing to do. The state brought this drivel. Our Governor Christ said “not this time, if you give up property coverage then you give up everything, auto, life insurance, bonds etc. We will see if this happens! The basic principal of insurance is to share the risk; State Farm said screw this and created another company under the umbrella of State Farm. It stands alone if there are heavy losses they scream to the state for more rate increases. If they shared the loss throughout the country then the loss would be minimal. It’s a unregulated industry with its own set of weird accounting practices. It’s all perfectly legal. Let’s say a claim comes in for a million dollars, the company sets aside on paper a “reserve” to pay the claim. It’s their money, still invested, good earning, however now it becomes a “liability.” With loads of these so called “liabilities” they can go to the state and claim we’re broke unless we get a substantial rate increase. By the way the “reserves” are always higher than the actual loss.