Editor: A new term was recently coined by a Sacramento newspaper, and it describes using the initiative process to force a local governmental agency to meet the demands of taxpayers. This term is “ballot box budgeting.”

When a situation becomes so dire — as in Brentwood’s lack of emergency medical and fire response services — that the taxpayers must take independent action, the term becomes very appropriate.

If a swimming pool, library, community center or park is closed for 96 hours a year, no one will die. This is not the case if emergency medical services are unavailable for that same 96 hours. This was the case in 2018, according to statistics. Someone may die or suffer unnecessarily.

When a person moves to a city, they have a right to expect adequate measures will be taken to provide for their health and safety. When it comes to inadequate emergency medical and fire services for the City of Brentwood, the council tends to blame it on someone else: the East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

The city council has a moral duty and responsibility to provide adequate emergency services, and this is not being done.

Until our governmental representatives realize their primary responsibility is to provide for the health and safety of their community, over feel-good projects, the need for ballot box budgeting will continue.

Mike Sloan

Brentwood

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