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Fire services should be consolidated

Re: State intrusion wrong letter, March 21

Fire services should be merged

Consolidating Pinellas County fire departments and EMS services would save taxpayers millions of dollars by cutting waste and redundant service. For example, some fire stations could be eliminated. The county would not need to have 18 fire chiefs. The fire command structure could be altered to be more cost-efficient. A county department would save money through economies of scale by greater purchasing power.

Also, what is a for-profit company doing providing emergency medical services? This could and should be handled by the fire department.

The list could go on and on. I appreciate St. Petersburg fire Chief James Large's arguments. However, there is too much waste and redundancy in Pinellas County in regard to fire and EMS. Viewing consolidation as a fire department chief is no doubt disturbing. Ask the 18 fire chiefs in Pinellas County their opinion, and I am sure they would have some of the same arguments as Chief Large. I am certain that any unbiased third-party study would do little to change Chief Large's opinion regarding consolidation of fire and EMS.

Taxpayers cannot, and should not, continue to support a bloated and costly system. The state Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability report is accurate, and Pinellas County leaders should push forward with efforts to consolidate fire and emergency medical services in Pinellas.

Paul Lee, Tierra Verde

Re: So why did we re-elect so many incumbents? | Diane Steinle column, March 21

Apathetic voters can't complain

In a word, I would choose "apathy" to characterize the American voter in these times. Or in other words, people just don't take an interest. Nevertheless, the Times can take a well-deserved bow for helping Clearwater re-elect incumbent City Council member Paul Gibson and former council member Bill Jonson. Because it was the Times that recommended them to its readers.

Lots of folks are too lazy to read much of what's in the paper and need someone else to make decisions for them. Some folks won't even vote until the Times prints its recommendations. So, if voters take the Times' advice, they can blame the Times for their dissatisfaction.

Well, folks, blame yourselves for not taking enough interest to make your own choice. We are all individuals with different needs and interests. That is why it is wise to choose your representatives well.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

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Fire services should be consolidated 03/27/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 26, 2010 5:04pm]

    

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