So, why is it that we have five, six, perhaps seven fire departments, three water boards governing four water agencies, two community advisory councils to Jeff Stone [Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor] regulating a little bit of lighting, some recreation, some ambulance, and some firefighting, and another fire board regulating a little more firefighting, some more ambulance, and a recreation board regulating some more recreation dollars.

Many (paid?) board members are ready to spend our dollars over just a few square miles on many who don’t live here. To top it off, none of these boards regulate the largest entity on the Hill — specifically the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service does it all on this mountain without any boards for a lot less. Hmm?

These folks tell you they know best. To convince you, they use every influence such as our homeowners associations, their board positions, the Board of Supervisors, and their administrators, real estate brokers (remember the first one you really met, the one who charged you an outrageous percentage for the purchase of your home, they must be the good guys), Rotary, Chamber, and church. They say they volunteer their time, doing it for us, and that their function is absolutely critical for our way of life. You’ve heard them so have I.

C’mon folks, our brain cells smack us in the face about this crap. Unfortunately, we’re too drunk on our friendships and wanna-be neighbors to see what we need and want versus what we’re sold — gosh, I feel safer just by its mention.

Perhaps I don’t understand the interdependence of relationships and budgets? Fire, ambulance, recreation and water [agencies] are equally screwed up. I must point out each of them wants more and more of our pocketbooks, which they take by waving the legislative wands we hand them.

They say it’s necessary to double fees. Just remember we are confined by forest boundaries and very limited growth potential. Infrastructure is also limited in growth potential. So, what is it that feeds this need to double fees?

We have to eliminate much waste but certainly not to place it in the hands of another appointed, or perhaps partially elected, self-important clown controlled by the infrastrucure. Send the whole bunch a message, say no and demand more efficiency from fellas who don’t know what the words mean.

Don’t listen to their threats. It’s kind of like Obama and Congress threatening not to mail the Social Security checks if we don’t give them more money. Here, they say the ambulances, water and firemen won’t show. Let ’em try it!

In much the same way, education is changing, as it relates to pay, efficiency, quality and consequences (it’s called value-added analysis and merit pay). It’s time to demand the same from our water, fire and recreation employees and agencies.

I suspect we can find many competent and willing employees able to replace those who refuse.

Jeff Smith
Pine Cove