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October 04, 2010

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jimmyk

Sounds like the contingency should have been built into the policy: Either pay the $75 insurance premium or be billed for the full cost when you need it. That solves the free rider problem. There is still a bankruptcy problem, of course, but that doesn't seem insurmountable.

Neo

I remember Ton Synder outlining the past practices of fire companies in Philadelphia thru New England.
This was standard practice not that long ago.

Jeff

If they responded to the scene then they are morally obligated to put the fire out ...

Neo

Speaking of letting them burn ...

“We have sent repeated notices to law firms saying, ‘You are not following the rules, and if you don’t clean up your act, we are going to impose sanctions on you,’ ” Mr. [Florida Twelfth Circuit Chief Judge Lee E.] Haworth said in an interview. “They say, ‘We’ll fix it, we’ll fix it, we’ll fix it.’ But they don’t.”

bgates

What's "full cost" - mileage from the fire department to the fire plus a few bucks for water, or does it cover the cost of maintaining capacity during all the time the fire department is available but not putting out fires?

Suppose a volunteer firefighter gets burned while putting out a fire for which a man "broke out his check book to pay for the whole shebang". How does that affect the shebang?

Captain Hate

"We're the government and we're here to do nothing."

Sean Sorrentino

Nope. They had the option to pay when they were asked and refused. Pay your dues or you are not covered. The FD responded to prevent the fire from spreading to another (covered) property.

Bet his homeowners insurance is going to blow a gasket. I bet there is a clause that says you have to take reasonable steps to minimize damage from fire. Like paying the Fire Dept. $75 a year.

DebinNC

The firefighters were dispatched on behalf of the adjoining property owner who had paid the fee. The burned house may not have been insured, which would explain the homeowner's desperation. I don't know if home insurance is available to those without fire protection nearby, but if it is I'd think it would cost a lot more than $75.00. I agree with the mayor, based on what the links revealed.

boris

Now why would reasoable people conclude from this that government healthcare = death panels?

Born Free

"Well yeah, but I wouldn't expect a body shop to refuse to fix the car if I offered to pay myself."

I'm sure there's a construction company that will be glad to take his money. He rolled the dice and lost. Too bad.

Captain Hate

Yes; to be clear I have minimal sympathy for somebody who had a chance to be part of the protection and chose otherwise to suffer the consequences. Just like with health or any other kind of insurance...

boris

Sooo ... show up at the ER without health insurance ... too bad ... even if they can cover the procedure?

There is such a thing as being stupid. Time for a new mayor.

MarkO

This is crazy, unless it was Gore's house. Even then, they should have pissed on it.

Rob Crawford

Sooo ... show up at the ER without health insurance ... too bad ... even if they can cover the procedure?

No, because there's a law saying you get treated regardless of your ability to pay.

There is such a thing as being stupid. Time for a new mayor.

Or time to fork over the $75.

Marko

"But imagine if that man broke out his check book to pay for the whole shebang, and hospital administrators denied him the procedure to teach him a lesson."

Hmmm. Sounds like our health care system up here in Canada where we are prevented by law from paying for care because it is unfair to all those in the health care queue. But hey, its the same crappy care for all - except our elected rulers.

Please repeal Obamascare.

George Ditter

Knowing a lot of volunteer firemen, I'm inclined to think there may be more to this story than has been reported, like the homeowner being a major deadbeat or other times that the FD has responded and been stiffed. On the other hand, in old Philadelphia, colonial houses are adorned with "Firemarks" to show that the homeowner was covered and the fire company could expect to be compensated. According to legend then some rival fire companies would engage in fistfights to see who would put out the fire and get the moola.

boris

"there's a law saying you get treated regardless of your ability to pay"

And that law is non-stupid.

One might point out a reason for such a law is to prevent one ER (Eg Saint Maria's) from getting stuck with all the charity emergencies. With a guv monopoly on firefighters a law shouldn't be required. Unless the government is stupid. (usually the case)

Ignatz

jimmyk's first post on the thread seems the reasonable solution.

Janet

I guess it is fine...but I don't want to read about some inexperienced climber being rescued or an illegal immigrant getting a university education or our Navy being sent out to search for JFK Jr. .... let's keep it fair.

MarkO

I still like to think of doctors as "professionals" in the old sense, not just that they get paid. I wish lawyers were still "professionals." It also seems to me that firemen have a higher duty to life and property than merely to choose to act depending on the financial merit of the helpless. Were all the taxes paid on the towers and everyone in them? Did someone check first. It's a poor way to make a point about bad government and free riding.

Janet

Yeah MarkO, seems like firemen & policemen are some of the most basic reasons we even have government. Maybe we should privatize everything & do away with government...It'll be like the old west again. Pay a gunslinger for protection, & band your neighbors together for a collective bucket brigade. That's the ticket!

DebinNC

I don't know if it's most, but certainly many fire fighters are unpaid volunteers. The ones I've known are very close to each other and thoroughly love the job. We now live in an area with many small adjoining towns, each with its own volunteer fire station.

BumperStickerist

This is exactly why I used baking soda for my rural home's insulation rather than traditional fiberglass batting.

If a fire breaks out, no worries.


-

Mike Giles

As if the full cost, can't be added to his next property tax bill? Pay the upfront fee, or be on the hook for full cost. Simple. There are ways and means for the town to reimburse themselves. As someone noted, they need a new Mayor.

I R A Darth Aggie

“We’re very sorry their house burned,” he said.

I have a feeling that a good lawyer is going to make you eat each and every one of those words, Mr. Mayor. How much does it cost now?

Tollhouse

Is it true that local governments have firefighter monopolies? On the other hand, the relative rareness of fires nowadays would seem to have taken the profit motive out of the business.

I'm sure this will get push back, but do we really need all these firefighters nowadays? I suppose the argument that wouldn't you want them when you need them comes up. Course we really do have a lot of them.

"Last week, the New Hampshire Retirement System released a list of all 23,500 state pensions and what type of employee (police officer, firefighter, teacher or other state employee) received them. The list showed that 11 retirees receive pensions of more than $100,000, and 20 make between $90,000 and $100,000. Twenty-four of those 31 retirees were police officers, four were firefighters, one was a teacher, and three were local-government employees. "

At some point we really need to start looking at what we are paying for and what we are getting, without all the chest beating that goes on.

SIr Loin of Beef

What if there was a young child trapped inside the house? The "firefighters" stand around and sing: "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire, We don't need no water let the mother#@*$@! burn, Burn mother#@*$@! burn."?

SunnyDay

What did he think was going to happen? How is a fire department supposed to budget, buy equipment, pay rent or whatever if everyone waits till their house is on fire and then "promises" to pay for it. It says they can't collect if someone doesn't pay their bill.

If there is a family that can't afford to pay, start a fund for them - that's what my electric company does. I chip in an extra dollar every month, and they do not turn off people with a serious need who can't pay.

Sorry.

windansea

guess we don't live in Mayberry any more

Tollhouse

You just have to chuckle at this line.

"I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong"

This is why we can't have nice things.

jag

A society that doesn't accept and allow failure is a society that is dooming itself to ever more imprudence if not stupidity.

This guy was a classic "free rider". He didn't pay a reasonable "insurance policy" of $75 against a rare but catastrophic risk. Now he pays, big time.

I feel sorry for him but I also feel sorry for people who foolishly play the lottery, go to casinos and make horrific investment decisions. He took a chance, just like others do in countless other situations. Now he's paying the price.

The unseen problem with not letting these people fail is that the lesson, for the broader society, is that you DON'T have to take reasonable steps to contain risks.....someone will ALWAYS bail you out AND/OR you can change the terms, to your liking, should your choice not pan out.

This "policy" insures more people doing stupid, more riskier things. Is that a prudent posture for any society?

Let him take his lumps. The unseen benefit will be that he, his family, friends, neighbors and countless others on the internet who see this failure will make BETTER CHOICES going forward. Isn't that how society, over time, improves?

persecutor

You get what you pay (or don't pay) for. I guess seventy five dollars can change your lifestyle.

SunnyDay

Here, firefighters a city employees. In rural areas, the fire departments are volunteer. I don't believe they are for-profit enterprises, and I doubt you could privatize them.

In the past, when people paid a "fire" premium it was the original version of homeowner's insurance.

Jim Ryan

Kagan said she's recusing herself from all foreseeable SCOTUS cases. Said she'd be on the beach in Tobago for the next 25 years if anyone needs her. Her interest being a sudden paid retirement, she cited a conflict of interests.

Danube of Thought

Should the firefighters make on-the-spot determinations of a deadbeat's ability to make good on his promise to pay their costs? Should their decision as to whether to fight the fire depend on those determinations?

Old Lurker

Having her sit on the beach for 25 years is OK with me, Jim.

Porchlight

Maybe I'm not getting it but isn't it great news that Kagan is recusing herself from so many cases? That's one less liberal vote on all of them. The lefties must be spitting mad about it.

Neo

I guess we should presume in a healthcare metaphor kind of way that the burning fire was a "pre-existing condition".

Porchlight

DoT's 4:20 is how I look at it. How can the firefighters, in an emergency situation, be required to make any kind of judgment as to the person's ability to pay? They won't even be able to verify that the person they're talking to is the owner.

It seems they've either got to fight every single fire as if it doesn't matter (the ER model), or not fight the fire at all in situations where the owner didn't pay the $75.

Well, the third option is for the city to bill the owner the entire cost of fighting the fire. What are the odds the city will recoup if the owner wasn't willing to pay the $75 in the first place? What is the cost of the paperwork/legal work on this to the city? I bet it's almost as much as the fire department's operating costs.

MarkO

As to matters "pre-existing," I always preferred Peter DeVries formulation of "pre-existing infidelity."

jimmyk

Should the firefighters make on-the-spot determinations of a deadbeat's ability to make good on his promise to pay their costs?

I suppose your question is rhetorical, but of course not. Bgates asks a good question about what the cost is, but regardless, it's hard to believe that it would bankrupt very many people. We're not talking about brain surgery and three months in the ICU. The city can enforce repayment by putting a tax lien on the property.

MarkO

The Mighty Land of Obama. He's a liar, you know.

Captain Hate

Maybe I'm not getting it but isn't it great news that Kagan is recusing herself from so many cases? That's one less liberal vote on all of them. The lefties must be spitting mad about it.

Yes this is semi-good news; but Senator Foghorn Leahy wants Congress to pass a pinch-hitter rule on assigning retired justices for those cases. I think Cheney would be the appropriate person to deliver a grand slam of STFU to him.

patch

Next time, pay the the $75.

Porchlight

The city can enforce repayment by putting a tax lien on the property.

But it is a lot simpler and cheaper (because less money is wasted in bureaucratic red tape) if everyone pays $75. Why doesn't the city divide the $75 by 12 and put the installments in the monthly utility bill, as with garbage collection?

jimmyk

Even though in this case they should have put out the fire and collected the costs, I like the message implied by the refusal. I suspect a lot of deadbeats have just mailed in their $75.

I remember a court case from 15 years ago or so about a guy who lied on his life insurance policy about being a smoker. He got hit by a bus or something, and the insurance company investigated, found out that he smoked, and refused to pay out. Amazingly, the courts found for the insurer. Even more amazing was how many otherwise intelligent people said they should have paid because the guy didn't die of lung cancer.

The analogy to preexisting conditions is good, but another is the TARP and other bailouts. Better to let GM die than send the message to every other large business that it doesn't have to worry about risk management.

Danube of Thought

The city can enforce repayment by putting a tax lien on the property.

It's my understanding that the issue arose in the first instance because the property is not within the city limits. But if the answer is that the firefighters should not make a determination as to ability to pay, it follows that they must always fight the fire. Which means all the rural homeowners have an incentive to be free riders.

jimmyk

But it is a lot simpler and cheaper (because less money is wasted in bureaucratic red tape) if everyone pays $75.

In this case, perhaps, but you've also just made the argument for "single payer" one-size-fits-all medical insurance. Watch that slippery slope. I'd rather have voluntary systems where possible, so long as people face the consequences of their decisions.

Sue

Well yeah, but I wouldn't expect a body shop to refuse to fix the car if I offered to pay myself.

Do you think they would fix it before they got paid? Should the fire department start carrying a credit card machine on their trucks?

The homeowner said he thought they would put the fire out even if he didn't pay the $75. He gambled and lost. I suspect he wishes he had paid the $75 but then, I wish I had paid the $75 on the horse that won instead of the horse that lost.

Porchlight

but Senator Foghorn Leahy wants Congress to pass a pinch-hitter rule on assigning retired justices for those cases.

Hmm, but per CNN:

"Under the proposed bill, the active justices of the Supreme Court would be permitted to vote to designate a retired Supreme Court justice," a statement on Leahy's website says.

So maybe it's still good, as there will be one less liberal vote choosing the pinch hitter.

But what if they split 4-4 on the decision about the pinch hitter? So complicated...

Bear1909

IDJIT! Pay the $75.00 or eat the entire bill to reconstruct your home. Their fire insurance won't pay anything if they had no fire protection services....that is a given in metro areas...even moreso in rural areas where volunteer departments generally run the scene. This yokel must have been pissed about having to be under city/township fire jurisdiction whereas his rural cronies werent. There has to be more to the story as to why this farmer (who knows the value of a dollar) boycotted the payment. I won't be quick to judge him as a man and fellow farmer. But I will be quick to say that if you are going to be stupid you had better be tough.

jimmyk

Which means all the rural homeowners have an incentive to be free riders.

Only if there is no way to collect after the fact. I just suggested the tax lien as one way. But as long as courts will enforce a judgment against the guy, there won't be much of a problem unless he's basically penniless (not likely for a property owner).

Sue

Why doesn't the city divide the $75 by 12 and put the installments in the monthly utility bill, as with garbage collection?

I live in the county. The city doesn't provide utilities. No water. No garbage collection. Nada. Which is why I don't get to vote when it comes to city council members. We have a volunteer fire department along with a county fire department if we need it.

Extraneus

If the guy had fire insurance, and they don't refuse to pay the claim, he's better off that they let the thing burn to the ground, from what I've heard. Besides the damage caused by the firemen, trying to collect on all the ruined stuff in a saved house, and then get the thing repaired, is a major nightmare.

Porchlight

Watch that slippery slope. I'd rather have voluntary systems where possible, so long as people face the consequences of their decisions.

Yes, but if it gets out around town that they'll fight the fire anyway and bill you later, how many people will stop paying the $75 and take their chances? That means the percentage of situations where the city has to spend additional money just to recoup their costs goes way up.

And recouping costs after the fact is not a reliable revenue stream for running something as important as a fire department. Not to mention a red tape hassle that is bound to cost more money in the long run to those very taxpayers who paid their $75 in good faith.

Porchlight

Thanks Sue - I wasn't sure if that was something that could work - evidently not.

jimmyk

Still another example is Social Security. We force everyone to contribute because if we made it voluntary, someone could opt out, not save anything and we'd be put in the position of those firefighters. Give him something for nothing or watch him starve to death. The sense is we wouldn't let him starve, so we better force everyone to participate.

That might be a decent argument for mandatory participation, but it's not an argument for a "single-payer" government-run SS system.

bgates

Bgates asks a good question about what the cost is,

Thanks.

but regardless, it's hard to believe that it would bankrupt very many people.

Yes, but it would be more likely to bankrupt somebody who had skipped out on at least form of relevant insurance, and whose house was on fire.

lonetown

Gee, I hope the homeowner is not armed and feel the siren song of sweet revenge because, if I'm in the jury, I'm seeing provocation and mitigation.

jimmyk

if it gets out around town that they'll fight the fire anyway and bill you later, how many people will stop paying the $75 and take their chances?

I can't imagine a private insurer providing homeowner's insurance to anyone who didn't pay the $75 (except at a much more than $75 higher premium). Nor would a bank provide a mortgage. So then the question becomes: How many people will do without homeowner's insurance and risk the entire value of their home rather than pay $75? I can't believe that number would be very high. But then, I never thought that 53% of voters would pull the lever for Jugears either, so what do I know?

Danube of Thought

But as long as courts will enforce a judgment against the guy

Firefighters put out the fire; city sues. Defendant says "hell, if I'd wanted these guys to put out the fire I'd have paid the $75. I didn't." What result?

If the answer is that the homeowner has to pay up anyway, that means that the municipal fire department has a duty to respond to fires outside the city limits. How far outside?

Sue

jimmy,

That's an idea, for those who have mortgages. Make it part of mortgage contract that you have to pay the $75 if there is no volunteer or county fire department. I can't imagine a county that doesn't have a volunteer fire department. Our county has 10 along with the county fire department.

Ignatz

--But if the answer is that the firefighters should not make a determination as to ability to pay, it follows that they must always fight the fire. Which means all the rural homeowners have an incentive to be free riders.--

But there is no incentive if the homwowner is presented with a bill for services rendered after the fact. One of the reasons most people are careful with their campfires in CA is because if you negligently start a wildfire you can be charged some or all of what can be an astronomical bill for fighting it, even to the point of bankruptcy. Doesn't mean some people still aren't careless but most are quite incentivized to be responsible. And in the case of a homeowner the person responsible will be a whole lot easier to locate.

As someone upthread pointed out, what if there are a few kids perishing in the fire while the firefighters are debating whether the guy paid his bill? They get to burn to death cause pop forgot to pay his $75 or because pop just moved in and doesn't even know about the assessment?

Moreover, I can't prove it, but I wonder if he figured they would fight it anyway because they have done so in the past, but have quit doing so in the face of present budget constraints. Maybe he gambled after the house changed the odds without telling anyone.

Porchlight

So then the question becomes: How many people will do without homeowner's insurance and risk the entire value of their home rather than pay $75? I can't believe that number would be very high.

The homeowner in the story didn't pay the $75, and presumably carried homeowner's insurance and a mortgage (though the story doesn't say). Either way he was willing to take a big risk.

Tom Maguire
Gee, I hope the homeowner is not armed and feel the siren song of sweet revenge because, if I'm in the jury, I'm seeing provocation and mitigation.

Armed? we don't need no stinkin' arms:

South Fulton’s fire chief was assaulted Wednesday in the aftermath of a fire where firefighters were unable to respond because the property owner had not paid a rural fire subscription fee. South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds was treated at an area hospital after being assaulted about 5:45 p.m. at the city’s fire station, located in the South Fulton Municipal Building. Timothy A. Cranick, 44, a resident of Buddy Jones Road near South Fulton, was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault, according to South Fulton Police Chief Andy Crocker. Crocker said the assault stemmed from a fire that occurred earlier in the day and he identified Cranick as a family member of the person whose property burned. He said Cranick allegedly came to the fire station looking for Wilds, according to witnesses. When the fire chief identified himself and asked if he could help him, Cranick allegedly struck Wilds. “He just cold-cocked him,” Crocker said, based on witness statements. Crocker said Wilds was knocked down, rendering him virtually defenseless. He said Cranick was pulled off the fire chief by other firefighters who restrained him until additional help arrived. Cranick was taken to the Obion County Law Enforcement Complex and was later taken to the hospital in Union City for treatment of a hand injury sustained in the incident.
boris

stupid

Danube of Thought

Does the duty to fight the fire arise when they arrive on the scene, or when they learn of the fire? Do the neighbors have a duty to fight the fire? Do all nearby towns have such a duty? How far outside the city limits must they travel?

If the city didn't offer the $75 rural option, does its fire department nevertheless have a duty to respond outside the city limits?

OT: Plenty of bad news from Raz. Generic ballot lead down to three; substantial weakening in support for repeal. Index at -13.

bunkerbuster

What Ayn Rand doesn't provide instruction on the burning house? That puts paid to her whole schtick, doesn't it?
The burning house is exactly why community matters. It's why progressivism drives civilization to displace tribalism and anarchy.
But it isn't just the burning house, it's the robbery in progress. Why would police be any different?
Suppose the gentleman's house was being robbed instead of burning. Would police show up, just to make sure the robbers didn't also steal from neighbors who'd complied with their annual shakedown? I'm pretty sure that's how it works in a lot of places like Afghanistan, the Congo, etc. But never, of course, in an Ayn Rand novel...
Then there's the case of military adventurism. The American right fulminated at its most feverish about the need to put out the fire of terrorism. What about the idea that the U.S. only intervenes militarily to help oppressed people who can pay us? (Albeit there was Wolfowitz's risibly naive, colonialist idea that Iraq's oil was going to pay for it all.)
This is a road libertarians should never tread. Stick to Rand's script, which steers clear of the issue of how to pay for public service that can only effectively provided on a public basis.

Porchlight

Suppose the gentleman's house was being robbed instead of burning.

I don't know - is there a police department in the town?

Perhaps you didn't read the story. The person in question lives outside the city limits. The fire department is the city fire department. How far into the county must a city fire department travel, if the county has no services? What happens to city residents whose houses are on fire if the trucks are engaged fighting fires 30 miles outside the city? Remember there are only so many trucks in any fire department to go around.

SunnyDay

The homeowner said he thought they would put the fire out even though he hadn't paid. I'm with DOT - he is distilling it down to it's elements.

This is not the same as insurance - this is a subscription to a service - he lives in the county, the city has no obligation to him. They are very gracious to offer the subscription service at all, IMO.

If he has homeowner's insurance, he has a duty to limit the damage. There is a good chance that with no fire department in the county, he could not get homeowner's insurance.

Janet

Our Navy searched the ocean for the remains of JFK Jr. ...that was outside the city limits.

Rick Ballard

If the election were held tomorrow, this statistical analysis of the Gallup Likely Voter results indicates a 74 seat pick up by Republicans - using the 'high turnout' number. The 'low turnout' number would generate 104 seats for Republicans.

I'm not greedy, I'll take the average at 89 seats.

Threadkiller

Time to open up a $74.00 a parcel fire dept. Or do you think the city won't allow the competition?

I have had dealings with a rural fire dept's parcel taxes. As taxes went up service went down. Every two years they came, boot in hand, looking for a new tax. Somehow it was never enough.

Back when South Fulton adopted their rural fee it was only $25.00. And no one mentions that they have a $500.00 service fee for when they show up.

">http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/public/municodesweb.nsf/5cde681dbdedc10f8525664000615fc4/a05ceade7ca2f425852567b6005e97d7/$FILE/southfultont-7.pdf"> 7-504. Money received from fees to be placed in general fund. The $25.00 annual fee from each subscriber plus $200.00 of the $500.00 received on each call shall be placed in the Rural Fire Service Fund. The other $300.00 received on the call shall be placed in the general fund. (Ord. #90-6, June 1990)

I wonder if it is still $500.00.

When it comes to volunteers, they still get paid. Sounds like a SEIU volunteer.

">http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/public/municodesweb.nsf/5cde681dbdedc10f8525664000615fc4/a05ceade7ca2f425852567b6005e97d7/$FILE/southfultont-7.pdf"> 7-505. Volunteers responding to fire calls. Volunteers responding to rural fire calls shall be paid from the Rural Fire Service Fund. The city commissioners may also expend money from the Rural Fire Service Fund as they deem to be in the best interests of the city. (Ord. #90-6, June 1990)

If this is the only way to get fire service he screwed himself. This is why people need to vote and need to look at how their governments operate.

As to the insurance analogy, he could always switch to another carrier if he feels he is getting shafted.

">http://www.cityofsouthfulton.org/fire.htm">
"Mission Statement"

"The mission of the South Fulton Fire Department is to protect the lives and property of its citizens, and provide good public relations through fire safety education to all businesses and schools."

Paying citizens.

Clarice

I wonder if we'd feel differently if there were someone in the building ho needed saving.
DoT, odd that Gallup shows reps sailing ahead as Raz show things tightening. I wonder if that's just a fluke.

MarkO

Probably, if we fight over saving someone's house from fire because of the economics of it, we deserve bad times.

Rocco

I'd have taken his check and then told him ...as soon as it clears

Danube of Thought

"Our Navy searched the ocean for the remains of JFK Jr. ...that was outside the city limits."

True enough, but the U.S. Navy's writ runs over all the world's seas, and search, rescue and recovery missions are part of its job.

Unfortunately, Clarice, I trust Raz far more than I trust the inexplicably volatile Gallup.

MayBee

In Detroit, after a firefighter died saving a burned out crack house, they've decided to go through neighborhoods and determine which houses they will not save in case of a fire.

Clarice

Me, too, DoT, but didn't we see Obama's numbers up last Monday on Raz, too, and then they sank again?

Danube of Thought

"Probably, if we fight over saving someone's house from fire because of the economics of it, we deserve bad times."

What we're fighting about here is the question of what a sound policy would be, and very often such questions involve very uncomfortable economic decisions.

I assume the citizens of South Fulton do, indeed, pay through their taxes. The homeowner here wasn't a citizen.

BobDenver

See the LUN for a story on private firefighters hired by insurance companies to defend their insureds' mountain homes.

jimmyk

I wonder if we'd feel differently if there were someone in the building ho needed saving.

I'm no Randian, but she did point out the danger of using extreme situations (like a baby in the bedroom) to govern policy for all circumstances.

As to Janet's point, we all pay taxes in order to have a Navy. But I'm pretty sure that in some circumstances people have been charged for the cost of being rescued. Not that they were forced to pay up or else not get rescued, but they were billed after the fact.

Rick Ballard

Here is the full Gallup piece. Gallup has been more "bouncy" until recently but Ras has also shown wider fluctuations for past three weeks or so. I trust the accuracy of Ras polls more than I trust Gallup but Gallup has been hinting at this LV edge for weeks. It's not a "new development" and there is simply not the same historical depth with Ras to underpin the type of statistical analysis which I cited above.

Danube of Thought

The Raz index has been oscillating between -13 and -19 for several weeks now.

I assume that what we are seeing is in part the result of a lot of Dem money being spent.

Threadkiller

--"I assume the citizens of South Fulton do, indeed, pay through their taxes. The homeowner here wasn't a citizen."

Look at the scheme as it was written in 1990:


7-504. Money received from fees to be placed in general fund. The $25.00 annual fee from each subscriber plus $200.00 of the $500.00 received on each call shall be placed in the Rural Fire Service Fund. The other $300.00 received on the call shall be placed in the general fund. (Ord. #90-6, June 1990)

It would have been at least $575.00 not $75.00 assuming the per visit fee did not go up like the insurance fee did. $300.00 goes to the general fund of the city he does not live in.


I know the guy would have been better off if he paid. He blew it 10 years ago when this racket was created and passed.

Ari Tai

Tough call, wonder how many city officials live outside the city, don't pay the fee, and have had firefighters respond? If so, bad call, if not, well, then argue for the rule of law (or consistent behavior).

Mentioning JFK Jr. and (ab)use of the government in unequal ways for the ruling class brings to mind another alternative - law of the sea and salvage. Perhaps not paying the $75 makes the property forfeit at a time of disaster. Whomever saves it owns it, and can settle with the victim and/or the insurance company or the auction house later.

Rocco

A Nation Of Cowards

If the courts rule the police have no legal obligation to save you, why do firemen?

"Is your life worth protecting? If so, whose responsibility is it to protect it? If you believe that it is the police's, not only are you wrong -- since the courts universally rule that they have no legal obligation to do so -- but you face some difficult moral quandaries. How can you rightfully ask another human being to risk his life to protect yours, when you will assume no responsibility yourself? Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 salary we pay him? If you believe it reprehensible to possess the means and will to use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon another to do so for you?"

Community my ass...they had a chance to join the community and chose not to.

windansea

As Edmund Burke said, example is the school of mankind and he will learn from no other.

stolen from NR

Ignatz

Do the firefighters check to see if city residents are current on their taxes before turning the hoses on?
This is a public safety issue. If the city takes on the firefighting duties of the entire county, subject to the fee, then they seem obligated to provide the service to anyone in that area and bill the person for the entire cost of that visit if the fee has not been paid.
People dying in burning buildings is hardly an unanticipated extreme occurrence; it happens with considerable regularity.
Their policy does seem to have some merit as a method of restarting the housing industry though.

boris

"the question of what a sound policy would be ..."

Or how stupid it is to show up with firefighters and then not do anything. The question of "how far" was already answered by "watch it burn".

LouP

There are lots of people commenting here who have obviously never lived in a small town, rural area. The "city" of South Fulton, outside of which the homeowner lived, had the grand population of 2,517 people in 2000. I'd wager that those volunteer firefighters - at least 50% of them - knew the homeowner personally, or by reputation. And in rural areas you help your neighbors unless there's a reason. I'd further bet heavy money that there's something relevant about this story that isn't been told. (This was not your faceless, nameless big city or suburbia relationships at play.)

centralcal

O/T: I am just now live streaming the debate between McMahon and Stupid in CT.

Blumenthal's hands are shaking visibly and severely when he answers questions.

Threadkiller

I know the guy would have been better off if he paid. He blew it 10 20 years ago when this racket was created and passed.

Have they always let houses burn for non-payers?

BobDenver

O/T: at the LUN is a Financial Times analysis suggesting that Obama will have a full extension of the Bush tax cuts rammed down his throat.

Oh, please . . . .

Old Lurker

I'm with Lou. There's more to this story.

Threadkiller

BobDenver, Did you see the cartoon that went with the link you provided?

This clown is mad at the people that hired private firefighters as an extra insurance.

I wonder if the private guys drive tax-exempt trucks. They are not the same.

Extraneus

The Ras index shows an apparent uptick over the last few weeks in the Strongly Approve, while the Strongly Disapprove continues on it's same long-term upward trend. The -13 is due to a downward fluctuation in the red. The index could easily shoot back up 4 points tomorrow if the green stays where it is, and higher if the green heads back down a little.


bgates

Blumenthal's hands are shaking visibly and severely when he answers questions.

Probably flashbacks to interrogations he suffered in that cell in Hanoi, you bastard.

matt

There has been a massive trend in society to charge fees for services previously rendered free of charge by government. If you have kids in public school, consider how much you pay for activities that used to be covered by school budgets. The same holds true for fire and emergency medical services.

Frankly, these programs were put in place as the costs of the infrastructure and bureaucracy blossomed into Mechagodzillas from tiny lizards, or perhaps a better analogy is Mechacockroaches.

Bottom line is that overhead and social welfare costs are driving delivery of public services down the tubes.

Fire and rescue is about as fundamental as it gets in public services.While Franklin set up mutual fire companies, since at least the turn of the 20th Century this was considered a critical public trust.

The mayor of that town should be tarred and feathered.

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