EDITORIAL: So, Who Is Subsidizing Whom?

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The Los Angeles City Council this week raised the fees it charges for false burglar alarms on the grounds that ninety-seven percent of the calls police respond to are just that, false.

Of course, it is not clear to us how police can be so sure that such a high percentage of the calls they respond to are indeed false. Given that a burglar alarm going off is not always a top priority in the hierarchy of calls needing a response from a police officer, it could be that by the time the police do arrive the reason for the alarm may no longer be evident.

If you are out in the evening and your dog sets off the alarm because he thinks there’s someone prowling around outside, but the police don’t respond in time to thoroughly check it out, is that considered a false alarm?

What if an elderly relative sets off the alarm by opening a door after the alarm is set, is that a false alarm? Police often tell homeowners and business owners to install alarms on their property as a way to deter or scare off would-be burglars. We can’t help but wonder if in many cases the alarm going off is actually doing just that.

But what bothers us the most is the fact that our property taxes seem to have become little more than a small down payment on the services we are supposed to receive from the city. More and more we are hearing that the taxes, fees and special assessments we pay just don’t cover the cost of all the great things we have in our cities, like the pot holes and cracked sidewalks in Los Angeles. By nickels and dimes or in this case $136, we are being asked to cover a greater portion of the services that we were told the approval of a long list of bonds and other assessments were meant to cover.

It seems our elected representatives, in this case the Los Angeles City Council, feel that the money they spend is not really taxpayer money, and that they are actually subsidizing what we receive in the form of services, when in fact, it is actually the taxpayers who are continually subsidizing their whims and priorities.

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September 30, 2010  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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