Paul Whitefield has written an editorial for the Los Angeles Times that criticizes the City of Prescott for giving full survivor benefits to the families of only 6 of the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots that died in the employ of the city while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30.
Below is an excerpt, but you should read the entire well-written editorial.
“…As my Times colleague Cindy Carcamo writes:
It would cost the city an estimated $51 million over the next 60 years and would mean cuts to vital services to the people of Prescott, city spokesman Peter Wertheim said Thursday in a statement.
If the city were to make a one-time lump-sum payment of $24 million, it would be three times the entire budget of the Prescott Fire Department.
Excuse me, but when exactly did Prescott, Ariz., turn into Bangladesh? Brave young men die doing dangerous work protecting public and private property, and Prescott can’t “afford” to take care of their survivors? If that’s the case, then I’d say Prescott can’t “afford” to send such folks out to fight fires either.
And about that affordability explanation: If you’re so inclined, you can visit the city’s website and check out its financial position. For 2014, the city says it has about $230 million available; it’s budgeted about $173 million for expenditures. Hmmm. Is it just me, or does it appear the city could cough up a few bucks for some widows and their kids?”
More information about this issue is in an article we published on August 15, 2013.
Thanks go out to Dick