Mailbag: Support for Fire Chief Arnold's plan

Our interim fire chief, Tom Arnold, has proposed a plan that will increase response times and coverage, will save money and will generate a cost-recovery program for our city ("The anatomy of a deal," Sept. 30). Arnold has employed sophisticated computer modeling in developing the plan. It is a winner for Costa Mesa.

The crux of the plan is to separate paramedic (rescue) units from fire engines, establishing rescue units at each fire station, in addition to the current fire engines. This will substantially improve response times because the new rescue units can respond faster than the current fire engines.

Getting the adequate amount of first-responders to the scene as soon as possible is the essence of public safety. Simply put, faster response times save lives. If the plan is adopted, we will have a total of 10 response units serving the city, including the five new rescue units, which will improve the department's overall coverage. We will be safer.

Arnold's plan would reduce costs by about $700,000 annually by reducing staffing. The Costa Mesa Firefighters Assn. strongly favors the plan. This is a testament to the effectiveness of the plan and the reasonableness and commitment of our city's firefighters.

Arnold's plan would recover as much as $2 million in department costs annually by having the new rescue units transport patients to the hospital. Currently, patient transport service is provided by a private vendor.

The city receives minimal cost recovery from the service; also, our citizens must pay the private ambulance vendor directly for any charge that is not covered by insurance or Medicare. Under Arnold's plan, the city would not bill the citizens for uncovered ambulance services. Thus, the city recovers costs from insurance reimbursement and our citizens save money by not having to pay deductibles and co-pay charges. Everyone wins.

One of my top priorities if elected is to fast-track the adoption of Arnold's plan. It is in our city's best interests both in terms of our physical and fiscal well-being.

John Stephens

Costa Mesa

The writer is running for Costa Mesa City Council.


Soup kitchen

Clearly, Mayor Eric Bever in unaware of the clientele of Share Oursevles (SOS). I volunteer in the food area weekly, and the homeless who come in are only a small percentage of our clients. And those who do come are most appreciative, courteous and wishing they had a roof over their heads and work so they don't have to come to us. Jobs and low-income housing would be a better focus for the mayor.

Susan Eaton

Costa Mesa

Vote McCarthy

Several strong candidates have thrown their names in the hat to run for City Council this November, but none are more deserving than Colin McCarthy.

I first met Colin through the Mesa North Community Assn. As president, he and I collaborated on several community projects. We team up each year for the annual Mesa North Community Assn. garage sale. Colin has worked tirelessly for his neighborhood on key issues like graffiti and the San Diego (405) Freeway.

What impresses me most about Colin is his dedication to expanding business opportunity in our city. Colin has been instrumental in attracting small businesses to Costa Mesa. As chairman of our Planning Commission, Colin has played a vital role in creating new jobs in our city. The Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market on Harbor Boulevard, the new Walgreens on Newport Boulevard and 17th Street, Triangle Square becoming The Triangle, the new Greenleaf Gourmet Chop Shop restaurant on 17th — all of these are products of Colin's efforts to bring business and jobs to our city.

As a former chief umpire for Costa Mesa Little League baseball, I appreciate Colin's work with Costa Mesa United, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for youth sports. As a parent of young children, Colin understands that the future of Costa Mesa is tied largely to attracting families and businesses here to expand our local sales tax base and improve our schools.

Colin is focused on reinvesting critical city dollars into our aging infrastructure so that we can compete with newer cities for jobs and much needed tax revenue. He will cut municipal spending, while growing our city's tax base. He will take on the unsustainable pensions that threaten to bankrupt the next generation of Costa Mesa. He is looking out for the future of our great city.

Larry Weichman

Costa Mesa

The writer is chairman of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce.

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