The Coastal Post - December, 1996

News And Notes Of Novato

BY BETTY MACHADO

Hello, Dear Hearts

Merry Christmas. Enjoy your family and the holiday season!

Paramedic tax is now paid by private health insurance

Does anyone remember when, in 1983, San Francisco fireman Ray Landi, and building contractor, the late Bill Boyle, swept into office as Fire Commissioners on the production of a Paramedic Tax to provide "free" ambulance service to the Novato Fire District residents? The voters every four years voted the paramedic tax back in. As of 1991, when the District "sunset" the tax, you no longer vote on it, and it will be permanently on your tax bill unless the voters demand the right to vote again through a clumsy process of returning it back to the ballot.

On November 4 the Fire District held the first reading on an ordinance to bill your health insurance whenever you call 911, plus still taxing you for a paramedic service! The Fire District has it both ways. On November 18, the second reading was held by the Fire Commissioners. I was the only one to speak against the adoption. The strange procedure that took place is as follows: The Chairman of the Board, Hank Barner, called for the question to adopt the Ordinance. It passed 4-9 with Commissioner Steve McCubbin absent. However, the agreement which was the Ordinance was tabled, since the Commissioners had questions about the content. When the questions are answered, the Board will accept the agreement! So you now have an Ordinance adopted with no agreement!

The agreement is with a collection agency named Allied Information and Services Corp. of Alameda. The billing and collection will be done by this third party. This makes the paramedic service private within the Fire District. Fire Board member Jack Hickey states: "We have been subsidizing the insurance companies for years. It seems to me that this is what the citizens would want us to do." My question? Then why did we vote on the paramedic tax in the first place?

The late Harvey Yorke was hired to be the Promoter of the Yes Vote on the second election. He added a sentence to the original ballot statement which allowed the Fire District to use the paramedic tax to upgrade the facilities and equipment as needed for the District. Two firehouses were built on paramedic taxes, and look at the equipment the District has acquired! The paramedic tax will now be subsidized by the citizens' private health insurance, freeing up tax money for salaries!

One insurance agency has stated the District could bill the resident up to $500 for every fire the District responds to under our homeowners' insurance! If you don't like what is happening, call the District at 892-1513 and let them know. When the next election comes up, vote out the incumbents-don't forget this action!

Team Building workshop held by City Council and City Manager

This took place on Friday, November 15 at the Margaret Todd Senior Center. It started at 9:00 a.m. and went until 4:00 p.m. with a lunch break. Mary's Pizza catered lunch. I attended in the afternoon. Very interesting meeting. The consultant from Napa made a lasting impression with me when he described the council as zookeepers and the constituents as monkeys. The Council members must move them on before the monkeys become gorillas. So remember that situation when going before the Council with a problem.

I walk by night item

On Sunday, November 17, a disturbance happened twice at the Pop Warner football game on the Mead field in San Marin. The Novato police were called twice, according to the police reports, because of a fight between a Fairfield team and the Santa Rosa team members. Earlier, at 1:15 p.m., Novato's Pop Warner team won over Fairfield. Fairfield's team fans and parents provoked the first call because of the taunting of game officials. Pop Warner has 11 traits they encourage the youth to abide by when playing on a football team. Number Two is self-control. Yet the Novato police have to baby-sit these teams, plus the adults! Shame on them.

Pop Warner athletic director Ed Paulmenn was quoted in the local paper as saying, "The unfortunate distractions should not detract from the overall success of the event and Novato's Pop Warner programs. There were small problems, but they looked worse than they were." He called the Fairfield group, "a first-year team of players who don't know how to conduct themselves."

As a taxpayer paying for police services, I recommend a letter be sent to Fairfield City Council, and the same for Santa Rosa, requesting an apology from their Pop Warner Board of Directors, enclosing a bill from our police chief for the services rendered by our police. The teams represented their City Council, and isn't it funny how fast the public can learn when they pay a bill for their bad behavior?

This approach could be a model for the League of California Cities to site when discussing how to handle juvenile behavior in relation to visiting team within a major sporting league!

Public advocate TV programs

As the person paying for the listed TV programs, I am enjoying each and every one I produce on the third Thursday of each month. The City Council has priority over the use of Channel 23 access. Thank you Mayor and City Council. People are watching the show.

Birthing Center workshop

December 3 is the date of the workshop between the Novato City Council and the Novato Community Hospital regarding the future of the Birthing Center. The survey conducted by Robin Strom and Natalie Ghirado went very well. Over 500 were returned. Come at 7:00 p.m. to City Council chambers. It will be on Channel 23 live. Get involved. It's your hospital, still!

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