This Week's Web
Boise Weekly's new Web site is a hotbed of reader activity. A few months ago, we'd get a dozen comments online within a week and consider it a busy week for reader commentary. Times have changed. Last week alone readers had something to say about everything from restaurants to the county's emergency medical system, and I'm proud to say that every discussion was productive and civil without degenerating into the crass personal insults so common on other Web sites.
Perhaps the most noteworthy discussion happening online regards a story published several weeks ago. "Double EMS" (BW, News, May 20, 2009), detailed Ada County's rejection of efforts by the Boise Fire Department to coordinate paramedic services despite what appears to be a duplication of services across the county by Ada County Paramedics and Boise Fire Department. Here are portions of a few readers' comments:
It sounds like Ada County Paramedics is more concerned with sole control of Ada County and the cities seem to be concerned about the best, quickest and most efficient service. You would think that it would be most beneficial to patients if Ada County Paramedics would work with the cities not against them. Note: how can placement of ambulance stations affect the transport time from the patient's residence to the hospital?
There is the huge misconception out there, that the local EMS is funded by the tax monies collected on your property tax bill as with police, fire and other services operated by the cities. This is not true. The tax monies collected only cover a small percentage of the operating budgets of your local EMS agencies. The user fees (fees for service) pay for the remainder of the operating costs. These fees are subject to the rules of Medicare and Medicaid ... I do find it interesting that the title of this article is "Double EMS." This is very true that there is a duplication of services with Boise, Meridian, Kuna, Parma and Nampa Fire Departments as they have pushed their "Paramedic Program" through their leaders. Prior to this they provided basic and/or intermediate life support services to their citizens as part of their EMS System, meeting and exceeding national standards for response times, etc. Many other departments in the Treasure Valley continue to provide these services as part of their local EMS System. However, the question should be asked, especially in these tough economic times with cities announcing layoffs, budget cuts, and reduction in services, why are we duplicating services already provided and cutting other services that are not provided?
--Boise City Taxpayer
Patient care is clearly an issue in the debate that the recent article stirred up. Throw in the words cheaper, faster and more effective and you have my attention. Except Ada County does that already for the City of Boise, as well as the rest of the entire county (including backup to Kuna). Ada County covers about 1,060 square miles, 380,920 people (2008 Census) and does so with a budget of which only $4.4 million is tax money. The rest of the $13.2 million dollars is from patient revenue and insurance.
Boise Fire's budget is $35 million to cover 120 square miles (or so, the land grabs continue) with 214,490 people. Of that $35 million, almost 100 percent of that is taxes. By simple comparison, Ada County covers nine times more territory that contains two times more people and does it for eight times cheaper. It isn't clear how Boise Fire will do anything cheaper, much less do it properly. Considering the lucrative contract the fire union has with Boise City--any suggestion of anything being cheaper is quite honestly, funny.
--Erythema ab igne
Dylan Metz, who took up the Street Spit torch from his equally irreverent brother John earned himself a couple of complaints and at least one compliment on his interview with lead singer Jared Warren of Big Business /The Melvins.
From a "guest" of the Web site without the fortitude to actually register and be a serious contributor came this: "What a shitty interview."
User "Vladamir" was more directional with his criticism, saying: "Do some research before you ask stupid questions."
"Nomad" appreciated Metz's off-beat interview: "This was great! Way to keep them off guard. I could give two shits about how their tour is going and what their favorite town is. I can't believe he asked the 'favorite dinosaur question.'"
Last week's main feature story (BW, Feature, "Birds, Bunnies and Power," June 3, 2009) elicited one, lonely comment. It was a monster, clocking in at 623 words, which means it will forever live in cyberspace. To satisfy your curiosity, however, here are a few lines:
It is surprising, and a little dishonest, to glowingly refer to the state wildlife agency while dismissing the work of Western Watersheds Project and other credible, experienced and dedicated wildlife scientist. Your thinly veiled contempt for those challenging the terrible track record of the state agency and utility planners is poor journalism.
User "Otto" also had a few things to say about Idaho Fry Company's impending name change courtesy of the Idaho Potato Commission:
Trademark law is intended to protect consumers, not provide a bully club for trademark holders. The potato commission by claiming legal rights to generic words is nothing other than an overreaching bully in this case.
Visit boiseweekly.com to read these comments in full.