Editorial: Who pays for the blaze?

Bally Blaze

Fighting fire with money and charge out-of-town ride services
Who pays for the blaze?
It cost $1 million for firefighters to quell the blaze in the Gilroy hills last week and police arrested four teenagers for setting the fire with illegal fireworks gone awry.
So the question that comes up is who should pay the expenses?
The current trend around the state is to bill the responsible parties when they are adults and that triggers a debate. Should the families of the 14 and 15 year olds have to pay the bill?
We say yes, even though we hear the arguments that kids are kids and do stupid things by virtue of the fact that their brains aren’t fully developed. The law protects their identities to prevent them for suffering for their actions for the rest of their lives.
We suggest that their parents knew or should have known that they are blasting off hazardous materials in the hills. How many times do people have to be told? The media was full of warnings from officials about the dangers of illegal fireworks and it’s a parent’s duty to know what their kids are doing and to educate them not to set fireworks in the dry hills, or anytime.
Why do rideshare services get a break?
Local cab companies are struggling under the weight of city fees for licenses, permits, inspections and drug tests, while worldwide rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber get a free ride (pun intended). Why?
Gilroy is always looking for more revenue and this is low-hanging fruit. Why not charge the rideshare companies the same business license fees as cab companies? San Francisco has sent notices to 60,000 rideshare drivers charging a $91 yearly license fee, according to the Los Angeles Times. More than 19,000 have paid it.
Taxi companies are highly monitored by the city, so why are the rideshare companies given an unfair advantage?
Meanwhile, those companies have sponsored a statewide bill that would allow drivers to get one license for working in the whole state, rather than having to buy individual business licenses to work in each city.
Not in our backyards?
If you listen to the knee-jerkers, nothing would ever be built in Gilroy again. Nothing. We’d make the city great again by rolling the clock back to 1950, except for everyone who has already moved in.
But the NIMBYs aren’t unique to this city. They come out against most every proposal everywhere. In Santa Clara, they voted down a chance to build a stadium for the San Francisco Giants and then finally built one for the San Francisco 49ers. In San Jose, there were huge \ fights about building an arena for the Sharks in the late 1980s and now you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks that was a bad idea.
In Gilroy we know we need affordable housing and places for people to work, but when someone proposes construction to fill those needs, opponents come out in force. Every new idea is a bad one, according to them. And if that’s not enough, they come up with falsehoods and bat those around, such as the claims that people from Oakland will get priority in the new Alexander Street affordable housing project. We hear that over and over, and it’s just not true.
All we ask is that each idea is assessed fairly on its merits and whether they solve the problems at hand or create more problems.

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