Walter Mencken 9 a.m., Oct. 1
Compared with Orange and L.A., San Diego Underspends on Firefighting
San Diego County fire agencies this year are spending $152.85 per resident on firefighting, while Orange County spends $177.98 and Los Angeles County $217.71, according to a study by W. Erik Bruvold of the National University System Institute for Policy Research. When the numbers are adjusted for state agency CALFIRE's firefighting in the back country, San Diego still spends less: $161.66 per capita vs. Orange's $177.98 and L.A.'s $217.71. San Diego County has 8.5 fire department employees for every 10,000 residents vs. 9.01 in Orange County and 11.03 in L.A. Bruvold's study notes that while there are differences among the three counties, there are "striking similarities" relevant to firefighting, such as steep canyons and valleys and several days of extremely hot weather accompanied by strong, dry off-shore winds.
There is an opinion that "all is well" among those making decisions about San Diego firefighting expenditures, says Bruvold. San Diegans living at the edge of the urban-wild land have to hope that their leaders are correct, he says.
Using 2007-2008 data, Bruvold also found that San Diego jurisdictions invested $400 per capita in police services and corrections vs. $460 in Orange and $597 in L.A.
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