Food for thought on islands feud - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Food for thought on islands feud

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Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2006 6:33 am | Updated: 2:26 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

I solved the Gilbert county island fire issue Wednesday morning.

Funny, I wasn’t really trying to solve the problem. I just wanted breakfast.

So I sat there at Denny’s reading the Tribune’s story about Gilbert’s court case that seeks to have the law requiring the town to provide fire service to county islands declared unconstitutional. And when I looked at the menu, the solution was right there.

I don’t mean this literally. It’s not as though “Fire Service Solution’’ was a menu item. But as I made my choice, I realized there was a common-sense compromise available.

This occurred to me as I decided to order the Grand Slam Slugger — two eggs, hash browns or grits, two strips of bacon, two sausage links, coffee or juice and two pancakes for $7.49. It sounded pretty good.

Only I didn’t want the pancakes. So I decided to see what the price would be a la carte. It came to $8.09 without the pancakes. That didn’t seem right, so I asked the server to simply deduct the unwanted pancakes from the $7.49.

“We can’t do that,’’ she said, politely.

“You are trying to strongarm me into buying the Grand Slam Slugger breakfast, aren’t you?’’ I exclaimed. “You are just using scare tactics to force me to order pancakes I don’t want! You are in cahoots with Mrs. Butterworth, I bet!’’

The server looked around nervously, before I assured her I was joking. Unfortunately, the county islanders behind the disputed law are not.

And that’s why the case is in court.

So here, then, is the solution: The town agrees to provide fire service to the islands. In return, the town sets the price.

Now, some might argue it’s not fair for county islanders to have no say in the cost. I suggest that’s just as fair as requiring the town to supply fire service without any say. What’s good for the goose, you know?

That aside, this seems like an entirely reasonable solution. During Tuesday’s opening day of the trial, the town’s attorney estimated the fiveyear cost of providing fire service for the county islands would be $5.1 million. There are roughly 9,000 Gilbert county island residents. My math tells me that’s $567 per resident if you go by the town’s figures.

I suspect that most county islanders — I speak of the rational majority rather than the folks convinced the town wants all county islanders to burn up so Mayor Berman can dance on their charred remains — might view annexation as a pretty good deal, after all.

Sort of like buying the Grand Slam Slugger breakfast even if you don’t want the pancakes.

I’m having dinner at Outback tonight, so stay tuned. A solution to the immigration issue is at hand.

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