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Overburdened 911 System

April 07, 1991

Here we go again, loading the cost of the $235-million bond issue on the April ballot for expanding the 911 emergency phone system on the backs of the already overtaxed property owner. If the voters keep approving special taxes on property owners, it won't be long before we will again face the perils of the '70s before Proposition 13 when so many lost their homes due to overtaxation on real property.

The fact that a family owns or is buying their home is by no means an indication that they are financially secure; in fact just the opposite may be true. True, the 911 emergency phone system is overloaded. It is also a well-known fact that the vast majority of calls to 911 are non-emergency calls that tie up the lines for those seeking help for life-threatening situations.

There is, however, a logical way to solve this problem. First, a notice would be included in our phone bills listing the types of calls that fall within the parameters of the 911 system. After that, any call to 911 that does not fall within those parameters would be listed on the next month's phone bill as a "911 abuse call" with a surcharge of some predetermined amount. After a few surcharges on their phone bills, I'm sure the lines would again open up for what 911 was originally intended for--real emergency calls--and there would then be no need to hit the property owners with a bill for $235 million.

JACK WOLLARD

Sunland

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