April Fool’s Day Greeted With Camels, UFOs and Bakersfield Politics

By Patric Hedlund

For hundreds of years in many Western countries, April 1 is traditionally an occasion for playing tricks, but its origin, Webster’s tells us, is unknown.

Locally, you can take your choice on Tuesday: Turn to Don Eubank’s Around Town for lore of the day, or pack a lunch and head down to Bakersfield, where the Kern County Board of Supervisors will be hearing three items of concern to the Mountain Communities.

Ross Elliott, director of the Department of Emergency Medical Services will be presenting a new version of his controversial February report. The morning session starts at 9 a.m.

Two Lebec zoning cases and a report about the need for firefighter paramedics in this county’s far flung rural areas will be voted upon in the afternoon session, which begins at 2 p.m.

Firefighter Paramedics

Supervisors asked Elliott to produce better "qualitative" information about the benefits of advanced life support paramedic services for rural areas. In his first report, he advanced the notion that rural medical emergencies have less need for paramedic service than urban people’s emergencies.

Kern County Fire Chief Dennis Thompson said at the meeting that his statistics disagreed with Elliott’s, and show there is an equal need in rural areas. Derek Robinson, president of the Kern County Firefighters Union said Hall Ambulance’s own statistics from their 2006-2007 test showed there was a greater need of paramedic services in the rural Pine Mountain calls than in urban calls.

Elliott said in an email: "We are making a serious attempt to bring qualitative data back to the Board. It has become necessary to narrow the focus to just the 100+ [Pine Mountain] calls that occurred in 2005. There just is not time to collect the information and perform the extent of analysis needed for all the calls countywide.

"We have been working on collecting data from various sources. The data from hospitals is the most difficult for us to find/obtain, but it seems to be slowly coming together. The data (once collected and compiled) will provide a comprehensive view from the time 911 was called to outcome at the hospital emergency dept., for each call."

He concluded, "My hope is that by focusing on [Pine Mountain] calls, at least everyone will know what the exact situation is for that community. Perhaps, this data will provide the Board with information they need to address [Pine Mountain’s] needs, and hopefully it will provide members of the community information they need to be reassured the best decisions will be made for this new report."

Jan de Leeuw, chairman of UCLA’s Environmental Statistics Department, said he doubted such a limited sampling of data could yield valid or productive results. Members of the community, such as Karen Bailey (whose husband died in 2005 when Hall Ambulance took almost an hour to arrive) said that not including records of people who died before the paramedics arrived on scene also weakens confidence in Elliott’s statistics.

At issue is whether the Board of Supervisors will agree to accept the KCFD’s offer of a free test year of paramedic service to three rural areas.

Pine Mountain resident Scott Robinson (a firefighter paramedic with Los Angeles County) reported last week that his meeting with Kern County Board of Supervisors Chair Michael Rubio leads him to doubt the board will accept KCFD’s offer. As reported last week, Robinson provided DVDs for all the supervisors bearing an explanatory video about fire-based paramedic service to provide the quickest, in-site stabilization to medical emergency patients, sustaining life while waiting for medical transport by ambulance. In a follow-up call,  Robinson found the DVDs had not been distributed to the other supervisors, and had been misplaced. He reports that after several calls Watson’s and Rubio’s office did locate the DVDs.

Members of the public are invited to speak at the hearing in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers (1115 Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield).

The item is slated for the morning session, which begins at 9 a.m.

Rezoning Hearings

In the afternoon session, which begins at 2 p.m., public hearings will be held on requests for two zoning and Specific Plan amendments in Lebec by French and Associates.

One request is on behalf of David Blomgren to make amendments to the Frazier Park/Lebec Specific Plan, a zone classification and an agricultural preserve boundary. The property is located a quarter mile north of Frazier Mountain Park Road, in Lebec. The Planning Department has determined that this project is exempt from provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

A second request will be made for amendments to the Frazier Park/Lebec Specific Plan, a zone classification and an agricultural preserve on behalf of Emilie Wainright (read previous report).

The public may make comments regarding these proposals during the hearing.

This is part of the March 28, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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