Volunteers of the World Unite!

Anthony Pignataro:

In a surprising and potentially far-reaching move, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered the creation of a first ever “Disaster Corps” of thousands of volunteers statewide who will answer the call to service (and all those other cliches) when disaster strikes.

“California is always leading the way and now we are the first state in the nation to integrate volunteers into our state emergency plan,” Schwarzenegger said in this press release. “Volunteers are an incredible resource, and no state has more giving, more passionate or more dedicated volunteers than California. Together, we will take volunteerism to a whole new level and make California better prepared and better equipped than ever before, for any emergency.”

Looks to me as though Scwarzenegger is saying that all the state’s professional police, fire and medical services — to say nothing of the California National Guard — lack the capabilities and knowledge to keep us all safe during times of great trauma. What’s more, the press release states that “the first 1,000 members” (Call now! Operators are standing by!) who sign up will get FBI background checks and first aid training courtesy of $1.15 million in “homeland security funding.”

What’s next? Special Disaster Corps uniforms? Generous pensions, too? How about civil service protections and union representation for all Disaster Corps volunteers?

I feel safer already.

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