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home : opinions : opinions October 19, 2014

6/19/2013 6:00:00 AM
LETTER: City's demand for insurance questioned

For some time now the city of Blythe is requiring families who want to celebrate the birthdays of their children/grandchildren and other community functions in the city parks, to get permits and provide certificates of insurance in the amount of one million dollars, adding the city of Blythe as additional insured.

The one-, two-, three-day insurance policies cost from $300 minimum premium, even for one hour, and as high as $1,000 for a weekend. Most families can't afford it and I get tired of seeing mothers and grandmothers leaving my office with tears in their eyes from having to forget their plans.

I have one request for such a policy on my desk at the present time for a birthday party in Todd Park.

When I insured the city of Blythe from 1980 to 1989, such a requirement was not made and I never once had a claim made against the city resulting from such events, and I haven't heard of one since.

First and foremost, the citizens of this community pay taxes for the upkeep/maintenance and use of these city parks. They belong to the people, not the corporation known as the City of Blythe.

The very purpose of the parks is for fun, play, relaxation and recreation for the people. Such includes parties, celebrations, picnics, various sports activities, etc.

It is not the responsibility of the people to insure the city of Blythe when a park is wanted to be used.Why? Because the same taxes that are paid by the people into the city also pays the premiums on the insurance policy(s) the city buys for protection against bodily injury and/or property damage arising from the city's negligence, and in such cases as just mentioned.

In order for such a claim to occur, the city would have to be proven negligent in some way or another. That is very unlikely to ever happen. Also, the families that use the park for such events generally have homeowners insurance whereas the liability from that policy would extend to the personal activities of the family in the park(s). The medical coverage in the homeowner's policy would pay for a family's guest if hurt and the family's personal medical insurance would pay for an injury to any other covered family member. The liability would pay for property damage due to the using party's negligence. The City of Blythe's exposure is very infinitesimal in such cases.

Some families rent "jumpers" for the children to play on at these parties and celebrations. That is one of the reasons for the demand for insurance by the city. This still does not justify the need for a certificate of insurance from the family.

What I have written above still applies and the owner of the jumper has a general liability policy to protect him/herself/business from a negligence lawsuit. If they don't, they should have. In such cases as this, should a lawsuit occur, the city would be the third party in line to pay, and only then if the city was someway proven to be negligent for the use of the jumper.

While I am at it, banners should be hung across Hobsonway free of charge for the local churches, civic and service clubs, schools and college for the same reasons given above concerning the parks. These groups serve the community and promote the city of Blythe either directly or indirectly, through their volunteer efforts and activities. The city's costs are paid from the taxes collected from the members on the regular tax rolls. I hasten to add that charges are appropriate for businesses and "for profit" groups, since they are private enterprise.

I would hope our city council can see this as being positive - not negative. It will make for a more friendly atmosphere and could help in the revitalization of the city in whole.

We are going to survive through working together rather than continuing to divide the people and the city government. I have mentioned this in the past to those who have run for a seat on the city council but no responses have ever been forthcoming after the seat(s) are taken.

With such times as we are experiencing now, it seems to me it is time for a coming together. What I have suggested in this letter would be a good start. It is the right thing to do.

- Jere Allan, Blythe

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ I'm just saying. I do have a sense of humor. I'm laughing right now. At your attempt to skirt the issue here. So in passing are you going to answer my question? Without character assassination here? So I guess you must be like most. When words fail, then the next best thing is personal attacks.

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Article comment by: I'm just saying

@ El pica, and you lack a sense of humor! C'mon don't be so serious all the time.There is a old song u need to listen to it's called " Don't worry be happy."

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ I'm just saying. Instead of attacking my character, and my negativity, or my lack of morals.

Please show me, how I'm wrong. Lets not get on the soapbox with praises to the people in the City Council. Because if they make a sudden turn your nose might snap off.

PS. Remember I lack Character and some.

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013
Article comment by: I'm just saying

@ El pica, I poke you and you r still alive.I don't need a stick! It's easy to get into your skin!

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013
Article comment by: I'm just saying

@Jere- I don't think it was taken in a negative way. You have the answer you sell insurance you should be up on all the changes. Is this a way to get some new clients. Another thing you just put fuel in the fire for El Pica to respond with his negativity and ignorance..

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ I'm just sayin. you are like the flame to a moth. Just like that scene played out in the movies, over and over, when a kid gets a stick and pokes the body .... just to see if it's alive.

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@Jere Allen. Yes it is true. As with most things here it was twisted beyond it's intended meaning.

Sometimes I even have the same thoughts as Ryan Pence, the one that wrote below us. It's like a way for the City to control access to the park.

Like a wall to keep the less fortunate out.
Since they tend to keep company with the riffraff of society. This is a solution inbreded into most of the people with means in this city. A nameless war against the poor.

Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013
Article comment by: Jere Allan

el Pica Buyas,
This is "im just sayin's " dodge. He knows very well it hasn't happened and the likely hood that it will is so remote that he will die of old age first. The City's permit for bounce houses and any other activities requiring the permit, states, (in paraphrase), that " the person who is sponsoring the event must hold the city harmless and provide a liability insurance policy in the amount of $1,000,000 naming the City of Blythe as additional insured, and the certificate of insurance must accompany the application." This amounts to a double whammy, hold harmless and provide insurance. If one goes back and reads my letter, it was intended as a letter of good will to promote harmony between the citizens of Blythe, the City Council and City Management, which, in my opinion, seem needful to help us grow. I was saddened to learn it was taken in a negative way from the City's side.

Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Article comment by: I'm just saying

@El pica that was my question to Jere.Quit getting ahead of yourself.

Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ I'm saying. Hey still waiting. So when has the City been sued? Hello still there? Cat got you tongue.

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013
Article comment by: @ jere allan

Hang in there Jere...These people wanting to know what if...What if the dog hadn't stopped to poop he would have caught the rabbit...Your aticle was very good and shows you are for the less wealthy people in Blythe God bless you...

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Pence

I know of other cities that work with people who cannot afford the insurance and offer them waivers. Some even charge amounts for the permits and application process and waive the insurance requirement if they can(for some of the same reasons Jere mentioned).

In most cities there is also an application process where the usage permits are typically reviewed--usually about 10 days where they promise you a resonse. Even with indemnification clauses and accidental liability waivers filled out ,Blythe still requires additional insurance from at least "some" of its groups requisitioning use. (according to the clarification given) But which ones? Concerts, sporting events and non-city sponsored events. But not bouncy houses. Ok whatever.

Part of the bigger problem is, that in our city, there is no time limit set on which you get a response back (i.e 10 days) and then your requests for usage get arbitrarily decided based on who you know and which groups you are associated with. Or worse yet are ignored or pushed to the bottom of the pile and never given access when the city is requiring you to purchase insurance in order to have access.

I don't even care about having to purchase a 1 or 2 million dollar insurance policy, filing out permits, filling out liability waiver forms so the city is not sued. As long as it is fair and other similar groups have to do the same. Here is what I do not like. It is not fair. The city does not have a fair process nor do they have any well thought out procedures in place for groups to go through to requisition public use . The city hands certain groups keys to the lights and they shut them off on other groups. The city gives certain groups access to the best facilities and parks and denies others based on no written or nondiscriminatory policies. The city denies poor people access who can't afford to pay to use public facilities in an organized way. Then sometimes the city grants access to some groups who never purchase the insurance when others follow the rules and are not granted access. So what is the point? The community builders who typically work with poorer and middle class families and communities to organize events and build things for the youth are forced to go somewhere else or not use city parks. And lets be honest, our public facilities are not even that great to begin with. I understand why people would rather drive 2 hours and use another city's facilities just to avoid having to be treated like this.

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013
Article comment by: Jere Allan

To: I'm just saying.
You have been asked to post 1 (one) instance where the City of Blythe has been sued from a family celebrating a birthday in the park using a bounce house or jumper. The whole certificate of insurance thingie is pure, unadulterated, speculation!!! It is required as a "what if." The one who posted, "nothing will happen to change the request will happen'" is right. Nothing will change.

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ I'm just saying. Do you even know the definition of "Speculate"? I could give to 2 guess's or even 10, but I bet you could never guess the meaning.

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013
Article comment by: I'm just saying

@El pica I don't need to ride a book in order to get the point across. People write the same thing over and over.Like a broken record like you! Don't insult my intelligence, as you sound like a broken record every time you write. Your opinions mean nothing! You speculate just like Jere you both r in the "what if" game.We can what if all day. What if you keep your mouth shut that would be great.word of the day "speculate". ha ha ha

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