EDITOR: Seems like every issue of the paper we read more about this “Fee” that’s been imposed upon us by the state for rural fire protection. I’ve never been opposed to paying for additional fire protection or upgrading basic emergency services, especially when I have been given the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons and vote on it.
I spent the better part of four decades in public safety and emergency services and I started that career as a CDF firefighter back in the mid-60s. I’m well aware that they can use all the assistance they can get. I’d gladly give it, but I don’t like to be strong-armed for it.
When this lame-brained governor was elected I knew it was a matter of time before he’d pull some slick maneuver to get into our pockets without permission. Even the people who voted him into office can’t deny he lied to them with his mantra “No new taxes without voter approval.”
Sorry folks, but a “Fee” is a “Tax.” The only difference is the spelling. Some of us learned on the governor’s first trip around the block that you can’t trust a thing he says when his lips are moving.
I’ve looked at the websites that have been provided in some of the recent articles, and looked at the maps. I find that I’m in a SRA, or State Responsibility Area, which means I have to pay the “Fee” (read: extortion). Now I get to subtract $35 according to my understanding of this “Fee” because I’m in a “Fire Protection District” already. OK, now I’m confused. The residents of Placerville don’t have to pay the “Fee” because they’re considered “rural.” But… they are in the same “Fire Protection District” I am.
I live about three quarters of a mile from the nearest fire house. I’d be willing to bet, all things being equal, that if I called 911 it would take less time for a fire truck to reach my house than it would for the same response in the city limits. The reason being, less traffic and fewer obstacles.
I have absolutely no issues with Cal Fire. And I would absolutely have no qualms about paying a genuine tax if it were to be passed legally. But my house is closer to at least three El Dorado County Fire Protection District fire houses than it is to the nearest Cal Fire station.
I certainly wouldn’t turn them away if they were sent here, but they are obviously not my first line of defense, which I believe should be the essence of this “Fee.” To arbitrarily fine me because I don’t live in an incorporated area or on federal land is nothing more than robbery at best.
And how many times are we going to be assessed this fee before it’s considered illegal? How long will it take the state to refund all the victims? I’d be willing to bet a lot longer than they seem to be willing to wait for all of us to pay it!!