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Convoluted says it best. The Fire Fee and our right to contest it is very complicated, difficult to understand and it offers many twists and turns before it is acceptable to the recipient. Does it fall under Government Code 50076: “If a fee is subjected to legal challenge, the jurisdiction that is charging the fee carries the burden of proving that it is not a special tax (Government Code Section 50076.5). Fees may be further distinguished from taxes because they are voluntary rather than compulsory.”
Does the Fire Fee fall under Section 10248 or Section 10242.5 of Government Code or Government Code Section 9795? Where is the documentation showing which Government Code this fee comes under, where is the information from the meetings and/or where were the hearings held and who was in attendance that allowed this fee to be collected?
“We the People” believe we have our elected representatives who should represent us and that should be done under our “open meeting laws.” This Fire Fee appears to have been put in place by “bureaucrats” who are setting rules, making regulations and using their authority to regulate and control behavior and doing so around our elected representatives.
If Cal Fire is concerned about the state’s wild land and watershed areas then do your job and manage your wild land and watershed areas. The areas that have been developed with roads and residential structures plus outbuildings on them should be the responsibility of the local fire agencies/departments. It was apparent with the Rim Fire — wildland fires can and do get out of hand. That fire was caused by a “hunter’s illegal fire” (when it was not even hunting season) and it burned more than 257,314 acres with the burn dates from Aug. 17, 2013 through October 24, 2013. It appears the cause of most wild land fires is lightning or fires caused by a human’s careless behavior, or arson.
Homeowners as a rule maintain a fire-safe barrier around their structures and are aware when there is by sight or smell smoke in their area.
Cal Fire needs to focus on the vast and vacant wild land and watershed areas and leave the local fire departments to manage the local areas and their structures and the land they are on. I continue to protest this questionable collection of my hard-earned money — tax, fee, fine or otherwise.