The front page of the Democrat has a great color photo of the Salmon falls Fire, Page 3 has a statement by our courageous District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting regarding the SRA tax. “The public should know what’s coming.”
There have been numerous articles written since before this bill was passed and signed last year by Jerry Brown. The crux of the issue is that the money is to be for “prevention” not “suppression.” Prevention is “PR,” public relations, defensible space evaluations, speaking at meetings, doing fairs and the like. Things that have been withheld for a year due to “budgetary constraints,” which didn’t account for the stockpile of PR items stored away in hidden coffers. Now they can come out of the closet and be distributed, once the payments start coming in — your money. Heck even Smokey was denied fresh air due to ” budget constraints.”
We all love Smokey, but not to the tune of $115 to $150 per habitable structure per year, or in this case twice in one fiscal year. Most folks I’ve spoken with think the dollars will help fight fires like the one at Salmon Falls, Georgetown or down here on Sandridge Road yesterday, all occurring simultaneously. Guess what folks, the money is not for suppression, it’s for prevention. This is another one of those magic tricks. Pass the wand over our heads, use terminology easily misconstrued by the average resident … like we’ll never know what hit us, until you get the bill. The response to the multiple fires yesterday was quick and effective. That is suppression. Our mutual aide system works. Our fire districts and Cal Fire work well together with Sheriff D’Agostini’s deputies and the CHP. Most activities went smoothly. That is cooperation during suppression. That is not pencils, erasers and PR. I don’t believe it is even manning the station.
Some of the money is supposed to go to grants to Fire Safe Councils. That buys the support of people who don’t realize that satellite Fire Safe Councils are all volunteer. The major expense to the El Dorado County Fire Safe Council is administration and insurance. Dime to a dollar that is not covered by your SRA tax. The Nashville-Sandridge area was prepared to survive the fire yesterday. The community has worked long and hard since 2005 to establish clear roadsides, 100 -foot defensible space, acquire grants and participate in roadside work days, all free, all volunteer. We work in conjunction with our fire district and Cal Fire, but we will have to pay the same SRA tax as those who have done nothing.
So what do you gain? Hokus Pokus, don’t blink.