Something hinky

By From page A4 | February 04, 2013

Let’s hope the state attorney general takes state Sen. Ted Gaines’ request to investigate Cal Fire. the state fire protection and forestry department apparently stashed $3.6 million with the California District Attorneys Association.

The proceeds came from businesses blamed for wildfires. Apparently Cal Fire stashed it away from its General Fund to pay for conferences, for fear that conferences are the first thing cut from budgets during recessions when government tax revenue shrinks.

Ain’t that just clever? A little too clever. It’s downright hinky and the AG ought to investigate.

Gaines would like to know and so would we why residents of most of El Dorado County have to pay $150 a year to fund “fire prevention” by Cal Fire when the department had its own secret  stash of money.

Besides conferences Cal Fire bought GPS vehicle trackers, metal detectors, storage sheds, cameras and computers.

The fund was set up in 2005, was frozen last year and is set for dissolution in February, but only because the DAs association requested it. Apparently they felt a little hinky about it also.

As Sen. Gaines said, “Hiding funds outside the state system with an organization that is profiting from the account reeks of wrongdoing and demands to be looked into.”

With CD rates in the neighborhood 0.12 to 0.15 and the effective fed funds rate of 0.17 as of Jan. 31, Gaines is overstating the case for the DAs association to profit from the account. But the hiding funds part definitely “reeks of wrongdoing.” The AG should start an investigation in conjunction with the state auditor.

Mountain Democrat

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