I was shocked to read the Press-Banner article “County fire department seeks funding solution” (Page 5, Feb. 1) when just weeks before I had to shell out $150, by force, to help fund vague activities to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention.
Not one of the activities the tax was going towards was for fire apparatus, aircraft, engines, pumpers, tenders, etc. — you know, the things that put out fires and protect life and property. Instead, this tax is going towards:
Brush clearance: We have inmates to perform that function; they should start earning their keep. Why am I paying for it?
Forest health: What is that?
Fire break construction: See inmate comment.
Fire prevention engineering: Wow, that sounds impressive.
Evacuation planning: Really? I see evacuation routes posted all over the County and State, do we need more?
Fire prevention education: What first-grader has not had a fire captain or firefighter come in and present safe fire practice? For the adults, to my knowledge, we as home owners have been indoctrinated to clear a 30-foot safe zone around our homes. Who doesn’t know that?
Fire severity mapping: Those are available on the state Cal Fire website already, showing fire history, acreage, property damage, etc., going back multiple years. Do we need another map?
And finally, fire-related law enforcement and implementation of the state fire plan: In this day and age, with all the fires and earthquakes we have, there is no state fire plan? Get serious.
I feel bad for Scott Jalbert, the new unit chief of the San Mateo-Santa Cruz Cal Fire Unit. He should go to the governor and request these taxes help pay for real hardware, and not pet projects and wasteful activities that no one can see, or measure they were actually accomplished.
Like he said, it is going to be a tough sell. You got that right. The boy has cried wolf too many times, and our pockets are empty.
Mark Stovall, Felton