Senator Gaines Introduces Fire Tax Repeal

From the Office of Ted Gaines  |  2017-03-09
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In his continued efforts to fight against the illegal fire tax, Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) announced on March 2nd  Senate Bill 9, a measure to repeal the tax.

‘This fire tax is illegal and unfair – plain and simple,” said Senator Gaines. “Many rural property owners already pay local fire agencies for protection so it is clearly double-taxation and it is being dumped on the backs of rural Californians when parts of my district still have a more than 10-percent unemployment rate and families are struggling to make ends meet.”

Senate Bill 9 would reverse the annual $152.33 “fee” for fire prevention services charged to rural property owners located in “State Responsibility Areas” (SRA) designated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), even though their property taxes already contribute to the service contracts that counties have with CAL FIRE.

The fire tax is imposed on more than 800,000 properties in the state that are within the boundaries of SRA. According to census and CAL FIRE data, Senator Gaines’ largely rural district includes roughly 20-percent or approximately 160,000 of the properties whose owners are subject to the fee.

Senator Gaines contends that the fire tax attempts to sidestep Proposition 26, the initiative passed in 2010 that prevents the Legislature from disguising taxes as “fees” and circumventing constitutional requirements for passing higher taxes. He has been a leading critic of the tax and has introduced numerous pieces of legislation in previous years that attempted to provide relief for rural Californians. Senator Gaines also strongly supports the lawsuit filed against the state by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association challenging the fee on constitutional grounds.

“I have fought this illegal tax at every turn and I encourage everyone who is stuck paying this phony fee to get in the arena and fight it too,” said Senator Gaines. “The answer to fire protection in California is not illegal taxes, but budgets that invest in core government services that protect every citizen in the state – rural, urban and suburban.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


Wrong Way Driver Kills Oncoming Driver and Self

California Highway Patrol Special Report  |  2017-02-09

On February 7, 2017, at 9:55 p.m. the CHP received a call of a wrong way driver going westbound in the eastbound lane of I-80 at Watt Ave. The driver was a female driving a dark Ford Mustang. CHP officers immediately began responding to the wrong way driver in an attempt to prevent a head on collision from happening. Shortly thereafter the Ford sideswiped a Chevrolet Impala near Raley Blvd. and continued going the wrong way on I-80.

As the Ford approached Northgate Blvd in the #1 lane it struck head on with a white Dodge Challenger driven by a male. The collision killed both drivers upon impact. A toxicology report is being taken by the Sacramento County Coroner to determine if alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in this collision.

The eastbound lanes of I-80 were closed for a little over 2 hours due to extraction and investigation and all traffic was diverted off to Northgate Blvd.

Any additional information about this news release should be directed to Officer Chad Hertzell who will be available at the CHP North Sacramento Area business phone number: (916) 348-2317, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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Four Families Displaced by Fire in Multiple Units of Four-plex

Source: Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2017-01-12

Metro Fire crews were dispatched to the 9000 block of Folsom Boulevard for multiple callers reporting a house fire.

Just after 7:00 am on January 7th, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to the 9000 block of Folsom Boulevard for multiple callers reporting a house fire. First arriving crews found heavy fire coming from a four-plex and immediately initiated fire attack. While firefighting operations were occurring in the unit of origin, additional firefighters initiated fire attack in a second involved unit and began searching for trapped residents.

A common attic throughout the four-plex allowed the fire to spread quickly. With a coordinated fire attack, the thirty-five firefighters on scene extinguished the fire, containing it to the attic and two units. Two units sustained major fire damage. The other two had fire damage in the attic, but only smoke damage inside; firefighters were able to salvage all of the personal belongings from these units. Residents from all four units were displaced; Red Cross was requested to assist the ten adults and four children with temporary housing. The cause of the fire is undetermined. Damage is estimated at $250,000; no injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.


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Christmas Morning Fire in Vacant Home

Source: Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-12-29

Metro Fire crews were dispatched to the 5000 block of Walnut Avenue in North Highlands.

Shortly before 3:00 am on December 25th,  Metro Fire crews were dispatched to the 5000 block of Walnut Avenue in North Highlands for a report of flames coming from the roof and rear window of a vacant house. First arriving crews reported a working fire and immediately initiated fire attack.

The fire, which had started on the outside of the boarded-up house, had quickly spread inside. Firefighters forced entry and extinguished the fire, deploying multiple hoselines to different areas of the house to quickly contain the fire. The roof and attic sustained significant fire damage, with total damage estimated at $75,000. No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported and the cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Firefighters were on scene less than five minutes after being dispatched, and the fire was already well-involved and had spread from the exterior to the attic and living quarters. Fire doubles in size every minute… if you see smoke, call 9-1-1 early!


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Blue Lives Matter

Commentary by Senator Ted Gaines  |  2016-12-08

Senator Ted Gaines

A handful of California families will find it hard to celebrate the holidays this year because they lost their fathers and brothers to senseless violence.

On October 19, Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Hopkins of Modoc County responded to a disturbance call and was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was only 31. On October 6, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen was shot dead responding to a burglary. The two deaths are a somber reminder that for our peace officers, their lives are on the line every time they are on patrol.

Each of these losses, hundreds of miles apart in our vast state, was a tragedy. But the same month, something far more sinister played out here, showing that America and our law enforcement have entered a new, more dangerous and shameful era that threatens the foundation of the lawful and civil society we enjoy.

Two Palm Springs police officers, Lesley Zerebny, 27, and Jose “Gil” Vega, 63, we murdered in a planned attack committed by John Hernandez Felix. These deaths did not occur during the commission of another crime, they were the crime. Felix set a trap for the officers and ambushed them, shooting them down in cold blood. It was not a one-off event.

In late November, a San Antonio policeman was ambush murdered as well. And, devastatingly, this summer’s hateful and violent anti-police protests culminated in the sickening assassination of five innocent police officers in Dallas. I only wish that the list was complete, but it’s not.

Driven by the media’s hysterical coverage of any shooting death that fits their political narrative of minority oppression at the hands of police, we’re trending into and upside down world where the protectors are viewed as predators. That’s wrong. It’s the open, politically inspired murder of police that is the real “hate crime” epidemic.

In this overheated environment, it’s little surprise that year-over-year law enforcement firearm-related deaths are up 67-percent in 2016.

This growing hostility towards the police is terrible for the men and women who serve to keep us safe, and it’s changing the way they police, with distressing effect.

The “Ferguson Effect” describes a retreat from effective, proactive policing that has been one driver of a multi-decade crime decline that is in danger of reversing. It’s a term rooted in the Ferguson Police shooting of strong-arm robber Michael Brown, where the infamous and false “hands up, don’t shoot!” became the big lie slogan of rioters, activists, and a complicit, left-wing media and political cabal.

Police around the country, fearful of becoming a media story, or tired of the jeering, snarling mobs that now surround and confront them in the course of their duties, have predictably began interacting more cautiously and less frequently with the public, to dire effect.

In Chicago, for example, police stops were down 90-percent in the first part of 2016, compared to 2015. Shootings in that city have skyrocketed. Heather MacDonald, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, blames the crime spike in Chicago (and other cities – it’s not a Chicago-specific phenomenon) on the abandonment of “broken windows” policing that sees police actively intervening in small, low-level public enforcement crimes. This retreat leads to disorder and emboldens criminals to commit more serious crimes. It’s a troubling shift in nationwide policing.

To make it worse, California is undertaking an unprecedented de-incarceration effort that is putting tens of thousands of criminals back out on the streets before their sentences are complete and making it more difficult to put offenders behind bars.

“Realignment,” 2014’s Proposition 47, and this year’s Proposition 57, all send a strong message to California criminals that the state is not interested in punishing them for their crimes.

It seems simple to understand that if you introduce more criminals into society, the result will be more crime.  True to form, California violent crime jumped 11-percent in the first six months of 2015, compared to 2014. Expect crime to spike even higher.

This is the worst possible time for the police to step back because they fear attacks, shaming or other fallout from simply doing their jobs to preserve law and order and keep us safe. The environment that has inflamed and emboldened sick criminals to murder public safety officers must change. It’s a dangerous job where officers make life-and-death decision in a fraction of a second, and they deserve wide latitude from the public and our deepest thanks.

Are there abuses of police power and individual officers who use bad judgment? Of course. And it’s incumbent on us to hold those bad actors accountable. But it’s foolish to attribute sins of the individuals to the whole profession.

FBI Director James Comey said in October that the “narrative that policing is biased and unfair…threatens the future of policing.” Director Comey should not have stopped there. A media-fueled degradation of respect for law enforcement threatens much more than the future of policing, it threatens the safe, civil society that we take too much for granted.

Honor our police.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


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Fire in Orangevale Home Displaces Family of Four

Source: Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-12-01

Two adults and two children were displaced by the fire. Total damage is estimated at $60,000; no injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

Just after 8:30 on November 18, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to the 9200 block of Lostwood Lane in Orangevale for a report of visible flames from the roof of a house. First arriving crews reported a working fire and immediately initiated fire attack. Firefighters located the fire, which had started in the chimney and spread to the attic, and extinguished it, while searching for victims, and ventilating the structure.

While first-in crews were putting out the fire, other firefighters focused on protecting the residents’ belongings. Their efforts allowed the fire damage to be limited to the chimney, attic and a wall, while saving all of the family’s possessions. Two adults and two children were displaced by the fire. Total damage is estimated at $60,000; no injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

As we enter the cold season, make sure your chimney gets inspected and cleaned every year by a professional. When using your fireplace, put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave home, and always put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least 3 feet from your home.

For more information, check out www.metrofire.ca.gov, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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Firefighters, Sheriff’s Officers and CHP Rescue 46 Year-old Woman

Source: Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-12-01

Just after midnight on November 21, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to a home in Fair Oaks for a report of an overdose.  When firefighters and Sheriff’s officers arrived, the patient was no longer there. They attempted to locate her, but were unable to. After searching nearby streets, the officers pinged her cell phone, which showed it to be on the north side of the American River, near Hazel Avenue. Officers then requested the help of a California Highway Patrol helicopter, who used infrared technology to locate the woman, lying on a ledge above the river, in slippery terrain. As fire crews were en route to the new location, one of the officers climbed down the slope to make sure the woman didn’t fall off the ledge.

The victim, a 46-year-old female, appeared to have rolled nearly 70 feet before stopping on a ledge a few feet above the water line. She had a decreased level of consciousness, not responding to verbal communication. Metro Fire’s Rescue Task Force, with assistance from Folsom Fire, set up for a low angle rescue, using a second ambulance as the anchor. Once the rope system was in place, two rescuers were lowered to the ledge, where they quickly assessed her injuries and placed her in a rescue stretcher, so she could be safely hauled up the slope. The patient was then transported code 3 to a local trauma center.

“This rescue, with all its unique aspects, demonstrates how our public safety agencies work together to benefit the community,” stated Metro Fire Battalion Chief Mark Repetto. “Sheriff’s officers went above and beyond, CHP jumped in to help find the patient, and firefighters from multiple agencies rescued, treated and transported her. Without this collaboration, it’s not likely this woman would have survived through the night.


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