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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Convoy Shows Giving Spirit

By Elise Spleiss  |  2017-01-12

Nine year old Julian looks on with delight as Sgt.Wes Herman of the CHPD points out features on his police cruiser during the annual police Holiday Toy Drop-off on December 20. 
--Photo by Elise Spleiss

A police convoy of over a dozen Citrus Heights Police Department marked and unmarked vehicles, lights flashing and sirens wailing, made their way through the streets of Citrus Heights to five very special neighborhoods on the afternoon of December 20, 2016.

Residents living along parts of Centurion Circle, Terrell Drive, Stanford Avenue, and Villa Oak Drive were understandably uneasy at first, but then pleasantly surprised as the occupants of the vehicles emerged bearing gifts and much more for one special family at each address.

Nearly two dozen police officers, along with police volunteers, Mayor Jeff Slowey and other city council members, Boy Scouts of troop 635, and of course, Santa Claus executed one “flash gift and toy drop” in each of the four neighborhoods.

The four families chosen to receive the special delivery of toys, food, clothes and other necessities were selected from community referrals to the city’s Holiday Referral Program overseen by the police department. Each family had experienced unusual hardship in 2016 placing them in extreme financial or other difficult situation. Items for these and 30 other needy families helped this year by the program, were donated by the police department, non-profit service organizations, churches, schools, private businesses and individuals.

At the first stop, Elizabeth, whose son was celebrating his 5th birthday, was overwhelmed when Santa, accompanied by half a dozen officers ascended to their second-floor apartment bearing a shiny green bike, toys, games, food and many other items for the family. The officers were then joined by more police personnel and their own children of all ages in singing “Happy Birthday” to her son. Elizabeth, who has no family and no parents to help her thanked everybody and vowed to “pay it forward”

At another address, nine-year-old Julian was also greeted by Santa who handed him a bright red present. Julian’s mother passed away after Halloween following heart surgery. Julian said, “I loved my mom, and I’m very thankful for everyone that came he said.” His father, Tony Bernardino, said, “Julian is doing very well with everything considering the situation.” But the highlight of Julian’s day was when Sgt. Wes Herman let him sit in and inspect the interior of his police cruiser and turn on the lights and siren.

Finally, no Citrus Heights Holiday Toy Drop-off would be complete without a stop on Sayonara Drive. Previously the ‘sore spot’ of Citrus Heights, Sayonara is now a much safer place for families to live. As the caravan pulled up to the Sayonara Community Center it took only seconds for dozens of children to appear and descend upon and eagerly surround the officers and volunteers handing out the rest of the over 300 stuffed animals donated this year.

This was Police Chief Ron Lawrence’s first Holiday Toy Drop-off. At the end of the day he spoke of how impressed he is with all the hard work of his officers. He commented that “today we make magic and create special moments these kids will remember the rest of their lives… It’s a gift for us as much as it is for them.”


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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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Police Officers Bring Holiday Smiles

Source: San Juan Unified School District  |  2016-12-22

Officers from the Citrus Heights Police Department (above) are pictured with one happy young shopper at the 10th Annual Shop With A Cop event. 
--Photo courtesy SJUSD

Students Participate in Annual Shop With a Cop Event

Every year, the Citrus Heights Police Department works with schools in the area to provide students with a better holiday season. This year, more than two dozen police officers accompanied 24 students for a shopping spree at the Citrus Heights Walmart as part of the 10th annual Shop with a Cop event.

Two students from each San Juan Unified school in Citrus Heights were selected for this event, where they each received $100 for a shopping spree to pick out items for themselves and their families. Police officers accompanied students around Walmart, providing ideas for purchases and helping load carts. Participating students were selected based on criteria focused on character and ethics.

The Citrus Heights Walmart provided the grant for the shopping spree. Students not only picked items for themselves, such as bikes, toys and clothes, but they also picked out gifts for family members and friends.

Check out photos from the event below, including students from Mariposa Avenue Elementary and Sylvan Middle School!


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Two Commercial Fires in Less Than 30 Minutes

Source: Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-12-15

This fire had started in the fascia above Northridge Music and spread to the area above the other businesses. Two occupancies sustained interior water damage, as firefighters were able to hold the fire to the area above the units.

Just before 10:00 on December 11, Metro Firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire in a strip mall at 7861 Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights. Crews arrived to find smoke coming from the roof and quickly initiated fire attack. The fire had started in the fascia above Northridge Music and spread to the area above the other businesses. Two occupancies sustained interior water damage, as firefighters were able to hold the fire to the area above the units. Damage is estimated at $50,000 and the cause was determined to be electrical in nature. No injuries were reported.

Just a few minutes later, crews responded to an apartment complex at 5401 Garfield Avenue for report of black smoke from an apartment.  Crews arrived to find fire in a downstairs unit and quickly extinguished it, saving the adjoining apartments from fire damage. The fire, which had started in the kitchen and spread to the living room and bedroom, caused major damage to the apartment. The unit directly above the fire unit sustained structural damage; residents of both units were displaced by the fire. Damage is estimated at $50,000, and the cause was determined to be unattended cooking.

Cooking remains the number one cause of home fires, causing more injuries than any other type of fire. Knowing what to do can make all the difference. Never leave unattended food cooking on the stove, even for a short time. If you encounter a small grease fire, leave the pan where it is, turn off the heat, and put a lid on it. If you can’t get a lid on the pan, use a fire extinguisher or call 911.


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