The “news” the assemblyman was reporting that day was the action taken by Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number Four to implement the fee by approving a request from the Board of Equalization for $6.4 million and 57 permanent positions in order to collect the fee from property owners.
My thought was ‘how much is this fee going to bring in and how much of that fee will be eaten up by implementation costs?’
During an Internet search I tried to find out what prevention activities might constitute … the money cannot be used for fighting wildland fires. I could not find any details but saw something mentioned about clearing brush.
In one article that reported the implementation of the fee there was a quote from a homeowner about the work he did on his property, including clearing grass and brush, which protected it during wildland fires.
Also there was mention of creating “defensible space,” which property owners who clear brush and grass are doing.
There is quite a lot locally that is being done to prevent the destruction of property during fires.
For example, Tom Esgate, managing director of Lassen County Fire Safe Council, obtained a Western Wildland Urban Interface grant for Clear Creek effective as of Nov. 1, 2011.
This money will be used to create a fuel break around the peripheral of Clear Creek this summer and help landowners within the community develop prescriptions for fuel reduction on individual properties.
From his report, other communities in Lassen County are at work on similar projects with the aid of grant money.
In addition, Clear Creek is part of the Firewise Communities/USA program which provides risk assessments of the ignition zone around homes for property owners so they can keep their homes from being ignited by a drifting ember when a fire is nearby.
I wonder if the legislators took note of regional efforts to determine if the work they planned to do with the money was already being done before implementing the fee?
With all the new technology to keep people connected such as Twitter, Facebook and Smartphones, it seems that legislators would have great insight into what is happening in neighborhoods across America, but instead of growing wiser there seems to be more of a disconnect.
With technology, all elected officials should be able to keep in touch with constituents and get feedback on issues before casting a vote.
They could create extensive contact lists in order to solicit information and even flag experts on topics.
For example, they could ask how property is being protected from wildland fires and what is being done locally to prevent these fires.
If other agencies or organizations are doing something well, it doesn’t seem prudent for the state government to get involved. Perhaps budget cuts could begin with duplicated services.
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