Lassen County District 1 Supervisor Chris Gallagher hoisted this banner on Town Hill hoping enough citizen complaints from Lassen County will convince California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to take care of his elected responsibilities. Photo submitted

Gallagher lights second Lara Fire on Town Hill

Lassen County District 1 Supervisor Chris Gallagher’ is following District 5 Supervisor Jason Ingram’s and Terrilynn Bejcek’s lead to publicly demand California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara take action immediately to resolve the state’s fire insurance nightmare.

Lassen County District 1 Supervisor Chris Gallagher.  Photo by Sam Williams

It’s been more than three weeks since California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order urging Lara “to take swift action to address issues with the insurance market and expand coverage options for consumers, while maintaining strong consumer protections and keeping plans affordable.”

People in Susanville and Lassen County facing this issue can tell you we’re still waiting, and waiting, and waiting. The hope is perhaps there’s a way to fan the flames high enough to give Lara such a hot seat he will decide it’s in his best interest to fix this for us.

“We just want to make people aware this is happening and how they can get it changed if they complain enough,” Gallagher said. “If we get enough people complaining, maybe we can get Ricardo Lara to really do something about it.”

TerriLynn Bejcek, left, and Lassen County District 5 Supervisor Jason Ingram pose beside a recently erected billboard on Highway 395 near Janesville. Ingram said Ricardo Lara, the California Insurance Commissioner, has not responded to his many emails. “I wonder if the insurance commissioner will email me back now?” Ingram asked. Photo by Sam Williams

One of the things that really bugs Gallagher is how nobody in the state capitol seems to realize how much of the region’s forests already have been totally lost to wildfire — from Lake Tahoe to Old Station, a more than three hour drive by car — and how that fact alone makes it pretty near impossible to have those fires repeat themselves anytime soon.

“It’s kind of ridiculous people have to go through this, especially because now in Lassen County, so much has already burned. What’s the insurance risk here right now?”

And Gallagher thought he placed his banner in a good location on Town Hill where it will get some attention.

“Go up Highway 36,” Gallagher said. “I think there are a lot of people who will see that sign.”

And with the two banners, everyone coming into Susanville on Highway 36 has an opportunity to see one of them.

“Hopefully, this will make a difference because now we’ll have a sign in South County and then one up here, too,” Gallagher said.