Vote YES on Measure O, Says Letter to the Editor
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As a long-time (50 years) Humboldt resident and a long time (20+ years) volunteer in my rural community, I have seen economic conditions and communities themselves wax and wane. But one thing that has remained the same has been the need for essential services such as rural ambulance service, fire departments, maintenance of county roads, cleaning up illegally dumped waste, rural law enforcement and more. The list goes on and on.
As a volunteer I know that you can’t just do the job you volunteered for without also participating in numerous fund-raising activities. Something that is time consuming and never ending, often just to maintain the minimum fees and improvements needed that are not covered by grants. This has been true despite the ‘boom’ years in the outlying rural communities where many have not participated by volunteering or donating despite using the services. It is an accepted, if frustrating, given. You throw a fund-raiser in the towns along the coast and raise tens of thousands of dollars. In the smaller communities we are thrilled if we even get remotely close to $5000. Measure Z, and hence Measure O, bring needed help to ALL parts of the county.
Measure Z has been an incredible boon to Humboldt County. You contribute when you purchase taxable commodities, adding only ½¢ to every dollar spent. If you can afford big purchases you contribute more. If you can’t afford to spend much, you still contribute, but less. Together we’ve managed to help hire Sheriff’s Deputies to patrol where there were none available before. We have helped volunteer Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations provide steady, reliable service by financing paid positions when volunteers are no longer coming forward in enough numbers to cover the hours and days. Basically, it freaking WORKED to do what we asked for and what is needed. It’s in place, it is strictly regulated and it works. And we have a chance to keep it going until we decide it no longer serves it’s purpose.
So why should we have to renew it every 5 years when we can safely say the needs it fills are not going to go away? It’s not like it doesn’t require time and energy and funds to put something on the ballot and promote it. It’s not as if it won’t be fought by those who feel a tax, any tax, is just another ‘government grab’ of their hard-earned money.
For those that worry about making it permanent because they don’t trust the future County Government not to misuse the funds, this Measure has safeguards in place. From an Independent Citizen’s Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from fire and law enforcement, financial audits, and transparency as to spending as well as the process of allocating the funds being accessible to all. Not only that, but these funds are protected by law from appropriation by the State or Federal government.
I am for long-term assistance to the basic, much needed public safety and essential services for all of us in Humboldt County. I will, and I hope to encourage others to, vote YES on Measure O.
Dottie Simmons, Dinsmore
Here are links to information about Measure O and Measure Z