Vote YES on Measure O, Says Letter to the Editor

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Letter to the EditorWhy I support Measure O

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

https://humboldtgov.org/FAQ.aspx?TID=84

https://humboldtgov.org/2204/Fiscal-Year-16-17

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29 comments

  • Vote No On O.They lie about where they will spend the funds. Most went to the DA and the sheriff and jail. They just put it in the general fund and spend it on whatever the heart desires. WE CAN’T AFFORD ANOTHER TAX FOREVER

    • Fire Company Volunteer

      You’re entitled to your opinion, but please don’t make things up. Nobody lies about how the money is used. Every penny spent is fully accounted for.
      The money has been spent on a variety of things Humboldt county needs and won’t have without passing measure ‘O’.
      I know. I’m in a volunteer fire department. We used to respond to emergencies in ragged old hand me down gear. Our main engine was 33 years old and held together with tape and wire.
      With funds from measure ‘Z’ we now have new wild land and structure uniforms, a much newer and reliable engine, new hose, and are working towards our first real firehouse. The funds provided will pay for all the materials, we have to provide the labor.
      We are all volunteers, nobody gets paid. We give our time and energy to training and responding to
      fire and medical emergencies for YOU, the people of Humboldt County.
      Please show us that you appreciate what we’re doing. Don’t cut off one of our main sources of funding
      for modern and safe equipment.
      We all pay a lot of taxes. This is the only tax that ALL the money stays in Humboldt county.
      You get what you pay for.
      Please help us help you.
      Vote Yes on ‘O’.

      • Except when you get paid a ridiculous amount to man our local fire stations. Upwards of 500.00 or more a day. So don’t act like you don’t get paid. A lot of local volunteers have used their involvement with cal fire to get a foot in the door to get on every fire that starts. Getting paid for their personal trucks. Equipment etc Sure as hell not as volunteers. I’m sick of taxes. I’m also sick of dishonesty and Nepotism, I’m voting NO on any tax increase.

        • My family has been involved on and off in our local fire volunteer fire department for years…I never saw our local guys make any money and instead they invested huge amounts of time and money and emotional sanity (watching a teenage girl die after a horrific wreck can be earthshaking) to help. Sometimes some fire departments get pay for manning stations but to my knowledge that doesn’t go home very often, if at all, to the volunteers but instead goes to upkeep of the equipment and the stations. I hope some of those currently involved will speak up about what I believe is mistaken on your part.

          • I agree with you that it is heart wrenching to see those kinds of things.I have nothing but respect for the folks that give selflessly of their time. But it is true that some volunteer fire department volunteers get paid and keep the money. Ask around. I also volunteer and have seen a lot. But I don’t agree that anyone should use the term volunteer while making a large amount of money. It’s misleading and sours people to invest in our communities.

            • I don’t know about other organizations, But Southern Trinity Area Rescue, the one I volunteer for, has volunteers and a few paid positions. Those are our Co-ordinator, and the 2 Measure Z funded weekend EMTs. The rest of us have, over the 39 years of STAR’s existance, have sometimes received uniforms (EMT’s & paramedics only), pins, a coffee cup, a t shirt, a jacket, our PHI air ambulance group membership, and once in a while a bonus. In over 20 year’s of volunteering I have received maybe $700 in bonuses. No one is getting rich here, we fight for every piece of equipment and repair. There is also training, insurance, supplies, inspections, lots of time and costs that STAR has to cover. Multiply that by every VFD, Search and Rescue, and EMS service around our county. If any of them are misusing public funds, I sure don’t know about it and I’d be very, very surprised.
              At any rate, follow the links in my letter and you can see where every cent on Measure Z went.

        • You can’t get a foot in the door to work with CalFire that I know of. Their requirement to be a ‘vendor’ are strict & getting more expensive annually. And exactly which volunteer fire department personnel get paid anything daily? I don’t know of any. Maybe regular fire departments that are not volunteer?

        • Fire Company Volunteer

          Please don’t comment about something when you don’t really know about it at all. As I said in my first comment, NOBODY in our department gets paid, and never has. We are entirely volunteer. We do not do station coverage, we do not go out of county on strike teams. We stay in Humboldt county and serve our community. We do respond mutual aid to our neighboring departments, and do not get paid.
          I would have replied sooner, but I’ve been gone all day with an engine and crew at a controlled burn. We worked with CAL fire burning 120 acres today; AND we did it for free. We used the engine that measure ‘Z’ paid for. We wore the protective gear that measure ‘Z’ paid for.
          We are 100% volunteer. Nobody gets paid for their personal vehicles in our department.
          And even though you have no idea how much time we give , FOR FREE, we’ll still come to your house when you dial 911 and save your house or family, or pull you out of the wreck you’re in.
          Please don’t listen to people who haven’t got a clue about what really happens in emergency services.
          Please help us to continue serving the public.
          Vote yes on measure ‘O’.

    • CHARLES F GOODWIN, JR

      Vote Yes On Measure O — MAYBE??

      The current Sales Tax Measure Z, which funds Public Safety and Essential Services, is proposed to be replaced by the new Tax, Measure O. There is no question, in my mind, that many good projects have been funded by Measure Z.

      The Taxpayers have provided Millions and Millions of Dollars and dozens and dozens of Sheriff Deputies to the Sheriff’s Department through Measure Z. Now is the time for the Sheriff to make a Public Statement promising that, if Measure O passes, all persons arrested and transported to the Jail will be, upon release from custody, transported back to their place of arrest or residence and will not just be released into the lobby of the Jail and forced to find their own way home.

      The Taxpayers have provided sufficient staffing to make this a mandatory commitment by the Sheriff. If this commitment is not forthcoming I will have to evaluate my decision to vote in favor of Measure O.

    • You are sadly misinformed. At the very least, please get the basic facts on the measure, before speaking about it.

  • “Independent Citizen’s Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from fire and law enforcement”

    This is not a safeguard against misuse. ‘Advisory’ means means non-binding; they don’t have to listen to the citizens. Plus they stacked the board with people who rely on the funds. Police are not ordinary citizens; they have taken an oath to protect the government.

  • Some of the projects currently were already chosen against advice. And that is with a supposed accounting with the Measure facing renewal. Without that leverage, what makes anyone think that money won’t be used to pay for things that have been previously paid from general funds? If spending can be twisted to fit under the measure, it will cut loose more money for the general fund to be spent elsewhere. Soon, having expanded the general spending unaccountably, they will be knocking on the door for more for now again underfunded “safty issues.”

  • On the way to economic failure.

    I’m voting no on o!!! Dirty politicians and dirty sheriff giving themselves HEFTY raises rite out the gate.that have now turned into a band of maurading thieves and extortionast disregarding the Constitutional rights of there citizens and constitutes.lol think this one is a no brainer unless you like seeing and living in ground zero for the end of democracy!!!! would like to see the fire fighters get some $$$. That can be addressed in a new measure with an expiration date

  • Even if you think the money is being spent properly and that it’s necessary to keep our local infrastructure going, making it permanent would still be a mistake. Keeping it so it has to be renewed every so often will help with accountability. It will help make sure the funds are being spent where they need to be. It will also give the taxpayers a way to get out of it if they ever decide it is not being spent properly. Making it permanent will just give the county more reason to start dipping into it for other things.

    This state already demands we pay more in taxes than any other state in the country. We don’t need bills and propositions for new taxes, we need a bill to insist that the state gets audited every year to make sure they’re spending our tax money properly, because right now they are not..

  • We gave them a chance with Measure Z … AND IT WORKED. Public safety has seen a much-needed increase with this money, and we need to keep it going. Think of the EMS workers, sheriff’s deputies and child abuse investigators whose salaries rely on this money. If YOU were asked to take a job here but knew the funding had a chance to not be renewed in a few years, would YOU take that job? Not if you had other, more stable options. That’s one way we make this funding even more valuable – we get even better workers because they know our community is committed to public safety.

  • On the way to economic failure.

    Committed to fraud, extortion,violation of privacy,and committed to violating Constitutional rights

  • I have seen measure Z work for many volunteer agencies. I dont see the community of growers helping STAR out in the hills they dont bother to come to fundraisers.But when you need them they are still there but yet no one wants to support these volunteer needs on there own.Instead you want to shoot down funding that actually helps. Where are you going to get help when there is none and your out 2 hrs.? Well that’s what will happen if people don’t step up and help support your volunteer EMS and fire dept.

  • I truly wish I had as much confidence in our local politicians. I see them much like children and like my children, in order to receive their allowance they must complete their chores. I don’t pay them if they don’t complete their chores. Yes some weeks they do their chores without whining and complaining and they get their allowance. But I have a feeling if I just left a bucket of money on the table and said go ahead and pay yourself after you do your chores, some of those chores would start getting neglected over time and more and more money would be taken out of the jar. I have absolutely nothing against the volunteers, EMTs, firefighters and policemen that are doing their jobs, my hesitation is with the bureaucrats that dough out the money.

  • 100% this!
    Well said THC!

    I’d like to add, that if we lock in a certain %, and a huge depression hits, we will still be locked into the % despite not having the $ needed for food on our tables.
    This is similar to the Dems push for the Feds budget amendment. Raise the debt to trillions upon trillions, then lock in the taxes to pay those trillions even during a depression and even after all the agencies that take the funding have folded. Meanwhile, the inflation keeps on increasing, to pay off the interest of those trillion dollar checks, which leaves us with even less money for our own food after we’ve worked hard all day to earn the funds for our own food.
    Just say no.

    Whoa, what was that? After hitting post my first post of the day, an error memo popped up warning me that I was posting too fast too soon.

  • A yes, means more money spent to re-examine issues already voted on, rework and reconstruct solutions for problems already gone over, Rehashing, reworking, refunding… issues already voted on.
    You already PAID $$$ for all this political process…
    Someone … some group, with knowledge enough to resubmit to the process of pushing for another vote, has devoted their energy to this cause. Simply because they are unhappy with the majority rules. It doesn’t benefit THEM, and they want a do-over.

  • In mentioning essential services, the author notes that “the list goes on and on”. So the tax must go on and on as well? There is no end to need. If you live in Dinsmore, Island Mountain, or another remote area, you must realize that you live beyond the cone of protection provided by the county. You must be aware of that. Taxes can’t alter geography. I’d support a four year extension of the tax, but not an unlimited imposition.

    • I live in one of those areas and I have noticed zero impact from the tax. But as you said it’s what I expected. The roads are worse, crime is undoubtedly worse, more trash along the road. The only difference is that I get to hear how it has made things better, maybe it has somewhere, nowhere Ive notices though.

      • Back in the 70s when injured loggers basically got put in the back of a pick-up and driven to Fortuna, or people enjoying Ruth Lake had an accident or medical emergency and the best response time was over 2 hours, the Dinsmore/Mad River community got together and did what they needed to have EMS out here. If your area needs a service, get involved! It can be complicated and time-consuming, but it’s worth it.

  • Dear people, if you see a need in your community and there is an organization there working to remedy it, please join them, volunteer, or support them in other ways.
    If you see a need and no organization exists, please talk to your neighbors and start one. If you don’t believe the County can or will do the job, make it happen.
    That is how all these organizations started and you can be part of the solution, too.

  • Ironic how the public employees all favor more taxes whereas I have seen little result from the existing tax other than more cops

  • No on O
    what a whitewash on KMUD the other night:
    airing the Yes on O party for an hour or so.
    the issue is the unlimited tax, make it for just five
    years and i would vote for it.
    and if this one doesn’t pass another with a five year sunset
    could be put to the voters…
    (and Estelle you don’t have to exaggerate: “All the stores have been broken into!”
    i doubt it E.)

  • so why do people have to have their food stamps renewed? why do i have to wipe everyday? why not make it so we have to renew it every “five” years. sorry the letter does not give a good reason we should not renew a tax every so often

  • does anybody remember that as soon as the measure z went through the sheriff took on the title of another job and started to collect that salary too, which also meant that he now is getting double the retirement. has anybody seen the movie horrible bosses? kevin spacey did the exact same thing. no joke. this tax is paying for that guy

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