I am extremely disappointed in the report put out by this Grand Jury. I feel they did not do due diligence. Did they interview our two East County supervisors, or the past acting fire chief? I think not. If they had, they would not have made the recommendations they suggested.
The background is that this fire district investigated the idea of switching to Cal Fire during a year of open public meetings. The outcome was very clear that the figures did not justify switching from local control to a state agency.
The report talks about the district as being adequate, by whose standards? The only reason we have not had a loss of life with a fire is because of the outstanding job our firefighters have done with less than adequate numbers and equipment. The jury must know or should know that the majority of calls are medical. As one of the older population I would love to see on the engine the third firefighter, who would have emergency medical training. We are a long way to a hospital.
Prop 13 played a huge role in the lack of funds for our fire district. I do not blame Prop 13; the population and firefighting was vastly different. We had mostly volunteer fire stations and the population has exploded in the last 30 years. What was a fair division or monies then is no longer a working budget; however, the laws are such that the money is what it is and cannot be re-divided.
The reality without the parcel tax: we will be very inadequate, equipment will need replacing and no one can say our firefighters are paid at fair market value. Go back to the drawing board, Grand Jury. You got it wrong.
Olga Jones, Bethel Island