AFD to pull tax trick on Novemer 3rd

Given Humboldt County’s recent track record of proposed tax increases, you really didn’t need a crystal ball to predict that we’d be faced with another proposed tax hike come November 3rd.

There’s just over a month to go before Humboldt’s voters hit the polls, and SURPRISE! Another fire district wants more of your money. Not satisfied by hoaxing all of Eureka, the fire districts have set their sights on Northern Humboldt now. It’s some sort of sick one-upsmanship game the fire fighters like to play.

C’mon, Arcata Fire District? Really? We know you Humboldt’s fire district’s must have a sense of humor, because only the wiliest of pranksters would try to pull this one over on us following the Measure Z debacle. Remember that whole “now-you-have-it, now-you-don’t” trick we got hosed on with the fire station closing down in Eureka? That was a real gas.

I bet you’re all just laughing it up in those shiny new trucks you bought with the last assessment we ponied up for. But hey, it’s all good. Clearly, Humboldt’s voters and taxpayers have either very short memories, or we just love the feeling we get from repeatedly throwing our money into the fire.

You can see a cool promotional video the fire district put together promoting the new tax, which is called Measure A, on the LoCO here. Interestingly, THC couldn’t find much on the internet describing the actual measure itself. But, not to be outdone, we went way back in the THC archives and found this video that a THC reader left in one of their comments. Check it.

We found it especially funny that Measure A intends to increase the assessment for fire protection by nearly 100%, and that it would ostensibly fund positions for 11 more firefighters. Which is great – it means there will be a new firefighter for roughly every new building that’s been built in the District recently. How much larger has the area that the AFD serves become, we wonder? The proportional burden of the people that will actually be paying the tax compared to the amount of people who will benefit from a tax hike is laughable.

But this does make us feel bad for the people who have to pay Cal-Fire dues on top of all this stuff, also – how many assessments is that per year? Sheesh.

Thank goodness we just up and bailed on owning homes and property in Humboldt and decided to move on down to the Devil’s playground – the response time for emergency services down here is way faster than when we actually paid taxes. It’s frickin’ sweet! At the current rate of tax increases – if Humboldt’s voters don’t wake up and put a stop to them – the DP will probably have it’s own damn department by 2017.

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19 Responses to AFD to pull tax trick on Novemer 3rd

  1. John Chiv says:

    Measure Z was the County Tax. Measure O was the City of Eureka tax so it would be the latter responsible for the closure of the fire station in Eureka.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jon says:

      So true. Arcata Fire District is not a part of city government so the revenue they collect is theirs to use as they need. No fire stations are going to be closed. They are asking for a tax increase for more career personnel on the fire engines. Better service to the community that’s all. If you don’t want more firefighters on duty protecting us then don’t vote for it but I for one want more police and firefighters on duty helping to protect us all. The people that pay the cal fire fee are getting nothing for the tax. The Measure A funds would create 11 jobs in The Arcata Fire District and put more firefighters on the fire engines.

      Like

  2. Milldoin says:

    This is getting better and better. Marsella Clem over at HCAOG is in the process of studying how to slide a transportation tax over on our fair citizens. I believe the study is going to cost $30,000.
    That would fill a lot of pot holes.

    Like

    • Azalea Mom says:

      My family simply cannot afford any more taxes! Who is Marsella Clem and who is the elected officials in charge of her that would allow her to spend $30,000 on a study for a tax we can’t afford anyway. Spend the $30,000 on something worthwhile instead. $30,000 would fix a ton of potholes!

      I don’t get it. We’re getting more and more taxes. Humboldt Area Foundation is going crazy and is supported by our taxes like when our Supervisors GAVE HAF the “Humboldt Made” brand that we taxpayers paid for. Now they are basically hiring people to wreck out communities in part with our public dollars. Who is in charge around here?

      Like

      • Mac Towner says:

        Mom,

        You shouldn’t be surprised. This is what happens when we get duped by politicians running for office and actually believe their lies about what they will do when elected.

        BTW, Assuming you live in Azalea Hill it’s your very own Stupidvisor Ryan Sundberg who is one of the officials that are supposedly in charge of Marcella Clem and HCAOG and for “donating” Humboldt Made to HAF. Give him a call and thank him for the great job he’s doing for your family!

        Like

  3. Marc Delany says:

    Seems there were many laws established limiting taxes… Now I see each agency trying its best to gain an alternative revenue stream, no matter what… the law says, we say… without review, without representation or the full public process….. No? A significant tax imposed without due process required for new taxes in CA… Clearly we have a problem with fires in CA… Who does a district benefit, who pays? What is the review… FD are generally imposed without state wide consideration…the impacts are global, the discussion is quite local.. maybe… suddenly you have another $500.00 on your property tax bill.. and new districts have a lot of say over development, including veto power…. Do we all remember giving up environmental reviews, discussion , analysis to Arcata city staff, or county staff?
    Fire District = a new entity, agency with planning powers, where there is little or no public disclosure, review, or oversight.
    Emergency services are essential services and we need to fully fund and fully discuss, review, disclose.

    What is going on here? Can anyone explain please?

    Like

    • Marc Delany says:

      Thank you Leo

      That was the detail I knew someone had. This is getting crazy, staff thinks they can obfuscate, mis-represent and tap funds for purposes not discussed, or approved. I have watched staff give elected officials reports that were either grossly in error, or fabrications. I find it hard to completely blame elected officials when the committees and commissions there to advise them are 1/2 seated, and the staff reports are science fiction novels….
      Staff needs to be held accountable, by either the managers, or the elected officials. Lying to the elected officials is grounds for dismissal, one that we need to insist be used now, this is epidemic.

      We all want public safety, as a priority. We publically discuss how to accomplish that, then are sabotaged in the (not -so-smokey-now) back rooms… This has to stop.

      Stick with the public plans
      Allow adequate public input (stop this 3-minute misapplied rule) and notice
      Adhere to Brown Act
      Terminate automatically staff caught mis-representing facts in staff reports, or in public sessions.
      A tax is regulated under state law, alternative funding strategies are taxes, by another name… This has to end. There is agreement on this from all sides of the political spectrum, the only people not buying in are the staff, thier friends, and family… 85% of voters can’t be wrong.

      Like

    • Henchman Of Justice says:

      Exactly, kinda like the people who, before elected, claim or act like a populist who cares about doing the right thing, but then after elected, openly switch to the dark side to boost their egos, increase support for reelection, etc…. all for the “Deep State”.

      Go to sohum parlance to get a clue cuz LOCO is full of shit.

      JLM5D

      Like

  4. ken d says:

    John’s point, in addition to what THC has reported recently on Eureka Fire might be cause to pose the question, “what if some of our city, county and perhaps even some state services like fire protection were consolidated”? Re the upcoming Arcata Measure to raise more tax dollars for their Fire Department, what would the math be of consolidating all the departments in all of the Cities and unincorporated areas of the County into one department? How would it compare to the total of all the current individual budgets? Common sense says there should be major savings of taxpayer dollars with only one bureaucracy and what it entails, compared to the current numerous city, county, volunteer, even state fire departments through out the County, all of whom tend to always be in a mode to protect their own turf and fiefdoms.
    It’s reasonable to assume that if consolidation would work for Fire, other bureaucracies like police, road maintance, planning, building, water, sewer and on and on could also be feasible, especially with the small population we have in Humboldt.
    As a Country, we now have more people working for government than for private industry which is simply not sustainable in the long term and unless the taxpayers figure out how to start making our tax dollars way more efficient, we are doomed. The same premise applies even more so for our local cities and county governments that we have control over. Let’s start thinking outside the box and show some creativity.

    Like

    • Henchman Of Justice says:

      Shit, consolidation is no different, the insider mother fuckers will still act according to dysfunction, increase fees, taxes, etc….

      It is like the MCSD, 5 board of directors were not taught that water must be purchased prior to delivery of services to account holders. The CPA discovered the accounting error and it cost MCSD users a whopping $500,000.00 buckaroonies.

      Or, the Mack school district with increased taxes for a fucking ugly ass gymnasium,

      Or, the MCSD taxing more for a fucking teen center.

      Let the supporters pay 100%, not the anti supporters. Conservatives like the taxation methods described above because they enjoy aspects of a society not necessary and without having to pay 100% of the costs.

      Go Russia!

      JLM5D

      Like

  5. John Chiv says:

    ken would you please run for elected office? We need someone like you. I did not vote for Measure Z or Measure O. I do see some of the benefits from Measure Z now and I think the consolidated is a good point.

    Like

  6. Leo Sears says:

    NOT FOR ATTRIBUTION
    FOR BACKGROUND ONLY

    Due to my involvement in community affair over the years, I am quite often approached regarding public issues, to have me take them on as “My” issues, or find someone who will help.
    Many times they are issues the should rightfully be taken to the public arena, but I try to focus on only one major issue at a time. Right now that is the Harbor District, and you may see a press release early next week.
    I received the following regarding Arcata Fire, and I have confirmed what it says with active and retired fire Chiefs and volunteers who feel that some things are even worse than what is portrayed.
    Leo Sears 442-4602 your “Frigin Genius”

    Arcata Fire Districts Strategic Plan Report 2014
    As many community members read through the Strategic Plan, there is many questions that are unanswered and some obvious deviation from community input. It is a misdirection from a committee review and without advertisement for open community input. This is a Washington DC tactic that has hidden agendas all over it. Who is to benefit from this type of public deception but none other than the Arcata Fire Districts current administration!
    Prior to this Strategic Plan there was a Benefit Assessment Citizen Review process. This review was conducted about two years late in the game. The district passed by a narrow margin a benefit assessment in 2006. In it, the District agreed to have a citizen review in 5 years. In late 2013 the District, because of questions by the community, put together a review committee. The Committtie was comprised of Kent Bishop, Ken Cook, Leroy Murrell, Julie Vaissade-Elcock, and Pat Sheehy. They were selected to serve after screening overseen by Dan Hauser and Linda Sundberg. This meeting was conducted without advertisement and or public input. The committee was only told what the District wanted it to know.
    A process that the current Fire Chief is very familiar with and has been very decepve, even to his own staff. At the conclusion of the Dec. 5 meeting, the Committee discussed the process and made the following recommendations to the District Board:
    1. Continue the 2006 assessment at the current level with no change
    2. Explore additional sources of revenue for the District including the possibility of an additional assessment in the future
    3. Conduct another Citizen Review Committee in five years (during fiscal year 2018/19) to allow for citizen oversight.
    Now let me lay out some of the misinformation on that has been left out of the picture.
    First, the District had an option of consolidation with Humboldt Bay Fire. This was halted at the last minute due to an underlying agenda by the current Fire Chief and things that he didn’t want to go public. Including a Lawsuit on the District Board and hidden things within the budget, staff and board members that were very corrupt.
    Problems of and misrepresentation on of public funds within the operang budget. When quesoned on these items, the current Chief refused to comment and report the true budget expenditures.
    Major internal communication problems or lack of communication. The administration shares with its staff a need to know information only policy. This is to hide personal agendas and direction. Not a good team concept for a Fire Department.
    The Fire Chief Reports that the Fire District has struggled with fundraising for new facilities. It has been known by the public that the Volunteer Fire Department has been doing all the fund raising for new facilities. The VFD has purchased property and paid for conceptual drawings of a new fire staon and have had them for over 9 years. However, the Fire District has not been receptive to the Volunteers building and owning the new fire station in Arcata. The District has been deceiving the public and the Sunrise Rotary Club of Arcata for some time now. There has been ground breaking ceremonies by the district to announce the project and to inform the public on what they have been donating to for over 15 years.
    In the Strategic Plan it is noted that the District is looking to ask tax payers for an increase in the current tax assessment.
    In their report they recommended the District to continue the 2006 assessment at the current level with no change.
    They also recommended looking into the possibility of another assessment in the future. It is a surprise they didn’t mention trying to make cuts, deferments, or try to manage, etc. to help out the current budget.
    The District more than doubled its budget over night with the 2006 tax assessment. They sold the assessment as a safety issue for personnel staffing at the Fire Staons. The standard at that me was 3 person staffing. The District made positive strides with hiring and moving to two person staffing. They then spent the rest of their over double budget on equipment. Such as new fire engines. Three new state of the art fire engines that cost tax payers over a million and a half dollars to fund. That doesn’t include all of the new equipment that was bought to outfit the engines. It’s no surprise that as of today they have not made it to the three person staffing they sold the benefit assessment to the public with.
    They put on extra staffing with a short term grant received by the federal government. When the grant term runs out this will be pitched to the tax payers to save jobs. They then also purchased four state of the art, over rated and over equipped pickup trucks, for the Chief Officers. These vehicles are being used to respond to emergencies throughout the District. However, the staff has been quesoned about personal use as well. They can be witnessed driving around town on personal business with kids in tow, on their way to school, bank, store, out of town trips, etc.
    Chief Cowan and staff have included in the strategic plan that they want to change the name of the department. They want to get rid of the Volunteer Organizableon and this idea is menoned in the plan. This organization has been around long before the Fire District ever was. The Arcata Volunteer Fire Department, AVFD has been around since 1884. Many donatitions and trusts have been given to the AVFD over the years and the AVFD has many accounts and assets totaling well over several million dollars. It is said in Chief Cowan’s plan that the department needs to put together a transion plan to transition all AVFD property and assets over to the Fire District and that the Volunteers will dissolve into a support only role. The Fire District for many years has been bailed out financially by AVFD. As it is again, in this plan.
    Most community members will agree that the District needs realignment. Current Administraon have threatened and or reprimanded current staff about sharing of inside informaon, budget, expenses, staffing, response and facility plans.
    The communication breakdown is at the top. The Administration has many things to hide and has a need to know information sharing of all employees.
    Current staff has proven themselves as inadequate to manage department business. Throwing more money and toys at them doesn’t fix the problem. It makes for a happy retirement for them as they pad their pockets as they walk out the door. Most of which is hidden within their own benefits and retirement. District raises when the rest of the community is taking pay cuts.
    Benefit coverage’s paid for, retirement paid for, all at 100%.
    What the Fire District has done and what they have hidden amongst themselves warrants a grand jury investigation.
    Misappropriations of taxpayer’s money, harassment of employees, and unfair treatment of and unrepresented employees, are just a few things to look at.
    Current budget is very vague and a thorough audit of district finances is a must. The real expenses and not the painted up version that is shown to their own staff and board.
    The Arcata Fire District is looked at by neighboring departments as a bad name to the Fire Service. Most neighboring fire departments, when asked, would tell you that they are on a fire business only relationship they have is a mutual aid response relationship only. The Arcata Fire District and its Administrative Staff is not respected well in the fire service community.
    As you can see, this is something that warrants an investigation for sure. The current District Administration has been deceiving its board, its staff and the public for many years. The hidden agendas, cover ups, closed door agreements, etc. are all reasons to look further into this administration and its plan.
    Arcata Fire Protection District 2015
    Well, it is now 2015 and all that was thought to happen, has happened. The current administraon has ran off all of the staff and volunteer members that really cared bout the community and providing the best service for the price to the tax payers. The current administration should be ashamed of themselves for blaming all of the hard work of those who have left for their own fiscal disrespect. When all of the purchasing and salary increases took place with the last increase in assessment, none of them stood up and said stop. They all stood there with their hand out and took what they thought were theirs, at the expense of the community. There is a lot of hidden salary perks in the employment contracts that they have posted on their web site. Everything from duty coverage stipends, to cell phone stiment, life time retirement health benefits paid at 100%. This is what most employees only dream of. However, this is an unfunded liability for the District and always has been. The vehicle use is out of control as well. There isn’t even a home use permit on file for the vehicle to be stored at their home. With fuel prices on a rollercoaster ride, you would think they would look at personal vehicle use and what that is costing. What would happen if there was a disaster while the vehicle was sitting at an employee’s home, while that person was out of town? Will that vehicle be used or be available for use to assist the community that paid for it? These are questions of the Arcata Fire Protection District. It’s time the Board members start telling its employees what it needs to do, instead of the power hungry administration running a dictatorship and directing everyone on what to do and if the staff doesn’t follow, threaten them, or terminating them without cause. How much has been spent on legal fees under the new administration? A happy work force is a healthy work force. How many injuries and or other health or personal issues claims have there been? All of this is an indication of a disgruntle work force.
    It’s time to look at an internal audit and investigation. Contact the Grand Jury to look into all of this and the misappropriation of the funds. On top of all of this, another tax and budget increase will only compound the problem and problems of asking for more raises, personnel, equipment, and then a retirement again with no accountability laughing to the bank. It’s time to bring in a Chief who has the experience from the outside.
    Someone who has what it takes to overhaul the entire program. Not one who is kingdom building and
    self-motivated into his own pocket. The current staffing level of 10 Fire Captains and 9 Firefighters should tell the Board and the community that there is too much at the top and not enough front line staff. A total of 19 persons should be able to staff three stations 24-7, if they are scheduled right. No one is even looking at the other staff that is not being looked at. A PIO that has minimal to do and no formal training to do it. Volunteer staff paid stipends to cover the duty, while highly paid, contracted staff does whatever they get to do.
    It was time and is time to get a solid Chief from the outside that can come without bias and straighten out the issues and correct the deficiencies from the top down. Not trying to solve the problem by throwing more money at it. This process has been carried over from previous Chiefs that obviously have not been fiscally successful. Please represent the tax payers in fixing the internal issues first. Then provide real valid comparison shopping with other similar departments, not an adjusted Chief presented comparison. A new tax and increase in the budget would only create more problems. It’s time for the Board to start speaking up and supervising or replacing the Chief and telling him what to do. More money is not the solution.

    Got it all in this time.

    Like

    • Truth Be Told says:

      You are frign idiot! Not one part of that “background info was correct” and from what you are saying it is all hearsay from third parties, nothing directly from the fire district. Gossip is for kids not grown adults. Grow up.

      Like

  7. Tax Fatigue says:

    My God things are way worse than I ever imagined.
    Please send this to the TS, NCJ etc. spread the word!
    Thank you Mr. Sears

    Like

  8. GetaClueLytle says:

    JLM5D/”Henchman of Justice”,

    You need help dude – rant and rave all you want, but when you start suggesting that government employees like Marcella Clem deserve “ugly death”s, you cross a line that shouldn’t even be approached.

    Calling Hauser and Sundberg “rapists” is so wrong and inappropriate – Humb Consequential, please remove these hideously vile posts, or at least edit the calls to violence this disturbed individual calls for. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tax Fatigue says:

    Good to see that some like minded people are voting NO on Measure A.
    http://madriverunion.com/vote-no-on-measure-a-the-arcata-fire-benefit-assessment/
    Don’t fall for the pro A fear tactics
    Don’t get fooled again Vote NO on A

    Like

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