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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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April 16, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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Uullez,n, Kecoro, Progressive, Keporter Wednesday, April 16, 2014 13B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE. Character-based attack irrelevant in facility debate With a sense of balance, it has become necessary tO add my perspective to a Letter to the Editor titled "Not Team Players" that was posted in last week's newspaper. Quoting the letter writer, "It's great that the CHP Commissioner's office shows its arrogance. They are too much of big shots to be in the same building as the sheriff and jail. They want to stand all by themselves. " It is true that our California Highway Patrol commissioner determined a joint facility would not be possible. The decision was not based on arrogance or malice toward anyone. Just last year, the sheriff worked to build a jail facility using county and federal funds. The county, unfortunately, did not have the ability to pay their portion of matching funds. The county's inability to JHERE I STAND It is true we use the Plumas .................................... County jail for our arrestees. LT. JOE EDWARDS JR. COMMANDER, QUINCY CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL match funds was not premised on arrogance or malice by the Board of Supervisors or the sheriff. I fully support anyone who looks for innovative ways to make the seemingly impossible become a reality. Concerning with whom we stand, I have no doubt and declare: our CI-IP officers and Plumas County deputie~ have a close relationship and not only do we stand together while protecting others, we do so with the willingness to lay down our lives. We have no greater gift to offer our community members than this. "After all, they (CHP) put a lot of people in jail. They (CHP) should help pay for it and not use ours (our jail)." Statewide, our legal system has created laws and a Wactice of requiring law enforcement agencies to bring arrestees to the appropriate county jail. How jarls are funded will be an ongoing exercise between our local and state officials. I trust that the citizens electthose that will best represent them, including on the topic of jail funding. The CHP does not receive funds from its arrests or traffic tickets. Our department is funded from vehicle registration fees. For this reason there is no need for nor do we have ticket quotas. A portion of fines assessed from CHP arrests and tickets are actually provided to the county or city government where the arrest occurred or : the ticket was issued. For example, a ticket written in Plumas County would allow a portion of the fine to be forwarded to Plumas County. If a ticket is written in the city of Portola, a portion of the fine would be forwarded to the city. "Too bad the CHP thinks they are way too important in this small county... Way to be team players, CHP.'" While possessing a different opinion than the letter writer, accusing him of not caring about the citizens of this county would be without basis. I would assume the letter writer does not know our commissioner. I invite the author of the letter to stop by and visit and allow me to share with him the character and quality of our commissioner. A healthy and respectful exchange of varied ideas and opinions makes our community better. Farm and ranch preservation needed In California, we love our natural landscape and love to conserve its beauty for future generations. What we don't always love is paying the bill for our preservation efforts. Since 2009, the state government has reversed more than four decades of successful farm- and ranch-preservation policy and eliminated funding for the Williamson Act. Since the 1960s, the law has granted property-tax relief for agricultural land whose owners sign long-term contracts promising not to convert their farms and ranches to subdivisions and strip malls. WHERE I STAND continues to buy ................................ conservation easements -- BRIAN DAHLE ASSEMBLYMAN landowners, the Williamson Act is both voluntary and very popular. Yet the state is effectively gutting the Williamson Act by declining to fund it. Under the program, individual landowners contract with counties, while the state historically made up lost property-tax revenue so counties can provide vital local services -- sheriffs patrols, firefighting response, road maintenance. ff the state doesn't make counties whole, they'll be forced sooner or later to let Williamson Act contracts In a growing state, some farmland c0nv~,ipn is expire and start raising ineVitable, b~he~I~:'~ ........ landOWners' taxes. For many Williamson Act has eased the pressure to sell to developers. It has preserved California's world-renowned ag land, the soil that makes us America's No. 1 farm state and generates billions of dollars' worth of exports. It has kept intact the ranches that provide forage for herds of cattle and wild game alike. And, unlike many environmental laws that put costly burdens on land-rich but cash-poor ranches, this could be the last straw that pushes families to sell, all but inevitably carving priceless rangelands into suburban ranchettes. Ironically, all this is happening even as wildlife managers recognize the vital importance of these working landscapes not just to the farm economy, but also to the environment. The state through the bond-funded Wildlife Conservation Board and other avenues -- to prevent ranch conversions and save valuable habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has launched the California Foothill Legacy Program, a long-term plan to preserve the ranchlands ringing California's Central Valley, along with their vernal pools and oak woodlands and the many rare wildlife species they support. It's hard to make sense of the contradictory policies. The simple'answer is money. The state struggled through a terrible recession and the Legislature and governors had no choice but toimpose painful budget cuts. Now, however, the state's economy is recovering and the budget is balanced. It's time for the state to strategically invest in its top priorities, including the environment and the future of our critical farm economy. Restoring Williamson Act budgets will carry on a tradition of agricultural preservation that has enjoyed universal buy-in, but without bankrupting the county governments whose job is to keep their residents safe and healthy. Fully funding the Williamson Act would cost the state government roughly $40 million a year. That's a tiny fraction of the state's $100 billion budget. For rural counties, though, those extra millions can make an extraordinary difference. The money can mean a nighttime deputy on patrol in communities that frequently have no law enforcement presence at all, or an extra mental health counselor in regions where psychiatric services are nearly nonexistent. The Williamson Act has worked for two generations. Now that it can, afford the, modest cost, the state Legislature needs to fund the law and keep California's farm promise for the next generation. Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, represents the 1st Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes Shasta, Lassen, Nevada, Siskiyou, Modoc, Plumas and Sierra counties, and portions of Butte and Placer counties. Conversely, attacking another's personal character during the process breeds contention and a cessation of progress. Traffic safety is but one of our goals. Another goal we strive to fulfill every day is offering assistance to the numerous county agencies that serve us. In preparation for various types of large-scale disasters, the CHP works closely with county, state and federal employees. We plan, prepare and train together. Your local CHP remains poised to offer local services during an ABUSE, from page 11B emergency. More importantly, your local squad stands as a conduit to unlock CHP personnel and equipment from surrounding CHP offices, if needed during difficult times. I personally have met hundreds of citizens and county employees and it is my pleasure to be part of a wonderful service family. Your Quincy CHP squad commits to continually improving our service and increasing our ability to connect with our local communities. respond to early warning signs of abuse and neglect: If you believe that a child has been or may be harmed, call Child Protective Services at 283-6350. Almost 20 years ago the Board of Supervisors made a small but significant decision to allow blue inserts in the county,s tax bills. Every year since then many of you make small but significant donations to the Children's Trust Fund. Through mini-grants these funds go on to provide small but significant programs in our communities. These programs for parents, families and children are designed to build strengths and reduce stress. A big thanks to all of you who donate! Please know that you are helping. And it looks like prevention to me. Plumas Children's Council encourages you to remember that small things can make a big difference. Because the very best way that ' prevention can look is PLUMAS CHILDREN- HEALTHY AND SAFE! FIRE, from page 11B Thinning and surface fuel treatments using fire reduced flame lengths, fire inteansity and rate of spread on the 20 fires. The Plumas County Fire Safe Council has also facilitated extensive understory thinning to reduce fuel on private lands in Plumas County. We know that fuel treatments work; however, most forested land, including areas surrounding many communities, is threatened by overstocked forests supporting hazardous fuel conditions. In the Sierra and many other places around the West the Forest Service is having difficulty thinning and burning at a pace and scale that can address this problem. Some reasons for this include the following: --Foresters are being temporarily detailed to help with salvage logging and ecosystem restoration on recent very large fn:es on other forests. --Some environmental groups litigate any proposed project that involves removing trees. --Timber sales involving large volumes of small-diameter trees from understory thinning are difficult to sell because there is currently a very limited market for small-diameter wood products. Consequently, fuels are accumulating faster than they are being removed. Obviously, ~he Hea'rt K project will not solve this large problem but hopefully it will inspire more fuel reduction and forest health projects on privately owned lands and encourage all of us to let our representatives know that we are concerned about conditions on our national forests. For information on how to make your property fire safe visit plumasfiresafe.org. LETTERS, from page 11B expected to tie less. It is time to examine the causes and the effect on our government services The cause of a loss of sales tax revenue has been the lack of focus of our local elected officials in attracting tourist and concentrating on job creation. Our local elected officials have failed to meet the challenge. The Board of Supervisors failed to support the progressive Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce. The majority believe that it is not their responsibility to create jobs. The fallout is the loss of revenue necessary to fund public services. County Clerk-Recorder Kathy Williams was the first to feel the fears of the Board of Supervisors. Her department may not be considered a vital service. The fact that her department generates revenue which goes into the general fund was immaterial to those in power. While the BOS is rightfully concerned for the future, they have to use public funds in ways for economic development if they, wish to sustain public services. The discretionary funds need to become less discretionary. Fees and taxes can be funneled into enterprise fends to insure that they are used for an intended purpose. TOT taxes could be directed toward economic development. The public could better monitor the use of public funds. Concerned citizens need to become more active now to protect the future of our children. Larry F. Douglas Portola Mixed message After reading, and thoroughly enjoying, last week's edition I realized that one more major conflict will likely soon occur. The state air resources board wisely prohibits burning in Quincy and East Quincy, and prohibits burning when atmospheric conditions limit the dispersion of smoke throughout the rest of Plumas County. Both the Forest Service and Cal Fire prohibit burning when it is too windy, or when'forest fuels are dry. However, at the same time, our contributions of $115 or $150 are paying for the training of Cal Fire inspectors, and the inspections that these weeds need to be cleared, this bush needs to be taken out, this tree must be pruned to 10 or 12 feet, and this tree has to be fallen. I guess these will be well-intended suggestions, but the implementation will create an inevitable problem; slash, aka woody biomass, limbs, needles and weeds. So, can these many hundreds of cubic yards be taken to the biomass plant at the mill? No, that's closed. Can all of the limbs be chipped up for mulch? Just my guesstimate now, but I doubt there are enough chippers in the state to chip the woody debris of just this one county. So one state agency, Cal Fire, says you have to take care of this right away, while the other agency, the California State Air Resources Board, says that you can't burn that here, or you can't burn that today. Push things ahead by a month, assuming clear weather and four or five days of north wind, Cal Fire will be giving both messages, get rid of it now, but no, you can't burn under dry conditions. I could only think of one place for this biomass, but this is a family newspaper. Gene Nielsen Crescent Mills The court has strayed What would we do about a principal of a school who allowed bullies to prey on smaller kids? We would be up in arms and the principal would probably lose his position. What are we doing about our Supreme Court that consistently gives the billionaire bullies freer and freer reign to prey on most of our population, including those who blithely support the ones who make the bullying possible? The Supreme Court should be curtailing the power of money to bu the government at the expense of the welfare of the people. Instead, added to their decision that corporations are people, the Supreme Court has now ruled that the wealthy can bully the nation with whatever donations they care to make to the campaigns of their favorite candidates. The Koch brothers have 81 billion dollars at their disposal to buy the government. At the same time, the court is weakening the power of the worker by making it more and more difficult for labor unions to operate and stand up to the bullies. Workers in many non-union places of employment do not even make enough wages to make a living. Many Walmart employees, for instance, are so underpaid that they fall below the subsistence level and have to resort to food stamps. The irony is that the workers use their food stamps at Walmart, which simply makes the Walmart clan wealthier with more power to wield against its targeted competitors. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. During the Warren Supreme Court, which was oriented toward the welfare and freedom of the people, ultra-conservatives posted signs all across the nation with large letters that called for Warren's impeachment. Earl Warren was the Republican former governor of California. He was appointed chief justice in 1953 by Eisenhower, the then-Republican president of the United States. How far the Republican Party and the court have strayed! Salvatore Catalano Taylorsville Sting of government Obamacare is a fresh, clean breeze. A breeze blowing on the dying embers of American freedom. The flames have ignited among our young, who are feeling the sting of"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." If you are under 35 years of age, you may never have heard that caution. It comes from Gerald Ford. No, Gerald didn't build cars, he was the 38th President of the United States. If it is the first time for you, I'll betcha it rang your bell, didn't it? Feel like a cigarette? Ed Laurie Portola ACA realities The gentleman who wrote the letter "ACA is an improvement" presents an interesting challenge. He said, "Dialogue with the opposition concerning any policy needs to deal with realities and facts," but expresses his opinions, not realities or facts. He says, "the ACA is not government-run healthcare .... ""It is our elected government mandating to insurance companies .... " If the government mandating policy and ~: procedures to private sector businesses does not constitute a government-run system, then what doeh "government-run" mean? The writer claims, "many falsehoods have been and continue to be disseminated concerning the ACA."' What are those falsehoods and where are the facts that they are, indeed, false? Additionally, if this law is truly "a lawfully drafted bill" how can the President alter it at will? If it is truly lawful, it would only be changed with the approval of Congress, not with the administration's pen. There are problems with our healthcare system. But there are much less complicated solutions, including a few provisions in the ACA, that would go a long way to improving our access to healthcare without the upheaval this law is causing. The writer concedes that, "The law.., aims to reduce the cost of healthcare..." and "The ACA is an attempt to reverse that statistic [U.S. ranking 46th of 48 countries in healthcare efficiency]." With unelected bureaucrats writing over 20,000 pages of rules and regulations, show me where costs are reduced. And how do we measure and when do we see success or is aiming and attempting good enough? The administration claims 7.5 million people have signed up. So where are the other 25-or-so million who were supposedly chomping at the bit to get insurance? The writer's opinions are interesting; however, as he says, to have meaningful dialogue, we need "realities and facts." Let's start the conversation. Your turn. Lynn Desjardin Portola t I