Cambrian: Opinion

Cambrian letters to the editor, March 29, 2018

Not the first tax proposal

We are already paying a lot of money to live here. We are fortunate to have Proposition 13, but property tax can still add up to a big chunk of change and it goes up 2 percent a year and I am over $5,000. Then there are the nine assessments that are already on our tax bill. On my bill they total $585, including one for the Cambria Fire Department for $95.

I get sick and tired of government trying to tax us more because it can’t live within a budget. We don’t need more firefighters. We have Cal Fire and CFD. We were getting the job done without more, and we can do that again.

It is not just a $65 or $70-a-year bill, it is a bill of almost $600, and they want that to grow. Take a look at your tax bill and see what you are paying. Declining population, fewer kids and you will be paying for that big modern elementary school on the hill, while the old grammar school is being used for office space and art shows. I mention that because that was another assessment that was only a few dollars a year.

A few more assessments are for Cambria Community Services District stuff, and that is in addition to our ever-rising water bills. Just to be clear, I am not unhappy with my water bill. We conserve, we love living here, and I understand that water is expensive to store, produce and deliver. No New Taxes.

Brian Griffin, Cambria

Measure is a case of spend and tax

Cambria property owners should vote “no” on the proposed fire tax (Measure 18-A). Clearly this is another “tax and spend” ploy to increase the responsibilities, promotion opportunities, and salaries of existing Fire Department employees and ensure that re-election endorsements and contributions continue to flow to those officials who support them at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer.

I suppose “spend and tax” might be more accurate, because what Measure 18-A does is raise taxes to pay for spending that until now was “free” in the form of a federal grant but now requires taxation to make it permanent.

It’s a first cousin of the “temporary” tax that inevitably becomes permanent because many career politicians and most wannabes fear the wrath of public-sector unions, employees, and sympathizers if they dare reduce an existing program along with the costly bureaucracy it created.

As pointed out in a letter in the March 22 Cambrian, three additional firefighters are not needed because Cambria already has two separate fire-fighting agencies that respond.

It would be revealing to find a telephone directory from 10 years ago showing the number of local, state, and federal government agencies that existed then. My guess is that those agencies (and their headcount and payroll) have grown at least five times faster than the increase in population, GDP, or any other metric that might justify.

Chalk most of that up to the incestuous relationship that exists between many career politicians dependent on their buddies in public sector unions for campaign funds that far exceed what the ordinary individual voter can afford.

Hugh Scott, Cambria

Supports Richards for NCAC post

The election for the NCAC Area 6 is a very important one. There are three people running, two of whom serve on the C4 H2O Steering Committee. As such, they both have political and personal agendas.

The Mission Statement of the NCAC is that all members of the Cambria community be represented.

Please consider the third candidate, Leslie Richards, who will fairly represent all Cambrians.

Thank you for your consideration.

Debby Mix, Cambria

Tax increase is unnecessary

Previously in The Cambrian (Feb. 15, 2018) this author recommended that the Cambria Community Healthcare District (CHCD) combine with the Cambria Fire Department or apply for another grant for retaining the current additional three firefighters. Both property taxes were noted. Also, additional volunteers for training can be attracted by offering perks.

Shirley Bianchi (Cambrian, Feb. 22, 2018) stated when taxpayers reside outside the Fire Department district, a combined service would not be legally possible and there would be no voting. This rationale needs adjustment. Our fire department adjusts to the previous CCHD boundaries with the larger area. Cal Fire , obviously, serves the larger area. A boundary adjustment is a normal part of the combining process.

Also, all fire departments in the county cooperate anywhere as needed. Hence, recommend to vote “NO” for measure “A” on the June 5 ballot to prevent an unnecessary third Cambria property tax increase. The accumulation of tax and fee increases contributes to depressing our economy, unaffordable housing and relocation. According to the Tribune (Feb. 28, 2018), the current renting cost rate of increase in SLO County exceeds counties elsewhere in California!

Werner Koch, Cambria

CCHD consultant missed the mark

The CCHD board voted to cut a nighttime ambulance shift at its regular meeting Wednesday, March 21, leaving us with one ambulance on duty from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily.

A consultant was paid $5,000 to help the Cambria Community Healthcare District discuss with the Board of Trustees and the public ways to cut expenses. However, he presented only broad, nationwide information on the state of emergency services today and statistics on ambulance calls, psychology of workers and the like. Not once did the consultant address specific things our district could do to reduce costs while maintaining a high level of ambulance service.

I thought the consultant was going to recommend ways to cut costs and keep staffing the same. Or, suggest a way to achieve the same coverage by having San Luis Ambulance move to a central spot in Cambria whenever our single night shift ambulance team was transporting a patient to a local hospital. But I saw no evidence of that approach in his presentation.

Contrary to the unanimous, expressed will of the members of the public who spoke at the meeting, and without critical data, the board voted 4-1 (Barbara Bronson Gray dissenting) to authorize Administrator Bob Sayers to cut a nighttime ambulance shift, saving an estimated $13,000 each month.

The board majority chose to cut key services to the community rather than reduce administrative costs as Bill Rice, Dr. Laurie Mileur and I proposed six months ago. It was also easier than working with Dr. Frank Fratto and Don Melendy, trustees of Project Heartbeat, to tap its $180,000 endowment to help fund capital projects like fixing the CHC Clinic roof and acquiring a newer ambulance.

It’s disappointing, ladies and gentlemen. Disappointing.

Iggy Fedoroff, Cambria