My Turn: North Tahoe fire assessment is worth it
October 14, 2007
I rarely write letters to the editor, let alone one in favor of increasing my property taxes. Im writing this letter to encourage my local and second homeowner citizens to submit their ballots in favor of the proposed North Tahoe Fire Suppression Assessment. I know you are going to come up with all sorts of reasons for not having the money and I can do the same. First, let me tell you my reasons and we can compare notes. Im retired on a fixed income that has a built-in disposable income to allow for the fun activities of our Golden Years. The bottom line is that all the increased expenses have cut back on those fun things and forced us to be very selective on what we can do. Nevertheless I’m encouraging a yes vote. Here are a few reasons why:1. Upgrade and improve emergency communications equipment I will refer to the New York 9/11 terror attack here. The emergency folks couldn’t communicate with each other because of dissimilar equipment etc. An extensive study following that disaster established new technical specifications for emergency communication equipment and laws were passed which mandate their use nation wide by all levels of emergency personnel. Placer County has started that implementation thus the need for additional funds in our district.2. Improve emergency evacuation plans These plans do not presently exist. For our own protection, funds are needed for the personnel, time, distribution, etc. of these plans. Those of you who may have witnessed the helter skelter activity at the Tahoe City wye during the fire emergency on Washoe Way just south of the wye can appreciate the need for these plans. 3. To improve response times for Health Emergencies and to fight fires anywhere in the district requires more personnel and equipment. There is no way to get around this one. Faster response requires more of each of these.4. While conducting my investigation of the need for this assessment, I came across a touchy item during discussions with a number of you. There is a rumor out there that fire department personnel are using department vehicles for personal use. I found no validity to this rumor. The following policy exists throughout all the Basin Fire and Safety departments: When employees who live outside their district are on call, they are permitted to take a department vehicle home with them so that they can respond directly to the emergency without first going to their respective stations, thus saving valuable time. This policy exists because so many of the employees are unable to live within their districts due to the high cost of housing. Affordable housing anyone?Vote yes for the proposed Fire Suppression Assessment. Michael Ramicone is a North Shore resident.