Home Contra Costa County Assemblyman Frazier’s Fire Fix Raids East Bay Regional Park District of $10.5 Million

Assemblyman Frazier’s Fire Fix Raids East Bay Regional Park District of $10.5 Million

by ECT

The latest attempt to assist the cash strapped East Contra Costa Fire Protection District comes from two bills being proposed by Assemblyman Jim Frazier which would increase funding to the District by $10.5 million annually.

The Fire District has been seeking revenue to assist the District after it has just four stations in operation covering 250-square miles. Since 2011, the District has gone from 7-stations down to 3-stations. Currently, a 4th station is in operation until June where it is expected to shutter after the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, along with the County provided funding to allow the District to find a fire solution after it failed on three attempts in asking voters to supplement the district funding through revenue enhancements.

Under Frazier’s Plan, the funding would be re-allocated away from the East Bay Regional Park District and placed into the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.

Although the amendments to his AB 898 and AB899 have not yet been formally released and still are in draft form, they have been making rounds over the past week as a way to float the idea around to observe what type of push back Frazier may get. Under AB 898, it would need 2/3 of each house of the State legislator to pass. Should it fail, it would trigger a companion bill in AB 899 which would take the idea to a public vote.

The Park District, who has an annual budget of just under $200 million, plans to fight both bills as they serve 2.7 million residents with 120,000 acres in 65-parks.

Carol Johnson, assistant general manager of the Park District, called the bills flawed in many ways. She also says they have only heard the headlines of Frazier’s bills stating that no one from the assemblyman’s office has contacted EBRPD Board members or Management to discuss his interests in redirecting any of their taxpayer funds away from their purpose of funding parks.

“On its face, what we know about this proposal is it is ridiculously flawed in many ways,” said Johnson. “It’s unfair and EBRPD will oppose any action to redirect our funding. Redirecting EBRPD property taxes from areas outside the Fire District’s jurisdiction is unfair to the taxpayers who expect their dollars to be used within their area.”

Johnson further highlighted that Frazier’s proposal is not transparent.

“It’s not transparent to the county’s taxpayers.  We have a history of being transparent, well balanced governance at EBRPD.  We are regional agency and budget our resources the same. This proposed tax diversion would raid EBRPD taxpayer funds received from other parts of the District potentially threatening jobs maintaining parks in other areas of the District,” explained Johnson.

Beverly Lane, East Bay Regional Park District Board of Director, says she was shocked to hear about the bill proposed by Assemblyman Frazier and they are prepared to oppose both bills.

“I was very surprised since he hadn’t sat down and talked to us about it. We run the regional parks in Alameda and Contra Costa counties and the taxes that come to us are supposed to go to the regional parks,” explained Lane.  “To take about 10% of our general fund for a small fire district that is having governance problems, was a surprise to me.”

She says that each of the areas in Contra Costa County live within a fire district whether its Contra Costa Fire, San Ramon Fire or East Contra Costa Fire, that everyone pays for the fire service they receive.

“I don’t see ECCFPD should be any different.  Fire districts have a boundary and jurisdiction, they get the property tax which supports them,” says Lane.

She further highlighted Assemblyman Frazier’s bill sets very bad precedence where money can now be moved around automatically from agency to agency which may not even be legal.

“Moving tax allocation around is a really complicated process. It seems to me at the very least; it’s a good idea for the author of a bill to have that kind of allocation clarified before you introduce a bill.  That is a general expectation, you want your elected official to be thorough before they introduce a bill,” explained Lane.  “I can’t speak for him or what he is thinking, but we were shocked that the rest of the county would have funds taken away to pay for the fire district. It’s a mystery to me how the thinking is going.”

Johnson explained that the residents in East Contra Costa already get a good deal on park services because the District receives no property taxes from residents within the fire district boundaries, yet they spend over $10 million annually to maintain 17-parks and trails within 30,000 acres in East County. She added they already fund $5 million annually to manage 3-state owned parklands with no operating dollars received from the State.

Johnson says the Park District has no excess budget available and Frazier’s bill would cost the District jobs and cause a reduction in services.

“We have no discretionary excess budget available,” says Johnson. “If EBRPD had $10 million or 12% of our operating budget redirected, it’s clear that we would need to reduce services, staff or close parks the public relies upon so heavily.”

Johnson further highlighted a study recently released last week that said the presence of EBRPD contributes $200 million direct dollars annually into the East Bay as well as generates $500 million annually in value to the region’s economy.

She also added that with Measure WW, which passed with 71% support in both Alameda and Contra Costa County, they have already spent or allocated over $10 million in capital funds for Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley and other regional park projects.

Park District General Manager Robert Doyle.

When asked why Frazier was targeting the Park District and if it had to do with the Park Districts opposition to Assembly Bill 665 last year–where the District came out in opposition and testified against the bill.

According to their minutes in during the January 12 East Bay Regional Park District Legislative Committee Minutes, General Manager Robert Doyle accused Assemblyman Frazier of using an “intimidation” factor as a way to prevent entities from providing testimony against the bill as Frazier is the chair of the state transportation committee. Frazier’s AB 665 died in appropriations.

Johnson says it is anyone’s guess if this was a retaliation bill and that she didn’t know.

Beverly Lane added she couldn’t say one way or the other.

“I can’t say what he is thinking. Clearly we are going to oppose this; there is no doubt about that. 10% of our general fund, it’s a big cut of funds we use every year,” said Lane. “I like to see local government work; I think local government is your best government, so it’s very disappointing to watch what has been happening with the East Contra Costa Fire. The bill is unusual and we are very interested to see what the actual bill says. We are all waiting to see that.”

Johnson further highlighted that the Park Districts supports the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and hopes a solution is found, but not by raiding their budget.

“EBRPD wholeheartedly supports fire protection and public safety services throughout our two counties and has many mutual aid cooperative agreements with local agencies,” explained Johnson. “An example is our air support provided the primary fire suppression for the Morgan/Mount Diablo fire in 2014, costing EBRPD $4 million.”

Lane added the park district has added many great things to far east county and as a whole support 2.7 million people as part of their work includes park and trail, beach and lake services include having a fire district who special in wild land fires.

“So when it comes to fighting a fire in a housing development or 3-story building, that is not our area of expertise, but we are there with a lot of knowledge in how to fight wild land fire such as the Morgan Fire on Mt. Diablo,” says Lane. “That is just one function as a regional park. When it comes to East Contra Costa Fire District, we don’t get any property tax money from that area, we get funds from the lighting and landscape district. We work to provide the large park (Big Break, the trails, Round Valley, Morgan Territory,) which directly serve East County.”

Lane added they were very proud of the offers at the Big Break Visitor Center at the Delta and she hopes the public realizes that they are putting in more funds into the area than what they receive.

The Park District will wait to see when Frazier releases the official updated text of both bills before deciding the next steps.

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Paul Mar 26, 2017 - 9:21 am

Par for the Jim Frazier course. He is a bully and not a good person. This is the same guy that bullied people while on the Oakley City Council, the East Contra Costa Fire Board, Transportation and is now doing the same thing in Sacramento. He is dirty and a nasty human being. He is all about himself and who he can screw over. Just look at the gas tax bill, the non-profit bill that would screw over non-profits all because he doesn’t like his ex-wife, and now the park district who testified against his bill last year.
Someone credible needs to run against him during the next election. He would go down hard!

Jim Simmons Mar 26, 2017 - 10:18 am

Absolutely not!!!!!! The park district touches every community in Contra Costa and Alameda County. To raid this money would be a crime and should not be allowed. Frazier should be put in jail for this type of legislation.

I stand with the park district on this. Frazier needs to go after yet another bad bill. I recall he wants to also raise the gas tax and increase our DMV fees.

Karen R Mar 26, 2017 - 10:26 am


According to their minutes in during the January 12 East Bay Regional Park District Legislative Committee Minutes, General Manager Robert Doyle accused Assemblyman Frazier of using an “intimidation” factor as a way to prevent entities from providing testimony against the bill as Frazier is the chair of the state transportation committee. Frazier’s AB 665 died in appropriations.

Didn’t ECT write about how Frazier was a bully around this time last year?

Janey Mar 26, 2017 - 11:41 am

Our community didn’t trust ECCFPD with our tax dollars twice when they went out for property taxes. We idn’t want our cities to hand over tax dollars to the ECCFPD this past November when we voted on a utility tax. The community has spoken. We do not trust the fire district with our tax dollars. So why would that Weenie Jim Frazier think it a good idea take $10.5 million from EB parks and give it to a board that has performed so badly? Is this the message we want all government agencies to get- perform badly and we will reward you with funding from an agency that successfully performs.

This is a desperate attempt on his part to LOOK like he is doing something when in fact he is just throwing things on the wall to see if they will stick. He has a history of doing this. I wonder how the other state reps will react to this that have the park district in their districts. Will they vote to contribute EB Parks money to a fire district outside of their districts (in other words take their constituent’s tax dollars and give them to ECCFPD)?

Frazier is an embarrassment to this community. He was once beloved and now he has turned in to the worst kind of stereotype of a politician that serves himself and his cronies.

Vic Mar 26, 2017 - 12:11 pm

While I agree it is unfair, the more important argument against this is that Frazier’s proposed bills create a bad precedence. The fire district needs help but I think that Mr Frazier seems to be looking for a solution that screws someone that he doesn’t like instead of coming up with a solution that fixes the problem in a responsible manner. I think in the end what he is doing hurts the fire district even more because it contrasts and compares two agencies that are on the opposite sides of the spectrum as far as efficiency and responsible governance.

I for one don’t want to reward the fire district for the years of dysfunction on the back of an agency that does a good job. I also question the assemblyman’s judgement and motives reflected in the many comments I have seen on this site and on social media.

Is there anyone that actually supports this other than the apparently revengeful assemblyman?

Buh-bye! Mar 26, 2017 - 3:46 pm

Frazier has outed himself as the jerk many of us know. There is much talk behind closed doors how this guy is vindictive and has been using his seat as a tool to get back at people he doesn’t like. He has a long, long, long list of former friends and acquaintances which spells bad news. Frazier is nothing more than a initial smile to your face and then a stab in the back. His record of thes vendetta bills may have exposed the real person behind the mask. Bad plan, bad bills and bad politician.
Corruption has consequences.

Jimmy, are you for real?? Mar 26, 2017 - 8:38 pm

Jimmy, not again.

Joey American Mar 27, 2017 - 9:07 am

People, take a look at your tax assessment bill on your home. You will see EBRP has tapped your wallet several times over and above what it already brings in by fees and base taxes. The park district is a fat hog that can’t stop overeating our tax dollars. Think about that for a minute. EB Regional is very much over funded and they still keep asking for more.

Helena Handbasket Mar 28, 2017 - 12:45 am

Hey Joey, if you are going to comment–better stick to the facts–otherwise you come across as a Bozo from the Frazier offices of spinners. We here in east co. don’t pay much if anything in ad valorem taxes to East Bay Reg. Park District. Just read this quote from the Park District Manager: “We spend $7 million a year in East Contra Costa County, and we get just $700,000 a year collected from tax rolls (through a landscape and lighting district assessment),” said Doyle. “The whole district is already subsidizing East County. This is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and it doesn’t make any sense.”

Unless you have some inside information to which the park Districts GM doesn’t know about then you just blew your foot clean off.

700k collected, and 7 million returned. That means in simple terms that we are getting a net benefit of 6.3 million. Frazier wants to steal an additional 10 million from this generous district? Fat chance Joey. The dude has a serious problem with math, politics and people skills. Me thinks he sucks at his job!!! But he sure has Joey American fooled. Lol!!!!!!!!!!

Ed Mar 27, 2017 - 1:26 pm

This is robbery! East Bays Regional Park system not only provides open space but employs hundreds of employees and also provides its own Fire Department. Assemblyman Frazier should know better. Stealing financez from a properly managed district to give to one that has a history of poor management is unjust!

Mr. FRAZIER been a part of the problem [he served on the Fire Board] he now he wants to do the unthinkable. I’m ashamed we allow this person the responsibility of a leadership position. The more I know about Jim Frazier the more disappointed I become.


Trish Mar 27, 2017 - 2:16 pm

Jim Frazier helped create the problem and is now looking for the Park District to fix it!!! Did you know that Jim Frazier SUSPENDED FUNDS for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District that was used to protect East County Citizens?

Here are the facts: In 2011 the Oakley City Council, led by then-mayor Jim Frazier, voted to eliminate the Fire Impact Fee through the City’s Fee Incentive Program. The Fee Incentive Program eliminated the Fire Impact Fee for single family, multi-family, commercial, and industrial properties. Frazier continued to eliminate the Fire Impact Fees through 2017.

Clearly Frazier and is backers are not interested in solutions. They are only interested in money. To make matters worse, they aren’t (at least Assemblyman Frazier isn’t) even interested in appropriate adjustments to get more money. That would actually take work and Frazier is not about that. If the news article is correct, his target is simply the deepest pockets. That concept poses a terrible precedent. Of course Frazier’s action is only targeting funds that you and other prosperous communities pour into your regional parks and for the fire protection that the park district provides for your open spaces and threat zones, but what’s next?

To be clear, I have no issue with sensible local allocation adjustments provided that all entities affected basically serve the same area and population. But redistributing funds across county lines is so egregious that such a broad concept cannot be allowed to take hold. Otherwise the citizens in communities who have adequately paid for the levels of service that they desired will be constantly defending their revenue streams from being stripped by communities that didn’t want to appropriately generate and allocate funds, or worse, that gave wholesale tax exemptions while their fire services were failing.

Ed Apr 1, 2017 - 3:16 pm

Thanks for your comment Trish. It’s apparent some people want to make excuses for Frazier’s behavior. Jan Mcleary made a couple off comments in the FBook section which are appalling. Are people like ms. Mcleary that blind? It’s scary to me that people blindly follow Frazier and have no idea what his history is. Thank you for stating your facts correctly.

Ed Apr 1, 2017 - 3:35 pm

Sorry I meant McCleery. NOT Mcleary.

Jan McCleery what are you thinking?

I visited the ECT Facebook page and read all of the comments there. I hope Jan McCleery has also. 99.9 percent of the comments say no one is going along with Frazier or Jan McCleery’s comment. Looks to me to be another bad move filed under the heading of Jim Frazier.

Trish Mar 28, 2017 - 10:29 pm

Jan McCleery, your facts are incorrect or false and before you thank a guy for attempting to strong arm the East Bay Regional Park District who have not only been good stewards of the surrounding open space that millions get to enjoy. The Park District has also managed its budget and remain fiscally responsible. I’m certain that like many other agencies 90% of their budget pays for salaries and benefits for a huge care taker work force and your basically agreeing hundreds of Park District workers should loose their jobs? What’s wrong with your thinking?

The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District from was created September 12, 2002 governed by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. It was supposedly created in order to allow more cost-effective application existing resources to provide a higher level of fire protection and emergency medical response services to the area. However since the district was formed it has been subjected to ineffective bureaucracy, obscene administrative costs and plunging levels of service. ECCFPD has become a case study in why government doesn’t work in this county and at the State level apparently and all taxpayers should take notice.

While the entire Far East County has suffered under this bureaucratic Albatross, the communities that have suffered the most are Oakley, Knightsen and Bethel Island. They were forced to give up a functional Fire Department with a low ISO rating. Administrative costs for the fire services leap from around $30,000 to over a half $1 million per yea! That is a staggering sum. ECCFPD was really formed to provide political cover for the Board of Supervisors previous mistakes; past decisions that created such disasters as the former East Diablo Fire District. East Diablo set incredible management costs, tax dollar waste and poor services. The Board of Supervisors (Federal Glover) is extremely happy that he was able to hand off the problem to a hard working local elected fire board. They have their work cut out for them.
If you really want to understand the anatomy of failure, read the article by the Contra Costa Times writer Paula King publish on December 28, 2003. Also, ask yourself why the paid on call Firefighters from Oakley and Knightsen had a better ISO than all the surrounding career companies, which if I’m not mistaken was an 8 or greater. An ISO is the fire protection rating schedule that measures a department’s performance in areas of prevention and suppression capabilities and has everything to do with how much residents have to pay for insurance.

We should all tell Jim Frazier to not retaliate against the Park District and do his job by working closely with the ECCPD Board and the citizens of East County to come up with a solution together. It shouldn’t be anus against them mentality. The ECCFPD Firefighters need to work harder for the vote to increase taxes to improve fire services in East County. What Frazier is proposing isn’t right or for the hundreds of Park District employees it would impact.

Ed Mar 30, 2017 - 3:48 pm

I agree with you Trish. Its apparent that Jan McCleery’s comments in the Facebook comment section are out of sync with the general assessment of Jim Fraziers actions.

Mrs. McCleery is idolizing Frazier who has a history of bad deals and personal vendettas. Its a matter of time before he burns her too for whatever favor he has promised her.

His record doesn’t lie, but he does.

Carol Mar 31, 2017 - 6:02 am

East Bay Parks doesn’t receive any property tax from residents in this fire district. Frazier’s $10.5 million reallocation plan would require taxes diverted be paid by other parts of the Park District’s constituents. BTW Park District’s budget last year was actually $127m in general fund including $30 million for police and fire costs to ensure safety in the parklands. Anything beyond that number is restricted funds from bonds approved by tax payers for capital projects. EBRP doesn’t pay for local city services. This bill seems directed at hurting EBRP rather than helping the Fire District.

Carol Mar 31, 2017 - 6:09 am

East Bay Parks doesn’t receive any property tax from residents in this fire district. Frazier’s $10.5 million reallocation plan would require taxes diverted be paid by other parts of the Park District’s constituents. BTW I looked it up and found Park District’s budget last year was actually $127m in general fund including $30 million for police and fire costs to ensure safety in the parklands. Anything beyond that number is restricted funds from bonds approved by tax payers for capital projects. EBRP doesn’t pay for local city services. This bill seems directed at hurting EBRP rather than helping the Fire District.

Trish Apr 2, 2017 - 9:13 pm

Thank you Carol for the information. I think it’s important that people understand that the Park District is successful in obtaining funds from voting members of the two county communities because they trust the Park District. The Pak District is very good at managing the public’s money. It seems to me that ECCFPD has failed to prove to its citizens that they can be trusted with additional funding. Maybe the ECCFPD should ask the Park District how to get a tax measure passed, since they are so successful. I cannot understand why Frazier would blindside the Park District. I recently spoke with a member of the ECCCFPD Board of Directors and they did not have knowledge of what Frazer’s idea of taking funding away from the Park District until it hi the newspapers. What kind of shenanigan is that?

Deedee M Apr 3, 2017 - 2:06 am

Screw you Jim Frazier. You are a leech and continue to spread your poor decisions to those in east county. Go ahead and continue to screw up your own life but leave the rest of the counties alone. Yeah, we all know your personal life is a mess, no one likes you and you are disrespected in Sacramento. That being the case, you need to work on yourself first.

You reap what you sew buddy boy.

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