Home Bethel Island Resident Sees Large Insurance Premium Increase Due to Poor ECCFPD Fire Coverage

Resident Sees Large Insurance Premium Increase Due to Poor ECCFPD Fire Coverage

by ECT

For years, the members of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District have warned the public that insurance rates would increase if fire stations close.

In response, many accused the Board of Directors of lying or fear mongering even after they the District has provided specific examples of District residents seeing increases on their insurance policies.

IMG_4625bwThis past Monday, one Bethel Island resident shared through a letter that her insurance premium had jumped from $1,800 a year to more than $7,000. The increase was due to an ISO Rating of Class 10 which is equivalent to no fire service.

According to a October 29, 2015 letter to the District by Jean Gearhart of Taylor Road, she stated Beswick Insurance in Antioch had increased her home insurance policy due to lack of fire coverage and the response times being poor.

In the month of September, the average response time to Bethel Island was 14:32 minutes. Throughout the District, the average response time was 7:50 minutes.

“For the many residents of Bethel Island this is not acceptable. Many of us are on fixed incomes. We are now called a class 10 insurance risk for fire protection,” said Gearhart in her letter.

In the past, it has been reported those on Morgan Territory Road saw an increase of up to 400% to even being uninsurable where they saw an increase of premiums jump between $1,500 to $4,000 back in 2012.

IMG_3521In July of 2012, Island Joe’s on Bethel Island was the first business to publicly state they had an increase of nearly $3,500 annually.

Also in 2012, when the ECCFPD was going through its Measure S Parcel tax, State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones warned the public that if Measure S failed, residents would see “skyrocketing” rates in some areas of the District.

Recent Station Closures:

Bethel Island Station – closed July 2012
Brentwood Station 54 – closed Sept, 2014
Knightsen Station 94 – closed May 2015

So how does ISO affect me?

ISO is a service organization (for profit) to the insurance industry, uses a 1 – 10 rating scale with 1 being the best level of service and 10 being no service at all.  The ISO reviews fire protection in three major categories:

  • Communication (10%) – This evaluates the function and reliability of the dispatch service.
  • Water Supply (40%) – This evaluates the community’s ability to deliver firefighting water in sufficient volumes to combat fires in buildings.
  • Fire Department – (50%) – This evaluates the capability of the fire department to effectively respond to and extinguish a fire.  Items reviewed include apparatus, staffing, training, and station locations.

Here is a typical Annual Premium Cost Based on Home Value of $250,000 which we pulled from the Contra Costa Taxpayer Association website.

  • ISO Rating 5: $1,179
  • ISO Rating 6: $1,262
  • ISO Rating 7: $1,359
  • ISO Rating 9: $2,549
  • ISO Rating 10: $2,826

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Steve Smith Nov 6, 2015 - 10:47 am

ISO is in the process of transitioning from a 10-year review cycle to a 5-year review cycle, and visited ECCFPD in June of this year to perform a review of the entire District. The usual practice is to release the new ratings from 6 to 9 months after data collection and on-site review, so we would expect to see a re-rating of the entire District at anytime from now throgh next March. Even those residents within 5 miles of a fire station and 1000′ of a fire hydrant MAY see a one- or two- level ISO rating increase based on decreaset District effectiveness.

Dim F Nov 6, 2015 - 10:17 pm

Thanks Steve, should we send the increase in our bills to you directly? After all you are responsible for this right?

Steve Smith Nov 8, 2015 - 11:44 am

The great majority or you are responsible for this. We cut, squeezed and trimmed and got a $197 figure (1st election) down to $95 for most households (2nd election). We were able to finance a shoestring campaign from Union and Community sources. Most of you couldn’t be bothered, and those who voted turned us down. We were dismissed as scaremongers, but everything we predicted has come to pass. We are glad to support the Task Force effort, and have done what has been asked of us so far.

Dim F Nov 8, 2015 - 12:45 pm

Smith, YOU are in some serious denial there bud. YOU and YOUR Kangaroo Court are 100 PERCENT RESPONSIBLE for two crappy campaigns which YOU were told would BOTH FAIL. YOU should be thanking the ME and the rest of the VOTERS for failing the last ILLEGAL benifit tax which YOU blundered right up ’till the end. Otherwise ME and the rest of the VOTERS of the district would have SUED YOU and the fire district into insolvency. Christmas on a cracker, how dumb are YOU Smith?

Wrong again STEVE-O. WE dismissed YOU as a FAILURE. It’s just a damn shame you are to dumb to understand this. YOU own it, like it or not.

Dan Vasser Nov 8, 2015 - 1:52 pm

Board member Smith, I am struggling with your response. I’m not sure I would agree with you that us citizens are entirely to blame. In my view the board did in ineffective job in formulating and executing each tax measure. You have to admit that your board has lost all trust with the voters.
I also take issue that you and the board are really supporting the task force. I was at the meeting and watched you and the board fumble around the recommendations of the task force for two hours. The entire time never appearing to understand the urgency or simplicity of the recommendation. At one point I watched with the rest of the audience in disbelief the effort to kill it. In the end you couldn’t even muster a full vote of support and then added some ridiculous conditions. Your conditions insulted the fire chief, the task force, and the audience in attendance. Do you even consider your added “conditions” will give the public and other agencies reason to demand their own? I think I would have at least given that some consideration before taking the position that the board did. You very well may have sealed the district’s fate unless you have an alternate plan in mind. I haven’t heard one come from you or the board.

Steve Smith Nov 8, 2015 - 2:55 pm

In the end, there were two “conditions”. The first was that the serious budget questions raised by Director Young (who watches the budget like a hawk) be resolved ASAP. That has already been done, and Director Young has signed off on the numbers presented by the Task Force over the time anticipated. The second was that the Board have final say over which station gets reopened. I personally expect that station to be 94, which is what the Chief recomends.

In the end–when it counts–the majority of the Board supported the Task Force recommendations, and in a later Agenda item, authorized the step asked for by the Task Force to begin the search for the long-term solution.

The Board and Staff take the Brown Act seriously. I had no idea that Director Young was going to raise his objection to the numbers, and when it happened, that gave us all pause. We worked through it publicly, which is what we are supposed to do.

I don’t believe our actions had any effect either way on the likelihood of the other three bodies to put forth their own conditions.

Dan Vasser Nov 8, 2015 - 4:03 pm

Board member Smith, I see a pattern forming here with your responses. I would be remiss if I didn’t say your excuses have been disappointing. You seem to have no problem blaming everyone but yourself and the rest of board.
At the meeting your own legal council had to explain to you and the board that you really were not making any decision except to accept the report. You were committing to nothing, yet you and the rest of the board spent two hours discussing that which didn’t need to be discussed until a decision is before you. Everyone in the room saw this, it’s not really up for debate. I’m not quite sure why you are struggling with that.
I witnessed the the budget questions get raised and then I witnessed your legal counsel explain that it wasn’t relevant to the decision and I also heard (as I assume you did) that the task force and chief had run the numbers. The head of the task force is the city manager of Brentwood who informed you that he does this for a living and you still threw up resistance. It was ridiculous Mr. Smith and yet you wonder why people have no faith in the board? Yes, it’s a question.
I believe I and others question the board’s appearance to micro manage the fire chief. If he isn’t running operational functions such as how to station his manpower, what then? To me the staffing and location of stations should be kept I the hands of the fire chief. If that is true why would you want to relieve him of that responsibility. Do you or anyone else on the board have his level of qualifications? If you claim that you as a board will support his decision, why then was it an issue and further a condition put on a report that didn’t require conditions, just acceptance. You effectively shot yourself I the foot and I think the cities and county will see it that way. I know I did. Please board member Smith, if you do choose to answer consider how well the boards decisions have worked out so far. I and others think they haven’t.

Reality Check Nov 8, 2015 - 1:59 pm

So what has changed Director Smith? Why will a third attempt have a different outcome? I do not see anyone in the community asking to pay more. While you have done more than most on the Board, your board as a whole should be doing more, not just what is asked of you considering the crisis.

John Nov 8, 2015 - 2:31 pm

What have they done? Oh that’s right…they have closed our fire stations, put up two really bad campaigns and patted themselves on the back for these efforts.

Steve Smith Nov 8, 2015 - 3:03 pm

If there is a third attempt, it will be put forth by a much broader base than just the Fire Board.

With respect to your second statement, the Board and Staff are working on multiple initiatives that were back-burnered while we attempted to gain five years of financial stability for a service model we could live with. These involve seeking other income sources, greatly improving our public outreach efforts, and coming fully current on various Fiscal Audits, Actuarial studies, and Capital Expenditure planning.

Dan Vasser Nov 8, 2015 - 4:15 pm

Board member Smith, may I ask what initiatives you are speaking about? Maybe I missed them? You and the board talked about a lot of things at the meeting and during the lengthy debate regarding the task force report, why weren’t these initiatives touched upon. If you questioned your ability (and you did) to fund a fourth station for a little over a year (when you are literally being given much of the money by two cities and the county), how are you going to find money to fund an adequate level of stations for five years? Based on history you haven’t given anyone a reason to think that is a realistic situation. I counted at least three board members that vocalized how dire the problem is and warned of total collapse. I believe you have told us that you have done everything but flip the couch cushions looking for spare change. I walked away from the meeting realizing we are in real trouble here. If I have missed something here please let me know.

Don Stabler Nov 6, 2015 - 2:29 pm

Also omitted was Fire Station 57 in Byron which was one of the first to close.

JS Nov 6, 2015 - 3:32 pm

For the record, when there was paid on call firefighters the ISO was 3. Also, our insurance went up $ 15. For the year. Some people have really bad insurance companies. State Farm went up $ 1 dollar a month. I attribute to inflation not the sky is falling. Let’s keep it real please.

Buy a Clue Nov 7, 2015 - 9:14 am

Let’s get off the lame obsession with how things worked yesterday and get with modern facts.

Yes, volunteers and POC worked at one time in the area. They worked fine for a lot of the country when it was less populated, people worked local jobs and roads that have to be used for response were less congested.

It’s 2015. East Contra Costa has gone from a sleepy Ag community to a bedroom community. Volunteer and POC is no longer appropriate for maintaining acceptable service levels and response times. It’s not largely a bedroom community, so volunteers and not readily available. Job situations are now very different as is call volume. Volunteers of the 1970s could race out the door of their local job and head to the fire house to answer the call.

Today ECCFPD averages 8 calls per station per day. JS, you won’t be leaving the cash register to answer fire calls anymore. Certainly not multiple times per day.

It’s time you nostalgic types got with the realities of today and stop putting others at risk by trying to make us live in the previous century.

Volunteers and POC are not going to be the primary service model for ECCFPD anymore. Accept it and move on.

Jim Smith Nov 7, 2015 - 6:59 pm

Hey clue, question for you. Do you think it would have been possible for bethel island, Byron, and the knightsen area to continue with volunteer, poc dept?? Still rural areas. Just asking

Buy a Clue Nov 7, 2015 - 9:13 pm

If you can stand part of your calls going unanswered, then I guess so. That plus the slower response times and the fact that you still can’t put out a house fire by yourselves so you’ll have to take resources from your neighbors.

But when volunteer applications were asked for last year, not enough came forward. Which underscores the problem.

Volunteer model used to work. In a day where it’s bedroom communities and people working 2 or 3 jobs just to survive, it doesn’t work.

Fair taxation Nov 8, 2015 - 3:22 pm

Sorry Clue but you are wrong. POC are used in many local places. Let’s be frank. The union is the road block. POCs could play a huge role in the three areas Mr Smith spoke. Zones can be created for these areas. As far as a no or slow response is concerned , what difference does it make the three areas have absolutely nothing right now. Creating POC zones could only save lives , increase ISO ratings , add support to career , and cost very little.

Buy a Clue Nov 8, 2015 - 5:44 pm

I guess reading comprehension is hard for you, FT? I said earlier that volunteer and POC has worked in the past.

The point is it doesn’t work today for the reasons cited. See, the difference is you’re offering an unsubstantiated opinion while I’m pointing to documents that show where POC has failed in this District and why. Those issues remain. I’m not willing to settle for the chuck it over the fence approach you’re promoting here.

The union is not standing in the way of POC. You are clearly mistaken or haven’t been engaged in the dialog.

Instead of nickel and diming the fire department, you should be trying to establish a minimum service level. Then doing what it takes to meet that service level.

Meo Nov 8, 2015 - 11:23 pm

Fair taxation=anything to avoid paying for adequate fire service.

Isn’t that really what you are all about?

You wanna redo prop 13 but can quite figure out how to get around the legal hurdles….wanna reallocate funding but can’t get around how to rob Peter to pay Paul.

And now you wanna bring up fictitious volunteers in a last ditch effort to avoid paying what everyone else in the county pays for.

News flash hot shot, there is no way to avoid paying for fire service and right now if you live in east county you arent paying. There’s no way around it no matter how hard you try. All of the excuses have got us where we are today. 3 fire stations which ain’t cutting it.

I don’t see anyone lining up to volunteer to risk their lives to save you a few bucks. It is tIme for you to come up with a different excuse, ’cause the ones you been using are all dried up!

Mike in Pittsburg Nov 6, 2015 - 4:58 pm

You get what you pay for.

You cry and complain about increased fire insurances costs, that you were warned would be raised due to lack of adequate fire protection

So, now, $1 Million dollars may go from the County Budget General Fund to re open one fire station that the people in the Eastern County don’t want to fund through their district property taxes, to pay for their own Fire/ EMS protection.

In essence they want to “Leach” off of those us who willingly pay for the Fire/EMS services in the County areas not covered by the ECCFPD. (that is within Contra Costa Fire and other areas).

I want that $1 million dollars to be spent where it will do the most good and Not necessarily provide “Leech Money” for an an area of the county, made up of voters who can elect to pay either Higher Insurance rates or vote to collectively pay for the fire protection they “Think” they should get.

That is: Vote on $50.00 dollars a year in a property tax increase or $3,000.00 dollars a year fire insurance premium increase.

Fair taxation Nov 7, 2015 - 1:22 am

Dream on mike we all pay the same tax. Take your BS somewhere else.

Buy a Clue Nov 7, 2015 - 9:21 am

No you don’t pay the same tax and it’s well past time you educated yourself before going to the ballot box.

ECCFPD only receives half the money that ConFire areas do. Plus the fact that average assessed valuation on which the tax is calculated is much higher in ConFire’s territory.

The 1% lie is just that, a lie. One that only the naive use as an excuse.

You live in an suburban Ag area. You don’t pay anywhere near the taxes of the urban areas of Walnut Creek and Concord. It’s time you changed your entitlement mentality. It’s not going to solve anything.

Mike is correct. You are leeching off your neighbor.

Is 1% a lie? Nov 9, 2015 - 1:25 pm

How is the 1% a lie? I have been told that 1% of our assessed value goes to the county and then is apportioned out to the communities based issues that were locked in place with Prop13. Let’s call that a penny from every dollar of assessed value.

Depending on the type of community when this apportionment was decided, that penny is split and returned differently. In some areas 4% of that penny is paid to fire protection while in others the payment for fire protection is 8%, and even as high as 14%.

If that is true, and I believe it is, then it is accurate to say that we are all paying 1% of our assessed values but are receiving very different returns directed to fire protection services.

I try to follow this topic and believe this is the first time I have seen anyone refer to the 1% as a lie. I look forward to more information to assess the veracity of the statement.

Dan Vasser Nov 10, 2015 - 10:33 am

Is 1% a lie?, After reading the original comment and then yours I believe you are both explaining the same thing, two different ways. The person (Buy A Clue) seems to agree with you, but not those who are saying “we all pay the same”. Let’s call it a 1/2 truth, because while we are all assessed 1 percent, we don’t pay the same as you explained. The differing amounts are because or two things. Our homes are valued differently, a person that lives in a 400k home pays 1/2 the property tax of someone that lives in a 800k home. Then there is the area adjustment or tax rate area (TRA) of where the home is physically located. So while we all pay 1 percent, that doesn’t mean we all pay the exact same amount. I don’t know that we were ever meant to.

Your penny analogy is perfect. Call it a penny or a pie, at the end of the day it always makes up 100 percent of the 1 percent property tax that we all pay. Fire Director Smith explained it correctly when he stated here that it is all locked in by Proposition 13 and will not change anytime soon, Why, because every agency is appropriated their slice of the penny/pie/one percent (whatever you choose to call it) and they are entitled to their share as set by Proposition 13. The way I view it, reapportionment is going to be difficult since no one is going to want to give up their small slice of your penny and would probably contest any action taken to do so. That leads us back to an assessment as the immediate fix the task force and fire board alluded to. It’s nothing new and is done in many places. Nothing else seems to be a real solution in my eyes.

Dan Vasser Nov 7, 2015 - 10:59 am

Fair taxation, actually we dont! That’s the problem. Now how do we get people like you to come to that factual point? Because apparently that is a bigger problem!

Fair taxation Nov 7, 2015 - 12:57 pm

Dan, ur partially right. We pay the same tax. It is just the government leaders fail to make it fair. That’s why we pay them too. Maybe better government leaders is the answer.

Dan Vasser Nov 7, 2015 - 3:20 pm

Fair taxation, thank you for that but actually this goes back to two things, Proposition 13 and community growth. It is undeniable that we are responsible for both. I think a better educated voter is the answer. Government leaders are doing what we voted them to do. How would you suggest they make it fair and still uphold what we voted for?

Fair taxation Nov 7, 2015 - 9:49 pm

No one says to change prop 13. What’s needs an update is the way the distribution is done. So what that one area of east county gets more. Areas like fire get less. For anyone to buy the BS clue is selling is as ignorant as he is or a renter who should have no say. The key is fair distribution. This can be done with a state prop added to prop 13. The problem is leadership that is afraid to act for their constituents because is lobyist. Yes we all pay the same taxes on property.

Dan Vasser Nov 8, 2015 - 12:35 am

Fair taxation, isn’t that what you are saying? You said, No one says to change Proposition 13 and then say, This can be done with a state prop added to prop 13 and talk about updating the distributions. If isn’t a change to Proposition 13 what is it? I’m not sure your comments made sense to anyone but you. Maybe you should clarify for the rest of us? Thank you.

Fair taxation Nov 8, 2015 - 11:46 am

The suggestion was not to change the tax rate from which prop 13 was intended but rather to allow all local counties to regulate the distribution in a more fair and efficient way. I read my comment and it was confusing. Hope this makes my opinion more clear.

Dan Vasser Nov 8, 2015 - 12:14 pm

Thanks for clarification, but what you suggesting would violate State law and create a chain reaction of bigger problems. Proposition 13 and its apportionments were locked in as a package back in ’78. We don’t get to cherry pick, where our 1 percent goes. I imagine the lock is to prevent a free for all in every county in the state. I think the issue here a general lack of understanding. Property taxes are collected by counties and they are distributed according to State provisions via Proposition 13. The counties don’t have a say, they are merely acting as an agent of the State. Any money you give to one district must be taken from another agency. Knowing this where or who you would suggest taking money from?

Fair taxation Nov 8, 2015 - 3:27 pm

The very same place it comes from in the rest of the county. Con fire gets 14cents. Start with that model. That would not be a violation of prop 13 with a ballot by the voters. Prop 13s intent was to cap taxes. There was nothing about where they go.

Steve Smith Nov 8, 2015 - 4:03 pm

Unfortunately not so. Proposition 13 also specified the State Legislature was to establish the distribution formula based on the relative percentage of taxes received by each taxing entity at the time. There is no provision in Proposition 13 for local control of the distribution formula. Changing that would involve changing Proposition 13.

Watch what happens when anyone proposes a change to Proposition 13.

Vince Nov 8, 2015 - 3:42 pm

Now that we all have a better understanding of the tax situation and why volunteers won’t work. What next? Continue to give money to the insurances companies and be under served or solve the problem? There are over 480 cities, 58 counties and thousands of special districts to talk to if you want to change allocations of prop tax. Or you could pass a tax like to bring revenues to the fire district. There is not a lot more devastating then seeing your home and personal property go up and smoke. Regardless to if its insured or not. Not to mention the impact of losing a family member because of a an inadequate response. This is the 2000s. Stroke, Heart Attack, and traumatic injury survival has been significantly improved. The one factor that must be in place is to take advantage of this new technology is time to definitive care. East County has no ER and a delayed response from First Responders. Pretty sad when the community is growing faster then anywhere else in this state.

For why Nov 8, 2015 - 7:58 pm

Vince, do you really think volunteers couldn’t have taken care of the rural areas of east county? I think they could have. Unfortunately they were forced out. Now to old to pick up the pieces. Yes I know volunteers are scares today. To bad the tradition was pushed out.

Local Nov 9, 2015 - 9:59 am

Why do you have to always play the sky is falling and everyone is going to have a heart attack? It is partially your unions fault we are in this falling sky situation in the first place.

Meo Nov 9, 2015 - 11:36 am

Local, why do you keep repeating the same thing? Are you aiming to provide a distraction or is there an echo in here? Hello-Hello-Hello.

No one said the sky is falling except you. What was written by Vince is that now we have a better understanding of the issue. I know I do, but maybe you don’t. He didn’t say everyone is going to have a heart attack. He said that in this day in age that improvements have been made to increase survivabilty in all types of medical emergencies, which includes heart attacks. Why did you try turn it into something else entirely? That’s just weird.

Can you explain your allegations? How is this somehow the unions fault? You failed to make your point even though you have a wide open opportunity to do it here.

Meo Nov 8, 2015 - 11:29 pm

some people won’t take no for an answer. For why is one of those people. It’s been explained, explained, explained, explained and here you are asking the same ole question over and over.

I don’t even think you expect a different answer anymore. I think you are just lazy and cheap.

Local Nov 9, 2015 - 9:55 am

To Meo, what part of no more taxes do you not understand ? Some government agencies won’t take no for an answer. They are just not spending the money they have efficiently.

Meo Nov 9, 2015 - 11:02 am

To Local, what part of We are not paying even half of what the rest of the entire county pays for in fire tax do you not understand? What part of We are being. subsidized by the rest of the county for our fire services do you not understand?

Do you not understand that we now only have 3 fire stations? Do you notunderstand that we automatically rely on contra Costa fire to provide fire trucks to put our all of our fires out? A taxpayer in Antioch not only pays for their fire truck but it’s often used here because you don’t want to pay for it.

So what you are then saying is that you expect services to be provided to you (contra Costa fire) which are paid for by other people in the county because you don’t want to?


You are saying that you are ok with 3 fire stations for fire because the financial numbers don’t lie. That is all you are currently funding. Sorry Local but your problem isn’t with me, it’s with the numbers.

Local Nov 9, 2015 - 2:33 pm

No, that is what you said and are having a mental crisis about. I’m saying I support other ideas including but not limited to POCs that care far more about their communities.Other ideas can work without additional taxes over and above the prop 13 law.

Buy a Clue Nov 9, 2015 - 4:44 pm

So are you hiding all the people who would make your “other ideas” viable?

Because when the District solicited for volunteers last year the response was very underwhelming. Not enough applied to proceed.

Writing idea headlines is easy for you because you never have to make them work or be held accountable when they fall apart.

Meo Nov 9, 2015 - 5:18 pm

Local, someone is having a mental crisis and I think its you. Why is it that you are stuck in a revolving door? The POC idea is a dead horse, please stop beating it. You only bring it up and wish to think it would work because you think it saves you from having to pay your fair share. What is so difficult for you to understand?? It is all over these threads. Have you lost track of what you said because I haven’t.

So….What “other” ideas do you support that are actually viable? Which ones have you carried forth beyond your own keyboard? Are you afraid you would get schooled?

I’m not sure what your dysfunction is or why you want to drag a defunct subject back into the mix unless you just want to do anything but pony up. Sorry to inform you but no idea which holds water has been brought forth as a viable solution otherwise we wouldn’t be in this mess. I’ve read here and other places why POC’s no longer work here. So now that issue is DOA and officially put to bed, what other excuses….errrrrr…..ideas do you have that will keep you from paying for emergency service? I’m asking a simple question. Are you up for the task??

LuvsBI95 Nov 9, 2015 - 7:39 pm

Clue that is a lie.You are selling BS again.There were many applicants. In fact, there were more applicants than one board member said would have to be a minimum to move forward. Its the union that will not cooperate.Quit lying to the public.Now Vince is selling the sky is falling again unless we throw more money in the toilet. There is your risking lives. If you can’t provide the service for 13 million dollars a year shut it down and we can go with Cal Fire. There is every ones solution. They take volunteers with welcome arms too. For the guy who says stop beating a dead horse, yes a new tax has been decided by the people. Quit beating the new tax dead horse and stop wasting more of precious district funds over and over trying to get a different answer.Those dollars should be spent saving lives instead of beating the NO dead horse. My 14 cents is a far cry than your lying to the public 5 cents. Stop playing with the public safety and open Bethel Island Station now.

Dan Vasser Nov 10, 2015 - 10:57 am

LuvsBI95, I don’t know what you are selling. I do know what I have witnessed. I have been at the meetings where the topic of volunteers was discussed. The Fire Chief disclosed that the district fell short of applicants to restart a volunteer program. Issues of cost and training were also raised as impediments to moving that program ahead. I think that logistically volunteers no longer are a solution but are brought up as a way to possibly save money. To me, I can understand why it sounds appealing in concept but no longer is realistic. Responding to a call once or twice a day in a small town was appealing to enough people back in the day, but that is not what we are dealing with here and now. From what I hear, the training requirements and costs make it almost impossible to get a program going. For good reason the few ones that do want to join up, do so in hopes of moving on to a paid fire department. With every other fire department offering much more in salary its no wonder we became a training ground and lost much of our force. I was around when Calfire was brought into the conversation (maybe you weren’t?). They didn’t want to bid on providing service for us. That should tell you something and I highly doubt they are going to voluntarily provide fire protection. If I am wrong, I would appreciate you pointing me in the right direction. I think suggesting models such as volunteer or Calfire which have not panned out, are examples of beating a dead horse and may not have been that far off of the mark. If you are paying 14 cents out of your tax dollar into the fire district (and I think you are), I thank you. If everyone in the district had been apportioned by the state at your rate of 14 percent we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I support your cause and the reopening of all of the fire stations. We need to find a way to agree on a viable solution being mindful that taxes are not equal and not fair. This is an issue which won’t be going away anytime soon unless we figure it out.

Buy a Clue Nov 10, 2015 - 11:43 am

LuvsBI95, where did you get the idea that CalFire or ConFire is going to give you any more than the 3 existing stations if you contracted the services to them? Were you thinking they have extra money or something?

ConFire and CalFire both have the same compensation and pension issues to deal with. Money doesn’t just magically appear because you had a half thought out idea.

In fact, they have told you they can’t offer the service as cheap as the ECCFPD is currently doing it. It’s documented if you want to read it. If you want to just run with your opinion that has no basis in fact, then that’s your prerogative.

Your “everyone’s answer” appears to only make sense to the voices in your head. None of you or your email friends have been able to explain how the union is supposedly in the way.

So what, exactly, are you referring to besides just baseless innuendo?

Have you actually talked directly with the Chief about the number and quality of applicants received, as I have? If not, on what are you basing your false claims?

Does your “one board member” not have a name? There are only 9 possibilities, so what’s with the I got a secret game?

Another little factoid you seem to forget. The District is running on the ragged edge financially just to keep the 3 stations open. In 2 years based on current revenue/cost modeling that will be less than 3.

There is no money to initiate a volunteer or POC program without negatively affecting the current 3 station model. Is that what you want?

Perhaps you believe in the flawed thought process that volunteers or POCs are somehow free or next to no cost? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Dan Vasser Nov 10, 2015 - 12:10 pm

Well stated, Buy a Clue. Your points, (all of them) are spot on correct.

At this point in time, we have to start asking, why are a few individuals keep bringing up the ideas that have been vetted and explained. Why? It doesn’t make any sense to me unless they are just stuck and cannot move into a real discussion dealing with options that work. The task force came up with the same solution which is to buy enough time to fully educate voters. If we are ok with 3 fire stations for our entire area then this is done. If not, we will need to find revenue. All of the cutting and slashing that can be done has been done. Let’s not go backwards, we are better than that.

For why Nov 9, 2015 - 8:15 am

No I didn’t expect a different answer. Oh, and your name calling shows your intelligence. Have a good day

Buy a Clue Nov 9, 2015 - 9:57 am

You keep proposing ideas that a)don’t solve the problem and b)leave people’s lives and property in jeopardy.

Then you whine that you are being picked on.

Narcissist much?

People thought they were being cute or somehow “sending a message” by promoting a no vote in the ballot measures. You were a part of that. Now the leading edge of the insurance backlash is starting.

Stupid should hurt. In this case it will.

Meo Nov 9, 2015 - 11:14 am

For why, If you don’t expect a different answer than why do you continue to ask the same question? If you don’t want to pay for things that are provided to you than why shouldn’t I have the right to define that behavior as cheap? If you don’t want to take the time to learn the facts then why shouldn’t I have the right to define that behavior as lazy? You accused volunteers of being forced out but didn’t offer anything to substantiate your opinion.

You got your feathers ruffled by my observations and in turn question my intelligence? Now that’s not very nice. Try to have a great day.

unincorporated Nov 9, 2015 - 1:06 pm

How is it I’m a “leech”?!? I just paid my County taxes of $9900/yr. I live in tax area code #79047, which if you look at the assessor’s breakdown indicates that 24.27% of that goes to “EAST CO CO FIRE”. I ALSO pay a separate fire tax for being in the SRA. I’m not paying any less than anyone else. It’s less densely populated, but we receive very, very little public services in my area. I seriously considered paying the proposed 3rd fire tax, but it wasn’t demonstrated to me why I should have to pay any more than I was and it still hasn’t been. All I’ve seen is scare tactics and insults. I agree that the service is currently substandard, but simply don’t trust just throwing more of my tax dollars at the problem without more specific information.

If I am to seriously consider paying more money, I need the board, union and local assemblyman to reconcile why it is that I’m being told by them that East Co Co Fire only receives 5% of property taxes in East County, when the Tax Collector is telling me different. Don’t release that info and then ignore people’s questions. Don’t send flyers implying I’m going to die of a heart attack if I don’t fork over more money. Give me specific figures to reconcile inconsistencies and understand what the whole picture really is. I’m very pro public safety, but you guys are making it hard to help you on this one.

Dan Vasser Nov 10, 2015 - 11:19 am

unincorporated, I personally don’t feel you are a leech and I don’t believe at all that comment was directed at you, maybe I’m mistaken but I didn’t read it that way. I can see why it was said because our fire district appears to be leeching off of the bigger fire district through aid. Now and then it might be ok, but it seems we are now relying on them on every single fire call. From what I understand the people of the rest of the county are paying for their own fire service and now are subsidizing ours with equipment and staffing. If you are paying over 24 percent of your 1 percent of property taxes you are in a very unique area. I would like to find out just how many homeowners are in your same situation since I don’t know where the 79047 area is. From my limited understanding tax rates vary considerable throughout the county, especially east county but the average is around 6 to 7 percent. The problem is that most people pay much less than you do and some of those scare tactics are proving out to be real situations. At the last fire board meeting, a citizen brought forth an insurance letter where a citizen’s insurance costs had quadrupled. When those predictions come true, they lose the title of a scare tactic. I may have misunderstood your comment or maybe you had another example in mind. If so I apologize ahead of time. In my opinion you are paying more than your fair share and I want to thank you. I also want to thank you for lending a reasonable set of comments with a reasonable approach to what I consider a serious problem. I agree with you, the fire district needs to be honest with those that pay the bill. From what I have personally seen they believe they are doing a good job, unfortunately reality demonstrates they are in the minority with that view point. I have hope that that will change one way or another.

Vince Nov 9, 2015 - 3:12 pm

I represent the service providers when it comes to this subject. This whole thread is based on the impact that the lack of fire protection is having on insurance rates. I am reminding you that the only thing the insurance companies are concerned about is their pay out due to lack of protection. As they raise your rates, you still are not getting the service. The lack of service goes above and beyond fire protection. For those who made such a fuss over paying $100.00 a year for adequate fire protection, you would think those same people would be upset about paying a $1000.00 more to an insurance company without getting anything in return. The insurance companies due a risk analysis regularly. When they see that they are paying out more during the period, they up the rate. I guess for you it’s a matter of principle and not wise spending. Considering the number of people who actually voted during either tax measure, I still believe there is hope if the message reaches the voters and if those who have educated themselves about the issues get on the same page and assist with the message.
Now that everyone is educated on the tax situation ( at least on this thread) I thought it would be a good time to remind people of the reason why there are so many concerned about the level of protection they don’t have in their community and how that puts you behind the times and progress made in modern medicine.
In the Far East, you may or may not get a first responder to your medical emergency. You only have three staffed fire engines. If they are on a fire or a technical rescue, you get an ambulance only. This does not occur in other parts of the county.
I see people attacking the board members, the “union” and the politicians, but it is the people who are paying their 1% and now higher insurance premiums, who are at public risks.
Time to move past the how we got here and whose fault it is and get to the “how do we fix it
.” Every board that has governed this district has recognized the need for new revenue.
Not going for the additional revenue would be a dereliction of duty. 2+2 = 4, whether you like it or not.
Furthermore, the firefighters are working in unsafe conditions with this inadequate staffing level.

For Why Nov 9, 2015 - 7:26 pm

Time to move past how we got here and who’s fault and get to how we fix it. WOW!

For Why Nov 9, 2015 - 4:04 pm

On no no no, I didn’t question your intelligence , like I said, it shows. I did have a great day, thanks.

Meo Nov 9, 2015 - 5:05 pm

For Why, Actually you tried to, but failed. But thank you anyway! Yours does too, but that’s not really good thing for you, is it? It’s really a shame, I had to point out the obvious and you are the only one that didn’t get it. Oh welllllllllll, Glad you had a “blissful” day. You know what they say…

((Hope you can figure it out. Probably not.))

For Why Nov 9, 2015 - 6:48 pm

Oh it’s been known and figured out by many. Obviously not you. Unfortunately this district and its citizens have to suffer. It could have been better and it will again, as it was. Please continue to point out the obvious, just maybe you can intelligently fix this mess.

Meo Nov 9, 2015 - 7:36 pm

For Why, Why so vague? It’s been figured out by many? So why such a secret?

Many questions and so little answers. 🙁

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