Questions for Madera County
In December 2013, an informational meeting with county officials was held at Ducey’s regarding water consolidation of the Bass Lake Water Co., MD6, and MD7.
I was one of five members of MD6 (out of 46 residents) who were in attendance at that meeting. At the time, when asked, I voted against the consolidation. County officials stated it was only a ‘straw vote’ to see if there was interest in the project and other meetings would be held.
MD6 members came to the July 23, 2015, meeting at the Oakhurst Library to present a petition signed by a majority of members stating they opposed consolidation. We were told by county officials at that meeting that the consolidation was a done deal, and the state was making us consolidate.
When I asked why we were not included in the discussion I was met with silence. I started to ask the question again when Supervisor Wheeler took the microphone out of my hands, turned his back on me and stated “...that’s over and done, we are moving on.”
I wondered why my question caused such a bizarre and rude reaction until I got a transcript of a board of supervisor’s meeting held on Oct. 28, 2014. Professional Engineering Services stated to the board that at the December 2013 meeting .... “The majority of the residents who attended the meeting recommended proceeding with Option 3 - Consolidation of MD-6 and MD-7 with the Bass Lake Water Company.”
This is completely untrue. Based on this false information the Board of Supervisors voted for consolidation.
I would like to ask Madera County:
(1) Should not the taxpayers of Madera County be treated in a respectful and truthful manner?
(2) Why are we spending millions of dollars of our and our fellow California state taxpayer’s money on a project that will be turned over to a private water company?
(3) Why were dissenting opinions not allowed (Brown Act)?
Trudiee Troost, Lakeshore Park, Bass Lake
A simmering crisis
On June 9, 2014, the reality of near non-existent fire protection in Madera County was on full display in Bonadelle Ranchos. The unimaginable happened. A family’s home burned just six lots away from County Fire Station 19.
A single career firefighter, aided by two “paid call” firefighters, responded quickly. An aggressive attack on the fire was initiated, but within minutes, came to an abrupt halt. The 500-gallon water tank carried on the fire engine was empty. A few hundred feet away, a water tender with 4,000 gallons of water remained parked. There was no “qualified” drive/operator available to bring the large truck to the fire. Eventually, additional trucks and personnel arrived. By that time, the home was a near total loss.
This incident received attention in the local press. The shortcomings in the fire department are very apparent. Fifteen months later, the “status quo” remains. Five of six county fire stations are staffed with only one career firefighter, and two of ten volunteer stations (Dairyland and Bass Lake) are either closed or considered unstaffed. Water tender response remains unreliable, and 67% of county fire engines are at least 15 years old. Often, it takes only one working fire to deplete nearly all resources on the Valley floor or Mountain Area.
Homeowners in the Mountain Area are being punished with fire insurance premiums that can cost thousands of dollars per year. Property values and commercial development may decline if fire protection is not improved.
On April 28, 2015, the Board of Supervisors took a bit of action. A report by Cal Fire staff pointed out numerous deficiencies in fire department staffing, equipment, infrastructure, and response times. Several corrective proposals were offered, all at the cost of millions of dollars.
The board decided to consider additional funding measures - most likely, a half-cent dedicated public safety sales tax. Skepticism was voiced by one board member: “We are taxed enough already and you would be better off with an insurance claim if your house fire resulted in a total loss.”
The sad reality is years of neglect have led to a quiet, simmering crisis. Government budgets, which rely on local revenue for public safety, have no room left to right this wrong. Our elected officials effectiveness will be put to the test. Then it will be up voters to determine - pay now or pay later. How much, and what cost are we prepared to lose?
Meanwhile, as the fires roar on, we wait.
Bill Ritchey, Raymond
Heart of debate is a moral one
Please allow me to respond to Peter Cavanaugh’s column about Planned Parenthood in the Sept. 17 edition of the Sierra Star.
Coming from a family of 10, I was naturally interested in this particular column. Mr. Cavanaugh may have missed the real point of this topic. The issue at hand in the abortion debate is not how many women have been “served” by Planned Parenthood or whether or not our nation can withstand another government shutdown. The real heart of this debate is a moral one.
Planned Parenthood was founded in the 1930s by Margret Sanger (who was born Catholic but later became an atheist) who not only was pushing for abortion but was a racist and wanted to see the entire black race annihilated.
In a letter to an associate she once said “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” Her plans to do this, which she outlined at KKK meetings involved abortion and eugenics. She also spoke out for sterilization of people she deemed “feeble minded.” Clearly this woman had not good in mind, but evil.
The recent videos from The Center For Medical Progress are only the tip of an iceberg on a host of many evils, namely the murder of innocent children before birth. Since time began there have been laws against murder in all civilized nations.
As a nation originally built on God’s law “Thou shalt not kill” has been a law in the USA since its founding. The human fetus is being denied protection under the law as millions have been killed each year by Planned Parenthood. This must end.
The virtue of our nation is in the balance, and our next generation is in jeopardy. It is up to ‘We the People’ to do what we know is morally right.
Sean M. Cox, Ahwahnee