In his continued efforts to fight against the illegal fire tax, Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) announced on March 2nd Senate Bill 9, a measure to repeal the tax.
‘This fire tax is illegal and unfair – plain and simple,” said Senator Gaines. “Many rural property owners already pay local fire agencies for protection so it is clearly double-taxation and it is being dumped on the backs of rural Californians when parts of my district still have a more than 10-percent unemployment rate and families are struggling to make ends meet.”
Senate Bill 9 would reverse the annual $152.33 “fee” for fire prevention services charged to rural property owners located in “State Responsibility Areas” (SRA) designated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), even though their property taxes already contribute to the service contracts that counties have with CAL FIRE.
The fire tax is imposed on more than 800,000 properties in the state that are within the boundaries of SRA. According to census and CAL FIRE data, Senator Gaines’ largely rural district includes roughly 20-percent or approximately 160,000 of the properties whose owners are subject to the fee.
Senator Gaines contends that the fire tax attempts to sidestep Proposition 26, the initiative passed in 2010 that prevents the Legislature from disguising taxes as “fees” and circumventing constitutional requirements for passing higher taxes. He has been a leading critic of the tax and has introduced numerous pieces of legislation in previous years that attempted to provide relief for rural Californians. Senator Gaines also strongly supports the lawsuit filed against the state by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association challenging the fee on constitutional grounds.
“I have fought this illegal tax at every turn and I encourage everyone who is stuck paying this phony fee to get in the arena and fight it too,” said Senator Gaines. “The answer to fire protection in California is not illegal taxes, but budgets that invest in core government services that protect every citizen in the state – rural, urban and suburban.”
Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.
On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, the City of Citrus Heights and the Citrus Heights Police Department participated in Sacramento Steps Forward’s ‘Point in Time’ (PIT) homeless count to assist the organization in getting the best picture possible of homelessness in Citrus Heights, so that financial and other resources can be allocated appropriately.
The Department of Urban Development (HUD) provides direction for the counting process and Sacramento Steps Forward is responsible for conducting the count, which includes creating the maps."
The count is federally mandated and must be conducted every two years in each city where HUD is working with other government and nonprofits providers to provide funding to help with the many issues related to homelessness.
An email from Katherine Cooley, Community & Economic Development, who was also a volunteer, read, “It is always our goal to provide resources to our homeless population where needed, while also enforcing laws to preserve residents’ quality of life. We address this issue using a multi-pronged approach and our partnership with Sacramento Steps Forward is one example of this.”
According the Elise Beckman, Consultant PIT Coordinator with Steps Forward, the Citrus Heights count was part of a county-wide effort, with an additional 220 volunteers were deployed from the Department of Human Assistance (DHA) in mid-town Sacramento to the cities of Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento and Isleton.
According the Sgt. Jason Baldwin in a phone interview: two years ago, after ‘being forgotten’ in the count, the City and the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHDP), closely following HUD’s mapped sections and count method, took on the project, recruiting volunteers from the community to help. These five sections are just a portion of the city mapped out by HUD to determine funding.
On January 25, a dozen volunteers were teamed up with a dozen police officers. Volunteers included city workers, members of the Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) and members of American Legion Post 637.
A short training was conducted at the police department. Baldwin and Cooley told volunteers what to expect throughout the five sections the city was divided into, and how to locate the homeless in those areas. A form to keep track of those counted was explained, including at what kind of venue they were found, their age, gender and race.
Volunteers were then divided up into teams with two officers assigned to volunteers assigned to each of their five sections of the city. At 7 p.m. the teams were deployed to their assigned sections.
This reporter participated in the count, following Officers James Garing and Nate Hutson in their squad car. The officers quickly scoured every inch of each area of their sector, with their vehicle spotlights. They would often jump out of their vehicle with flashlights to further inspect specific areas including dumpsters, creek beds, strip malls, other shopping areas, residential streets and undeveloped greenbelts. They knew where they were looking and who they might expect to find in each section.
Some volunteers trudged into the ‘forested areas’ to view a homeless camp either still populated or deserted, many still covered with remnants of an abandoned encampment. It was an enlightening experience.
At the end of the night, about 11 p.m. officers Garing and Hutson deemed it to be a ‘quiet night’, with only 19 counted in Section Five. These had been found on sidewalks, in a laundromat and in front of a 7-11 at a strip mall, also riding their bicycles and in an encampment. A total of ninety-three total homeless had been counted in the five mapped sections of Citrus Heights, also covering city parks, schools, the library, large and small businesses, parking lots and other public areas.
In an email following the count, Beckman said, “I was impressed by Sgt. Baldwin and the CHPD, and we certainly appreciated their support in operating a count for the Citrus Heights map areas.”
At the end of the night, on January 25, 70 mapped sections had been counted in the seven cities in the Sacramento County. Two hundred eighty-nine volunteers, put in 1,416 hours. The final statistics will be available later in the year.
Sources: City of Citrus Heights, Citrus Heights Police Department, Sacramento Steps Forward, HUD.
On February 16, 2017, The Citrus Heights Police Department identified and arrested a subject wanted for a string of residential burglaries occurring on the west side of the City. Since January 2016, the suspect is believed to have been responsible for approximately fourteen (14) burglaries and eleven (11) attempted burglaries. Many of these burglaries occurred when the residents were home and asleep.
The Citrus Heights Police Department’s Officers and Detectives were determined to take this individual into custody and return peace of mind to the members of this community.
During the investigation, CHPD Detectives canvassed the area, interviewed numerous people, sought the assistance of allied agencies and collected forensic evidence all of which provided leads as to the whereabouts of the suspect believed to have committed the crimes.
The suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Levi Pierce. Pierce is currently on probation for burglary. Evidence was located during his arrest and Detectives will begin the process of re-uniting victims with their property.
The Citrus Heights Police Department would like to thank the California Highway Patrol’s Air Operations unit, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, and the Department of Justice’s technical support team. Additionally, CHPD would like to thank the residents of Citrus Heights, including Neighborhood Watches and Neighborhood Associations, for their support during this investigation.
Upon hearing the of the successful arrest, CHPD Chief Ron Lawrence stated -
“I could not be more pleased with the work of our police detectives and officers. They solved this crime trend and through great police work, captured this dangerous felon.
“Our community is far safer with this criminal off the streets and in custody.”
“The brazen behavior this suspect exhibited while committing residential burglaries in the middle of the night with home owners asleep was concerning. His arrest should bring some reassurance to those people he victimized and I hope our criminal justice system holds him accountable for his actions.”
The Citrus Heights Police Department is requesting the public’s help in identifying suspects responsible for burglarizing a commercial business in the 7800 block of Lichen Drive.
In the early morning hours on February 5, 2017 suspects entered the closed business by forcing entry into the building. The suspects selected a substantial amount of items and fled the business with the stolen merchandise.
The store video surveillance captured the image of two of the suspected burglars while inside the store. One of the suspects appears to be a male white or Hispanic with a small goatee. He is approximately 5’10 with a thin build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with large red/white block writing on the front and blue jeans. The second subject is described as a male white or Hispanic, approximately 5’8 with a thick build. He was wearing a black hooded jacket, gray undershirt, and dark jeans.
Patrol Lieutenant Michael Wells said, “The theft from the commercial businesses in our community won’t be tolerated. We hope that the community can assist with identifying these subjects so that we can hold them accountable for this crime.”
Anyone with information regarding this crime, or information about these suspects, is strongly encouraged to contact the Citrus Heights Police Department at (916) 727-5500.
Citrus Heights Police Officers and Detectives conducted multiple sting operations last week as part of the 3rd Annual Rebuild and Reclaim Enforcement Operation. Our efforts were focused on identifying and arresting the “Pimps” and “Johns” and rescuing the victims of human trafficking.
Using the internet and various other tactics including undercover operations, CHPD made (16) arrests. These arrests included “Pimps” (those who were coordinating the services of victims) and “Johns” (those seeking to take advantage of those victims). Our officers were able to rescue four victims, including one juvenile, in hopes to free them from the criminal activity and or human trafficking.
This operation was in coordination with many agencies throughout California on an effort to identify and rescue commercially, sexually exploited victims of human trafficking and to disrupt the demand of prostitution by targeting the men who seek to victimize other through either soliciting or requesting services of prostitution.
CHPD and the community of Citrus Heights does not tolerate human trafficking and will continue to detect, deter, and hold those accountable for their involvement in prostitution and victimizing our youth.
If you or someone you know needs help or you suspect human trafficking may be occurring, please contact the Citrus Heights Police Department to help us stop human trafficking and rescue those who are victimized.
The Citrus Heights Police Department’s Traffic unit is investigating an injury collision involving a motor vehicle and two pedestrians on Sunrise Boulevard.
At approximately 5:50pm, officers were dispatched to a collision between a vehicle and two pedestrians in the 8100 block of Sunrise Boulevard. Preliminary investigation revealed the two pedestrians, a male in his 60’s and a female in her 50’s, were crossing Sunrise Boulevard from the east to the west, outside of any crosswalk or controlled intersection. As the pedestrians were crossing the southbound lanes of Sunrise Boulevard, they were struck by a Prius sedan that was traveling southbound on Sunrise Boulevard. Upon arrival, CHPD officers located the male and female in the roadway with injures consistent with being struck by a vehicle. The driver of the Prius was contacted at the scene and is fully cooperating with the investigation.
Both pedestrians were immediately transported to a local hospital for medical treatment. The male pedestrian has died and the female pedestrian is listed in stable condition.
The cause of collision remains under investigation by the Citrus Heights Police Department’s Traffic Unit. It does not appear that alcohol nor speed were a factor in the Collison on the driver’s behalf. We encourage anyone who may have witnessed the collision, or provided aid to the two pedestrians, to contact the police department at (916) 727-5500.
The Citrus Heights Police Department would like to remind the community to use caution when crossing the roadway, and look for locations where the utilization of crosswalks and pedestrian signals will aid in the crossing the street safely.
On February 7, 2017, at 9:55 p.m. the CHP received a call of a wrong way driver going westbound in the eastbound lane of I-80 at Watt Ave. The driver was a female driving a dark Ford Mustang. CHP officers immediately began responding to the wrong way driver in an attempt to prevent a head on collision from happening. Shortly thereafter the Ford sideswiped a Chevrolet Impala near Raley Blvd. and continued going the wrong way on I-80.
As the Ford approached Northgate Blvd in the #1 lane it struck head on with a white Dodge Challenger driven by a male. The collision killed both drivers upon impact. A toxicology report is being taken by the Sacramento County Coroner to determine if alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in this collision.
The eastbound lanes of I-80 were closed for a little over 2 hours due to extraction and investigation and all traffic was diverted off to Northgate Blvd.
Any additional information about this news release should be directed to Officer Chad Hertzell who will be available at the CHP North Sacramento Area business phone number: (916) 348-2317, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.