Calaveras Taxpayers Host Annual BBQ
An enthusiastic crowd came together at the courtyard of Lookout Tower House in Vallecito for an early sunset dinner with speakers and recognition awards. The panoramic mountain view made it the perfect place for Calaveras County Taxpayers Association (CCTA) on Saturday August 29 to hold its seventh annual meeting and barbeque. The time for gathering was heartily announced by Jay Grimstead’s bugle reveille.
Each year, CCTA selects a noteworthy person to be recognized for Excellence in Public Service. This year, there were two such individuals: Joel Metzger, Customer Relations Manager/Public Information Officer for the Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) and Sgt. Wade Whitney, Sheriff Investigator with the Calaveras County Sheriff Department. District 3 Supervisor Michael Oliveira also presented certificates of recognition to each from Assemblyman Frank Bigelow and Senator Tom Berryhill. This was particularly enjoyable for Oliveira, he said, because he has known each of these recipients for several years and even worked with Whitney at the Sheriff Department.
Joel Metzger was recognized for “standing firm for Calaveras ratepayers and leading a team in a successful effort to reduce state-mandated water conservation by half.” Upon receiving the award, Metzger spoke of the team at CCWD and how they worked together to achieve success in negotiations with the State Water Resources Control Board.
Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz introduced Whitney and spoke of what he has achieved within the Sheriff’s Department Office. Whitney received an award “in recognition of his outstanding record solving serious crimes against people and property in Calaveras County.”
After receiving his award, Metzger participated in a different part of the program as moderator for a panel of public officials. After introducing themselves and describing what their duties are, County Clerk/Recorder Rebecca Turner, Assessor Leslie Davis, and Auditor/Controller Rebecca Callen covered current topics. The panel gave details with clarity and humor in its interaction with audience questions.
Hard-hitting points about the fourth consecutive year of drought were emphasized in a short speech by CCWD District 4 Director Dennis Mills. As an historical background, he recommended reading “The Stanislaus-The Struggle for a River” and then perhaps find a comparison from that time to the current approach regarding the Mokelumne River.
David Wolfe, Legislative Director and Ryan Cogdill, Attorney, both Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association (HJTA) representatives, joined for a discussion of tax issues, including the Fire Fee Protest. (CCTA views this “fee” as a tax). They announced the Sacramento County Superior Court granted certification of a class. Cogdill explained that this is a positive development for taxpayers. More questions about the Fire Fee came from the audience. Wolfe encouraged people to visit FireTaxProtest.org for details.
Featured speaker Sen. George Runner arrived after having attended another speaking engagement near Valley Springs. Runner said he has been speaking to several taxpayer groups lately. Known as “the taxpayer advocate,” Runner is Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization. He spoke of the fight against “the unfair and illegal fire tax” and of the effort to return millions of dollars back to the taxpayers. The audience was on alert and Senator Runner held their interest as he answered many impromptu questions.
After closing remarks by CCTA President Al Segalla and the sound of Taps coming from Grimstead’s bugle, the evening came to an end as the sun disappeared behind the mountains.
This is an update on our cable TV program. "Taxpayer Alert" is a public service effort by volunteers and sponsored by the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association.
For those who do not have Calaveras cable TV, or are out of the area, previously aired programs are uploaded to YouTube and can be accessed on line. We have linked the programs below, with the most recent first.
David explains some of the advocacy work he has done on behalf of taxpayers over the last several years. His article on the FEMA Scheme went viral from the CCTA website. His work exposing the the CalPERS unfunded liability and his thoughts on what the General Plan should be were covered. Discussed was the meaning of "Regulatory Swamp" as expressed by another Planning Commissioner. Also introduced is his book "Fixing the Engine of Justice", in which Tunno suggests reasonable reforms to the jury system. Ran out of time too quickly.
Cliff discusses many issues including: fast tracking county approvals for certain projects, Chamber revitalization with the new positive Director, Stacey Johnson; the possibility of having a freedom friendly General Plan; finalizing the general Plan first and doing the community plans lator; Some local plans are complete now; Reducing the burden of regulation tends to increase prosperity; watershed is a huge asset and a new Watershed Management Program is waiting for grant funding; Customer feedback on performance and creating a location map to help applicants were ideas shared.
Dennis covers many hot button issues including: The struggle to create New Melones reservoir against the Wild & Scenic movement; the Fed forcing draining the lakes for fish flow and Tri Dam refusing to comply; little known harmful effects of reducing flow in pipelines; Wild and Scenic on the Mokelumne river; CCWD success in substantially reducing state water reduction requirements; organizing water districts to work together to better serve their ratepayers. This is the third interview with Dennis with each one providing more insight into current government affairs.
Rebecca covers a wide range of issues including:a problem with Supervisors voting for their own retirement; Problem with contracting out; Postponing debt reduction; unfunded CalPERS liability of $47 million which would have to be paid off if the county wished to change systems and why are public employees paid so much more than private employees.
Joel provides water saving information and talks about the new Calaveras Conserves website. He also addresses taxpayer concerns about over extension of state power during the drought.
Interesting wide ranging discussion about current topics including the new publisher, media bias, the drought and local government issues.
Dennis discusses water issues, including rate freezes, fish releases and long term water planning.
Karl addresses several issues of concern to both Tuolumne and Calaveras County.Such as the proposed extensive government regulations on ranchers. forest land mismanagement and water issues.
Jonathan discusses several important cases the foundation has been working on, including Obama Care.
Jon is a great speaker and totally dedicated to protecting the taxpayer. He discusses current issues in this interview.
Dick tells about the huge struggle he faced getting approvals for his project. He also shares some of the interesting details about the proposed Snow Park.
Peter shares information on the General Plan Update process and reports progress with his talks with the Feds on the issue of FEMA Flood Insurance.
John provides information on how families can protect themselves in times of crises. He is also an expert on community action communications. While CCTA does not agree with some of his beliefs, his practical approach to improving communications is a great service to the public and CCTA.
Steve is our resident expert on science, economics, business and government affairs. He was President of the County Chamber when the first General Plan was established. He is also, Vice President of CCTA and provides knowlegde and wisdom to it's Board meetings.
Steve talks about the FEMA Flood "Insurance" problem and other taxpayer local issues.
Dennis discusses his experience in managing large organisations and some of the policies of CCWD. Extensive discussion of leadership principles and the role of manager vs that of a Director.
Bob discusses the history of CCWD and some of the problems recently experienced. He is an outgoing CCWD Director and is Chair of the CCTA Water Committee.
Gary discusses the new jail, a need for new radio communications towers, AB 109, Veterans Court, crime reporting issues and developing a burglary response unit. The Veterans Court proposal was promoted by Charity Maness who was a previous guest on this program. She also has the Copper Gazette and writes for the Calaveras Enterprise. Gary has just been reelected to serve our county for another four years. In July we will be taping an interview with Candice Keesey, Executive Director, Friends of the Sheriff's Office which raised $50,000 for a new canine unit.
Joel talks about the new Bear Valley Mountain Cooperative, including who is currently involved, what are the goals and objectives and how Bear Valley affects our economy in Calaveras County. Also provided is information about the benefits of becoming a member and how to become one. Joel is also owner of Bear Valley Real Estate Brokerage.
Rebecca discussed the county budget including a range of possible solutions to the $8 million shortfall.
Pete was Manager of the Tuolumne County Water District for 20 years and shares wisdom and ideas on public services.
This 1/2 hour show is moderated by Joel Metzger. Participants are: Tim Healy, John J. Trifilo and Hugh Swift.
This 1/2 hour show is moderated by Joel Metzger. Participants are: Grant Barrett, Dana Leanne Pfeil and Kenneth M. Foley.
The 1/2 hour show is moderated by Stephen Crane, Editor. The participants are Sheriff Gary Kuntz and challenger Patrick Garrahan.
The one hour show is moderated by Stephen Crane, Editor. Participants are: Merita Callaway, Mike Oliveira and Mike Borian.
The one hour show is moderated by Joel Metzger, Editor. Participants are: Marti Crane, Steve Kearney, Darren Spellman and Roy Estakhri
Charity is owner of the Copper Gazette and a strong supporter of our veterans.
Joel is Editor of the Calaveras Enterprise and host of the popular PATV program Inside View. Fascinating discussion on wide variety of topics including the first Amendment.
Jeff is a Director with CCWD and President of the county Chamber. He discusses some of the challenges facing CCWD.
Merita is Supervisor of District 3. She discusses the current County budget crises and other topics
Barbara is our Calaveras County District Attorney. She discusses some of the challenges her department is facing such as the effects of AB 109 on local crime and the need for upgrading facilities to better serve the public.
Cory is a financial Advisor with a strong understanding of economics. He discusses how one could avoid the penalty for not buying government health insurance and other topics.
Mark represents Sierra Pacific Industries and is a former County Chamber President. He discusses current state of the timber industry in California.
Guy discusses an interesting perspective on our national economic problems.
Heather has done much research on the subject of the "Dark Side of Sustainability". Strong supporter of a free America. Dynamic lady.
Steve owns Moaning Cavern Park and other very successful enterprises in the Gold County. He is former President of the County Chamber, the Visitor's Bureau and is Vice President of the Calaveras Taxpayers Association. He discusses several interesting concepts.
Gary is our County Sheriff and he discusses progress in reducing response time and improvements including the new jail.
Richard represents the Pacific Legal Foundation and he discusses several interesting court cases.
Rebecca is our County Auditor/Controller and she discusses concerns about county overspending and other concerns.
George is our representative on the Board of Equalization and he discusses several issues including the Fire Tax.
Jon is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and is leading the lawsuit seeking to overturn the Fire Tax. He discusses other issues as well.
Redo General Plan?
At it's meeting on March 12th, the Calaveras County Planning Commission was requested to place Alternative "D" on it's agenda for future consideration.
The Alternatives are fundamental principles which will direct the extent of government control of private property.
According to Al Segalla, representing the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association, This review is necessary because the previous process was slanted toward a "progressive" agenda by the previous general plan consultant, Mintier Harnish who received over one million dollars to update the county General Plan.
All three of the alternatives (A,B, & C) recommended by the consultant expanded government control over land use of private property, while Alternative "D" which was proposed by local citizens at several workshops, respected property rights and the free market.
A copy of Alternative D is available HERE.
The Calaveras County Taxpayers Association (CCTA) has launched an outreach effort to promote constitutional principles through distribution of a booklet, The US Constitution and Fascinating Facts About It, to public officials and other leaders in Calaveras County.
The group's President, Al Segalla, said "The first batch of booklets was presented to County Supervisors at its Board meeting Tuesday, February 25 and to the Planning Commission on March 13."
More copies will be presented to other officials, educators and leaders in the near future. A Constitution contest with prizes for students is being considered. CCTA previously sponsored a student contest for posters and essays and the proud winners were presented awards from Congressman, Tom McClintock."
Bob Mulvany, CCTA Project Chair, said "These booklets are unique and have had over two million copies distributed worldwide. The booklet contains so much more than the founding document, including Fascinating Facts About the Founding Fathers, The Declaration Of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, The Supreme Court and 20 Land Mark Cases In Supreme Court History to name just a few."
The U.S. Constitution is one of the most influential legal documents in existence. Since its creation, some two hundred years ago, over one hundred countries around the world have used it as a model for their own.
Oak Hill Publishing Company, publisher of the booklets has created an extensive website, ConstitutionFacts.com
Why such effort and expense? Segalla said: "If we would preserve our constitutional form of government, we may be able to offer future generations an environment of freedom and prosperity that has been so good for mankind."
For more information or to help, call 785-1491.
General Plan Casualty Rescue
Have you received a recent postcard from us inviting you to take our survey?
If so, please Click Here to take the survey.
Taxpayer Association Raises Awareness
By Alicia Castro, Reporter, Calaveras Enterprise
Posted on July 26, 2013
In lieu of a Tea Party, the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association joined together for an afternoon barbecue Wednesday at Moaning Caverns Park in Vallecito.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit educational group aims at promoting wise use of public funds and protecting economic freedoms. It has co-sponsored four Tea Party events and five candidate forums over past years.
At its annual barbecue, the taxpayers association fed the masses with a meal catered by the Murphys Hotel and treated its guests to music by District 1 Supervisor Cliff Edson and Tonja Dausend of Burson.
Association President Al Segalla presented the Award for Excellence in Public Service to Brian Moss, administrator of the Environmental Management Agency. Moss also received recognition from the California Senate and Assembly.
Peter Racz, whom District 5 Supervisor Darren Spellman called a “frequent flyer” at county supervisor meetings, was given a surprise award for his dedication to the association’s mission.
“That’s perfect,” Racz said, looking at the plaque. Glancing up, he added, “Where’s the check?”
In addition to the awards, there was a panel discussion with Calaveras County officials: Lori Norton, chief administrative officer; Leslie Davis, assessor; Rebecca Callen, auditor/controller; and Barbara Sullivan, treasurer and tax collector.
After explaining their roles in the county, the panel was asked questions from the crowd – most notably, the state law or mandate they’d like to see clarified or changed.
Norton and Callen both referenced restricted purpose funds and called for more autonomy at the county level.
“If work is done locally, the money should be appropriated locally,” Callen said. “The state owes (us) a lot of money, and I would like to get it back.”
Callen also spoke to the need of matching expenditures against revenue. With expenditures increasing at a faster rate than revenue, she advised government officials to not make “creative” decisions.
“Our local government should be living within its means,” she said, to the hearty applause of the crowd.
Retired Sen. George Runner and Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, shared the floor in keynote speaking.
Coupal is the principal author of Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act. This proposition recently impacted Calaveras County when it mandated Calaveras County Water District to provide a 45-day notice of rate increases and made a 50 percent plus-one voter protest override possible.
The Howard Jarvis Association is also in the process of suing the state for the California Fire Prevention Fee, which was passed by a Democratic-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011.
The $150 annual fee, projected to raise more than $80 million to fund fire-prevention efforts, has begun to be levied upon more than 800,000 property owners whose homes sit within the 31 million-acre State Responsibility Area.
The Howard Jarvis Association website relating to the fee – firetaxprotest.com – clearly outlines its stance.
“We believe this fee imposed by politicians is really an illegal tax under Proposition 13.”
Until the lawsuit reaches a conclusion, property owners are obligated to pay the fee or face penalties.
According to the State Board of Equalization, if the fee isn’t paid by its due date, a penalty of 10 percent of the fee will be added to the amount due.
However, if the billing is appealed and the amount remains unpaid after redetermination, a doubled 20 percent penalty would be applied and accrued each month until the unpaid fee portion is paid.
“Legislature stuck it to the taxpayers,” said Runner, who represents the Board of Equalization’s 2nd District. “Not only with the fee, but the whole process.”
Runner’s district spans the vast majority of the state, and the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association calls him an “outspoken critic of the confusing and controversial California Fire Prevention Fee.”
The Howard Jarvis Association is still seeking petitions for redetermination, which can be found at firetaxprotest.comand the Calaveras County Assessor’s Office.
For more information about the Calaveras Taxpayers Association, visit ccta.camp8.org.
Contact Alicia Castro, Reporter, at email@example.com.
THE ONGOING WAR ON WORKING FOLKSWhy is it that the political party that once proudly declared that it stood for working people is now laboring so hard to cost those Californians who are still working their jobs?
Expect to hear a lot more pronouncements from state and local government officials about the need for tax increases, cuts to public services, or both. CalPERS, the huge pension fund that serves most California government employees, has announced it is raising its rates, a move that will cost employers undefined taxpayers that is undefined up to 50% more. For some local governments already on shaky financial footing, this may be the nudge that sends them down the bankruptcy road already traveled by Vallejo, Stockton and San Bernardino. Read more…
Fire Fee 2.0: Six Times Worse!
Assemblyman Wes Chesbro, who represents many rural taxpayers on California’s North Coast, is leading the charge to reinvent and expand the fire fee. His proposal (AB 468) would replace the fire fee with a 4.8 percent “surcharge” on all insured homeowners and businesses in the State of California, regardless of location.
Posted January 30, 2013
Taxpayers Present Awards in Murphys
The Calaveras County Taxpayers Association hosted its quarterly luncheon at the Murphys Historic Hotel, recently, with keynote speaker Congressman Tom McClintock, who presented Congressional recognition to County Assessor, Leslie Davis. Davis received the Associations award for Excellence in Public Service which was presented by Association President Al Segalla. Davis also received recognition from Senator Tom Berryhill and Assemblyman Frank Bigalow which was presented by their Staff member, Dana Jorgensen.
The Association also presented a surprise recognition award to McClintock for his “continued work promoting Freedom, Prosperity and Constitutional Government for the people of California and the people of United States of America”.
Other surprise recognitions went to Association Directors Kyran Enzi and Steve Fairchild for their support and dedication to the Association.
The remarks preceding the award to Kyran Enzi were: “To Kyran Enzi for 5 years of loyal service to the Association as Secretary, including helping to organize five annual BBQ s, over 60 Board of Directors meetings and 15 public Luncheons. This is in addition to serving as president of the Copperopolis Areas Business Association, all while providing elder care for her mother, Alice, who quietly passed on January 6, 2013 at the age of 94.”
The Historic Murphys Hotel received recognition for their support of the Association and providing excellent food and service at reasonable prices.
Also speaking was Rebecca Callen, County Auditor/Controller, who provided an update on county financial issues. There was some debate about the new CalPERS agreement as it relates to “defined benefits”.
Rich Taborek, innkeeper, talked about the proposed increase in the Transit Occupancy Tax which, he said, would provide entitlements to six nonprofit groups without oversight and also drop public works funding. Rebecca said that the proposed tax increase has not received proper legal review and is actually illegal as state law requires the Board of Supervisors to be responsible for local taxation. Other elected public officials at the meeting concurred with Rebecca.
Tom McClintock’s remarks included an update on federal issues and explained the current federal financial problem by comparing it with “a family that earns $27,000, but spends $36,000 and has run up a credit card debt of $165,000 is on the brink of financial ruin. Proportionally, that’s exactly where our federal government is today.” He authored HR 444 which would require the President to balance the budget or propose a plan to do so.
Who Are We?
The Calaveras County Taxpayers Association (CCTA) is a network of volunteers who care about the wise use of your tax dollars and maintaining good government.
Sadly, there are thousands of special interest groups, including government itself, dedicated to expanding government and raising your taxes at all levels. So, with your help, we intend to be the local lobby for the taxpayer to help bring back balance.
Here is our Mission Statement and Action Plan:
We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, citizen’s advocacy group committed to promoting wise use of taxes and limited government.
We do recognize the human rights to liberty and property in our free society.
We keep a watchful eye on all levels of government, including special districts, and promote a better public understanding of government issues.
We offer awards for excellence in public service.
CCTA Action Plan
Attend Supervisors Meetings
Hold Public Meetings with Speaker
Organize Candidate & Issue Forums
Present Public Service Awards
Support Privatization Research
Email Alerts to Members
Send Postcard Alerts to Public
Provide Web Discussion Forum
Please consider Joining the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association today. Just click HERE. Thank you.
Al Segalla, President
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