Morongo Valley homeowners unhappy with FP-5 tax increases and NO ballot sent with LAFCO mailers urged to write the board of supervisors

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By Judith Lynn Laffoon, Landers, CA | Wed., Sept. 9, 15 min ago |

Morongo Basin Friends,

Unhappy with FP-5 and also NO ballot being included with the notice? How about sending a letter of complaint to the Board of Supervisors?

For your consideration, a “SAMPLE” complaint letter is below, and this SAMPLE letter can also be found in [Word format and PDF format for downloading from this Facebook page Link. The SAMPLE letter below can be copied and pasted into your word processor’s format.]

It’s a SAMPLE letter. Please edit to include your own comments, and make sure you include your name, address, and phone number (optional).

This SAMPLE complaint letter was researched, compiled, and composed by the very intelligent Cindy Pague. Thank you, Cindy, for providing us with the information that each of us can use to write our own complaint letter and send it to the Board of Supervisors.



Robert Lovingood, Janice Rutherford, James Ramos, Curt Hagman, Josie Gonzales
Board of Supervisors San Bernardino County Protection District
San Bernardino County Government Center
385 North Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino CA 92415
Subject: Proposed Expansion of Service Zone FP-5
We would like to inform the Board of Supervisors of mishandling and misrepresentation of information regarding the Proposed Expansion of Service Zone FP-5 to the property owners involved, and ask for consideration in this matter.
The chaos of the fire tax proposal and misinformation are immense. We have never seen a blatant disrespect for the tax payers by County Fire such as this. We support each and every firefighter on the department and want to see the department successful. These are the men and women that are coming to our house to protect our family and we do care! That said, here are noted issues and inconsistencies with FP-5:
Specific to the Morongo Basin areas, there were short notices given about public meetings, as such they were not seen by all property owners. Example: There was a brief article on Facebook “two” days before the Yucca Valley meeting; resulted in a low turnout by property owners. The same applied for the Joshua Tree meeting.
Many property owners who attended the Yucca Valley meeting witnessed the Fire Chief not answering questions or rambling on about something not related to the question. Legitimate questions were asked responded to in a laughing matter – “next question”. When questioned, the Chief would also not say if the funds would go into the General Fund and used for purposes other than Fire Services. In fact, there was no commitment respects adding or expanding services, the intent given for this tax.
If this goes through, Yucca Valley citizens would be paying “over a million dollars” a year more for Fire services than what they pay for Police services. Personal protection and a safe community from Police services are most important. Police services also make a written commitment respects their protection versus the Chief who will not say what additional services will be provided by the proposed fire tax.
You are asking us to approve a fire tax before we know what the revenue will be used for, which is ludicrous. If we have not seen a detailed proposed budget, how can we approve the fire tax? You are asking us to give the Chief funding for a obscure cause which has no defined purpose.
The Fire Chief did not provide information respects addition service, to the contrary, some areas will lose services e.g., Yucca Mesa, in Landers or the Eastern Johnson Valley . The plan is to close the Fire Station 42 on Aberdeen and move the personnel and equipment to a new proposed location on the west end of Yucca Valley . This will cause a significant delay in response times for the three areas mentioned, as well as increased fire insurance premiums and possibly make Landers and Johnson Valley uninsurable!
Property owners asked questions on the website related to FP-5. The same questions were asked by many but the responses were all different; each answer is misleading in its own way. Some had to ask the same question twice before they could even get an answer. There is a lot of deflection and misleading answers. There should be 100% “transparency” for all property owners involved.
There are currently 6 FP zones in the County. 1 through 6. FP-1: Red mountain, FP-2: Windy Acres, FP-3: El Mirage, FP-4: Wonder Valley , FP-5: Helendale and FP-6: Havasu Landing. All the current FP Zones were voted on via a ballot process. Why is the new FP-5 being forced on us without a vote?
Some areas currently pay 0%, 5%, 10%, and 15% versus Yucca Valley property owners who pay 22% of their County Property tax towards fire services. If this passes Yucca Valley property owners will be forced to pay an additional $157.26 per parcel as a blanket tax with an annual increase of 3% without a cap. Why is everyone in Yucca Valley getting the same blanket increase? Is it fair and equal that everyone should pay an additional $157.26 when some are currently paying 22% and others currently pay 0%?
Another concern, all of the Morongo Basin has spotty internet service and it is an encumbrance for some property owners to have access to the website. There are a lot of impoverished people in this region that don’t have internet, some have limited phone service. How can you have a protest with limited internet and limited phone service?
The process should take place via a mail in ballot. At the very least, the protest form should have been included with the mailer and a return stamped envelope. This process however was pretty much all internet-based and as such, not all property owners were given an opportunity to file a protest.
How can the proposed fire tax be valid in less than 1 month, when the information was so badly misrepresented? Ex. Item #68 SB County Board of Supervisors recent agenda wording changed from “annexation to expansion” and area from 11,215 acres to 12,207,306 acres. How can the fire tax be valid when the process of sharing the information was so blatantly mishandled?
The protest process should be canceled and brought back to the voters. It should be by way of a vote from the affected property owners because this process though legal is immoral and not the American way!
The Hi-Desert Star newspaper reported that at the Lake Arrowhead meeting the Chief was asked what percentage of the revenue goes for the Pension fund and his response was 64%. What the Chief likely meant was 64% goes for salaries, benefits, administrative costs, and 7 to 7-1/2% towards the Pension fund. But who really knows without a breakdown review of his proposed budget?
The Chief stated at the Yucca Valley meeting, he is looking to make his job easier and fund his budget for the next 10 years. Why are tax payers being asked to make the Chief’s job easier and why are tax payers being asked to fund an overstated budget? The Chief should carve back his budget and live within the means of a conservative budget like every other entity anywhere else in this County.
The intent of this complaint is to make you aware of the negligence in the handling and the misrepresentation of the information. Based on the above, will you allow property owners to vote on this matter and restart the process with more consideration respects proper notifications, detailed information and a fair and honest approach for all property owners involved?
Respectfully submitted,
John Q. Public
City, CA zip
Featured Image Attribute S.B. County FireFP-5

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One Response to Morongo Valley homeowners unhappy with FP-5 tax increases and NO ballot sent with LAFCO mailers urged to write the board of supervisors

  1. Branson Hunter
    Branson Hunter September 26, 2018 at 8:34 am

    The policy, custom, and practice of the LAFCO’S protest triple assessment fees, procedurally, has a chilling effect on state and federal fundamental due process requirements. Those fundamental rights are being suppressed. The county ought to be challenged asking the court for declaratory relief, and that the protest ballot be set aside. That county LAFCO adapt a new procedural process that conforms to an up or down protest ballot in which incorporating fundamental due process during the entire process.

    The issues in the sample letter are constitutional related issues; i.e., the absence of reasonable and prudent procedural due process as provided by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.The intentional omission of a ballot is gross neglect and obviously intended to diminish the vote or confuse homeowners. Isn’t the county required to insure minimal constitutional safeguards because it receives federal funds. Minimal due process safeguards are required of the California Constitution, and due process is embodied in the text of the Fourteenth Amendment as it applies to the states.

    Please consider writing the board of supervisors a letter. If no postage, then email the letter to Supervisor James Ramos Third District.


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