Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bonny Doon Detachment

Recent Email to MNN news regarding the proposed Bonny Doon detachment:

Hi Neil,

I just became aware that LAFCO has set the date for its hearing regarding the possible departure of Bonny Doon Volunteer Fire (BDVF) from Santa Cruz County Fire (SCCF). I spoke very briefly at the May forum regarding this issue looming on the horizon. If you imagine the volunteer departments in SCCF as legs on a chair you can well imagine what might happen if the Bonny Doon leg departs. The County Fire budget is so tight now that the loss of just "one leg" will undoubtedly result in the closing of a station.

The unfortunate consequences of BVFD heading out on its own could be catastrophic for fire service in the rest of the unincorporated county. Their plan makes no allowances for that impact and they have been unconcerned regarding the ability of other volunteer fire teams in SCCF to provide Fire and EMS services to their communities. They actively campaigned against last years measure to increase the parcel tax, increasing the potential impact of their possible departure. Davenport stands to be completely isolated as a result of any BDVF departure. Bonny Doon Volunteer Fire's answer has been to suggest that Davenport citizens petition the Board of Supervisors to shift funding from the Sheriff to pay for their coverage.

Of course, in Bonny Doon the picture is not much brighter. Should they succeed in forming their own district, BDVF would have to make good on their proposal to run their own departrment. This will be no small accomplishment given the constantly rising costs of running a fire department. That's the reason why, contrary to the actions of BDVF, fire districts across the country are consolidating at an ever increasing pace, not breaking apart. The stakes are very high for the community of Bonny Doon.

So what you end up with is a very real threat to our Fire and EMS service, specifically in the communities of Corralitos, Davenport, Loma Prieta, South Skyline and yes, Bonny Doon as well. That's simply not right.

What can we do about it? We can let LAFCO know that it is absolutely unacceptable for any fire company that is a part of Santa Cruz County Fire to separate if it has a negative impact on the rest of SCCF.

How do we go about it? Community members need to write letters, send emails to LAFCO or attend and speak at the public hearing scheduled for September 22nd at 7pm in Santa Cruz. Reference the material above or feel free to talk to any member of Loma Prieta Fire and Rescue or South Skyline Fire. If that person doesn't have the answer they will refer you to someone who does. You can also call or email me as well.

If we are to maintain our level of Fire and EMS service we must act now before LAFCO makes its decision. If LAFCO doesn't hear from all of us, it may well assume it doesn't matter to us.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Thank you,

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