Fire protection isn’t something many of us think about when we look at how we are going to vote in the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors 5th District election. But if you live in the San Lorenzo Valley, you know how vitally important fire services are, and that is why I support former state Senator and Assemblyman Bruce McPherson in his bid for the 5th District seat.
As a firefighter for the Ben Lomond Fire District for 34 years, the past 17 as chief, career ending in 2004, I frequently saw Bruce McPherson at fire district and SLV fire chief’s meetings, where he knowledgeably discussed how new bills would affect local fire districts such as ours. One bill in particular, Proposition 172, was a sales tax increase for support of local public safety. Bruce attended an SLV chief council meeting and advised us that, yes, the bill will support local public safety, but no funding to local fire districts. Bruce was right; Proposition 172 did not produce funding for fire districts. Bruce then worked toward fire districts receiving funding.
When the SLV fire protection districts needed to buy new fire engines, then-state Sen. McPherson wrote Senate Bill 2200 that created a state tax exemption to help districts like ours with such big purchases. SLV fire chiefs and fire district board members went to support Bruce in Sacramento as he fought to get his bill enacted. Three years of determined effort was not enough to get the majority votes needed from the state taxation board. Bruce’s support never wavered.
Bruce’s steadfast support for local fire protection districts impressed me when he was in Sacramento. His continued dedication to public safety issues now is why I believe he is the best candidate for the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors 5th District seat.
Stephen T. Sanders, Ben Lomond