Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fee Fee Fie Fo

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned -- this is the sum of good government. - THOMAS JEFFERSON

Get this the City of San Buenaventura has decided on advice from a paid consultant to eliminate taxes and substitute fee for service. Well, not exactly. They are on course to levy taxes AND charge fees for the same services. That'll teach the rabble to exercise democracy in a town controlled by planning elites. Note; emphasis added.

Inspection fee draws fire

The city of Ventura Fire Department has sent a bill along with its annual reminder to some 1,200 homeowners near brush-covered areas, notifying them that they owe a $99 fee for weed-abatement inspections, even if they do their own weed clearing.

The fee is necessary to pay for hundreds of hours of annual inspections that the department no longer can afford, Fire Marshal Brian Clark said.

"We need to recover our costs," he said. "We need a sustainable funding source for this program. That's the bottom line."

The inspection fee — another apparent first in Ventura County for the city — quickly drew fire from hillside homeowners like Mary Lory, who said she and husband Ernie have taken proactive measures for 20 years to rid their backyard on Via Cielito of weeds and unnecessary brush buildup.

She said she was aghast when she opened her city letter Tuesday — Tax Day — and discovered yet another fee placed on residents and an invoice stating that if she didn't pay by June 1, she would be cited, fined and face a lien placed against her property.

Ventura has also drawn fire for being the first city in Southern California to charge for 911 service.

Fire prevention is important, Lory said, but she's frustrated that city leaders didn't give residents any notice or a chance to comment before forcing them to pay for a basic government service.

"The city kept insisting it's not a tax and not a penalty," she said of a conversation she had with a Fire Department employee. "I told her, You can choose to call it what you want. I choose to call it extortion.' "
Ventura used to collect a small administrative fee in the early 1990s, Clark said, but it was suspended after concerns rose regarding compliance with statewide fee statutes.

Last year, the city hired an independent auditor, Maximus Inc., which suggested the costs of the fire prevention program could be passed on to property owners who benefit the most, Clark said. As a result, the fee was re-established at $99 by the City Council as part of the city's annual fee update in June, he said.

None of the 1,252 property owners sent bills this week were explicitly notified of the June public hearing outside normal postings, and there was no public comment on the fee, minutes of the City Council meeting show.

Asked if the city considered a public education campaign, Clark said there was little point.

"We considered a full-scale media campaign," he said. "But what's the difference between notifying people and sending a bill? It just adds to the cost."

The inspection fee comes on the heels of a controversial monthly charge imposed on residents' phone lines by the City Council this year for 911 dispatch services. Critics say the 911 fee is a tax that should go to voters for approval, and hillside resident Royce Townsend sees the inspection fee in the same vein.
Ventura Mayor Christy Weir said the fee is part of a city effort to recoup money for direct services when feasible. The city faces a $4 million deficit in the budget that begins July 1.

Let's be clear here. This is a tax. Let's be even more clear. $99 is an outrageous tax. Think about it. The fireman comes to your house, looks at your weeds and leaves. The fee were it based on costs looks to be recovering some $2000/hr but what can you expect from a ccity council that is spending money to look at burying the freeway.

Blog note; I've been lazy aand lots of good stuff has piled up. I'll clear the backlog and put up 3-4 posts per day and then get back on track. Seaworld was fun and they didn't mistake me for the walrus.

Update: Homer has a point. Addendum attached.

And so Casey and Akubi don't feel neglected:


wagga said...

Firstly, that is a tax. And it is outrageous.

w said...

Let us hope Mayor Morehouse's second term is his last.

Rob Dawg said...

Carl [Moorehouse] is a nice guy but he spent his entire career as a county planner. I often thought we should disqualify civil servants from elected positions and lawyers from serving in anything but the judical branch. I see the workings of the House Judicial Committee where only one member is not a lawyer. That's as wrong as Ventura having two planners on the council and another as city manager.

H Simpson said...


When we said we love those smoking hot photos, this is not what we meant dude...

Ahh, the weather has broken, the grass is getting greener, and the bitches on housewives of Orange County are watching their lives collapse in HD. Sweet!


H Simpson said...

here is a link showing stupid real estate moves are not a west coast monopoly.


Note: Manchester by the Sea is a conclave of some of the most stuck up folks you ever met. Used to be just Manchester until a couple years ago. They did not want anyone to think they might be associated with a city just north of the Mass border.

I guess the current owners were a bit clueless compared to the new ones when it came to inspections. You think they may take a hit on the price for that lack of due dilligence? Or, is there really a live buyer for the house, or did they check the soil themselves for an escape clause?

Funny how that 4 bedroom abode is not big enough for the 2 plus junior...

How long before every underwater homeowner is checking if their abode is sited on a dump and can sue to get all their money back.

the unique angles of walking away with all your cash are starting to come into play. I think we may be at the next inning of this ball game. Pass the peanuts willya?


Casey Serin said...

I like the picture, for once -- sweaty guy with both hands tightly wrapped around a hose, causing liquids to spew forth...


Casey Serin said...

Thanks for the updated pic as well, Robbo... one of the updated pics, anyway. ;-)

If the city of Ventura wants to raise cash, why not purchase some houses in a neighborhood county or state? With Robert Kiyosaki's time-tested cash-back-at-close thrown in the mix, of course. Get the cash up front, then default on the mortgage and let the other county deal with the foreclosure. Win-win!!

Jean ValJean said...

The sky is blue!
When it rains, the ground gets wet!
Gas from corn raises food prices, experts say! And Bat-boy agrees!


wagga said...


Bzzzzzt! virga

Jean ValJean said...

then I just call it precipitation, not rain...

Bill said...

David & Julie's biggest problem was that they bought a $350,000 house for $850,000+

And have foreclosures overtaken sales in CA?


wagga said...

fee fie fo fum...

Is this the missing fum ?.

Is it at the Mayor's address?.

Should kc be scared, very scared?.

Casey Serin said...

Should kc be scared, very scared?

A 6-inch spray can? I prefer when actual human body parts are shoved in there, but that's just me... to each his own. ;-)

w said...

See, if the city hired a firewoman like that and sent her around for 'brush inspections' I would chip in for that.

Akubi said...

A "win" for Hitlery is a win for the folks who really care about this country and olympic - oops, I mean - flag pins.

Lou Minatti said...

A "win" for Hitlery

Amazing. Less than two years ago if a righttard called her that the MoveOn crowd would be braying for blood.

Shrillery hasn't changed, so what can explain this? (I know the answer, but I want to see your opinion on it.)

Akubi said...

Flag pins! It's flag pins I tell ya!

Akubi said...


aaron said...

another one from Pearlstein. calling it like it is.


probably still a little optimistic but damn I bet he gives some folks the shivers with that kind of talk

aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.