Fire Camp Lets Kids Be Firefighters for a Week

Sac Metro Fire Special Release  |  2017-04-06

To attend Fire Camp, applicants must be 11, 12 or 13 years of age, with preference given to those living within Metro Fire’s boundaries.

Metro Fire recently opened the application period for Fire Camp, a day camp that takes place from July 11-14, 2017.  Fire Camp provides local children a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience today’s fire service, first hand.  The program is designed to instill self-confidence, teamwork, teach life safety skills and provide a basic understanding of the firefighting profession, in a fun and exciting atmosphere.

Campers are grouped in “strike teams” of eight campers, and each strike team is mentored by two Metro Firefighters. Campers learn valuable life safety skills, while discovering what it means to be a firefighter.

To attend Fire Camp, applicants must be 11, 12 or 13 years of age, with preference given to those living within Metro Fire’s boundaries.  Applications are processed in the order in which they are received, so apply early for a better chance of securing a spot. Deadline to apply is June 5, 2017.

For applications and more information, visit our website:

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Ganned if You Do, Ganned if You Don’t

Commentary by Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-04

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado)

From the same governor who brought you the illegal fire tax now comes a plan to blow the top off California’s spending cap and leave taxpayers on the hook for tens of billions in extra taxes. It’s a bad idea that fractures the faith between citizens and government and spells trouble for California’s fiscal future.

With California’s runaway spending, it’s hard to believe the state even has an expenditure limit. But in 1979, a year after signing off on the revolutionary Prop. 13, voters passed Proposition 4, implementing the “Gann Limit,” which would peg California’s state spending to the 1978-79 level and only let it grow adjusted for inflation and population.  State revenues above the voter-approved limit actually had to be refunded to taxpayers, an event that would cause panic attacks in today’s money-hungry capitol.

In 1986-87, a boon year for tax revenues, the state issued more than one billion dollars in rebates to relieved taxpayers who finally had some protection from an insatiable Sacramento.

Alas, it was too good to go on forever. Proposition 111 in 1990 defanged the Gann Limit, weakening its terms, and it now rarely factors into budgeting decisions.

But, weak as it is, it’s still on the books, and there is no ceiling too high for the Democrats when it comes to government spending. Governor Brown’s new budget proposal is straining against even the wilted Gann Limit, and he’s going to do something about it.

Is he going to cut spending? Is he going to refund taxpayers? Or is he going to manipulate the budget to carve out more room to spend?

If you went with manipulate, I’ve got a job in the California Department of Finance for you.

Brown proposes taking $22 billion off the Gann Limit books this year. The money would not be accounted for as state spending or as local spending, as required in the original Proposition. For Gann Limit purposes it would just disappear, like the hopes of fiscal conservatives all around the state, if his scheme is successful.

In essence, he would open up an avenue for another $22 billion in spending by reclassifying the current $22 billion. He would not spend less, he would not adhere to the even the watered-down mandates of the 1979 Gann Limit reform, he would just trick his way around the spending cap.

Try this sort of deception on your tax return to see how the state normally views creative exemptions of the sort they are practicing now.

Spending is taxes. The two can’t be separated, and Governor Brown’s bad-faith end-run around the Gann Limit guarantees a heavier load for California taxpayers and a California perpetually stretched to its fiscal limit.

I have a novel idea: Live up to the law. If taxpayers deserve rebates, give them rebates! Don’t twist and distort or outright ignore the law just because it lets taxpayers keep more of their money. They earned it in the first place; it’s not a gift that a benevolent government doles out.

If the state is bringing in too much money and spending too much, get rid of the illegal fire tax or cut the Vehicle License Fee. Cut tax rates! That would put more money back in people’s pockets without putting the government in the way as a rebate middleman.

The Gann Limit has been little more than a rumor for decades, but it is a rule passed by the people to protect them from just the kind of spending excess proposed by Governor Brown. It’s a sad commentary on our state, but when it comes to raising your taxes, rules seem made to be broken.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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It’s no secret Sacramento is a terrific environment for startups with university talent, investors, accelerator and startup programs, driving distance to the Bay Area, and an international airport, not to mention great quality of life. What is less known are the many features that distinguish us from other startup-friendly communities.

First, there’s our senior population. Americans aged 65 and older are expected to grow from 46 million to more than 98 million by 2060. California is projected to be among the fastest growing states. Californians age 60+ are expected to grow more than twice as fast as the total state population. By 2040, nearly 500,000 people age 60 and over are expected to live in Sacramento County.

A growing field addressing the needs of seniors is gerontechnology, a combination of gerontology and technology. It blends technology and innovation to address the challenges of aging and caregiving. For the savvy entrepreneur, it’s potentially the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

AARP reported in January 2016, “Companies from established multinationals to startups, mass-market firms to niche players, are recognizing a (senior) caregiving market opportunity that’s expected to reach $72 billion in 2020 alone. The cumulative total for 2016-2020 is expected to be $279 billion.”

A second unique feature is that in the west coast, Sacramento most reflects the overall makeup of the United States. An indication of how a product or service may perform nationally can be obtained locally. For startups targeting the 60+ crowd, Sacramento seniors offer an invaluable wealth of feedback to entrepreneurs. Innovation and technology may come from the youth, but practicality, insights and reality checks come from seniors.

A third feature of Sacramento is the growing infrastructure of startup support. In addition to the Hacker Lab, Urban Hive, Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy, SCORE, Sacramento Business Services Center and numerous Meetup groups, startup specialty groups are locating in Sacramento. Aging2.0 (, based in San Francisco, focuses on helping entrepreneurs who are targeting the senior market.

Keri Vogtmann, (, founder of the Sacramento Aging2.0 chapter notes, “Given the Sacramento business landscape, we have a real opportunity to be the epicenter of gerontechnology.” Ms. Vogtmann is currently organizing the Sacramento Aging 2.0 pitch competition on Tuesday, April 18, 5:30 – 8:00p.m. The public is welcome to attend and vote for the startups they feel best meet the needs of seniors. Registration is at

Health 2.0 ( is another startup specialty group, focusing on healthcare innovation. Keisuke Nakagawa ( is the co-founder of Health 2.0 Sacramento and of whitekoat, a startup focused on developing technologies to advance medical education and health literacy. “Sacramento and its leadership have done a tremendous job cultivating and promoting startups. It’s becoming a powerful startup ecosystem,” commented Mr. Nakagawa. “This is especially true in healthcare.”

Being the state capital is a fourth unique feature of Sacramento. Governments are often viewed as slow and not innovative. This is not necessarily accurate. Through policy, governments can create opportunities for startups. The critical factor is entrepreneurs’ involvement in local and state government. There are numerous ways to be involved. The Sacramento County Adult and Aging Commission ( is one of many bodies that welcomes the involvement of private citizens. Among other things, this commission is charged with advising the Board of Supervisors on matters relating to older and dependent adults. Entrepreneurs interested in gerontechnology are welcome on this commission.

“We fail to see that there is a cause and effect in our relationship with government,” said Mr. Nakagawa. “Being close to policy makers can be a strategic advantage.”

The startup “bones” of Sacramento – talent, investors, support organizations, user population and geography – create a solid foundation for entrepreneurs. What makes us especially appealing for startups are our additional qualities: our vital senior population, our national profile, startup specialty groups and being the state capital. When you put it all together, Sacramento is primed to be a synergistic startup epicenter.

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Capitol Democrat Plan Siphons 30% of Transportation Taxes Away from Roads

Commentary from Assembly Republican Communications  |  2017-04-04

Capitol Democrats have announced a plan to increase taxes by $5 billion a year for transportation, but little-to-no money will go toward relieving traffic. Instead, much of those funds will be raided for pet projects that have nothing to do with getting Californians out of gridlock.

FACT: On Day One, the plan already siphons away 30 percent of new money to projects other than roads, including parks, workforce apprenticeships, rural bike lanes, boats, trains and local planning grants.

FACT: The plan mandates that LESS THAN FIVE PERCENT of funds can go to traffic relief or lane expansion, ignoring Californians in major urban areas who spend nearly three days a year in unnecessary traffic.

FACT: The Capitol Democrat plan raises the gas tax by 70 percent (the largest gas tax increase in state history) and increases the average cost of registering a vehicle by 25 percent.

FACT: A person who fills up their car’s tank once a week will pay an extra $125 a year due to the gas tax increase.

If you drive a pickup, it would be an extra $260.

FACT: Capitol Democrats claim that we haven’t raised the gas tax in decades, but the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that cap and trade has created a hidden gas tax of 15 cents and recently estimated that could increase to 74 cents per gallon.

FACT: Naming a Transportation Inspector General is an artificial reform: it simply renames an existing Caltrans department and provides no independent oversight. The Assembly Republican plan would create an independent Inspector General’s Office to oversee Caltrans.

Providing roadways is a core function of our government. It’s time for Capitol Democrats to stop raiding transportation funds for pet projects and build the roads that will get Californians out of traffic.

Assembly Republicans have a plan that fully funds road repairs AND traffic relief without raising taxes on hard working Californians.

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French Invasion

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-03-31

The French Air Force’s Elite “Patrouille de France” is set to Perform at Mather Airport on April 15th. This event honors the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Entering World War I. 
--Photos courtesy CCA

French Air Force’s Elite “Patrouille de France” to Perform at Mather Airport April 15 event Honors 100th Anniversary of US Entering World War I

America’s oldest ally, France, is sending her world-renown aerial military jet demonstration team to Mather for one day only. The event is sponsored by the California Capital Airshow (CCA) and the City of Rancho Cordova for a single performance on April 15th.

This stop is part of a limited tour by the French Air Force to honor the 100th Anniversary of the United States entering into World War I. It also corresponds to the upcoming centennial celebrations honoring the opening of Mather Field, which would later become Mather Air Force Base.

The performance is the only west coast appearance and one of only eight U.S. cities to host this extraordinary eight-ship military jet demonstration team, known as “Patrouille de France.”

The visit from Patroille de France marks the first time the CCA will host an off-season airshow demonstration. While the aerial demonstration will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, April 15, the Patrouille de France will arrive in Sacramento on Thursday, April 13, according to CCA Executive Director Darcy Brewer.

“The event certainly has its historical significance, but it will also serve as an opportunity for aviation fans to witness heart-pounding jet engines in flight months before the premier California Capital Airshow on September 9 and 10,” said Brewer.

“The California Capital Airshow is proud to honor the men and women who serve, while introducing families and spectators to the power and magic of flight,” Darcy Brewer commented.  “This event is a tribute from our French allies to the American heroes of World War I and a rare opportunity to experience this world class air force up close and personal.”

Rancho Cordova Mayor Donald Terry commented on the City's sponsorship of the event, "We are pleased to welcome the French Air Force's elite 'Patrouille de France' to Mather Airport. This is their only west coast apparance so enthusiasts in the region will have an opportunity to experience something rarte and of historical significance."

"We are especially pleased that we have not one, but two Airshows to look forward to this year," said Terry.

The French pilots will take part in a number of community engagement events leading up to Saturday. “We are very excited about the upcoming visit of the Patrouille de France in California,” said Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, Consul General of France in San Francisco. “The French Air Force’s elite demonstration will illustrate the close relationship between our two countries.”

Details of the Patrouille de France airshow:

  • When: Saturday, April 15. Gates open at 10 a.m. Show is Noon to 2 p.m.
  • Where: Sacramento County’s Mather Airport
  • What: One day only, aerial demonstration by the French Air Force’s elite Patrouille de France
  • Who: In addition to the Patrouille de France flight team, French dignitaries and U.S. and California officials will be on hand to honor the historic anniversary
  • How: Ticket sales open on March 23 to Airshow Insiders only. Anyone can sign up to become an Insider here. If capacity allows, ticket sales will open to non-Insiders on March 30. No tickets will be available day-of event.

This event is part of the U.S. tour to commemorate the 100th anniversary of United States entering World War I on April 6, 1917, to support the United States’ allies in Europe.  In 1918, roughly a year later Mather Field opened, serving primarily as an U.S. Army Air Service flight training center for servicemen on their way to World War I battlefields in Western Europe.

The California Capital Airshow Established in 2004, the California Capital Airshow 501(c)(3) plans and operates the exciting, family-friendly annual event designed to honor the Sacramento region’s rich aviation heritage and veterans while using the power and magic of flight to inspire young people.

CCA gives back to the community through scholarships, charitable group donations and exciting educational youth programming throughout the year. For more information about the airshow, performers, and discount tickets, please visit

For extended content, please visit the Grapevine Independent webpage: For more information about the airshow, performers, and discount tickets, please visit

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Senator Gaines Reacts to Tax-Spiking Transportation Proposal

Source: Office of Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-03-30

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado), Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing, today reacted to Governor Brown and Legislative Democrats’ announcement of a $5.2 billion road-funding package that imposes permanent new gas taxes and user fees on motorists:

“Is anyone shocked that the proposed solutions to a very real transportation infrastructure crisis are more taxes and fees? It’s all Sacramento knows and it’s a tired formula that punishes taxpayers for the sins of the politicians.

“We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country, made even more apparent by the potholes and sinkholes from recent storms. High Speed Rail needs to be put out of its misery before families pay another penny in gas taxes. The California Department of Transportation is overstaffed by 3,500 people, wasting $500 million every year. Cut that fat before forcing people to pay a new registration fee for their cars. California diverts a billion dollars in weight fees away from transportation infrastructure every single year. Let’s put that money back into road building before shaking down commuters and businesses even more.

“Californians are getting thirty-three cents on the dollar for their transportation spending and pay about three times the national average per mile of road maintenance. That begs for regulatory reform so that meaningless red tape doesn’t get in the way of delivering infrastructure at a cost that’s fair to taxpayers. Why is it that California spends nearly $50,000 in administration per state-controlled road mile while Texas only spends $4,000? Should our bureaucracy really cost 12-times more than theirs?

“The new Washington, D.C. is proposing a massive infrastructure investment, common-sense, money-saving regulatory reforms, and cutting taxes – all at the same time. California needs to follow Washington’s lead instead of continuing to reach into hard- working taxpayers’ pockets to deliver the same pathetic results.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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New California Law Puts Charge in Lead-Acid Battery Sales

Source: CA State Board of Equalization  |  2017-03-29

Beginning April 1, 2017, sales of lead-acid batteries will be subject to two $1 fees. Manufacturers will pay a $1 fee for every lead-acid battery sold to a retailer, wholesaler, distributor, or other person for retail sale in California. Consumers will pay a $1 fee on each purchase of a replacement lead-acid battery.

As signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act of 2016 requires retailers to register, collect, and remit the fee to the Board of Equalization (BOE); and manufacturers to register and remit the fee to the BOE. Manufacturers who are considered retailers are required to collect the $1 California battery fee as well as pay the $1 manufacturer battery fee. Retailers who purchase and import lead-acid batteries from a manufacturer who is not subject to the jurisdiction of California must pay the $1 manufacturer battery fee.

A lead-acid battery – the type commonly found in vehicles – is any battery that weighs more than five kilograms (11 pounds), is composed primarily of both lead and sulfuric acid, and has a capacity of six or more volts. Retailers will charge a refundable deposit, subject to sales tax, when a consumer purchases a replacement lead-acid battery and does not simultaneously provide a used lead-acid battery to the dealer.

The fee is expected to generate $26 million annually. Revenues collected will be deposited into the Lead-Acid Battery Cleanup Fund, where they will be used to investigate, evaluate, clean up, remediate, remove, monitor, or otherwise respond to any area in the state that may have been contaminated by the operation of a lead-acid battery recycling facility.

Beginning April 1, 2022, manufacturers will no longer be required to collect and remit the $1 fee. Instead, consumers will pay a $2 fee upon purchase of a replacement lead-acid battery.

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