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Political Fix by Gloria Penner

San Diego County's deadline for submitting initiatives for the November 4 th ballot is Friday, August 8 th , so there's a mad scramble for getting local measures approved in time or wait until 2010. Two of them deserve our attention since they just made it before the cut-off date and even those who voted to put those propositions on the ballot, don't seem overly pleased with what they did.

Let's start with the unanimous decision by the County Board of Supervisors to have voters decide whether to fund a new regional fire agency, some local fire districts, and an assortment of reserve fire engines, water bombers and other regional equipment. As we approach fire season -- with San Diego's devastating wildfires in recent years a vivid reminder of our county's lack of adequate fire prevention and fire protection -- this would seem to be a popular measure.

But even most of the supervisors and other supporters doubt its passage because of the two-thirds majority vote requirement since a tax is involved. The much-needed funding would come from a $52 parcel tax paid by most of the county's land owners. That amounts to $1 a week. It doesn't seem like much, especially as the summer temperatures soar, the humidity drops, and the Santa Ana blows. But in this economic environment where folks are struggling to fill their gas tanks, put food on the table, pay for prescription drugs and medical care, any tax can be difficult to swallow.

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