Capitol Democrats Propose New Fireworks Tax

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Celebrating America’s independence this Fourth of July? There’s a tax for that.

Legislative Democrats have proposed a tax increase on Fourth of July fireworks sales. The new fireworks tax will tack on another 3 percent to each fireworks purchase.

Even though the state is working with a $9 billion budget surplus this year, Legislative Democrats cannot seem to get their hands on enough taxpayer money.

“Democrats have hit Californians with a new gas tax and housing tax over the past year,” said Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach). “Now, they want a new fireworks tax too?”

The fireworks tax (SB 794) will reach deeper into consumers’ pockets and likely reduce sales for local non-profit organizations that operate most fireworks stands in the state as fundraisers. Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have united in opposition.

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City Council Votes to Censure Councilman Daniels

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-06-08

Councilmember Asks for Resignation Amidst Allegations

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The Citrus Heights City Council voted to publicly censure Councilman Bret Daniels in a swift 4-1 vote on Thursday afternoon.

Daniels, who has been accused of stalking his high school girlfriend over the course of several decades, disputes the accusations and gave a long recount of what he claimed to be nothing more than a mutual friendship. Daniels stated that he was in a relationship with the unnamed woman from roughly 1976-1980 and was even briefly engaged to her, but since then they have remained distant, mutual friends.

“It will be a shame if this council feels they have to censure me for something that isn’t true,” said Daniels after his long recount of over 40 years written in a prepared statement. Pleading his innocence, he claimed, “There’s no findings because there’s no investigation.”

But the council did not feel the same way and according to the meeting’s agenda, in both 2008 and 2017 the police were in fact notified and investigated Daniels’ behavior.

The agenda reads:
“In 2008, the Citrus Heights Police Department investigated certain matters relating to Bret Daniels who was not then a City Council Member. In 2017, the Police Department investigated related matters regarding Council Member Daniels. Following usual protocol, the Police Department did not share the 2008 or 2017 investigation, or results thereof, with the City Council or other parties. However, in mid-May 2018, the City received a Public Records Act request relating to the 2017 investigation and, later, a second request relating to the 2008 investigation.”

In 2000 Daniels was fired from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department after abusing the use of classified information to track down a woman living in Tucson, Arizona while on a city business trip and then later lying about it.

“We have two representations that are worlds apart,” said Vice Mayor Jeannie Bruins in response to Daniels’ own accounts. “I don’t expect you to represent yourself in any other way than in a positive way. This is not the first person that you sought out in a former relationship…Based on my history with you, I am inclined to believe the victim in this and support the censure.”

The rest of the council agreed. “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck I pretty much believe it’s a duck,” said Councilmember Jeff Slowey. “I don’t think this person, who I choose not to identify, would file a complaint unless they felt threatened. I look at that, I look at the incident in 2000 where it was related to a former girlfriend and it ultimately got you fired – I see a pattern there.

“To me, there’s a pattern of behavior here that I don’t find acceptable.”

Vehemently questioning Daniels’ credibility, Vice Mayor Bruins later stated: “I feel so strongly about these allegations - because they don’t just go back 10 years, they go back 20 years - that I’d like to call for Councilmember Daniels’ resignation from city council.”

“That ain’t gonna happen,” replied Daniels.

Mayor Steve Miller, Vice Mayor Jennie Bruins, Councilmember Albert J. Fox and Councilmember Jeff Slowey all voted in favor of the censure. Councilmember Bret Daniels voted no.

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Golden State Killer Authors Draw Hundreds to Barnes and Noble Book Signing Event

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-06-08

Billy Jensen, investigative journalist and friend of the late I’ll Be Gone in the Dark author Michelle McNamara, Paul Haynes, lead researcher, and Michelle

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - It was standing room only at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Citrus Heights on May 30, 2018. Hundreds of men, women and even children pushed their way through the crowd to reach the 100 chairs set up for the panel of three who had completed and posthumously published the book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer written by Michelle McNamara.

They came to hear the compelling story of one women’s growing obsession to identify the man who, for over 40 years, had come to be known as the East Area Rapist and later the Golden State Killer.

The panel, which answered questions for an hour, was made up of Billy Jensen, investigative journalist and friend of McNamara, Paul Haynes, lead researcher, aka The Kid, and Michelle's husband, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt.

Attendees came from throughout California and beyond, some with a close and personal connection to the 1970s and 80s reign of terror Joseph James DeAngelo unleashed on California. This fear carried on for more than four decades, affecting hundreds of thousands of lives of single women, couples and families over the course of DeAngelo’s suspected crime spree of at least 12 murders, 50 rapes and 120 known burglaries.

McNamara had completed much of the first half of the book before her death.  She died in her sleep at 46 years old, the result of complications from taking prescription drugs with an unknown heart problem. Her own entries end with a sentence added by Oswalt that reads simply, “Michelle McNamara died on April 21, 2016.”

The panel spoke of the hardest issue they faced following McNamara’s death as working to maintain her unique style of writing to the end. “Finishing the book was like putting together puzzle pieces (from her drafts).” It only worked because they all knew her rhythm.

The epilogue to the book is a five and a half page “Letter to an Old Man” which McNamara wrote. It includes all her questions to the rapist when he is caught and it ends with an ironic challenge, considering her book was published two months before DeAngelo’s arrest.                                   

‘“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,”’ you threatened a victim once. Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light.”

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Northridge Elementary Students Learn Respect for the Flag and their Country

By Suzanne Winters and Elise Spleiss  |  2018-06-08

Photo by Jessica Norton, San Juan Unified School District

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - June 14 is Flag Day. In preparation for this day, nearly 200 students at Northridge Elementary School in Fair Oaks learned all about the American flag during multiple classes on May 7 and May 8. Two members of American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Unit 383 in Fair Oaks and Desert Storm veteran Pete DePalma spent two mornings with students from kindergarten through fifth grade, sharing the Flag Etiquette educational program created for the auxiliary.  In the process they learned a lot more than etiquette.

With only 15 minutes to spend with each class, Auxiliary President Suzanne Winters, Education Chairman Judy Long and DePalma chose an interactive style of teaching. After introducing themselves they asked each class age-appropriate questions to get the students to think about what they might already know about the Pledge of Allegiance, the 13 colonies, the history of the American flag and other flag trivia.

They discussed what a veteran is, and how veterans throughout history have fought, and are still fighting for the freedom the flag stands for.  DePalma showed the students how to do a proper salute, which they practiced with enthusiasm.  He then fired a quick succession of questions at them such as, “Why do you say the pledge every morning at 9 a.m.?”; “Who designed our present flag?” (a 17-year-old high school student in 1958); and “Who was Betsy Ross?”

ALA President Winters further described the day, saying, “We went from classroom to classroom to educate K-5th graders about flag etiquette.  We had a great time handing out flags to all the students.  We gave the kindergarten class new boxes of coloring crayons and a paper flag for them to color.  The upper grades received flag etiquette booklets.” 

American Legion member Pete DePalma, president of the American Legion Riders and Commander-elect of Legion Post 383, volunteered to go as well.  He is a combat veteran from Desert Storm.  He brought along an American flag to help educate the students on what it stands for, what the stars and stripes represent, what each color of the flag symbolizes - innocence, valour, perseverance and vigilance - and why they are important.

Students in each class helped with a flag folding ceremony. They learned how to respect the flag and its proper disposal upon being retired.

The most fun was the question and answer time with the students.  When asked how many flags were on the moon, there were a staggering number of answers. You can only imagine some of the answers when asked how the flags got there – some even may have discovered that aliens may have been responsible. The upper graders knew about astronauts, Apollo space crafts and the lack of atmosphere on the moon. They even knew how many flags were flying on the moon.  The answer was ‘none’ (as there is no wind to make the flags wave). 

Everyone was very impressed with all the students, knowing what they have learned will extend into their families and the community. The American Legions sends a big thank you to Neighborhood Liaison Jessica Norton for setting up this event.

American Legion Auxiliary, Fair Oaks, Unit 383 was chartered in September of 2016.  They have formed a devoted group of women who have embraced their community. The pillars, which ALA’s foundation rest on, are the rehabilitation of veterans, children and youth, serving the local community and disaster relief activities.

For more information of the American Legion Auxiliary visit www.al383.org or email: webcaptain@AL383.org.

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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The City of Citrus Heights is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for professional engineering design and community engagement services for the following project: Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan.

The Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan (Project) is funded from a Caltrans Sustainable Communities grant. The primary focus of the Project is to address challenging transportation conditions including excessive speeds, skewed intersections, inadequate bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure, and a history of collisions along nearly 2-miles of Old Auburn Road. 

Proposals shall be submitted in the manner specified in the RFP. Submittal deadline is 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. An electronic copy of the Request For Proposals is available on the City's Website at no cost. All proposers are responsible for registering with the General Services Department to ensure they are placed on the List of Proposers for this project. To view the RFP and related documents, please click the View Documents at the bottom of this page. 

We also recommend you sign up for the City's "Notify Me" service to be notified of any updates or addenda to the Request For Proposals. Click http://www.citrusheights.net/list.aspx to sign up. Please scroll down to select Bid Postings. 

Firm(s) must meet all municipal, state and federal affirmative action and equal employment opportunity practices. 

It is the policy of the City of Citrus Heights to ensure full and equitable opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE). Inclusion of DBEs in the proposal is encouraged. 

The City of Citrus Heights reserves the right to reject any or all Proposals and to accept any or all Proposals, as deemed to be in the best interest of the City of Citrus Heights. 

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Comcast Service Problems Continue

Carmichael, CA (MPG) – Comcast services are down again today, affecting all services at Messenger Publishing Group. They were down most of the day yesterday, June 6th, which was our main deadline day for our production week.

Unfortunately, the message Comcast has for any calls coming into our office says “This number is no longer in service” – which is not true.

When trying to contact a service representative at Comcast their recorded message says they will not have representatives answer calls to try to fix this recorded message problem. Instead, they continue with the message that makes it sound like we are no longer in business – which is not true.

Comcast problems in this part of Carmichael have been historic. We realize that they are trying to upgrade their system, but we have heard from other businesses that they are experiencing problems all over the region.

If you are also having problems at your business this week with Comcast send us an email at Editor@MPG8.com. We would love to hear about it so we can cover these problems as a local news story.

We regret any inconvenience to our customers.

Paul V. Scholl, Publisher

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Taxpayers who owe tax and file their federal income tax return more than 60 days after the deadline will usually face a higher late-filing penalty. For that reason, the Internal Revenue Service urges affected taxpayers to avoid the penalty increase by filing their return by Thursday, June 14.

Ordinarily, the late-filing penalty, also known as the failure-to-file penalty, is assessed when a taxpayer fails to file a tax return or request an extension by the due date. This penalty, which only applies if there is unpaid tax, is usually 5 percent for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late.

If a tax return is filed more than 60 days after the April due date -- or more than 60 days after the October due date if an extension was obtained -- the minimum penalty is either $210 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax, whichever is less. This means that if the tax due is $210 or less, the penalty is equal to the tax amount due. If the tax due is more than $210, the penalty is at least $210.

The late-filing penalty does not apply to the more than 135 million taxpayers who met this year’s April 18 deadline to file their individual tax return. It also won’t apply to the estimated 14 million taxpayers who asked the IRS for a six-month extension of time to file, as long as they file by Oct. 15, 2018. Though a tax return claiming a refund is also not subject to penalty, the IRS reminds taxpayers that, by law, they only have three years to file for the refund.

For those who did not file or request an extension, the IRS recommends filing by June 14 to avoid a penalty increase. The late-filing penalty will stop accruing once the taxpayer files.

In addition, the IRS urges taxpayers to pay what they owe to avoid additional late-payment penalty and interest charges. The late-payment penalty, also known as the failure-to-pay penalty, is usually    ½ of 1 percent of the unpaid tax for each month or part of a month the payment is late. Interest, currently at the rate of 5 percent per year, compounded daily, also applies to any payment made after the original April 18 deadline.

After a return is filed, the IRS will figure the penalty and interest due and bill the taxpayer. Normally, the taxpayer will then have 21 days to pay any amount due.

Taxpayers can use their online account to view their amount owed, make payments and apply for an online payment agreement. Before accessing their online account, taxpayers must authenticate their identity through the Secure Accessprocess.

Penalty relief may be available

Taxpayers who have a history of filing and paying on time often qualify to have the late filing and payment penalties abated. A taxpayer usually qualifies for this relief if they haven’t been assessed penalties for the past three years and meet other requirements. For more information, see the First-Time Penalty Abatement page on IRS.gov.

Even if a taxpayer does not qualify for this special relief, they may still be able to have penalties reduced or eliminated if their failure to file or pay on time was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect. Be sure to read the penalty notice carefully and follow its instructions for requesting this relief.

Payment options

Many taxpayers delay filing because they are unable to pay what they owe. Often, these taxpayers qualify for one of the payment options available from the IRS. These include:

  • Installment Agreement – An installment agreement, or payment plan, allows a taxpayer to pay over time. Individuals who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can request a payment plan using the IRS’s Online Payment Agreement application. Those who have a balance under $100,000 may also qualify for a short term agreement. The agreement can usually be set up in minutes and requesters receive immediate notification of approval. To reduce the chance of default and avoid having to write and mail a check each month, select the direct debit option for making these payments. For other ways to set up a payment plan, visit Payment Plans, Installment Agreements
     
  • Offer in Compromise — Some struggling taxpayers may qualify to settle their tax bill for less than the amount they owe by submitting an offer in compromise. To help determine eligibility, use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool.

Special filing deadline rules apply to members of the military serving in combat zonestaxpayers living outside the U.S. and those living in declared disaster areas. For those who qualify, these special deadlines affect any penalty and interest calculations. Visit IRS.gov for details on these special filing rules.

Check withholding

Taxpayers who owe tax for 2017 can avoid having the same problem for 2018 by increasing the amount of tax withheld from their paychecks. For help determining the right amount to withhold, use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov

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