Open Letter to the National Media*

*Who don’t know S*** about Southern California.

This is definitely one of the worst fire seasons I have ever witnessed. As a child, I remember needing the assurance of my parents that the fires were far away and we were in no danger because the news whipped up the fear. For the record, I have seen fire on the mountainside and once along the hills north of Yorba Linda, all at a comfortable distance. Unfortunately, the national coverage implies that all of Southern California is an inferno worthy of Dante and everyone is displaced and living at Qualcomm stadium. Oh, and isn’t FEMA doing a great job? They sure have learned a lot since Katrina.

For most of us, our fire experiences pale in comparison to Dan’s experience. I have heard from two of my co-workers – one was told evacuation was ‘voluntary’. For those of us who had difficulty breathing the smoky air or needing a few eye drops to relieve eye irritation, that is a minor annoyance when having to place wet towels places at the bases of doors and any other suspect ‘crack’ in the insulation. When removed, the towels are black with soot. The ash is everywhere necessitating some out of the ordinary clean-up. Thanks to our Orange County Firefighters, as of this writing, loss of property has been held to a minimum. Those who live in the Lake Arrowhead resort and surrounding area and the people of San Diego County have not been as fortunate and will have an unimaginable time in coping – not just the clean up, but the whole salvage operation while they begin putting their lives back together.

For the record: Southern California is not burning down in an apocalyptic cataclysm. To compare this natural disaster to Katrina misses the mark. People were able to evacuate in a safe manor, the infrastructure is still here giving support services (very much needed and deeply appreciated). There is a solid foundation to assist those who are temporarily displaced, and when assessment can be made, we will help our fellow Californians with the framework necessary to rebuild their lives. At day 4 following Katrina, people were still waiting for k-rations, water and porta-potties at the Super Dome. No one was allowed in and the feds sat on their hands. If you want to politicize this, yes Louisiana and New Orleans were headed by Democrats and Orange/San Diego County with California are run by Republicans. Given the rampant cronyism going on in DC – perhaps the Bushies would rather help their own than the incompetency of the Dems. LA County is Democratic and they seem to have their disaster act together.

Then there was this silly commentator who did not feel sorry for the limousine liberals of Malibu at risk from the wind whipped flames or anyone else who believes that ‘God’ has decided to punish California and it’s liberal ways have really missed the boat. To my knowledge the home of Barbara Streisand and others have not been consumed. Thanks to LA County Firefighters, the loss of property in Malibu has been kept to a minimum. Ironically, the worst damage and most of the fatalities are in San Diego County – the place where the cross on public land overlooks the city. Actually, Steve Lopez of the LA Times had a great column the other day that might explain why San Diego County got the worst of it again – just 4 years after the devastating Ramona Fire of 2003. (Here)

I do not know how FEMA is doing a ‘great job’ but I saw Michael Chertoff standing next to the ‘Governator’ taking the credit that belongs to our state and local government. My challenge to our federal government and national media – quit comparing the firestorms to Katrina – why not keep the focus where it is desperately needed – New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Don’t get me wrong – we still need whatever federal assistance is available to us here in Southern California and I would never presume to speak for those who have lost their homes. I just believe that overall, our people have done a real heck of a job and I believe we will get through this as we have gotten through all of the other firestorms before.

There is room for improvement – so, to the national media, why not focus on why the feds are Johnny on the Spot here but are still no shows in Louisiana? Generally the National Guard can be counted among our first responders; where were they? Oh, they are in Iraq..

For the feds, I believe in the principles of government and what it can and should do. Because our federal government is run by crooks and liars, and is staffed by the most sycophantic of cronies, I am not inclined to believe that they are here for anything other than a photo-op.

  3 comments for “Open Letter to the National Media*

  1. Chuck DeVore
    October 26, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    “Generally the National Guard can be counted among our first responders; where were they? Oh, they are in Iraq..”

    Wrong again, Dan. The Governor immediately pulled 800 Guard troops off of the Mexican border and deployed them for fire duties. Because they were already on active duty, they got to the fires more quickly than would have otherwise been the case.

    We have less than 10 percent of the California National Guard in Iraq right now, according to my sources.

    By the way, the Federal goverment pays for 97 percent of the Guard’s expenses, the state, only 3 percent. That said, California still has, by far, the worst benefits for its Guard members of any state in the union. Every year I try to pass a bill boosting benefits (so did Sen. Correa, to his huge credit) and every year almost all such bills, most costing less than $3 million, get shot down by the majority.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    State Assemblyman, 70th District
    Lieutenant Colonel, CA ARNG (Ret.)

  2. Ellinorianne
    October 26, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Well, I was bringing my new puppy to the vet this afternoon and the receptionist was talking to the vet, door open, quite loud. “Someone was saying that RSM is burning down and I told them that’s not true, it’s just the liberal idiots on the radio”.

    What? I felt like Scooby when my head whipped up and I thought, why? Is this what I want to hear when I’m at the vet giving them my filthy liberal money? Probably won’t go back, but I wonder if I’m being to harsh.

    I put this here because I didn’t quite know where to put my frustration.

  3. grouchomarxist
    October 26, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    what action by the feds????
    Complete failure to get planes past customs… no Guard bulldozers…only the 10 percent on active duty overseas in Iraq? Isn’t that all the active duty OVERSEAS?
    The RED menace has made us all victims!

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