*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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ just 4 years after the devastating Ramona Fire of 2003. (Here)
I do not know how FEMA is doing a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœgreat jobÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ but I saw Michael Chertoff standing next to the Ã¢â‚¬ËœGovernatorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ taking the credit that belongs to our state and local government. My challenge to our federal government and national media Ã¢â‚¬â€œ quit comparing the firestorms to Katrina Ã¢â‚¬â€œ why not keep the focus where it is desperately needed – New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get me wrong Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 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.