The Blame Game

I’m back from a quick business trip and wanted to chime in on the fire coverage a bit.  News gathering resources, always stretched to the limit on emergencies like this, are even thinner when the website you’re looking to lead coverage on keeps going down because of too much traffic. Note to our friends at the Register; upgrade your Internet hardware to handle more traffic. 

The smoke and extremely poor air quality are a major hazard.  My family out of state is overnighting a supply of surgical masks to us so short trips outside are doable.  There seems to be a run on these materials in Irvine.  The phone won’t stop ringing from friends asking if we’re OK. 

Fox News couldn’t wait to praise President Bush’s or the Governator’s response to the Wildfire, even thought my my count they are 48 hours late to act at least.  And Fix News was quick to blast Democrats who complained that we lack national guard troops to help due to deployments in Iraq.  Just remember, when all these Republican operatives start praising the bravery of the first responders, they are also the same people voting to reduce or restrict the pay and beneits these same first responders fight for during contract negotiations.  It’s just pitiful that in the Fox News world, only Republicans are saviors and only Democrats warrant blame.  No matter what.

And while the fire raged this week, State Rep Chuck DeVore blogs on OCBlog about his chief of staff being a champion barrel-racer and about the his own appearance on PBS to discuss nuclear power.  There was also a comment to a Jon Fleischman post about candidates holding fundraisers while the fires are raging and how unseemly it is; and Chuck responded that life goes on and that he and his wife and going to Jim Bieber’s Halloween Party (but no mention of costumes?).  Jim will be passing the hat for charities, which is noble of him.  There is a time and place for this sort of self promotion; now is not the time.  And with photos of orange skies surrounding the reactors in San Onofre, I’m glad DeVore’s attempt to revive a reactor at San Onofre died in committee.

What I want to hear about is how the assemblyman is helping those he represents and others in the fire zone.  Might I suggest he look into ways we acquire surplus surgical masks from state hospital inventory or gas masks from the military to help so many people afflicted with respiratory ailments breath easier.   Or he could look into why hotel rooms in San Diego suddenly shot up to $400 a night.

Where I did see some leadership was from IUSD superintendent Gwen Gross.  After cancelling classes Monday at Northwood and CanyonView, she opened schools Tuesaday which told us in Northwood Pointe that the fire was no longer a serious danger.  And as the air quality got progressively worse, she closed schools again to keep students and staff home.  I’m sure the move will cost IUSD in state funds, but its common sense and good leadership.

I also saw leadership from the Irvine PD and the OCFA.  The people answering the phone from anxious homeowners were informed, courteous and respectful.  In a word, reassuring. 

Leadership also came in the form of neighbors, sharing solid information and suggestions about where to go and offering help.   

I think the Governor showed leadership; he was late to get her, but seemed to move gasy once he got here.  But leadership from President Bush?  Seemed like his dusted off his speech from Hurricane Katrina.  I thought I heard all those promises two years ago; the ones still unfulfilled in Louisiana.  I doubt they will be kept here.

  15 comments for “The Blame Game

  1. Chuck DeVore
    October 26, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    “And with photos of orange skies surrounding the reactors in San Onofre, I’m glad DeVore’s attempt to revive a reactor at San Onofre died in committee.”

    That’s just silly scaremongering, Dan. How brush fires can burn the I-5 and a parking lot on their way to burning the concrete structures that make up San Onofre show a breathless lack of understanding of the basic laws of physics.

    As for your other suggestions, I’d like to point out that I am a member of the Legislative Branch. You would not look to a judge to be directly involved in the relief effort chain of command, now would you? (Maybe you would…) Just as you won’t see me directing firefighters on a ridge somewhere — these are Executive Branch functions. My job is to pay the bills afterward and to conduct hearings into how things might be improved.

    To that end, I have already launched legislation with Assemblyman Spitzer to provide property tax relief for those who lost their homes to the fire — that’s the sort of help that I may provide appropriate to my current responsibilities in the Legislative Branch.

    As for “…why hotel rooms in San Diego suddenly shot up to $400 a night.” That’s called “supply and demand” and it’s the best way mankind has yet figured out to allocate scarce resources. Higher prices signal to those who have the option to come to San Diego, on business for example, to postpone their trip to another, more advantageous time. Don’t tell me you believe in price controls, which is only a form of asset confiscation?

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  2. demmother
    October 26, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Chuck,

    What you call free market supply and demand when there are a few conventions in own is one thing.

    To gouge someone evacuating might be legal, but it is profiteering when the poor chump might end up homeless.

  3. Chuck DeVore
    October 26, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    “To gouge someone evacuating might be legal, but it is profiteering when the poor chump might end up homeless.”

    You are not thinking this through. Think about it. If the hotel does not rent the room, they make NOTHING AT ALL. If a room goes for $400 that means that someone slept there that night, gaining refuge. So long as the room is filled, what do you care? The market is working as it should to allocate resources.

    In your world, a businessman on a quick trip to San Diego could get the room for $130 and displace a fire evacuee who was willing to pay more to be closer to her home. If the charge goes up to $400, the businessman will postpone the trip and the room will be used by someone willing to pay the price asked.

    Whenever the government uses force to distort the market, the unintended consequences are worse than the benefit.

    One person’s “gouging” is another person’s signal to provide more supply. For instance, opening up rooms in a home vacated by children off to college for $100 a night – as occurs naturally in cities hosting major college bowl games. Price controls of any sort create shortages which only increase misery. But then, you know this deep down inside, don’t you?

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    State Assemblyman, 70th District

  4. demmother
    October 26, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Actually, I think the right ‘Christian’ thing to do would be to let the evacuee(s) in for a lower rate or for free.. Why not create a program that would reimburse or reward such generosity to someone in immediate need?

    Deep down, inside, you know that is the right thing to do…

  5. October 26, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Nice. In your world, it’s good to gouge a fire refugee now, who’s only got what their carrying, so that the businessman can build more hotel rooms later. Because, obviously, the businessman would never pay $400 for a room but the refugee would.

  6. Chuck DeVore
    October 26, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    So, Mr. Kephart and demmother, how else would you allocate scarce rooms on the market? If you hold down prices, scarcity will get worse (think rent control, which proves my point). If you raise prices, the market will respond by creating more capacity (the old lady down the street renting a vacant room to someone, for example).

    You folks are living in a make-believe land. Sadly, your feelings get translated into laws which then infringe on property rights.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    State Assemblyman, 70th District

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    October 26, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Chuck —
    fires don’t exactly follow the laws of physics when fueled by Santa Ana winds; if they did, they’d be a lot easier to put out, wouldn’t they?

    This post is not about my understanding of physics (since you’re always inclined to share your resume, I got a A on it in HS and college), but if you read my post more carefully, you will note I wrote this:

    “What I want to hear about is how the assemblyman is helping those he represents and others in the fire zone. Might I suggest he look into ways we acquire surplus surgical masks from state hospital inventory or gas masks from the military to help so many people afflicted with respiratory ailments breath easier. Or he could look into why hotel rooms in San Diego suddenly shot up to $400 a night.”

    So I want to know what you’re doing and you report you and Todd have some legislation to provide property tax relief. Good start. What else are you doing?

    I suggested two other avenues you can do legislatively that would be immediately helpful. And instead, I get a lecture on the free market.

    Chuck, thanks for the signed confession that the free markets are more important than the people you allegedly represent. A well-regulated (not excessively regulated) market is what works best for everyone. After all, if we relied exclusively on the free market, we’d still have child labor, rampant pollution, and some unsafe products out there.

    I think Its pretty cold hearted of you to suggest that evacuees pay more just because of some silly fire that makes a home with a lifetime of memories go up in smoke.

  8. October 26, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Chuck, it’s not about helping the market, it’s about helping out people in immediate, critical need, you heartless b*******! What are you going to do for the people RIGHT EFFING NOW?! These people won’t need the room for long. Are you really going to stand by and let them get gouged with the excuse that the market will take care of it LATER? This type of need is rare and temporary and does not affect the market. It’s the fire victims that should be your concern. Do we really need to point this out to you?!

    All, sorry for the language, but Chuck’s response was simply unbelieveable.

  9. October 26, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Ok, deep breath, Gary, there might be some simple explanation…

    Chuck, is there any chance – any – that you missed a crucial word that the rest of us saw? Did you miss the phrase “suddenly shot up ” in the phrase “hotel rooms in San Diego suddenly shot up to $400 a night.”? Did you miss that we’re not talking about hotels that are always $400 a night? Did you miss that we’re not talking about permanent reduction in price? Did you miss that we’re just talking about returning rates to the normal, pre-fire rates? Please say that’s what happened.

  10. October 26, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    fires don’t exactly follow the laws of physics when fueled by Santa Ana winds; if they did, they’d be a lot easier to put out, wouldn’t they?

    Dan — I assume you meant this as hyperbole, because fires absolutely follow the laws of physics when fueled by Santa Ana winds. Physics doesn’t stop working because conditions change, it describes what happens when those conditions change.

  11. Chuck DeVore
    October 26, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Again, I ask, did any rooms go unused because of the price. If not, then you have nothing to complain about as the maximum number of people were served, weren’t they.

    All the childish ranting in the world won’t shake my belief that free men and women are free to set the prices for use of their own property.

    What you are proposing, sirs, smacks of nothing less than a certain form of collectivist Stalinism. But, then again, you all are liberal Democrats, aren’t you? I guess my property is never safe so long as you think you have a right to it on your own terms.

    You, sirs, scare the hell out of me with your complete lack of understanding for liberty.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  12. October 26, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    What I want to know is what evidence anyone has that the price of hotel rooms in SD went up dramatically last week. I’ve read several articles indicating they did not.

    If it’s just an urban legend, let’s stop talking about it. If there’s evidence, let’s see it.

    Oh, yeah, and I want to see one of Claudio’s DeVore imitations on this thread. I could use the laugh right now.

  13. Dan Chmielewski
    October 26, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    Actually Chuck, given our past dicussions about equal rights, I’d say that you’re the one that doesn’t understand liberty. And you vote in the assembly. And that scares the hell out of me.

  14. demmother
    October 27, 2007 at 10:07 am

    That’s alright Chuck.

    You have revealed yourself and your cronies to be the mean spirited, selfish individualists that you are.

    You are spending a lot of time responding to us? Is this where my taxpayer dollars are going? I would consider my taxpayer contributions better spent to expand our social safety net.

  15. just asking
    October 27, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Not only is the gouging of evacuee’s dispicable, it is just feeding the insurance hit that we all will be feeling. The true impact of the fires is first felt by all those directly affected or who battle the blazes. The second victims will be all of us homeowners who will see our premiums rise to cover all those $400 a night rooms that Nuke Devore seems to think is just good business. Thanks Chuckie way to look out for your voters.

    The only liberty I see is term limits that will rid us of Col. Hemp! Can’t wait to see if you try to run against Harman. Nukes and price gouging, what a platform to start your campaign on!

Comments are closed.