Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A smart governor...

...would offer to help pay for these people to buy foreclosed homes in safer areas, instead of wasting taxpayer dollars rebuilding in fire zone. But then again, who ever claimed government was intelligent when using your tax dollars?

Or, as Drew put it: Californians won't let things like monthly forest fires stop them from rebuilding in high risk, drought-ridden areas. Not when the government is picking up the tab.

Drought or not, rebuilding to follow Calif. fires
Expert: Californians will 'forget about it until it happens again'
Reuters: updated 10:55 a.m. ET, Wed., Nov. 19, 2008

...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Sunday that "every single time there is a fire like that we learn new things."

This time, he said, the state learned it should apply stricter building codes to mobile homes. But at no point did the popular governor say Californians shouldn't be living in these high-risk fire areas. Quite the contrary.

..."We want to let the people know that the state is with you, we're going to help to get your homes back and your structures back, to get your lives back," Schwarzenegger said.

More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed since last Thursday in a swarm of wind-driven brush fires that struck a luxury coastal enclave of Montecito, the northeastern Los Angeles suburb of Sylmar and several communities in Orange County.

Some of the same Sylmar residents chased from their homes this past weekend were forced to evacuate last month by two other fires that burned about 100 structures in nearby areas.

Many displaced residents, whether they inhabited humble mobile homes or opulent mansions, are bent on rebuilding even as the drought conditions of recent years have intensified the wildfire risk...

...Many homeowners are drawn to neighborhoods on the fringes of urban areas in search of a greater connection to nature. Others find more affordable housing there than what is available in closer to downtown.

..."After every fire there is a big, blue-ribbon panel that has a bunch of recommendations, and then we go back and do the easiest thing and forget about it until it happens again," said Travis Longcore, a professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in sustainable cities.

Even after an outbreak of 30 brush fires that devoured some 2,000 homes across Southern California last October, forcing a record 500,000 evacuations in the state, Longcore said government has shown no sign of tougher planning or willingness to tax developers and home buyers in high-risk fire areas.

"We lack the political willpower to actually say 'No,' and until that changes we will continue to see things like this happen," he said.

"Of recent years" is kind of funny. The southwest has had below average rainfall for over a decade now in some places, nearing the two decade mark in others. Climate change in action, class. And yet, the governator still hasn't figured out that maybe people shouldn't be rebuilding there. Your tax dollars at work, class.

Don't you just have confidence now that our leaders can adapt to change and plan for the future?

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