Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday random thoughts on the fires

Yesterday was the last day that Border Angels and MAPA were collecting donations at Chicano Park. Today they'll be having a noon press conference in front of the Federal building in downtown San Diego.

You can still donate supplies for underserved communities at Western Service Workers Association,3014 Imperial Ave., SD 92102—PLEASE CALL FIRST to schedule a drop-off time (619-238-9763), as their staff/volunteer capacity is limited.

Items most needed in the coming weeks include: food, water, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, diapers, men's clothing, clean socks, new underwear (for men, women, & children), and tents/canopies/tarps.

It's a mistake to assume everyone in SoCal can hop into their car, and drive away to safety when a disaster strikes. People that live in dry riverbeds don't get reverse 911 calls. Even if they manage to get to an official shelter, without appropriate ID, they can't get help from the Red Cross. There are both migrants and homeless people in the areas burned, and they often have no ID. We do have poor people in San Diego, believe it or not, and they do get left behind in a disaster. We just hide our poor very well in SoCal. I'm not suggesting this is a catastrophe to the degree of what happened in New Orleans, but it still happens and thankfully there are people like Mr. Morones who recognize the problem, and care enough to do something to help.

That is one of the reasons I've been so completely repulsed by the Good-Ol'-Boy-we're-sure-not-New-Orleans! backslapping here the past few days. The fires have been terrible, but it's not a disaster of the same magnitude that Katrina brought to the gulf coast. We didn't have dozens of bodies floating down Main Street. We have millions of unaffected people left in town who can pitch in and help. It's not a comparable situation, and I don't know why they act like they deserve brownie points for not failing completely and miserably. The self-congratulatory behavior by state and local public officials was just . . . icky.

They should quite patting themselves on the back, and look at providing adequate fire protection in San Diego and throughout SoCal for a change.

(edit) Exhibit A.

Lamentably, New Orleans has long been its own worst enemy. That city, perhaps fittingly known as the Big Easy, is plagued by historically corrupt politics, chronically high crime rates, inept policing, bad schools and far too little of the civic glue that holds communities together in adversity.

The nightmarish breakdown of order, public safety and civility at New Orleans' Superdome in the days after Katrina is the enduring image of civic dysfunction. San Diego's counterpoint was Qualcomm Stadium where 10,000-plus evacuees were sheltered amid an outpouring of volunteers and mountains of donated supplies – everything from bottled water, food, diapers and sanitary items to clothing and sunscreen – in perfect safety and relative comfort.


Blogger nunya said...

I couldn't agree more, dear.


You really are a sweetheart, "icky" is much too kind :)

How are you?

10/28/2007 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

heh. That was just the first non-obscene word that came to mind.

cat dirt has a concise summary of the presser that I think you'll appreciate.

Those last two links in my post are both excellent reports about the incredible shrinking support for fire protection in California.

10/28/2007 01:40:00 PM  

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