No one to blame
EDITOR: I’m sorry that Jim Aljian’s home burned down, and I understand his anger and need to blame someone for his loss (“Government’s fault,” Letters, Wednesday). I’m also in favor of increased staffing of emergency personnel. However, when he claims that “the fire department” (whichever one of many that was) “didn’t respond fast enough” or “have the necessary manpower” to “contain the blaze while it was still in its earliest stages,” I have to point to the facts of the situation.
It doesn’t matter how many firefighters were on duty that night, nor how many engines were staffed. Because of the intensity of the warm, dry wind, unless there was an engine company, or more, at the ignition points of all the fires, at the times of ignition, there was no way to get in front of them until the wind died down. As far as I can tell it was strictly a defensive operation until the weather turned.
I speak from 30 years of firefighting experience with Cal Fire, but even an armchair firefighter can look objectively at the weather conditions that night and realize the challenging conditions of working in a blow-torch of a situation.
Sometimes there is no one to blame for our losses. Sometimes nature wins one.
Too much firepower
EDITOR: After each mass murder, people ask why. Reasons may include mental illness, religious fervor, family problems or simple anger and unhappiness. But isn’t a major reason because they can?
Almost anyone can obtain military or semi-military type weapons, legally or not, because there are so many available. Individuals cannot defend themselves, hunt or pursue their sport with atomic weapons, and so a national and total ban on civilian possession or sale of the guns used in so many of these shootings isn’t a radical infringement of the Second Amendment but a simple extension of common sense.
Congress, do your job. You may not eliminate acts like the one in Texas, but you can lessen their number and scope.
EDITOR: Jason Wells, PG&E’s chief financial officer, said the utility would seek to recoup power restoration costs from customers under California Public Utilities Commission procedures for rate increases due to “catastrophic events,” but he didn’t offer an estimate (“Restoring power cost PG&E up to $200 million,” Nov. 3).
Why can’t the PUC make a change and charge the stockholders, so they lose on their profitable PG&E stock?
EDITOR: I’m disgusted by the lawsuits being brought against PG&E. As hard as it may seem, sometimes no one is to blame. If PG&E had started chopping down trees and tromping through private gardens with chainsaws, not only would landowners be on its back but environmentalists as well.
PG&E is out on our ranch checking power poles more often than we’d like.
This was a perfect storm: the confluence of unprecedented winds, tinder box conditions and bad luck. Instead of emulating our current president and finding a scapegoat, this should be used as an opportunity to make better fire-safe choices, such as exploring the subsidy of underground power lines and better building materials.