Union Democrat staff

Ounce of prevention worth pound of cure

To the Editor:

Maybe the hunter that started the Rim Fire thought that the fire restrictions in effect were just stupid government regulations, an unfair burden, an infringement of his personal freedom.

Two months later; over $100 million of public money spent, public resources lost from wildlife habitat and water quality, to historic sites and timber; lost school time, unhealthy air, injuries, loss of private property and tourism, all of our lives disrupted.

Thankfully, we had the public resources to turn the blaze away from our communities. But this is not a cost effective way to manage our land. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent over the decades fighting fires and replanting in their aftermath. We have not spent enough to steward these lands and lessen the chances of future catastrophic events. Fire is a permanent force in this landscape, and we need to work with it instead of just against. Our community and our society cannot afford to neglect our public lands until a catastrophe strikes.

Ecosystem management is a process that requires solid science and skilled workers. We need boots on the ground, here at home. Knowing the threat, measures can be taken to mitigate it, including thinning and prescribed fires.

Fuel treatment work costs money, but it saves much more. The dollars spent over the past weeks, if spent in ongoing wild land stewardship, could have sustained over 100 jobs over 25 years, at $40,000 each, per year. If wild land stewardship had been implemented in our forest, this fire may have been contained much faster with less resource devastation, at a fraction of the cost. Public money, wisely spent, is an investment in our future that pays back with many dividends.

Clay Knopf

Twain Harte

We deserve more from House GOP

To the Editor:

Nice ideological words, Representative McClintock, but you and your cronies have taken action to close down the United States government because the Senate would not compromise on your concerns about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act during budget deliberations.

Trouble is, the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress, signed by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court, and is being prepared for as we speak.

Implementation details of comprehensive legislation are never perfect and there is a process to address those and other issues associated with laws. It is a democratic legislative process which, as you say, "isolates differences and works them out" to add or amend laws, not using differences on passed laws to close down the government. It is your job as an elected legislator to propose laws that correct wrongs and to collaborate to put the best law forward, in a productive manner which preserves our democratic government.

We, the people, deserve more from you.

Walt Kruse