the porous city

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The wildfires didn't have to be this bad
Gone
  • Cities founded in the fire-prone frontier by anti-government types that didn't want to be told how to build (proper infrastructure, firebreaks etc.)
  • Real estate has been the main wealth generator for a while, "Selling out to a developer was the only retirement plan most farmers knew."
  • "What was once sparse is now densely packed with pine, fir, cedar, and manzanita. A forest that supported 64 trees an acre in pre-settlement times now boasted 160 trees an acre ... 'I don't think we could have managed the forests any worse.'"
  • "as Wilson and his staff studied the fires more closely, he could see that their oddly linear pattern of ignition clusters corresponded to major electrical power lines."
  • “These weren’t outlier events,” Wilson said. “These same spots had a history of fire. They had burned before and were destined to burn again. If you charted it out, we weren’t having far more wildfires than in the past. But the wildfires we were experiencing were far more deadly and destructive, and that had to do with mismanaging the forest and building communities in the wildland-urban interface. The state’s population was exploding in the very areas most susceptible to wildfires.”
  • Forestry management and fire prevention - prescribed burns, reducing fuel load - curtailed in favor of military-style firefighting.
  • "To justify its high costs, [Cal Fire] had to figure out a way to make itself essential throughout the year. This was how it evolved into a 24/7 provider of emergency services to the sprawling mountain communities ... instead of trying to slow down the suburbanization of forestlands, Wilson said, the department served the growth — to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year in funding."
  • "In their filings, each attorney traced the historic blazes to a culture of mismanagement, corruption, and cover-up that had taken hold inside PG&E decades before. A pattern of venality, they argued, began in the company’s early years and became more recalcitrant in the 1980s and 1990s, when PG&E, with the connivance of the California Public Utilities Commission, its watchdog, made a decision to place profits and bonuses to top executives — and dividends to shareholders — over safety."
  • "It was fiction that the California Public Utilities Commission exercised any watchdog role over PG&E, he said. “They don’t have the resources, they don’t have the trained personnel or mindset, to monitor and audit PG&E’s compliance with safety regulations. PG&E can literally get away with murder.”"


last timestamped: 16:08:03 23-Aug-2020
in categories:Other/SanFrancisco, Other/Politik, Other/History

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