October 24, 2007

San Diego Fires

Filed under: Life — Bob Gifford @ 6:41 pm

I suppose I should say something about all the fires in Southern California, given how much of my attention it’s been occupying lately. I spent the three weeks before the fires at a client down in Rancho Bernardo. I wasn’t scheduled to be there this week, but needed to talk to the Novell team still down there first thing Monday morning. I heard about the fires, but didn’t realize they had hit RB until I called a member of the team on his cell and caught him at the San Diego airport on his way out. RB evacuated, project scrubbed for the week, our whole team going home.

My younger brother and his wife live in RB — I called them immediately, and learned they too had evacuated and were staying at a friend’s in Poway. (Yes, parts of Poway were later evacuated, but luckily not my brother’s friend.)

I was born and raised in San Diego, and I know the neighborhood where all the houses in RB were lost. One apartment complex that was partially destroyed, La Terraza, is right across the street from the house my parents lived in for years after I left home for college. It’s all boringly middle-class, definitely not the upper-income-houses-nestled-in-the-hills stereotype of homes that get hit by fires. Nearby Ramona, hit the hardest, is even less affluent, largely rural kind of place that’s been there for years, so don’t listen to those people who want to blame the victims for living in areas at risk for fires.

If you want to find a political angle to this, consider that San Diego is a rabidly anti-tax county. Voters have rejected ballot measures in the past to create a county fire department and to spend more on fire protection. Perhaps that attitude will change.

So, my brother’s place is fine, and so are my client’s offices. Life will start to return to normal next week. But hopefully San Diegans won’t forget too quickly.

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