This morning I heard some pundit comparing Katrina to the fires in San Diego. There was a fair amount of speculation on whether the Southern California fires are more destructive or affect more people than Hurricane Katrina. Yes folks! American desire for old-fashioned competition is at its height when comparing tragedy. Over 500,000 people were given mandatory evacuation orders for the fires the past 72 hours in San Diego (upwards of 1 million have been displaced). According to San Diego officials in the newscast update from this morning (Wed. Oct 24, 2007) we’ve surpassed Katrina’s modest evacuation of 1.2 million (according to the Wiki entry regarding mandatory and voluntary evac). What those officials fail to mention is the difference in the populations of those people affected by the fires and those affected by the consequences of the storm. Lots of people may be unfamiliar with the disparity between the two. North County San Diego is populated in majority by middle to upper middle class Caucasian families. Whereas those most affected by Katrina where poor, black and in the most precarious of NOLA neighborhoods directly damaged by the broken levy.
The Witch Creek Fire, the biggest one in the county so far has scorched 150K acres and 750 homes/structures. That is massive. The Harris fire continues to blaze out of control and is moving into Mexico and of course we don’t get any news on what is happening south of the border, at least we won’t until the death toll or destruction gets so big, corporate news will HAVE no choice but to cover it. When it comes to the national embarrassment of Katrina, an embarrassment both the Bush Administration and the government of California refuses to repeat (thankfully) in their response to our current situation. It brings to mind the scenes of putrid water swirling, people on rooftops and total anarchy at the Super Dome, a ‘last resort’ sanctuary for the people who hadn’t been evacuated in time during Katrina. “The second day brought more horror, greater despair: The death toll exceeded 100 — in just one county” – Miami Herald, 2005
San Diego has been incredibly lucky in that we’ve only had minimal life lost (only 6 so far from the reports). Course they’re already putting the damage into numbers of double digit Billions. Our property value in SoCal is way higher than those in NOLA. Governor Schwarzenegger has been here since day one, shaking hands and visiting areas of devastation, almost definitely securing another bid for leader of the people’s republic of Kauli-for-nee-ah. Bush will be here tomorrow. He’s declared CA a federal disaster area. This tragedy has been handled superbly. And our leaders are patting themselves on the back already with the look of holy-shit-we-can-handle-this-thing plastered on their exhausted faces. All my friends on the coast and north of the 56 are safe and from most reports their homes are okay too. We still have another day or possibly two of these devilish Santa Ana winds. There will be questions after the smoke clears. People have realized the power of local government and the castrated sluggishness of bureaucratic federal government aid (or lack thereof for NOLA). We have seen the outpouring of compassion to the victims of the fires from our own community. An overwhelming about of aid from neighbors unaffected by the fires are giving as much as they can. There is a huge difference between SoCal and NOLA, and that is NOLA was a tragedy and the SoCal fires are a disaster. SoCal is being handled and marketed better than NOLA was and the cast of characters includes a former blockbuster movie star.
Oddly enough, www.nbcsandiego.com has been a good source of local news. Don’t rely on CNN to give you an accurate report of how many people are at Qualcomm. BTW – Chargers and Aztec games have been postponed, at least at the Q for this weekend.
A brief suggestion of songs for a mix.
These are examples of songs that have been coming up in the random for the past three days. I’m not sure if there is some sort of cosmic design for the way music affects a person during times of stress but a lot of these tunes are apropos of our current fiery California situation.
1. Grinderman – “When My Love Comes Down” from Grinderman
2. PJ Harvey – “One Line” from Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
3. Radiohead – “Reckoner” from In Rainbows
4. Boys Sets Fire – “The Power Remains the Same” from The Day the Sun Went Out
5. Turbonegro – “City of Satan” from Party Animals
6. Les Savy Fav – “Raging in the Plague Age” from Lets Stay Friends
7. !!! – “Me and Giuliani Down By The School Yard (a true story)
8. Pelican – “Autumn Into Summer” from The Fire in Our Throats…
9. Ennio Morricone – “Un Uomo Da Rispettare (Titoli)”
10. Doves – “Sky Starts Falling” from Some Cities
11. The Velvet Underground – “Sweet Jane”
12. Pegboy – “Field of Darkness”
13. Counterfit – “Suckin Ma Nuts” (outtake from actual song with D Essr on Vox)