We are about to be deluged with billions of dollars – millions, at the very least. Not us personally, for the coming funds will be targeted toward reducing the problems of living in the mountain west without becoming torches.
As states and forested regions have learned in spades, our flammability cannot be tolerated at current levels. Adding more fire fighters is not the answer, for the problems stem from the facts that forests grow and change. Too much fuel is added annually. When combined with our penchant to build homes in forests, coupled with warming climate, one gets to experience what we are still going through – Lives, homes, and livelihoods lost, our environs drastically altered.
All California cities were smoked out, and will soon see the impacts of four million burned acres on both water quantity and quality, to say nothing of the towns and homes incinerated. For us mountain dwellers, a new reality of damaged watersheds, lost habitats, silted streams, and blackened surroundings will be ours for many years. The true impacts of wildfire on forest ownership will come home.
The projected moneys will flow from federal, state, and local sources toward many worthy ideas — but to what end? We cannot get to the secure future that we envision if we continue to follow practices and policies that have not worked. The way out is not clear.
Fortunately, our current ballot has people with the knowledge and experience to lead us into a sustainable future. Federal and state offices are ripe for new leadership, and you can make sensible choices now, on the current ballot. Our opportunity is to manage resources in new ways that will pay dividends for decades and longer.
Audrey Denney has a lifelong career in farming, resources, and resource education. Our forests are a top priority, and her plans for fiber utilization through fuel reduction will bring the jobs and an economy that will help to rejuvenate our towns. Audrey has serious plans for a great range of problems facing us in northeastern California, including health care, Internet, and education. She wants to replace a rice farmer who voted for his own multi-million-dollar subsidies, while he responded to his funders — big oil and banks.
Elizabeth Betancourt is a farmer and small business owner who has spent decades in watershed science. She is a passionate advocate for rural values. She wants to replace a woman whose sole experience is having the same last name as her husband.
Pamela Swartz is a business entrepreneur educated in forestry and is an avid equestrian. She hopes to replace the man who opportunistically leapt into an open seat that forced the expensive special election that brought his wife into the trough.
These three women running for offices have backgrounds and careers spent in resources and all are passionate about the need for the north state to have new and powerful voices. These are the new leaders – none of whom accept corporate donations, as they want to work for you. It is time that we had knowledge and experience put into the coming expensive answers. This election is the opportunity for us now.