No other news source Can OR Will bring you THIS Truth. This is the most DEVASTATING Fire-Event I can recall in my 60 odd years as a Californian, And THAT’S A LOT OF FIRES FOLKS…. As DES’s reporting bears that out, a big thanks to her for her activism and bravery on behalf of her fellow community members…. Larry Alger
10-16-17 Latest News From DES: The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion package for hurricane and wildfire relief funding, which included emergency food assistance for low-income Puerto Rico residents.
This aid comes on top of the $15.3 billion relief measure approved by Congress in September following Hurricane Harvey.
The bill advances to the Senate, which will resume session next week, before heading to the desk of President Trump, who early Thursday suggested he may withdraw federal relief workers from Puerto Rico.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times:
“More than three weeks after Hurricane Maria raked the island, some 85% of the people remain without power, with nearly half of its 3.4 million residents lacking running water.
Food and basic supplies remain scarce in the mountainous interior, waterborne diseases pose a growing threat, and many hospitals are in dire circumstances. Deaths attributed to the storm stand at 45, but the number is expected to rise.
The Environmental Protection Agency this week advised against “tampering with sealed or locked wells or drinking from these wells” after reports of Puerto Rico residents trying to get water from wells at “Superfund” hazardous-waste sites.
FEMA does not have automatic funding relief for wildfires, which is why the state governors are required to intervene in large scale wildfire scenarios and declare a state of emergency which in turn triggers the ” FEMA allocations of funding and boots on the ground via FEMA Relief Assistance which includes the Coast Guard, Fire and Forestry Services and the immediate ability to tap financial resources to move equipment and Human Resources where these are needed…”
Many of these protocols came into being post 911 and under the umbrella of Homeland Security including acronym agencies who genuinely have yet to find their footing in the rapidly evolving landscape of ” the fight against global terrorism” while actually being part of domestic deployment services for things like
Hurricane relief efforts
Tsunami relief efforts
Wildfire relief efforts
Any large scale domestic relief effort
On Saturday October 14 2017 I spoke briefly with Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Feinstein and Governor Brown, CA CHP Deputy Commissioner Warren Stanley and Assistant Chief Ernie Sanchez regarding the role of the Red Cross as Emergency First Responders, the role of civilians and numerous other issues of paramount concern both in hindsight AND in moving forward.
This coming week I will be meeting with Sanchez, the FEMA regional assistant director on the ground and then with Senator Harris as she moves an Emergency Bill forward to get Wildfires listed under FEMA to ensure immediate access to federal relief
Meanwhile I am going to be very public about urging people to NOT donate anything to the Red Cross Charity at all. Zero.
The reason I am doing this is because the Red Cross has clearly shown that it cannot handle the responsibility of allocating the crisis relief funds that come pouring in as these disasters unfold , regardless of where they unfold!
The Red Cross has consistently dropped the ball both in its immediate crisis relief efforts AND in its handling of relief funding and the allocations of this money in rebuilding people’s lives and their communities.
Rather, the RC has been shown to generate large amounts of cash entrusted to them for relief efforts, instead to corporations who in turn have provided very little if ANY relief directly to those affected by the disaster regardless of which disaster it is… Katrina… Haiti….. Texas…. Florida….. Puerto Rica….Montana Wildfires…California Wildfires….. etc
This non profit theft of private individuals generous and heartfelt contributions towards people suddenly left stranded by earthquakes hurricanes and wild fires needs to be forcefully ended and frankly there’s no time like the present. Right now !
Charity begins at home.
Charity has a far greater benefit when enacted from one person to another and without the interference and blind trust invested in companies that have shown themselves to be not worthy of that trust ! I say this specifically of the Red Cross leadership and those within that organization making decisions to move donations to their lobby partners and not directly into small local companies who would ensure the funds benefited as many local residents and businesses as possible.
Santa Rosa K-Mart
The Sonoma County CA fires are still actively burning, evacuees are still pouring in, pets and children in tow.
Hotel vouchers were handed out early on without knowing that the hotels themselves had burnt to the ground.
FEMA has set up an office to handle property, housing and insurance claims but these do not cover renters nor the young working adults nor the very elderly.
In the coming weeks the real scope of the loss of security will become more and more evident and it’s critical that community leaders stand ready to assist cajole and bully a very complacent city council in Santa Rosa as housing needs explode with no viable short term solutions.
To those who have the means to donate funds I highly recommend you find ways to connect with individuals in need and begin networking to directly allocate support to alleviate some of this horrendous red tape emerging.
Today I spent the day discussing needs with local Coast Guard units in Santa Rosa and evacuees some of whom we processed today one week ago and some who arrived today.
This evening the Hwy 12 fires are done converging on each other and are lighting up the night sky as the fire changed direction heading into Bennet Valley.
No one has said this yet so let me be the first:
There is not the resources to house the many thousands now displaced whose homes and rental homes have been burnt to the ground.
The nights have gotten cold. Winter is approaching and this winter is set to be a very very cold one.
Start networking NOW folks.
Start using direct assistance if you want your aid to have the max benefit in someone’s life.
This goes to all areas that have been so horribly affected these last months!
If 100 people pool together and each donates $100 that becomes $10.000 which a family can use to
Security deposit/ first months rent / switch on utilities, and float a month to find jobs and buy basics like beds and school supplies for their children etc etc.
100 people donating $25 a week is $2500 a week. This could be shared amongst five or six families or ten or 12 elderly people until better long term solutions are figured out.
Or ten working students with no access to any other relief sources.
With 100% going directly to the beneficiaries themselves.
Match your donations to single mothers who desperately need a helping hand and have lost everything they couldn’t fit in their car besides the children and pets ahead of the fires…. whose insurance will not cover anything beyond a $4000 rental insurance payout and whose bank balance is now zero.
Food stamps are $67 a month… or thereabouts. A mother of three with a job and that’s her stipend. SMH.
Another mom I spoke to gets $24 in food stamps and has two jobs. Had two jobs. The fire ate both her jobs and her car. 50 people each donating $100 could buy her a working car and cover registration etc
Surely this is a logical human act of direct kindness whose measure is boundless.
Red Cross is not writing cheques to people. That is not their corporate function.
So perhaps it’s time to start thinking about using the social media platforms to connect directly with those in need and cut out the middlemen and corporate entities.
Air quality is around 185/ 190 at the Santa Rosa Fairground.
200 is a mandatory ” evacuate”. Hundreds of people have been stuck there for the week in limbo. No actual end in sight. Tonight new fires are burning.
I’d like to hear from people with first hand grievances regardless of where you are located… Texas Florida CA etc
This week I’m putting together a Position Paper and meeting with Senator Harris ahead of direct communications with the Red Cross, FEMA and other vested agents and principles in the ” rapid response”/” long term relief” vista.
Finally DES advises that private donations of clothes, food, tents, sleeping bags, Pet Foods (which are desperately needed), blankets, winter coats and alike, are best served being donated to the homeless shelters and the Living Room which serves displaced women and children and victims domestic violence in downtown Santa Rosa. Many Many of the homeless people living in the encampments fled the approaching flames with nothing more than the clothes that they had on at the time.
The Red Cross and their volunteers are TURNING AWAY the homeless people who have been displaced, yet ARE residents of the affected fire areas. Their camps which WERE their homes, have burned and THEY have lost everything, however meager, they DID own as well. And there NOW seems to be NO Assistance for THEM because THEY do not qualify with a “permanent address”.
Got an old bicycle in your garage? Many people who find themselves on the streets now would be grateful to have what you no long need. Includes bicycles, small wagons, rolling shopping baskets, and small suitcases with rollers. All can be directed to the down town homeless shelters in Santa Rosa, Napa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Rohnert Park and wherever you may be in the fire areas.
Thank you for your generosity!
Never forget we are all in this together
You can email DES directly at firstname.lastname@example.org