Napa County should expand evacuation plans

Sunday morning, Napa County officials made a good first step in preparation for an emergency evacuation of Angwin by utilizing the Los Posadas fire road as a limited escape route (“Angwin residents try out new road to safety from Napa Valley wildfires,” July 1).

Hopefully, the county will take the more important second step of staging a drill using Howell Mountain Road, the only viable road in and out of Angwin.

Napa County could learn from the experience of communities and counties such as Mill Valley in Marin County that have been staging annual drills for years.

The Mill Valley website states that the purpose of the drill is not only to help residents prepare for an emergency but also to assist first responders in understanding the issues that may arise should an evacuation become necessary. Personally, I think rehearsal is important because it helps people think through what they would do during a real emergency. It tends to reduce panic at a time when cool heads are needed.

During a drill when the men and women in uniform show up with their vehicle lights flashing, it sends a message to people who may be complacent and unprepared. One of the first things Community Emergency Response Team training teaches is that individuals must prepare to take care of themselves during a community-wide emergency because there will likely not be enough first responders to go around.

The all-volunteer County Fire Wise and community-based Fire Safe Councils are to be commended for the time and expertise they give. Currently, they are taking strides to organize neighborhoods within their communities into a neighbor-helping-neighbor program. However, I have not heard of any lines forming to volunteer. Help is needed.

Just as individuals must shoulder responsibility, so must Napa County. It could improve its inadequate and seemingly incomplete plan.

Paradise, California had a well-rehearsed plan that fell apart as the fire bore down on the town. Mayor Jones is convinced the evacuation plan and residents familiarity with it saved lives. “People were aware …You had evacuations every year … People knew what to do, so that was helpful,” the mayor told journalists.

Besides staging community-wide fire drills the county could budget staff time to assist Fire Safe Councils and obtain grant money for fire safe projects.

Some people use the unpredictability and complexity of planning for a wildfire as an excuse to wait until a disaster occurs to find out which way the wind will blow. Modeling techniques are available. “The idea is that if emergency managers were to model different wildfire situations, they could devise multiple plans from which to choose when disaster strikes,” said Dapeng Li, an assistant professor of geography at South Dakota State University.

“California counties could make use of similar models in order to create contingency evacuation plans,” he stated. “But it would take time, resources and a lot of training. If we are to make an evacuation plan, we need to consider different scenarios.”

It all boils down to the time and money it would take for Napa County to make improvements in its plan. Time is money. How much money and where it should be spent depends on priority. I submit that the lives of Napa Valley residents, and let us not forget the tourists, should have the highest priority. Oops, I forgot to mention the cost to county infrastructure and to tourism.

Donna M. Morgan


Wish I had switched to the GOP years ago

I was privileged to serve from October 2017 to February 2019 as the secretary of the Solano County Republican Central Committee. A former Democrat most of my life, I bailed out when I realized it was hijacked by people who were pro-socialist and convinced many others that it was a great idea.

Dr. Jordan Peterson pointed out, in an earlier video I watched recently, that people don’t have ideas, the ideas have them, along with beliefs that they are correct. They will fight anyone who disagrees because if the person disagreeing can show the other person they are wrong, it could undermine them to the point of mental instability.

Socialism is a really bad idea, but the Progressives pushing it will fight violently to oppose any criticism or evidence they are wrong in believing it is the ideal form of government.

I have followed Dinesh D’Souza for several years. I have heard him make comparisons between ideologies, including the millions of people killed in genocidal campaigns by Ghengis Khan, Stalin, Hitler, China’s Chairman Mao, and Cambodia’s Pol Pot, not to overlook 1,400 years of genocide by Islam against non-Muslims, including thousands of Christians murdered even now every year around the globe.

I found it frightening that Barack Obama was so enthralled with the Islamic cause that he handed over millions of cold cash to Iran with which Iran used to fund more terrorism and to kill our soldiers in that region.

So, I don’t get the animus and name-calling by Chris Hammaker about Republicans, Dinesh or Brandon Straka, the gay speaker (“In Memoriam: Napa County’s GOP,” June 26). While Brandon, in my opinion, spent too much time on personal matters, he used that in context with how the Left tried to brainwash him directly and why he left the Democrat Party. He talked about the brainwashing techniques they used to spread lies and manipulate people, using as “facts” things that were totally false.

Dinesh talked about his arrest, conviction, and incarceration. He gave about $10,000 to a close friend of his running for a public office, not realizing that he was violating campaign funding laws. While historic facts show that such donations have occurred many times over many campaigns, no one, and I mean no one, was ever prosecuted or imprisoned. So why Dinesh?

For me, having done my own investigation about many things bad happening to this state and country, and around the world, it was apparent to me that Dinesh, an honest, highly intelligent patriot, was too outspoken against the Left for them to risk the possibility that he might run for public office.

And so they went after him on this minor donation, comparatively speaking, to secure prosecution and conviction that would ensure he could never run for any public office. This is what was done to him.

“Convicted felon” says Hammaker. “Set up” by the Left to try to silence him and prevent him from public office, says me.

As for the rest of Hammaker’s comments against D’Souza, it’s all too easy to take words out of context and create an entirely false narrative about what someone said and/or meant.

As for the term “concentration camps” on the border, he defined it as any place where people are concentrated by act of law or authority, as opposed to an extermination facility. We’re not killing these migrants.

Dinesh rightly pointed out that the U.S. has laws on immigration, and the high concentrations of thousands of migrants trying to overrun our borders and enter illegally is the reason there is a high concentration of illegals being held in facilities at the border.

This is the same interpretation I made on my own.

It is the fault of the hordes storming the border in violation of our laws that cause their own highly concentrated detention. No other country (except maybe Europe these last few years) has open borders, including Mexico and the countries of Central and South America, yet we Americans are supposed to have no such laws and allow anybody and everybody to waltz in and impose heavy financial burdens on us all?

We already have millions of illegals around the country, and they account for a significant portion of the violent crime and inmates in prison. Do we want more of the same? Do we have the right to take actions that make us citizens safer, like enforcing immigration laws? Yes, we do.

Illegal migrants create the “concentration” of people in detention by sheer numbers; we do not do that, they do. We do not have “concentration camps” but we have “containment” facilities for lawbreakers.

Hammaker seems to have tunnel-vision, lost in his own beliefs and angst for Republicans. I find Republicans quite likeable, and wish I’d changed sides many years ago. They seem to be the most patriotic of all. I like that.

James Lewis


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