Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Brushfire of the Vanities

There's another in a long and continuing series of brush fires currently burning in the OC. Because these fires have absolutely no respect for city limits and county boundaries, (a sentiment with which I can fully sympathize) the fire could tresspass into the cities of Orange and Anaheim, and into Riverside County before it's brought under control.

The fire is burning in a questionably named "National Forest" after the late, lamented President Cleveland. I don't know whether President Cleveland has ever actually visited this rather poor excuse for a forest, because if he had, he might have declared that he'd rather attach his name to a forest that actually had trees within its boundaries, rather than acres and acres of scrub brush and poison oak. Note: I've just been informed that some parts of the Cleveland National Forest actually do have real trees!

Nonetheless, whenever some careless and unschooled twenty-something happens to drive his fully equipped and fully financed BMW along a freeway passing through or near this "forest," and throws his cigarette butt out of the car, we get a brush fire. Such is today's lamentable situation.

One might sigh, shrug and say, "Well, no one lost his home....and now there's no more fuel to burn." Not so, my northern or eastern friend. In the length of time it takes for our BMW-driving lout to finish another cigarette, the scrub has regrown, redried and is ready to burn anew. Even in the absence of rain!

Such is the case in which government owns land: they own it. They won't allow adjoining private landowners to improve it or to grade off firebreaks (mustn't annoy the wacko environmentalists, dear friends!), and they certainly won't take care of it themselves. That'd be work! (Heard in a Maynard G Crebbs falsetto, Work?)

So, for those misguided individuals who wish to live at the edge of Southern California civilization (such as it is), fire is a constant worry--all the time except during our rare rainstorms. Then, flash floods and landslides come to the forefront.

There's no reason why these "forests" can't be bulldozed off in favor of new housing except:
  • Wacko environmentalists
  • Extant property owners (wishing to keep their inflated property values high)
  • Local government (hoping not to have the inadequacy of their infrastructure revealed)
  • Federal government (desiring to keep control of.....just about everything)
  • NIMBYs (detesting the noise and traffic of construction)
  • Bigots (You never know who'll move in there)
I could digress into a discussion of how all this makes it more difficult for the working dude to buy a house--or even rent an apartment, but we've all read our Ludwig von Mises and Henry Hazlitt, haven't we? Politicians, bureaucrats and drones (but, I repeat myself) say they want to help the poor, but they absolutely, positively will not do what it takes.

Meanwhile, Cleveland National Scrub Brush Farm is still burning. Like two or three other areas of Sunny SoCal have within the past year. What a waste of time, money and real estate!

And any family earning less tha $50k cannot afford to buy a house in a nice neighborhood without crippling itself financially.

The solution: Government must sell off its land holdings--especially those which aren't used, maintained and watched. Especially those that are in proximity of urban areas.

These areas can be developed with the inclusion of full infrastructure and thereby increase the supply of affordable housing for the less affluent.

Oh, it might mean that all these nice OC homes might slide a bit in value, and I don't expect current homeowners to like it, but but we have a serious government-caused problem. It has to be fixed.

Ok, this started out as a post about a fire. It ended up being about prime real estate lying wasted in the hands of parasites who have no idea what they're doing. Meanwhile, they're trying at every opportunity to steal more. Go figure.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Addendum: This morning, I've been hearing that the Sierra fire (they name them!) has burned about 7500 acres. The Forestry doofuses also have admitted that they started the fire! It was a planned "controlled burn" to form a fire break to make future fire fighting easier, should a real fire break out. I know, I'm confused, too. It theoretically is a legitimate tool, though, except that they forgot to put it out.

I rest my case: looks like civil drones can't even be trusted with matches.

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