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Update: An earlier version of this article stated that only one of California's Congressional Republicans joined with Democrats in signing a letter to President Trump asking for disaster aid for the fire victims.  The article has been updated to include a separate letter signed by Congressman Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, both San Diego Republicans, asking Trump for the disaster aid.

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Just in time for Thanksgiving, President Donald Trump’s White House sent Congress a skimpy disaster relief funding request that includes not one penny for survivors of the worst wildfires in California history, those that ravaged the wine region and other areas recently.  The measure provided only bare-bones funding for states that suffered hurricane damage.

A a letter sent to Trump asking for $7.4 billion in federal disaster aid for these fire victims was signed by California’s Governor, Democrat Congressional members and Senators.Of our state’s 14 Republicans, 13 refused to sign.

However some Republicans signed a separate letter of their own, including San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, asking the President for disaster relief to aid fire survivors.  See their letter.

Asked if Rep. Hunter plans to take any additional actions to persuade the President and Congress to fund relief for California fire victims, Hunter's district Chief of Staff and Communications Director Mike Harrison, replied, "Congressman Hunter has, and will continue to, advocate for the needs of our community and his district at every opportunity."

The fires killed 42 people, burned 8,900 of structures and charred 245,000 acres-- the equivalent in size of San Francisco, Sacramento and several other counties combined. The devastation far surpassed even the Cedar Fire and 2007 firestorms in San Diego County, which until recently were the worst in our state’s history.

President Trump's snub of disaster victims is unprecedented in American history, leaving victims of California’s worst natural disaster to fend for themselves.

No reason for the denial of funding by the President was given. But Mother Jones magazine suggests a political motive. The “red” states such as Florida and Texas that got hurricane relief funds voted for Trump.  “Blue” California did not. 

It’s a dangerous precedent to base disaster relief on partisan politics.

It’s also a betrayal of the many Republicans and others in California who did vote for Trump, even though the state’s electoral college votes went for his rival, Hillary Clinton.

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My sister has a cabin in the woods, there would be no chance the volunteer fire dept. could do anything. She has her truck and horse trailer on the dirt road facing down hill ready to evacuate. No insurance, she would lose everything.

Fire Aid

I empathize with the plight of the people who lost homes in fires this year, however.... I hold the belief people who build out in the forests and other remote areas should not depend on help from fire fighters who can't reach them. These same people build right next to the forest, putting themselves in danger. They refuse to clear a proper space for fire safety. There should be a way to protect my tax dollars from being wasted rebuilding properties when the fault lies with the homeowners who refused to obey rules. This is what we have insurance for.

To be clear, the people who

To be clear, the people who build in remote areas are not the ones who burn in monstrous numbers. It's the high-density neighborhoods that the state and counties allow developers to build in the wildland interface that burn in high numbers. I agree that taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill -- in fact, forcing taxpayers fund rebuilding in flooded neighborhoods in exactly the same floodplain they were in before makes me want to scream. But let's be honest about where the blame lies.

fire victim's complaint

Where's a cop when you need one ? I've encountered strong headwinds in registering my ( ours, really ) regarding SDG&E's settlements with fire victims from 2007. This is complicated (as most billion dollar frauds would be) but I'll try to keep it simple. While SDGE was negotiating with insurance carriers to buy up their discovery in 2008 & 2009, fire victims' attorneys ( plaintiff's consolidated group one or plaintiff's counsel group one, not sure which ) but PCG-1, were constructing a confidential ( because they mediated in secret ) settlement protocol in which they would go along with SDGE's wishes to avoid jury trials. ( where a guilty verdict might hinder sdge's ability to request rate hikes from the PUC to cover uninsured losses ) This "secret agreement" was discovered in my case files after an arbitrtion through JAMs mediation services was concluded in 2015 and my records were given to me when my legal team was finished. This discovery, an e-mail dated from the day of our mediator's a award, was from one our attorneys to the other attorneys of pcg-1. I am providing it word for word , except woithout names of individuals except "Trotter" . Subject:- Trotter reverses field ( text as follows) " I don't know how many times we reiterated this with Trotter, but according to my notes, it was at least four times. The attorney's fees at the binding mediations were to be calculated AFTER economic and non-economic damages were added together, and then multiply by 1.5. At a mediation today with (mediator's name withheld), Trotter back tracked and said "oh, I was willing to go along with that, but your group insisted otherwise". He then pulled out the Mediation Worksheet that we wanted the mediators to use following non-binding mediations, and it showed that economic damages were totaled up, attorneys fees added, and then non-economic damages were added on. In the big picture of things, we don't get attorney;'s fees on inverse, but as a matter of principle, he told us otherwise. " This e-mail is dated the same day as our "mediator's award" which probably explains it's inclusion to my case files. I do believe this one e-mail provides grounds for investigation of the entireity of the "mediator's awards" as the terms spelled out by our attorney , differ substantially from the terms of the mediated award per the agreement and this " 1.5 times damages as legal fees, explains the " switch" part, of "bait and switch". The mediators award was supposed to be constructed from an 8 point agreement which in essence repays economic and other damages, provides $150,000 to $300,000 per fire victim for "going through it" and a 50% added amount, for legal fees. Our mediator's award did not conform to the eight point agreement but it did conform to our awardfor all damages ( minus 60%) in undisclosed fees paid to pcg-1 by jams or SDGE. The remaining 40% of damages was the "Jams's mediator's award", from which our attorneys took 40% as legal fees. Our award matched the undisclosed agreement , designed to remain secret from all but the mediating parties that constructed this fleecing of fire victims. After expecting an equitable award and seeing the "mediator's award, our attorney just shrugged his shoulders and said " I don't know why it's not what was proomised per the agreement, but it's final and most important, CONFIDENTIAL ! In trying to raise this issue directly with the PUC, who is excluded from confidentiality protections unlike any other entity, the PUC wants to defer and have us raise this issue and complaint with the Calif. Attorney General, where confidentiality concerns, ARE enforceable. As my collection of documentation is complete for the purposes of showing the illegal (in my opinion) collusion between all parties, namely Sempra, SDG&E and their insurers, the Court supervising the settlement process ( and forcing mediations by not assigning any trial dates, in transcripts, the court wanted settlements to proceed) JAMS mediastion Services who administered over 2000 mediated settlements for a fine amount no doubt, and PCG-1 attorneys , who without having to go to trial, received 75% of damages all paid by their unknowing clients as fees. The eight point settlement agreement was a fraud, used to set up a recovery process after years of waiting for compensation by SDG&E as California's Inverse Condemnation Statutes allow. Oh, and Sempra, SDG&E and their insurers saved about a billion dollars by not paying legal fees as inverse also allows. So it would appear, everyone wins by dragging out the process for years irrespective if the hardships suffered by fire victims, this is how business is done. So far,in contacting the authorities, no one believes this could have happened. They should just ask any of the fire victims for confirmation. I didn't send this letter for publicatiomn but for assistance in getting justice for those victimized twice (or more). If publication would accomplish this, then publish my statement along with substantiating documentation which I would gladly provide. Everyone says there's eventually going to be an earthquake, this might be it . Mike Van Zee "RICE" fire victim 2007 contacts: phone: 760-390-1383 LET's ROLL ! People should be held to account for this. Their actions are nothing short of despicable, ask anyone who went through it.

Wildfire victims got money in October

Is it really honest to baldly state that no federal money went to wildfire-impacted communities? They were funded in an October bill. smh

Stop promoting partisan manipulation

Fire victims got money from FEMA, just like everyone else. The fact that disaster money was given to the state in October for firefighting expenses demonstrates that your assertion that the state is being punished is ... to put it kindly ... hyperbole at best. The press shouldn't be participating in promotion of a dishonest narrative.

lots of things are not right

the governor doesn't need to waste money traveling around the world to spread the global warming fantasy
the state doesn't need to waste money protect illegal aliens
the state doesn't need to keep raising taxes for bigger pensions and more benefits for their political supporters
the governor supports infecting people with hiv, he agrees it should not be a felony to hide that from a sex partner
the democrats from california and this publication could remember there is a significant number of people who do not support the dems or the governor but are at the mercy of an out of control and corrupt state government. the dems would rather call them names and disregard their rights to secure streets and rational policies and the expulsion of illegal and all criminal aliens.

the extreme far left rants and hate spewed by the ENTIRE california democrat contingent in dc and sacramento is a clear reason why we have President Trump

try homeowners insurance most of us have it

Here you go Miriam....


...I guess California is paying for trying to act like they were their own nation.

People whose homes burned weren't responsible for that.

To the posters below, by your logic, if you lived in a red state and your house flooded during say, Obama or Clinton's administration, it would be okay to deny you emergency disaster funds due to your state obstructing their policies, such as Obamacare, or calling for impeachment of Clinton, or whatever.

Disaster aid should never be tied to a state's politics, and of course many of the voters don't even support what their state may be doing.  These funds are set up to help Americans in times of desperate need.  But hey, if your house burns down, I hope you still feel the same way when Trump withholds money from you that you should have been entitled to under the laws of common decency and past precedent from the time FEMA began.


Doubling down on a dishonest narrative

Fire victims GOT FEMA MONEY. And as pointed out earlier, people who live in fire country usually have fire insurance. If you want to bag on somebody, try the state and county agencies who allow developers to poke high density enclaves out into fire-prone wildlands.


Every single chance Brown, Harris, Feinstein, and the State Democratic legislative majority get they stick their finger in the eyes of the Trump Administration and the American People...from making CA a sanctuary state to opposing the Border Wall to harboring criminal aliens to raising taxes to raising taxes, to letting Hollywood get away with rampant drug abuse and sexual harassment, to signing climate agreements with foreign nations, etc. In fact, CA Democrats, yourself included, bash Trump every chance they get. Now, you're surprised the federal government tells CA to use its own money? CA is on the verge of becoming the world's fifth largest economy and can afford to take care of its own....if only it would properly prioritize its spending. Oh, and $44 Billion is NOT skimpy.

No Wonder Why

I do not believe it's GOP's fault. Our Governor, Assembly, and Senate need to shoulder the blame possibly by halting Feds, even under President Obama, by disregarding Feds from enforcing Federal Laws regarding immigration, creating not only sanctuary cities, but declaring State a sanctuary State protecting illegals completely contrary to/protecting her legal citizens fro crime, including murder. Then , when they want something from Federal government they whine like little children when it's not as much as they'd like.