A lie is a lie, a contradiction is a contradiction and a false statement is false. Confusion and doubt surrounds the new fire-abatement policies only because of the statements by MCFSC, its president and public officials.

Here’s a few:

The money we’ll pay? Idyllwild Fire Chief Reitz mentions the cost for additional inspection personnel and particularly the availability of funds to pay contractors, a pool of funds until liens can be collected.

Brandon Smith, county fire investigator, said, “This ordinance will need increased staffing. I think that’s what we’re missing in enforcement.”

And Riverside Fire Chief Hawkins agrees, “We’ll need to define a framework for actions and the intricacies of finances, including inspection staff and abatement costs for contractors.” (All three, Town Crier, Oct. 23.)

And guess who is eventually going to pay for it? Yet hear now what MCFSC President Esnard says publicly: “No one I know involved with this process has suggested creating a new tax or fee … Let me repeat, no one has suggested raising fees or taxes.” (TC, Nov. 27.)

They may try to pass the law, and make us fund it later. Which one is it? And how much?

Every house or vacant lots only?

Chief Hawkins tells us the purpose of the committee is for “unabated properties which have no structures,” and undeveloped lots in “areas above 3,000 feet.” (TC, Dec. 25.)

Sue Nash, the one writing the law, tells us the intense abatement requirements within 30 feet of structures would apply to all property owners. (TC, Oct. 23.)

And Idyllwild Chief Reitz, a member of the committee, told us when asked, that intense abatement means 30 feet out from every house, any two trees or bushes touching (live or dead) are in violation.

No structures, says Chief Hawkins. The one writing the law says all structures. Somebody isn’t telling the whole story.

Chief Hawkins “affirmed he is committed to a public process and hearing,” (TC, Dec. 25), but the committee is meeting at 1 p.m. on a workday when everyone is at work.

And the big question, the one asked over and over, and the one never answered: such an important issue that affects us all, why can’t we vote on it, rather than a non-elected committee? Inflammatory public statements by MCFSC’s Sue Nash, the one writing the law, don’t help. “We’re terrified, everybody wants to do this,” she said. (TC, Oct. 23.)

 Shari Fae