A conflict of interest is a conflict of interest. A financial conflict of interest is a financial conflict of interest.

Concerning the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council and the new fire-abatement laws, objective criticism can never hurt.

Good, well-intentioned, and sincere people (as are MCFSC and its volunteers) can still make poor decisions, and should never feel above open and respectful criticism. And I’m glad that several from this community have come forward and expressed grave concerns about the new fire-abatement laws.

A former MCFSC president stated in the paper, “MCFSC takes a percentage of the grants (from abatements) to cover administrative costs, including the salary of the grossly underpaid executive director.”

That’s why I feel it should not be the only non-public group there drawing up new laws that will mean more abatements. That’s how it gets its income, through the abatements in which it participates.

Conflicts of interest are just plain wrong. It raises the question of the legitimacy of new laws that mean more abatement costs for us and more funds for MCFSC. I feel we can do better. Why not just tell us? What is the percentage MCFSC takes?

And why block the community from voting on it? According to officials’ comments in the press, they are talking about big changes and big costs. Perhaps the powers-that-be are reading the newspaper and seeing all the doubts, reservations and opposition from a variety of community members and are afraid to put it to vote?

Sharon Cassen
Pine Cove