What would you have done?
I heard that no one stopped to investigate when the U.S. Border Patrol arrested Francisco Morales, while he was on the road taking his kid to school last month. I wonder what I would do if I had been on the road at that time. History gives examples of how acts of courage can make a difference. I’ve seen bullies back down on the playground when confronted. A small village in France risked their own lives to save the lives of many Jewish people during the Nazi occupation.
I like to imagine I would have stopped to witness the situation. I would have been frightened. The officers would tell me I’m interfering, and I would have stepped back but stayed to witness, as is my legal right in any public space. The officers might have arrested me too, but I’m a privileged old white guy so I’d probably get off since I would not have broken any laws or endangered anyone.
I now carry a card in my wallet with the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network hotline number: (844) 724-3737. After receiving a report, the hotline volunteer will notify trained members of a local rapid response team to safely and legally witness and document incidents like what Francisco and his daughter endured. Documenting encounters can serve as evidence, substantiate reports, and deter violence.
I don’t own a cell phone and would flag down passing cars until someone let me make the call. If you carry a mobile phone, consider entering the hotline phone number into your contact list.
What would you have done that morning?
Dave Sabold, Winthrop
District 6 levy facts
In the most recent Okanogan County Fire District 6 Dispatch newsletter, soon to be in your mailboxes, I made a mistake in comparing levy rates with other fire districts in the county. I apologize both to the district and to its voters for this error.
On page 2, the caption to the only chart states that the new rate, if approved by voters, will still be below the average for the county. Here’s how it actually pencils out: If Proposition 6 is approved, the District 6 levy would increase by approximately 17.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value from 65.6 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for a total of 83 cents.
Of the 160 other county fire districts in eastern Washington, 85 have a rate that is higher than 83 cents, and 75 have a lower rate. The average for the 10 most comparable is 99 cents per /$1,000 of assessed value. So, if Proposition 6 passes, the district will still have a very reasonable levy rate.
A yes vote on Proposition 6 for the new fire levy will give the district its first “raise” in over a decade, except for the 1% annual increase in budget that is allowed by statute. Your vote will bring a new district station in Winthrop, to replace a building that’s unsafe and practically as old as I am (believe me, that’s scary). As a huge bonus, passing the levy will trigger a $1.8 million grant to make the station a top-flight training facility for both District 6 and the region.
Disclaimer: I’ve been a volunteer with District 6 since 2012, through dozens of house fires, way too many record wildfire seasons, and more automobile wrecks than I can count. We’re not all heroes, but we are all committed to your safety and preservation of your property. I hope you can be there for us. Please vote yes for Proposition 6.
Alan Fahnestock, Winthrop
Grateful for support
We live in an amazing community! I am aware that you know that, but I wanted to repeat it. After Jerry’s death I have received an outpouring of support. The cards, the letters, the flowers, the plants, the food, the thoughts and the prayers — it is nothing short of incredible. I don’t think I can put into words how appreciative I am of all of the above. As many members of our neighborhood know, this is not an easy journey when one loses a loved one. The anguish is obvious. But the outpouring of care I have received is appreciated and more helpful than I could have ever expected. Thank you one and all and thank you, Don, for our local newspaper where all of us can connect!
Christine Holm, Winthrop
It was very encouraging to read about research verifying the effects of forest health treatments on the behavior of the Carlton Complex Fire.
What is discouraging is that an out-of-state “environmental” organization — the Alliance for the Wild Rockies (AWR) — is suing to prevent similar treatments planned for the Mission Project, despite support from the Nature Conservancy and Conservation Northwest.
I recently tried to engage the AWR in a discussion of the science behind their assertions of environmental harm. I began by contending that extreme, unnatural fire behavior in our dry forests represents the worst environmental threat to these ecosystems. In response, I received a narrative about the Lewis and Clark expedition riding their horses up Lolo Creek in the Rockies because, in 1805, the surrounding forest was too dense to ride through. Meaning, I guess, that thick forests are good. If the expedition had come to the Methow Valley, I am quite sure they could have ridden their horses through the old growth ponderosa forests that dominated the landscape.
In subsequent exchanges, AWR sent a newspaper article reporting that fire breaks in Southern California are not effective when extreme winds (70- to 100-plus mph) drive fire through chaparral. Irrelevant. Also, an article about fire in lodgepole systems. Again, irrelevant. Lodgepole forests are naturally thick and are routinely killed by wildfire. Naturally behaving fire plays the opposite role in healthy ponderosa systems, thinning saplings and seedlings and maintaining the open stand structure needed for forest health.
AWR fails to differentiate between ecosystems when bringing lawsuits alleging environmental harms. And cookie-cutter lawsuits appear to be most of what they do. They seem unconcerned if catastrophic wildfire kills forests that evolved to thrive under low-intensity fire behavior. I provided them a study showing that climate change is preventing fire-killed dry forests from re-growing but received no response.
Forests are the lungs of our planet. They play an enormous role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and are essential to preventing a climate catastrophe. AWR needs to recognize that a lot has changed in 30 years. They might consider looking at the science.
Gina McCoy, Winthrop