Four Star Fire

26 10 2007

San Diego Fires

By Jill Ettinger

Watching the fires rage across southern California is surreal. Having spent a significant amount of time in San Diego county during the last four years, I have a  clear vision of where these blazes are burning, and what the aftermath must look like. San Diego for the most part, is pretty nice. The weather is its greatest attribute, scenery not so bad. Much of the area is densely populated, but there are remote stretches of quietude. I lived there briefly for about a year, in the east county, in a gorgeous ranch house with an old growth cactus garden in the back, fruiting mulberry tree and horse ranches across the road. It was peaceful, dusty and a world apart from the Manhattan metro area I had spent the previous two years living in (and would eventually return to).

I’m pretty sure much of the world views southern California in many lights, but it is undoubtedly best known as the backyard to Hollywood, fantastic homes of the rich and maybe-famous, the most conservative county in our country sits between San Diego and Los Angeles (Orange county) and lots and lots of fancy cars, gobs of money and the image obsessed plastic surgery capital on the continent. Considering all this, part of me isn’t surprised at all that it’s going up in flames.

As the news shows families piled into Qualcomm Stadium for days as a shelter, they also mentioned some families were being welcomed into Downtown San Diego (not on fire) Marriott and other four star hotels at “discounted rates” of $129-$169 per night. Having worked in that area for as long as I did, and after moving back east, I was a hotel frequenter in San Diego virtually every month, for years. I’ve developed quite an affinity for Priceline.com, as the three & four star hotels in most parts of the world can be secured for well under $99 a night. This is a nice thing to know when traveling a lot. Many Motel 6 and other “cheap” places end up costing close to $70 or more per night without the amenities in some of these other establishments. After long flights, nothing beats a (clean) hot tub, rarely found at Super 8, but most always at a Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott etc. But as head falls to pillow after the intensity of travel, they’re all really just the same, and the gap in costs is often ghastly disproportioned.

As are many things in our country. We see this most clearly in times of disaster. It’s why the modest mean income of New Orleans received less effective evacuation and support during Katrina and why the efforts are much more proactive in the million dollar zip codes of San Diego. But still, when I read that in this time of terrifying crisis, some of the hoteliers were clearly collecting profits, rather than opening up their doors at cost or the almost unthinkable charitable donation of free rooms, my heart sank. The average working families being displaced by this ferocious cleansing forced to pay out to the mega-money makers that contribute to the plasticized image of SoCal (one hotel heiress comes to mind) so that they can have a safe bed for their children. Will this molten blizzard burn away this  greedy behavior or allow the kings of enterprise to gain even more power? If a massive, unstoppable fire can’t do the trick, what then does it take?

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27 10 2007
www.bestlandscapingadvice.info » Four Star Fire

[…] innercontinental placed an observative post today on Four Star Fire.Here’s a quick excerpt:Watching the fires rage across southern California is surreal. Having spent a significant amount of time in San Diego county during the last four years, I have a clear vision of where these blazes are burning, and what the aftermath … […]

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