Re "U.S. Rejected Davis on Aid to Clear Trees," Oct. 31: How fascinating to read Reps. Mary Bono (R-Palm Springs) and Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) criticizing the Bush administration. They fought for federal money to thin trees before the wildfires, only to be rejected by a Bush bureaucracy that has plenty of money for other priorities.
Lewis wants to believe this is not a "Democratic or Republican problem. It's a government problem" -- as if the Republican Party doesn't look to punish California whenever it can get away with it. Bono wants to believe that if the feds had acted earlier, Gov. Gray Davis would have had time to wage an appeal, as if he'd have had the time while fighting off the recall that she and her colleagues championed. The national Republican Party sees California only as a means to its ends.
When it comes to fires, we could take a cue from Australia's aborigines. They don't wait decades for brush and debris to build up and start a conflagration. They do an annual burn. This prevents the buildup of combustibles and stimulates the growth of the greens.
V. Fred Rayser