Re "Offering Solace, Bush Surveys Destruction," Nov. 5: President Bush always has time for California when there's a good photo opportunity or a rich Republican enclave doing a fund-raiser. But where was he when we needed his help during the energy crisis when his Texas buddies were robbing us? Where was he when Gov. Gray Davis asked for money to help take steps that might have mitigated the severity of some of the fires?
Now is the time for taxpayers to ask for reinstatement or expansion of fire safety education programs lost to state budget cuts. Fire departments need personnel who have the time and training to speak to citizens' groups, businesses and students about fire prevention, evacuation planning, safe landscaping and arson awareness. Let's use a proactive approach to assure the safety we all value.
In 1985, The Times printed my letter about how I installed roof sprinklers on my house for about $100. Since then, I've installed a $40 pump so that I can use the water in my pool, if needed, for the roof. After my last letter on this subject, I got a call from a retired fire chief who told me that after the Bel-Air fire, the only houses left standing were the ones with roof sprinklers. Maybe those who insist on building a house in the woods or other obvious fire area should be required to install whatever preventive measures are available.
Edward S. Hill