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Camp Meeker Beat - September 2016

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Camp Meeker Beat -September 2016

by Tom Austin

Do not go quietly into the long nights. Rage, rage against the dying of summer. I hope you’re enjoying your Labor Day as you read this. Although the official end of summer is the Autumnal Equinox, the end of summer according to the retail industry is Labor Day, all the better to sell you some hot dogs, lighter fluid, sunscreen, and Frisbees. Does anyone still play Frisbee, or do they gather dust in the garage next to the rollerblades? 

No philosophical meandering this month. No discursive tangents on torpor. We’ve got hard news. Two serious, and one serious but fun. Mark your calendar for these dates: September 18, September 28, October 1.

The first two dates are actually part one and two of the same event: I have reported in previous columns about Camp Meeker getting the dubious honor of being chosen for a pilot program for a Fuel Reduction Program administered by Sonoma County Fire. At the last Board meeting, Carleon Safford appeared to discuss this pilot program with Camp Meeker residents. Many at the meeting were left confused by what seemed to be mixed messages about the purpose of the program, about the implementation of it, and about who will be paying for it. 

When I mentioned this in previous columns, it was about Fuel Reduction, perhaps also known as defensible space. However, the terminology used in other communications to the Board was about a Vegetation Management Ordinance. What’s the difference? You got me. Perhaps the difference is who it applies to: Originally only 100 residents were to qualify for a home inspection and recommendations under this program; under questioning, however, County Fire said that this program would apply to all residents of Camp Meeker. 

Inspection? Wait, what was that about inspections? You heard right. If you are picked, or qualified, or chosen for an inspection, someone will come to your house with the authority to “recommend” actions you should take to increase your defensible space, or perhaps manage your vegetation. But wait: the “recommendation” is mandatory, and you have to pay for it. Or maybe you don’t; maybe there will be grant monies available. Or maybe the County will do the work anyway if you can’t afford it, and put a lien on your house. 

Have I got your attention yet? Stuff’s about to get real. Or maybe it isn’t. County Fire representative Safford wasn’t entirely clear on the issue. At times during the meeting she gave the impression that the County was moving forward with the program, but at other times said there was no plan to enforce the ordinance. 

I am quite sure that you are full of questions now – fairly bursting with them, I would bet. Me too. That’s why those dates matter. On Sunday September 18 at 10 am, and on Wednesday, September 28 at 6 pm, County Fire will take another crack at explaining their position on these matters, and perhaps in clarifying your questions. So study up, tell your neighbors, get prepared. This is one of those times where citizen participation can make a crucial difference in how we are governed. 

Thanks for sticking with me through those serious paragraphs. I will now lighten the mood to close out the column. On October 1, Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo will once again be zipping by Camp Meeker. Bohemian Highway will be closed to vehicles from 8:30 to 10 am (with a partial closure from 10 to 11 am), and craploads of happy bicyclists will be whooshing down Bohemian Highway. Tony Tominia says he will be down front cooking French toast and sausage (I’m not sure if he is doing this as a volunteer fireman, as a board member, or just on his own initiative, but thanks very much either way, Tony!). There will also be seating available, there will be hot coffee and orange juice, and the food is free! Make your plans to minimize any inconvenience from the road closure, and leave your Saturday morning free for free food!