Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor - July 13 edition

Outrageous assault on residential property owners

The July 11 action by the Madera County Board of Supervisors to amend County Ordinance 18:11:100 is the first formal step to legitimize Short Term Vacation Rentals in Madera County residential neighborhoods.

We need to stop this outrageous assault on the rights of residential property owners. The overwhelming majority of single-family, residential property owners in Oakhurst, North Fork, Coarsegold and Ahwahnee are not aware that the supervisors has allowed these commercial, revenue-generating enterprise to creep into our neighborhoods.

Certainly, this type of commercial activity has been an accepted fact of life in and around Bass Lake since the early 1950s. No problem. But the recent proliferation of Short Term Vacation Rentals into other residential areas is concerning.

A recent check of the Airbnb website for Short Term Vacation Rentals in the 93644 zip code revealed more than 300 active rentals starting as low as $20 per night.

These rentals include entire homes, rooms in homes, detached cottages, RVs, trailers and yes, even tents.

Do you really want an unregulated Short Term Vacation Rental operating next door to your home? Will your safety be compromised? Twenty bucks a night? Rooms, trailers, RV’s and tents? Noise and safety concerns?

Folks, wake up. Neighborhoods are for neighbors, not Short Term Vacation Rentals. Call your county supervisor soon.

Terry Flanagan, Oakhurst

NOTE: At 10 a.m. on July 18, the Madera County Board of Supervisors will vote on an amendment to the county zoning code, to clarify the approval of short term vacation rentals.

Yes, I am being an alarmist

We are dancing on the head of a pin, and it is getting slippery.

I have been watching the news and listening to wildland fire dispatches. There are two reasons the fires have been stopped without massive losses.

The first is the luck of where, when they started, and there were not multiple large fires.

The second is much more complicated. Each dispatch has been aggressive, with multiple engines from Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, and Madera County, multiple water tenders, multiple helicopters, and fixed wing air tankers. Crews and equipment have been relatively fresh and ready to respond.

As the summer wears on things will change, all resources will be depleted, and spread very thin.

Stations normally covered by two Cal Fire engines may only have one county engine with two or three paid call firefighters. When aircraft are requested the response can often be sorry, none available at this time.

I hope you have already cleared the vegetation away from your homes 100 feet. Now move anything that can burn away from the house - barbecues with propane tanks, and any firewood or lumber. If there’s a fire in your neighborhood, that will make a difference between which homes firefighters choose to save.

Everybody in the Mountain Area needs to have a go bag, or car, packed with your most important things.

You need to know at least three ways out of your area.

You need to know where safety areas are in case you cannot get out.

One last little bit of advice. If you decide to stay and protect your property after being told to leave, don’t bother to call for help when you realize it was a bad idea.

Yes, I am being an alarmist.

In 30 years of fighting fires (mostly wildland) I have never seen a year with this many signs pointing to a disastrous fire season.

If your house and property are not being threatened, help those who are in the path, at the very least offer a cold drink to the firefighters.

Dale Drozen, Rolling Hills

Start looking at Bateson

It was a real pleasure to hear Regina Bateson speak in Mariposa recently. Regina is running for election in 2018 to represent our congressional district in Washington.

Regina grew up in our district, went to school in our district and has deep family roots in the Sierra foothills. After getting her PhD from Yale in political science she went on to serve as a Forgein Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State in Central and South America.

Among her many responsibilities was dealing with immigration issues. She has returned to her home district because she know that the people of California Congressional District 4 deserve better than Tom McClintock.

Mr. McClintock for his entire adult life, except for a few short breaks, has been a politician. A politician who moved from Southern California for the sole purpose of running for office. He didn’t move here, like most of us, for the quality of life or to raise our families in a healthy environment. He moved here to run for office. Interestingly in his first run for office in 2004 he was not eligible to vote for himself because he didn’t live in the district.

That was nearly nine years ago and he still does not live in the district he claims to represent. How can he say he knows what our district needs?

You might think that being at a job for your entire life would make you good at it - Right? - Well since Mr. McClintock was elected to Congress in 2008 he has been the primary sponsor on exactly four bills enacted into law.

In 2010 his bill was signed by the president to rename the Portola post office, in 2013 his bill was signed to rename a Roseville post office, in 2014 his bill was signed to put federal lands in trust for the Miwok Indians and more recently his bill passed to rename a mountain peak.

Regina Bateson is right. We deserve better. It’s just 12 months from the first round of voting in June 2018. Start looking for a candidate that lives in our district, that knows our district and will fight for our district in Washington.

Tim Madden, Ahwahnee

Mud slinging

I feel it necessary to write you regarding the continuous hate and evil that comes from columnist Peter Cavanaugh. We all can have an opinion but his seems to go over the top every week. He seems unable or unwilling to get his point across without calling people hateful names, usually is directed at the president.

This is very unprofessional. He is like the bully in school who thinks he can do what ever he wants and follows no rule of common courtesy. His style of mud slinging does not fit in here. He is a hater, the same we get on some cable channels and worse. I stopped the Fresno paper for this reason and tune out CNN.

Columnist Bill Atwood is able to express his opinion week after week in a very professional manner with no problem. Peter always takes the low road. I plan to follow up on this issue and ask others to speak up as well, we can do better than this.

I think it is time for him to go the way of the dinosaur and Dodo bird, allow someone with more tact, and ability to present the views of the left.

Terry Kaluza, Coarsegold

A reminder on recycling

I was happy to see in the Sierra Star that the June 17 Household Hazardous Waste event at Yosemite High School was so successful.

The group Keep Our Mountains Beautiful is currently advocating for additional opportunities to recycle batteries and bulbs in our area. If and when we are successful, we will certainly get the word out.

Just an FYI - With the advent of Emadco recycling, the once-a-month recycling collection in Yosemite Lakes Park has been permanently canceled.

Sandee Scott, Coarsegold

Wildfire prevention

I hope the Madera County Board of Supervisors begins seriously thinking or doing something concrete about wildfire prevention.

After the much needed rain this past winter, grasses are high and now dry, manzanitas are growing and branches of fallen dead pines and those left over by tree work litter the dense growth. The board still seemingly has no interest in making the 100-foot clearance code actually be implementable in a variety of property lot environments.

One thing they could consider doing, in addition to making it possible to clear 100 feet around one’s home, would be to make chippers available to residents at a nominal fee to chip the trimmed foliage and limbs that couldn’t be burned in time.

Not only would that be positive for air quality, it would return benefits back to the earth. The board must be more serious about fire prevention than just posting fire warning flyers around town.

Mary Herrmann, Oakhurst

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