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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials January 25, 2015

8/10/2013 6:04:00 AM
Editorial: Denying Yarnell aid a low blow from feds

As if the tiny town of Yarnell about 20 miles south of Prescott hasn't suffered enough blows in the past month, its people had to hear Friday that no federal money would be coming their way because of the Obama administration's refusal to declare the area the site of a major disaster.

Ever since many of Yarnell's people lost their homes in the Yarnell Hill fire that killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who were struggling to battle it, they have quietly gone about their way, determined to rebuild with limited resources. When they had to flee the fire, they spent a week out of their homes in evacuation centers or other places where they could find lodging. All they could take with them were the clothes on their backs and what they had time to pack in their cars and trucks.

Now that they are back in Yarnell, they are living with family and friends who have opened their homes to them or in donated RVs. Some have rented houses, and the more fortunate have been able to buy RVs or fifth-wheel rigs.

None of this has been easy, and it has added expense for these people, even though contributions to help rebuild the town are coming in to the Yarnell Recovery Group, in generous but not overwhelming amounts.

Gov. Jan Brewer and local legislators reacted with disappointment - actually, that's a mild description - to word of the denial of federal aid that the governor received late Friday afternoon, within days of the president's visit to Arizona to tout the improving housing market and the economy.

At the time of the fire, Brewer asked Obama for help, and he intimated that the federal government might follow through and send some aid for Yarnell.

We shouldn't have counted on it. Unless the federal government rescinds its decision in an appeal that the governor might pursue, Yarnell is out of luck as far as the feds are concerned.

And that's not right. As Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin said Friday, this decision make it look like people of a tiny town in the West don't have as much clout as those in the East or those who have endured major disasters in hurricanes.

We have to ask why the size of a town should make any difference?

Yarnell residents pay their taxes like all of us.

They deserve better than this slap in the face.

Shame on you, Washington, D.C.

Yet, knowing the will of the people of Yarnell, it's a sure bet they will keep putting one foot in front of the other and move on.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: p u

I love it
The Obama bashers are whining because they don't get big government free stuff. Maybe Obama is more fiscally responsible that these new fake conservatives. Its now known as the hypocrisy party of the right wing nuts with an overinflated sense of self.

Tomorrow their owners, the oligarchs, will give them a new thing to whine about and they will think "wow I'm smart" then evidence and facts will smack them in the head... and they won't budge.... That's the new republican faker way. Clueless, spineless, and without a care in the world for Truth. Perfect for manipulation. Just too easy...

How about we look for solutions and understand what happened and deal with it. But no the new Repubs just want to cry about Obama (it goes all the way to the obstructionist top of their party - no work just whine) Anti- American traitors is what these new fakers are in my opinion.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: So sick of this guy!

At least the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are getting paid!

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: NE MO

For those who voted for Obama "Reap What You Sow" and deal with it.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: REAL AMERICAN C.P.O. USN Retired RETIRED OLD MAN TOO

Maybe the State will do something if you tell them the AID is to build a wall and OTHER brick things around Yarnell to HELP keep out illegal aliens!!

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: Veritas Semper

Go to the FEMA site and see what type of "relief" could be gained if the fire had been declared a "Disaster Relief Area". It's a pretty wide range and it seems that some of it is worthwhile. The only one that I have trouble with is expecting the taxpayers to rebuild your house if you chose to not insure it in the first place. H.O. insurance is one of the least expensive types of insurance one can purchase (especially related to auto insurance or health insurance).
Add to the equation, and anyone that had seen the area effected prior to the fire can attest to this, a vast majority (well over 95%) of the homes had absolutely no "Defensible Space" as recommended by all fire authorities. Many of the homes had/have trees overhanging roof lines and several have their homes built around living trees. Very pretty to look at, but a fire hazard under normal circumstances.
Again, the concepts of Personal Responsibility, Accountability and Consequences for Decisions seem to be lost on the majority of Americans.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: Cordes Coyote

The federal government is not responsible to bail out every person who finds themselves in unfortunate circumstances. Once upon a time people believed in personal responsibility. In fact, some of those people even used to write editorials for the Daily Courier.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: a bc

It seems Republicans/conservatives want it both ways. They want to rail against the bloated size of government, the deficit, out of control spending, etc., but when trouble comes they want the government to help. Red states are sent a more tax dollars than blue states and food stamp usage show that while a few Democrat led states have high food stamp usage food stamp usage is highest consistently across Republican states. Go figure.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: SHORT MEMORIES

I agree with FEMA, as there were not enough uninsured private individuals who were victims to warrant a payout. FEMA is not permitted to "duplicate benefits" provided by insurance companies or other federal agencies. It must be more than what State or local governments can handle. LET'S REMEMBER, THAT IF ROMNEY HAD BEEN ELECTED, HE WANTED TO DO AWAY WITH FEMA. What about personal responsibility that the republicans are always pushing?

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: a bc

Alan Whitney wrote in all seriousness, "Really, I cannot believe that some posters have chosen to make this a politically partisan issue. Bashing Conservatives? Insulting the Courier staff? Really?"

And all the irony meters within a 1000 miles just exploded.

The original op ed, article and every conservative response on this topic has been nothing but partisan.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: L C

Personal responsibility sums it up. I am a home owner and there is NO WAY I would go without insurance. Why should the government have to pay for people that coudln't or didn't purchase insurance? That should be a matter of the state, community or their churches to step in to help those that didn't have insurance, not the federal government. The same goes for the 19 brave souls who lost their lives fighting that fire.
I chose to have a large family and with that I chose to purchase life insurance on my husband. He had some coverage through is work but when he died and left me with 5 children to raise alone, I had the benefit of life insurance to help raise the children. At no time did I cry for the government to help me. My church did a fundraiser for my family to help me get through the first year until my insurance payments began. Why do people expect the federal government to step in?
I read in the paper yesterday that the Obama administration is sending $195 million to displaced Syrians. Our country is so screwed up and has all it's priorities wrong.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: @ Alan & Micheal and others

What part about this disaster is not that large and is within the scope of what the local and state resources can handle do you not understand? Why are you not calling out our governor and the hypocrites on the right that would not lift a finger for the much much much much larger Sandy disaster? I just don't get it, you want to blame Obama so badly, you completely lose touch with reality and are immune to the numerous adequate explanations given.

Seriously, why can't you comprehend simple math, simple Governor politics (she is either just dumb or playing games, or both), use simple comparison skills, and understand the most basic of FEMA procedures that have been explained to you. Can you not understand English? It is really not very difficult, yet you guys INSIST on being misinformed. I think you must like being misinformed. I guess for you it is easier than dealing with reality. Life in the bubble I suppose...

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: Rodeo Chediski Survivor

Residents of Yarnell. Sorry this happened to you.

Disregard any promises made to you be state or federal officials. In reality, you will be made whole again by the following groups: Your insurance companies, church groups, friends, neighbors, boys scouts, girl scouts, etc.

As in our case, the state and feds are broke, both financially and morally. They couldn't help if they wanted to.

So do as has been done around these parts for hundreds of years. Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps. You will recover, thanks to your own strength and the help of the groups I listed above.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: J K

C'mon Whitney. You make a partisan issue out of who didn't replace the t.p. roll.
Somehow your political blinders cannot allow you to see the difference between Yarnell and Sandy, New Orleans and Andrew. The people on here that are making this partisan ain't the libs. It is the people ,like you, who are complaining that the reason the Feds said no is because Obama doesn't like Arizona or they didn't support him in the election.. The fact that Oklahoma (a very red state) received federal assistance and Colorado didn't, due to their fire, disproves your latest conspiracy theory.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: Tim Dolan

Help to those in need requires no explanation or justification. I and thousands of others provided financial, material and physical labor assistance to the people of Yarnell. And will gladly and energetically continue to do so.

The size and scope of the Yarnell tragedy is within the scope of private and local (including State) government resources. Making political hay of denial of Federal aid is childish and conspicuously partisan.

Finally, if the Editorial can't get the distance from Prescott to Yarnell correct (it is 35 miles, not 20 miles) it simply adds to the argument that the author bypassed his/her thinking process and just hit the `knee jerk regressive' button.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: t s

This is pure political theater on the part of the governor and a little bit of excusable ignorance on the part of the op ed writer.

Eligibility for FEMA funding is strictly based on numerical thresholds - the dollar amount of damage done.

Yarnell just wasn't big enough.

The governor figures most people don't know that, which is why she's huffing and puffing. It's all nonsense.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: John Q Public

We all need to ask 'our' senators how they voted on the budget extension that would have given gov't programs like FEMA the ability to help the citizens of the US in whatever situations they find themselves in. Whether it be natural disasters, loss of work, etc. but...the 'fine' senators of Arizona elected to NOT take any action to avoid sequestration.
Yeah, a few months ago, the majority of the posters here were dancing a gig at the cuts going into affect, including McCain, Flake, and Brewer. Now, they are seeing the results of their lack of action. This has nothing to do with the Obama administration or any vendettas against Arizona, folks...this is pure politics at its finest.
The nearly 500 families that lost their homes in the Colorado fires a couple months ago were denied FEMA benefits, too. And, they have a Democrat for governor. No conspiracies folks...just good ole economics and politics crossing tracks and we all suffer in the end, one way or another.
The other issue here, which many folks have hit on is the fact that the people being affected are those that were ignorant enough not to have insurance on their properties. Come on folks, wake up. If you don't have insurance on your property right now, you have no right to criticize. To ask FEMA to pay to rebuild homes to people that didn't have the common sense to have insurance on their properties only rewards bad behavior.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Really, I cannot believe that some posters have chosen to make this a politically partisan issue.

Bashing Conservatives? Insulting the Courier staff? Really?

Speaking for myself, I might agree that the Federal government has little place doling out tax dollars to compensate people who have lost homes due to a natural disaster.

But. If the Feds can do it for New Orleans, Hurricane Sandy, Andrew, and an endless list of other disasters, why not for the people of Yarnell?

I think that the people who have chosen to indulge in hatred because of the Yarnell Fire are despicable.

But then, they are "Liberals." And I have long since come to expect this sort of thing from them.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: Michael Stromer


Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: REAL AMERICAN C.P.O. USN Retired RETIRED OLD MAN

The real blame should go to the GOV Janet Brewer=she is the one who gave the President the 'FINGER'!!

Sandy was a huge one in a century type natural DISASTER affecting millions..

Yarnell should be helped by' local' or 'state' only agencies..Besides I thought Arizona especially this area HATED the Feds.

I can't believe This JUST basically happened and It's all about the $$$ already.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: @ Tom von Deck

you are missing the point - they "chose" to be poor by not working or by not working hard enough.

Every Republican knows it's YOUR CHOICE to be poor.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: poor me

Give em hell harry has a great post

The Republican hypocrisy is on display a lot, but this one is pretty darn obvious.

The Republicans are getting absolutely crushed on this one. I almost feel sorry for them - I mean to be exposed so blatantly as big entitlement loving hypocrites has got to hurt, right? (But then I remember facts don't matter to their voting base - it appears they will lie to get votes and it works and that's what governing is on the right, right?)

Typical of the entitlement attitude of Republicans in general.

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: get real...

Every single republican Congressman from Arizona voted against relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, where there was devastation on a massive scale. Now, that the residents of Yarnell have been denied federal assistance, there heads are exploding in anger, even though the scale of devastation was miniscule in comparison. Their actions are sickening to me because they gladly deny help to others who are in need, but demand the Feds dish out the money when the tradegy is here at home.

Where is their outcry for the widows of the fallen hotshots who are not receiving benefits? Oh that's right, there are certain laws and criteria that must be honored. But if the Obama administration, speciifically the officials at FEMA follow a certain set of criteria, they are acting in a partisan way to "punish" Arizonians.

The ultra partisan ideogoly of republicans in general, and specifically in Arizona in this case, including the Editors at this paper, has trapped them and now they are being exposed for the frauds and hypocrites that they really are. They demand austraity, austraity, austraity with everything but will quickly abandon their so-called principles to demand "their" money. They are reaping what they are sown and can't have it both ways.

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

In many cases, I wouldn't call a lack of insurance in Yarnell a choice. The average income is 16k and the average age is 64. I probably wouldn't buy insurance in that situation.

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: John Doe

As with car insurance, homeowners and renters, we are required to attain insurance. Some of these people failed to be responsible and do so therefore, they want handouts from the government. Denying Yarnell aid is a wake up call to be responsible and pay for insurance that you can respectfully collect from when in need.

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: M. Fiskar

You know the federal government is no longer a part of America when they will send billions of taxpayer dollars to other countries, some of which are interested only in destroying us and everything we stand for, but can't bring themselves to help their fellow Americans. Time for an American Spring. "When a long train of abuses . . . ."

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