Better disaster communication needed
Regarding “Disaster is relentless” (Page One, Oct. 11) and the fires in Napa: We are of course inexpressibly grateful to the emergency services personnel. This letter is intended to be constructive. The scariest part of this experience for my family was the lack of reliable and coherent information about the state of the fires, including where they were and likely to move and how quickly, during the early hours of the fire. Most of Napa was out of power, so there was no access to the Internet and there was also no cell service. The only media available was through radio.
Our local radio station (KVON) did a valiant job of getting the station online and attempting to provide information, but the only sources they had were phone calls from citizens reporting what they could see. From these it was hard to get more than a vague and partial idea of what was going on. What was needed was a spokesperson from emergency services who could integrate information from the field and regularly report their best understanding of the status. A number of people did not get the evacuation order until the fire was on top of them. Better communication would have helped. David Posner, Napa
“Rebuilding: Don’t rush recovery, Oakland hills blaze survivors advise” was helpful, but I suspect the current fire victims’ experience will be quite different than Oakland hills survivors. Most will find they are drastically under-insured, as did fire victims in San Diego in 2007. In 1991, most homeowners had “guaranteed replacement” insurance, so insurance had to pay the cost of fully replacing your home no matter how much your premium was. Insurance companies lost so much money from the Oakland fire that they quickly changed their policies and now few, if any, offer guaranteed replacement in California.
Instead, they disingenuously use the word “replacement” in their policies but it is capped at a specified dollar amount, which might not actually pay to replace your home. It is up to you, the homeowner, to know how much it will cost in today’s dollars to hire an architect, obtain permits, and have a contractor build a true replacement. Until insurance companies are required to sell us a policy that truly reflects the ever-increasing custom-home building costs, most fire victims lose out both emotionally and financially. Holly Hadlock, Mill Valley
With all the types of discrimination we face in this nation, let’s not add ageism, especially of women, to this ugly list. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has served California loyally and with the wisdom and skill that comes with mature and rational thinking. She does her homework meticulously on all issues before her and has earned the right to continue to serve in her unique capacity that leads the way in bipartisan success, the only way we will ever make our way out of the congressional quagmire we’re in. There are so many others, including some very prominent male leaders of this country, who should step down before she does. I don’t hear the call for them to be removed. She has proved herself over and over. Does that count for nothing? Is she just to be discarded like an inanimate object with built-in obsolescence? What disrespect that would signal for my granddaughters and all the young women in our midst. When and if she loses the ability to lead and serve as well as she has done for many years, I’m certain she will voluntarily step down. To force her out before her time is shameful and discriminatory. Evie Groch, El Cerrito
Merge the scout groups
With the news that the Boy Scouts of America will now be admitting girls, and allowing them to attain the coveted rank of Eagle Scout, here’s a question to ponder: Why do we still have scouting groups that are defined by gender? Since more of today’s youth are identifying as nonbinary, why not merge the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts of the USA into one larger, all-inclusive group known as the Scouts of America? Nina Nguyen, Daly City
Posture of prayer
It puzzles me that President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and others regard kneeling during the national anthem as a show of disrespect. In almost all cultures, kneeling is a posture of prayer and humility. Surely, the players are not showing contempt for our national ideals, but praying that we might be more worthy of them. Alan Williamson, Berkeley