Tuesday March 11, 2014
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Once again, most people who are concerned and paying attention to the fire threat that Payson and surrounding communities face, are familiar with the circumstances and data you speak of. My question to you, and I do agree with your assessment of the larger political problems, is what do you recommend be done in the "short term" (1 to 3 years) to address the fire potential situation? The other issues you mentioned, even if they are correctable, will take decades to resolve. Changing people's habits, plus even remotely trying to change the entrenched Federal Government is not something the City Council of Payson can do with the wave of a pen and a telephone.
What would you suggest the Council do to address, lets say, vacant property within town limits that are basically fuel concentrations overloaded with weeds, brush, and vegetation that are contributory to the overall threat? Even better, were you sitting on that council, what steps would you recommend? And remember, since you are against adopting more codes (laws) and you suggested simply relying on "people's personal responsibilities, I am curious as to your proposed, realistic solutions that those folks can actually act on, in light of their fiduciary responsibilities to the entire community. We can all point to things that brought us to this point with some accuracy, many of which you already alluded to. But what the Fire Chief's were proposing to the Payson City Council regarding the IWUIC is something that can be done fairly quickly and start addressing the problem in the short term. If something is not done in the near term, this may almost be a moot point as the "fire" will have already come and gone while we are all still trying to find the "perfect solution" that make everyone happy.
You Go Girl!! And a pox on those lazy butts who only want to criticize.
I wasn't one of those was I? ;-)
I suspect , at some point a court is going to have to decide between the two disparate groups. Whether religious groups rights under the 1st Amendment trumps someone else's right to live a chosen homosexual lifestyle, or the GLBT folks free choice of that lifestyle trumps the religious rights of individuals as identified in the 1st Amendment. They will need the wisdom of Solomon if they take it on.
And before you continue to equate "sexual choice/identity" with race or gender, you may want to research medical studies as relates to whether a person is born with that inclination (gay) or it is simply something they feel more comfortable with and therefore choose.. I do not believe they have yet discovered a specific "gay" gene or DNA/RNA that is unique to LGBT persons. There simply is no moral, genetic or "natural" comparative between race, gender, and chosen sexual preference/identity. If you are aware of such, please share the info. As I've stated, there are "gays" within my family, as well as friends, and we have beat this subject to death. If the solutions were easy, they would have been accepted by now.
As to your "what if's" where does a person even begin with such conjecture? Do you have actual examples of such having actually occurred or are you simply throwing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks? In the absence of RFRA, both at the state level and at the Federal level, it would mean doctors opposed to performing abortions on religious grounds would be forced to do them anyway. After all doctors are basically ":business persons" providing a service. And what about pastor or clergy being forced to perform same sex weddings when such violates their religious convictions? If the rights to religious freedoms as spelled out in the 1st Amendment are not protected from erosion or abuse, then none of our rights as defined in that Constitution are worth spit. The Constitution forbids the government from the "establishment a religion" and I know of no one who would not agree that such a prohibition is warranted. It also says the government "shall not forbid the free exercise of religion". It is that "free exercise" that is at the core of this issue. It seems as if you and many others wish to nullify the "free exercise of" simply because someone has gone into business. I simply do not agree with that position, as you have readily determined. Our "rights" are individual rights and do not end when we walk out the door and go to our businesses. If "equal protection under the law" is the means with which the GLBT folks feel they can be accepted into mainstream society, then how does that somehow void the "equal protection under the law" for those of religious faith? You tell me.
I'll do the best I can to answer your questions. One caveat, I am not an attorney and do not do that well reading 'legalese" but tend to defer to people who can and do. Arizona currently has a law on the books called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It has been on the books since 1999. The legal scholars that reviewed the recently vetoed bill (SB 1062)said that all it did was make two additions to the existing law. One "clarifies that the definition of “person” includes all types of businesses and legal entities." The second "also ensures that a government enactment is not permitted to infringe on religious belief merely because the enactment allows for enforcement by a private individual." That's it! You tell me where either of those changes to the RFRA imply a person's right " to discriminate" against gays or anyone. I know you have seen the signs in many businesses in Arizona that state flat out "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone". Or this one "No shoes, No shirt, No Service". The right of business persons, in Arizona, is already established via existing state statutes. Now you can claim those laws are "discriminatory" on their face, but the laws allow business persons to provide their products and/or services to those they wish to and with hold them from those they wish to. No religious aspect is even mentioned in those laws.
Let me refer you to a site that can explain it better than I and maybe you can understand why the outcry over SB 1962 was due to ill informed and misled individuals who were looking to make it into something it never was. Those folks were agitated in their ignorance by minority interest groups and a manipulative media that simply refused to provide the truth.
Any wonder why folks are so fed up with politicians? While they are focused on their own self interests, those of us out here in the real world are still saddled with a sick economy and increasing taxes and costs of just about everything. I don't have many solutions as they have made it so complex, on purpose, that one simply feels like all we are doing is treading water to keep from drowning. Can we have a do over?
You again are correct. Christ took a very harsh and stern position relative to the "Religious Leaders" while He was here. The Sadducees and the Pharisees were so caught up in all their self importance relative to the "masses" that they really forgot what their purpose was to begin with. And yes, Jesus came to save the poor and disenfranchised of that time and in our time. As you said in the previous post, Jesus loves everyone. Rich, poor, black, white, purple, etc. He simply does not discriminate against anyone. It is sin that he hates, and He even admonishes us in His word for us to hate sin as well. As to your point about the prostitutes, He came to save the lost. If you recall what He told the woman at the well after telling her all that He already knew about her, was "go, and sin no more". Therein lies one of the most important lessons Christ left for us. We can be as "sinful" as they come, and all of us are, but if we are to follow Him, then we must make every human effort we can to leave those sins out of our lives. Having said that, Christ knew well and good that as long as we are in these fleshly bodies, we are always susceptible to falling into sin. That's the reason we needed a "Savior". There's absolutely nothing we can do to save ourselves. If we could Christ died for nothing.
On the point you touched in your original post, it is NOT homosexuals that I have an issue with, it is that they have chosen a "sin" that God specifically said was an abomination, as their chosen way of life. It is not some occasional sin we all succumb to on occasion, that is the pattern of their life. I believe it is that unwillingness to accept their lifestyle as sin, and turn from it, that causes such a rift between Christians and the LGBT community. As I said, I have gays in my family and in my circle of friends. I pray for them and do not wish them ill and they know that. But I cannot in my Christian faith reconcile their sinful lifestyle, no matter what laws are passed to try and force me to. I simply choose to side with God on that issue, and if someone has a problem with how He views homosexuality, they need to take that up with Him. I have a hard enough time keeping me on the path Christ has laid before me. He will ultimately judge us all.
First let me address the example you used. The imperative word in both your references is "commercial" and "residential (bedroom)". Apples and oranges. Fire Safety Codes for commercial/business/educational/assembly are markedly different than those set for residential habitation. Codes pertaining to residential structures are more frequently driven by health AND safety issues. I can only speak of personal experience while I was doing my stint as a Fire Inspector/Arson Investigator. And please accept that was over 35 years ago and many things have changed in that time. There was no such thing as 'The Internet" back then. ;-)
Once again, most of the codes for places where large numbers of people may be or gather, are generally driven by past experiences (usually not good ones). The requirement for the number of exits, emergency lighting, readily identified exits, distance to exists, etc. is largely determined by "occupant load". There is a formula for determining "occupant load" based upon the nature of the building and it's intended use. That's one reason you will often see the signs posted that tell what the approved occupant load is. And those again were based upon past experience where too many people were present and the means of leaving the building due to fire or other calamity were in adequate, contributing to added life loss.
I will try to address the "sprinkler" requirement but again, I am not that current with what existing "codes" may or may not require. There is a symbiotic relationship between Fire Protection and Insurance companies. That relationship dates back to the beginning of this nation when Benjamin Franklin was a Fire Chief. Originally there were no "city/municipal" Fire Departments. Businesses and citizens who could afford it, were protected by Fire Companies which were in the direct employ of the insurance companies. Although that is no longer the case, the ISO (Insurance Services Org) still has great impact on Fire Departments, their services, and laws/codes relative to that service. Rather than try to explain it all, I will provide this link that can give you some insight as to how things such as sprinkler requirements come about.
It's all a big pot and in that pot are Public Safety agencies, Insurance Companies, and most importantly, Tort Lawyers. It would be hard to determine which is directing the actions/policies of the other. One thing is certain, the people at the bottom of that chain are the ones who pay for it all, the taxpayers. As frustrating and complex as it is, the only real input we at the bottom have, is at the ballot box, and I wouldn't put too much faith in that. Just saying.
"And since the code calls for the cutting down of trees and the complete clearing of trees and brush around houses, that means that its adoption would call for something I thought you were against."
I still stand by that view. The "code" does not demand that every tree or vegetation be removed in order to provide firefighters with a "defensible space". That is hyperbole and alarmist on it's face and very contributory to why people resist ANY recommendations from those who are charged with defending their lives and property in case of a major wild fire. I have personally made the conscious decision to accept the known risks (from very personal experience) of living in the forest interface. I can still enjoy trees on my property as well as those on adjoining properties. Again, one of the reasons people choose to live in this environment. The MAJOR difference between me and those folks who are wringing their hands and screaming about the potential devastating fire that IS coming, is I accept that potential as part of my decision to live here and have insurance to cover the replacement should I lose everything except our lives. I do not expect the "Fire Department" with their limited resources and abilities against such a fire, to save my bacon. Most people (in the absence of my personal experiences) who live in Payson and other places have a completely different expectation. And it falls to their elected representatives to address the potential threat(s) and expectations of it's citizens. Even if the worst case scenario plays out, at least the City Council can forthrightly say they acted upon the recommendations of the "experts" and that is all they can be expected to do. Even a IWUIC adopted without amendment is not a cure all against such a potential. But sitting around without doing anything of significance is tantamount to malfeasance of office. I think some in Payson refer to it as "Fiddling while Rome burns".
I appreciate that my views may seem a bit inconsistent. I'll try to explain my points regarding the IWUIC. First, even I accept that in order for us to live in some semblance of harmony, there have to be some guidelines regarding conduct and behavior (laws/codes). Otherwise chaos would rule. I often, as I said in another post, refer to those things in the general term of "Laws of Social Order". Can we agree as to the need for those? I don't believe I ever advocated for NO laws or government application of laws. If I did please point it out and I will humbly stand corrected.
Now to the specifics of the IWUIC. Every code, whether fire, building, electrical, whatever that is an accepted national standard is always subject to modification/amendment by the adopting agency so that said code, if adopted, can adequately reflect the specific needs of those agencies. They are basically guidelines until given the force of law through their formal adoption. The Payson City Council can make those changes which they feel better fit in with their communities needs and "Master Plan". These are simply procedural changes that are perfectly acceptable. Unlike, let's say a UN Treaty that the US signs on to become a party to,
where signatories cannot change it once it has been adopted. You are bound by every jot and tittle. My, it should be obvious, objection to what I read as a response from the council members, was that they were placing the possible objections of potential developers and how they may or may not act regarding any adoption of a Fire Wise plan. That sends the message to me that the City Council is abrogating their primary civic responsibility of insuring the safety and security of the very citizens that elected them to office, in favor of outside interests. The IWUIC is the one the Fire Chief's recommended based upon it's adoption by cities similar to Payson in size and/or circumstance. It's acceptance or adoption is not the only possibility of addressing the potential catastrophic fire that everyone is so worried about. But I still take the position, that it is shortsighted of those elected officials to even be worried about what some future developer might think , when they are responsible with finding some method of mitigating that severe fire potential, first and foremost. Currently, the Payson City Council has shown their concern for the fire potential to the point that they do not currently even have Fire Chief, and they eliminated the position of the Fire Marshall. That shows a real concern, right?
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