On July 16, a story in the daily newspaper carried the headline: “Debate erupts over jumbo tanker as fires rage in West,” with a picture of a Boeing 747 in flight with copious quantities of liquid falling from the belly as would bombs from a bomber. The sub-head read: “Company says federal officials grounding firefighting plane,” and credit was to Keith Ridler of the Associated Press with a dateline of Boise, Idaho.
The gist of the story is that the company owning the 747 converted to tanker service, Global SuperTanker Services, claims that it can carry and drop over 19,000 gallons of fire retardant chemical. This compares to 11,600 gallons that can be carried by DC-10 tankers in substantial use in the United States.
According to the story, DC-10s are being used by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The complaint was that the U.S. Forest Service is offering firefighting contracts which limit firefighting aircraft to 5,000 gallons of suppressant, but won’t give an explanation why.
The story implies, and I agree, that this does not pass the smell test and appears to be total discrimination to the detriment of lives and property in areas where wildfires occur. Some groups reportedly have postulated the agency is trying to cut firefighting costs for budget reasons. A figure of $1.6 billion was listed for these purposes in 2016, second highest in history. It seems to me, if this is the reason, to be “penny wise and pound foolish” to fail to use the biggest weapons available in the guise of saving money.
A far more sinister possibility, in my opinion, would be an attempt by the long-established Democrat-sympathetic bureaucracy to embarrass and, if possible, destroy the PRESDT Administration. In either case, the result is detrimental to the residents in path the of the fires, the property destroyed and, more immediately, those actually fighting the fires on the ground.
One of these firefights could be compared to fighting a war, where it is necessary to bring the most effective and powerful systems into action for victory in the shortest time possible, resulting in the lowest possible cost in money, equipment, property damage and loss of life. It has often amazed but no longer surprised me the way these longtime government employees, and elected officials make decisions on sometimes very important issues. Usually such is the situation that will gain the most public exposure and approbation on the part of the primarily Socialist-oriented media.
Unfortunately, the establishment of the Civil Service laws during the early years of the FDR Administrations beginning in March of 1933 has served to critically limit the ability of subsequent administrations to weed out incompetent, ignorant, disloyal, or non-performing staff. My own memory is clear that it took my oldest son, then a lieutenant in the Navy, two years to dismiss a nonperforming civilian employee, while I had personal Army experience in 1946 with just such an individual.
Given these restrictions on the freedom of action on the part of administrations, it is really amazing to me how much PRESDT has been able to accomplish so far. Of course, the “hate Trump” media types will not give any credit for the things that have been done. We who supported and voted for his election should lean more heavily on our elected representatives in legislative bodies, both national and state, to correct their sometimes errant actions and turn them to support of the improvements being proposed and made.
In my experience, much more has been accomplished by complimenting them when doing something good than complaining about wrongdoing. Having a record of such actions engenders a far more friendly and accommodating reception when calling or writing with a request. In some cases, this has even had a favorable effect on the following actions and decisions of the officeholder. Unfortunately, those not elected who feel very secure in their positions may be less likely to be so affected – thus we need to drain the swamp.
Prior to those laws in 1933, it was the practice that a new administration, especially if of a different party, would clean house and replace the existing office population. That served to keep them more in the mindset of being public servants. This is especially true since government pay has risen to exceed the pay for similar work in the private service, where job security is tenuous at best.