Our View: Responsibility is key | TheUnion.com

Our View: Responsibility is key

The Union Editorial Board

There’s a thread that winds through our community.

It’s found through our homeless camps, water conveyance canals and PG&E power lines. It snakes its way through the infrastructure we use and our own personal actions.

The thread is “responsibility,” and it’s been tough to find recently.

This week a homeless man was accused of starting a warming fire near Brunswick and Idaho Maryland roads that turned into a 30-by-40 foot blaze.

Police said they offered the man services, but he refused and said he’d continue camping outdoors.

This makes one wonder about the wisdom of building a large homeless day center off Old Tunnel Road. Is the question now, “If you build it, they won’t come?”

We can’t jail people, and we shouldn’t, for being homeless. That’s not just or humane. However, we must ensure the safety of our community, and we can’t allow people to trespass and start fires that could destroy our towns.

Local governments have been asked to provide camping areas for the homeless. They should strongly consider it. Our elected officials have a responsibility to act, much like the people living in our woods must respect everyone’s safety.

People who trespass must be removed. We should have a safe place for them to go. Continued law breaking must be punished, and not with a revolving door at the jail.

We’ll shut off power across the state because of fire. We should do something about people who start fires while living in our woods.

And speaking of power outages:

Western Nevada County found itself in the dark this week — a repeat from a similar power outage from two weeks ago. It likely will find itself again without power this weekend.

Nevada County residents learned plenty from the last shutoff. So did PG&E. Everyone still has more to learn, not least of which is responsibility.

We need to be proactive, not reactive, to fire threat. You saw that slow change from one outage to another. Long lines at a gas station and chaos at the grocery store were greatly reduced this week. People learned from the last outage and changed their behavior.

PG&E needs to react better as well. It should constantly monitor the power lines, ensuring no tree limbs are dangerously near, or on, them. It must better target the areas that must lose power instead of casting a wide net across the North State.

And it has to communicate with the customers. This is supposed to be a business, after all.

The Nevada Irrigation District, in its own way, is a business as well. It’s got a product we all want, and are willing to pay for.

It’s not, as Director Nick Wilcox indicated, theft when water spills from a canal, seeps into the earth and finds its way to someone’s well.

You can flip that coin: People who use wells, and need seepage, shouldn’t rely on leaky canals to meet their water needs. They have no fault in this situation, but hoping for bad canals isn’t the way to ensure full wells.

Responsibility is a two-way street.

No one is getting prosecuted for water moving through the ground and into wells. Likewise, well owners can’t expect to benefit forever from poor water district infrastructure.

We need to examine the infrastructure of ourselves if we’re to fix all these issues. The relationships, organizations and funding that form the highways and bridges of our community must constantly be maintained, strengthened and expanded to meet these challenges.

It isn’t enough to hold workshops, or post your grievances on Facebook. Words must be backed by action.

It’s the responsible thing to do.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.

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