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July 18th, 2013 | by James Folmer | Comments

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Hot topic: The Mountain Fire continues to dominate our thoughts. The evacuation of Idyllwild and Fern Valley was another signal of how serious this blaze has become. About 4,000 people live in Idyllwild, Fern Valley and Pine Cove, which was not included in the evacuation order. Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, Mountain Fire incident commander, said the team is “erring on the side of caution.” That’s wise. Homes can be replaced. People cannot.
Best possibility: A chance of thunderstorms is forecast for Friday. Let’s hope for a good downpour!

Letter of the day: As the grim struggle against the Mountain Fire continues, Craig Davis of Rancho Mirage takes a stab at humor: “As I heard that the Mountain Fire is once again out of control, I wondered if I would need to pack anything in case of evacuation and I realized I would need only three items: my television, my computer and my prenuptial. I’ve been married three times and I know my priorities.”

Barstow solar 5Editorial in progress: The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has decided to put three-quarters of the revenue from $150-per-acre payments from large-scaled solar projects in the eastern desert toward a fund that can be used at the board’s discretion. Supervisor Jeff Stone, who represents the Temecula-Murrieta area, says the top priority should be to use the money to build jail cells. We agree that more jail space is critical, but it’s hard to fathom how solar panels in the remote desert can be responsible for crime.

Tomorrow’s Valley VoMyles Spicerice: Myles Spicer of Palm Desert, who has become a regular Valley Voice contributor, notes the sorry state of America’s infrastructure – crumbling bridges, dams and roads are a threat to our way of life. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives it a “D” grade. Spicer suggests that instead of spending $400 billion on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, we use that money to rebuild America. After all, we spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined. “The repair needed most is the repair of our priorities,” Spicer concludes.

Tomorrow’s poll question: Unless a better idea comes along, I’ll play off Spicer’s column. Should the U.S. spend $400 billion on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet or invest that money in rebuilding infrastructure? A) The jet. A strong defense is essential to our freedom. B) Infrastructure. That will create jobs and make our country safer. Cast your vote on Friday at mydesert.com/opinion

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