California logic

After years of devastating wildfires that charred millions of acres in California, analysts figured out that the houses that most frequently burned down were semi-isolated and surrounded by trees and lots of wild vegetation. The challenges after the last few years of the: drought, fire, rain, mudslide cycle was that the state and the insurance companies were paying billions of dollars for fire losses and even suing the power companies for downed wires was not paying the bill. Property owners had to keep trees and accumulated brush away from the houses. While this solved part of the problem it did not overcome the environmentalist laws on the books that forbade cutting down trees and insisted on letting the bush grow anywhere it wanted.

When the rains stop in April, vegetation turns crisp and brown; the tiniest spark can set off a major conflagration. So a logical natural conclusion was to hire goats and move them from neighborhood to neighborhood and just let them eat all the excess underbrush. It was completely natural, environmentalists did not complain and the incidence of fires near structures went down. Not only were the houses safer from fires, the lack of cover meant fewer critters and varmints sneaking around the new housing developments. The California Labor Federation said, “Goatherders are among the most vulnerable workers in America” and underappreciated: because they are contract workers on temporary work visas and can be fired and sent back to their home country anytime. Most of them work in isolation, speak minimal English and don’t have the same rights as Americans or green-card holders.

Farm workers are guaranteed a fixed wage and working conditions and earn around $4,000 a month. Now the state says only sheep herders can pay monthly salaries, while goat herders must pay overtime for goat herders staying with the flock 24/7. The California Farm Bureau says this means monthly salaries could jump to $14,000. His company has about 4,000 goats for hire to clear vegetation for government agencies and private landowners. Without a fix to the new regulations, “We will be forced to sell these goats to slaughter and to the auction yards, and we’ll be forced out of business and probably file for bankruptcy,” Arrowsmith said. He said the herders are paid about $4,000 a month and have their food, housing and cellphones provided.

The problem is that while this pay raise may seem a short term gain for the Goatees, it means there will be lots more overgrown tinder for the lightning and dumb humans to burn down. Laguna Fire Prevention said that just three things contribute to wildland fires. “Fuel loads, topography and weather.” He paused, then smiled. “We can’t change the topography, and we can’t do anything about the weather. The only variable to reduce is the fuel load. That’s what goats do for us.”

Getting your California goat

A poll was taken by California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office which asked whether people who live in California think Illegal immigration is a serious problem:
29% of respondents answered: “Yes, It is a serious problem.”
71% of respondents answered: “No es una problema seriosa.”

What’s California’s favorite band?
Earth Wind and Fire.

How do you prank a newcomer to California?
Tell them to take the freeway because it’ll be faster.

How many Columbia students does it take to fix a lightbulb?
Ten. One to fix it and nine to organize the protest.

April 24th Birthdays

1936 – Jill Ireland, 1934 – Shirley MacLaine,  1977 – Jessica Chastain, 1998 – Autuma Wendel

1993  – Joe Kerry, 1995 – Jordan Fisher , 1976 – Peyton Manning, 1977 – Phil Robertson

Morning Motivator: