November 21, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Perspective

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Positivity — Tom @ 11:00 pm

I saw this about halfway through this post at Obi’s Sister. It was written to make a political point, which is fine, but it really makes a universal one (paragraphing added by me):

A neighbor (say her name is Mary) sees her other neighbor (say her name is Nancy) and decides to make her a pie. She bakes a lovely pie the next day and takes it next-door. Nancy is overwhelmed that her neighbor would be so thoughtful and thanks her profusely.

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy thanks her again, but with less enthusiasm.

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy just says “Thanks.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says, “Thanks, and you’re a day late this time.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says “Thanks, but next time, can you make a cherry pie instead of apple? I’m getting tired of apple.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says “You know, if you put a little less sugar in the crust and didn’t handle it so long, the crust wouldn’t be tough.”

The next week, Mary has lots to do and forgets to make her pie. When she walked by Nancy’s house, she stuck her head out the door and yelled, “Hey! Where’s my pie?”

How quickly gratitude turns into a jaded sense of entitlement.

We shouldn’t allow that to happen to ourselves.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Romney, the Courts, and the Constitutions: Part 2 — Mitt Romney and Same-Sex Marriage

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:43 pm

This is the second part of what will ultimately be a 5-part post (Part 1 is here; Part 3, done on Friday, is here) about a fascinating and important e-mail debate that unfolded over the past five or so days, primarily between Gregg Jackson and Kevin Whelan, the co-hosts of Pundit Review Radio and the Pundit Review blog, with some input from myself and at least a couple of other more knowledgeable folks.

As I noted in Part 1, broader issues about the relationships between the branches of government have come to the fore as a result of looking at the specifics of Mitt Romney’s performance and record on abortion rights and same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. You can also go to Part 1 to see a list of the various posts by Gregg, Kevin, and others that have taken us to this point.

Part 1 covered government-subsidized abortion. This part covers same-sex marriage.

As weak as Mitt Romney’s defenses appear to be on allowing, and most probably expanding, the availability of abortion in the Bay State, he is, in my admittedly less-than-expert opinion, on much, much weaker ground on how he handled the Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC’s) ruling in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health.

Here is how Wikipedia describes the “ruling” (full ruling text is here; opens in new window), which is basically accurate, if puffed-up, until the last sentence:

In a 50-page, 4-3 ruling delivered on November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that the state may not “deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.” Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, writing for the majority, wrote that the state’s constitution “affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals” and “forbids the creation of second-class citizens” and that the state had no “constitutionally adequate reason” for denying marriage to same-sex couples. On the legal aspect, instead of creating a new fundamental right to marry, or more accurately the right to choose to marry, the Court held that the State does not have a rational basis to deny same-sex couples from marriage on the ground of due process and equal protection.

The court gave the State Legislature 180 days to change the law to rectify the situation.

As in Part 1, at its core, it all gets back to how much power the courts have. In the case of the same-sex marriage “ruling,” there are two aspects to consider: its enforceability and its constitutionality.

As to enforceability, Part 1 demonstrated that an SJC “ruling” in Massachusetts is really a “statement of belief” that means nothing without a law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor that implements it. If that were not the case — if the SJC could really declare that same-sex marriage is okey-dokey without anyone’s help — it clearly would have done so, on that day in November 2003. But, under Massachusetts’ constitution, it can’t. Further, contrary to the final sentence from Wiki, the SJC had no constitutional power to impose a deadline on the Legislature. I have to believe that the 180 days “given” was the result of Old Media spinning a gullible public that has long since gotten used to courts impermissibly throwing their weight around (in the “ruling,” the language used is a less imperative suggestion that the legislature “take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of this opinion.”)

A perfectly appropriate riposte to the last sentence of the Wiki excerpt would be, “Or what?” You will see that even today it would be, and should be, the appropriate response.

It appears that “everyone knew” after the Goodridge “ruling” that the Legislature was going to pass a law to implement it. Not only that, as Robert Paine demonstrates at his January 13, 2007 post, everyone (Nov. 24 — see the Update at Part 3 for the only specific exception I could find) many people on both sides of the issue “knew that the legislature would have to change the marriage law for same-sex “marriage” to become legal.” In other words, legislation had to happen, or the “ruling” would mean nothing. Paine cites statements from liberal politicians, profamily leaders, liberal constitutional scholars like Lawrence Tribe, Goodridge counsel, and Mitt Romney himself, all to that effect.

Here’s what Mitt Romney said on April 15, 2004 (link was found by me; bold is mine):

“I believe the reason that the court gave 180 days to the Legislature [following its ruling] was to allow the Legislature the chance to look through all of the laws developed over the centuries and see how they should be adjusted or clarified for purposes of same-sex marriage; the Legislature didn’t do that,” Romney said. “Without an extension of the stay, it leaves to the executive branch . . . the responsibility to sort out as well as we can how we can interpret and execute these laws.”




How the bolded sentence went unnoticed at the time by profamily groups and constitution-loving conservatives is almost incomprehensible. They were instead misdirected into praising Romney for complaining, without result, that he should be able to represent the state in front of the SJC instead of the Attorney General, who supported Goodridge (the Massachusetts Constitution says that the AG is the only one who can do this, so it appears to have been an exercise in futility).

But please, focus on the bolded sentence in the Romney quote.

Mr. Romney: What “laws”? We know that an SJC “ruling” is not a “law.” So there’s nothing to “interpret.” There’s no law to “execute.” If the Legislature hasn’t passed the law the Court has advised them is needed, YOU would be violating your state’s constitution (and ended up doing exactly that) by putting into place “laws” that don’t exist.

After the legislature failed to act, Mitt Romney went ahead and executed the non-existent law anyway, leaving me to unfortunately agree with Raphael Lewis, the writer of the Boston Globe report I linked to:

From a political standpoint, the governor’s effort appeared designed to demonstrate one last time that he tried to block gays from marrying in this state, and to give him room to blame the Democrat-run Legislature for refusing to allow him even to ask the SJC to stay its ruling.

Crocodile tears, sir. As Paine says, “Romney had no enabling statute, nor is there one today, to permit same-sex couples to marry.”

So why, during the final two-plus years of his administration, did Mitt Romney act like an enabling statute existed, when the fact of the matter is that it did not, and still does not?

(Added Nov. 24)

A “statute” is “an enactment made by a legislature and expressed in a formal document.”

In Massachusetts specifically, it means “a law ratified in the constitutionally prescribed manner by the legislature (with the governor’s signature or an override of the governor’s veto).” Once enacted, a statute becomes incorporated into the existing body of law that members of the executive branch from town clerks up to and including the governor swear to execute faithfully, and that members of the judicial branch from Justices of the Peace up to and including the SJC swear solemnly to apply faithfully in specific cases before them.

(Resume original post)

For that matter, why have profamily and conservative organizations not held Romney’s feet to the fire for two years of “implementation” of a “law” that does not exist?

Readers who believe that same-sex marriage is an idea whose time has come nevertheless must in all intellectual honesty concede that the lack of a enabling statute means that marriage law in Massachusetts has not changed, and that Mitt Romney has “implemented” a legal fiction. As noted in Part 1, if the people of Massachusetts don’t like the fact that the law didn’t change and still hasn’t changed, they have to lobby their legislators to revise it, and then encourage the governor to sign it. If the legislators won’t get off their rear ends and pass enabling legislation, or if the governor won’t sign it — too bad, so sad. The only remaining recourse is a little thing called “holding elections.” If enough agreeable legislators can’t be elected, or if a recalcitrant governor vetoes relevant legislation and sustains an attempt to override his veto — again, too bad, so sad.

Now let’s get to the constitutionality of the ruling itself. Follow me closely on this.

While this may not necessarily be true in other states, Paine notes in Part I of “The Governor’s New Clothes: How Mitt Romney Brought Same-Sex Marriage To America” that “The Legal Authority to Certify and Solemnize a Marriage in Massachusetts Originates Solely by Statute.” In other words, in the Bay State it only “counts” as a marriage if the State statute says it does.

In Part II, he correctly characterizes the SJC’s decision as saying that “that Chapter 207 (the relevant section of the marriage statute — Ed.) does not permit same sex marriage as it was written.” But then, using a foreign-law precedent (Ontario, Canada), the SJC unilaterally decided that it could “refine ….. the common-law meaning of marriage.”

There’s only one problem. I thought I learned this in the only business law class I took, and it makes what the SJC majority “ruled” incoherent on its face — Common law, no matter how interpreted or “refined,” does not trump statutory law. Paine points to this in Part III and Part IV, concluding, I believe correctly, that “The act of reformulating the common law meaning did not and could not change the (one man, one woman) meaning of the term ‘marriage’ contained within the statute,” and that the SJC specifically acknowledged that.

It gets worse. Remember that a Massachusetts marriage only “counts” if the state statute says it does. In other words, perhaps unlike other states, and unlike the Canadian province of Ontario cited (incoherence piled on top of incoherence), common-law marriage doesn’t exist in Massachusetts. Paine thus concludes in Part V that common law is irrelevant to marriage in Massachusetts, and that “any reliance on that foreign case (is) utterly misplaced.”

It should be obvious by now that the SJC “ruling” didn’t even pass a constitutional stench test, let alone a smell test. Romney could have ignored the ruling on obvious unconstitutionality alone. He apparently, according to some, had the potential to take action against the judges themselves for such blatant and obvious dereliction of their duties to uphold the state’s constitution, and to other avenues for redress, but did not avail himself of any of the possibilities. I’ll leave it to others to analyze those, as it distracts from the completion of the task at hand.

The point of Paine’s Part VI is that nothing has changed. “….. since the SJC did not strike down the Massachusetts marriage statute and the legislature has not changed or repealed it, the marriage statute is still in effect and continues to prohibit same-sex marriages.” In fact, “the Legislature has never changed the wording of the statute to permit same-sex marriage, nor has it repealed the law, thus, the law of Massachusetts has never changed.”

Part VII of Paine’s work, along with this link to the full op-ed column that originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal in February 2004, show that Romney (Juris Doctor, Harvard Law, 1975) clearly knew everything about the “ruling’s” unconstitutionality covered to this point. Romney further wrote that “By its decision, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts circumvented the Legislature and the executive, and assumed to itself the power of legislating. That’s wrong.”


  • Romney had marriage license certificates changed from “Husband” and “Wife” to “Person A” and “Person B” anyway. He didn’t have to, and further had no constitutional authority to do so.
  • He “ordered the town clerks, even ones with religious conscience concerns, to solemnize the marriages.” He didn’t have to, and further had no constitutional authority to do so.
  • In these and other actions, he “acquiesced in the SJC decision and actively authorized same-sex ‘marriage.’” He didn’t have to, and further had no constitutional authority to do so.

It is thus clear, again regardless of how one feels about the issue itself, that same-sex marriage certificates issued in Massachusetts under the Romney regime have been issued without requisite legal authority to do so (i.e., a real law voted on by the legislature and signed by the governor), and are, by definition, void.

So not only did Mitt Romney not have the required legislative authority to implement Goodridge, the “ruling,” on its face, is objectively and irretrievably constitutionally flawed. He had a constitutional duty to the state’s citizens to ignore the “ruling,” and he failed in that duty.

And yet, somehow, Mitt Romney is considered A-OK by “conservatives” who clearly should know better.

Paine’s conclusion in Part VIII:

….. as Chief Executive, Governor Romney is under a continuing constitutional and sworn duty, day after day, year after year, to comply with his oath and to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth regarding same-sex “marriage.” So far, however, he has chosen not to do so. He could be sued for mandamus. Sadly then, it was not the SJC, but rather Governor Romney’s acquiescence in the SJC’s unconstitutional conduct that has brought same-sex “marriage” to America. Without his complicity, not one fraudulent “marriage” license would ever have been issued.

Now that it has been definitively shown that Mitt Romney failed to do his constitutional duty as governor, and in fact proactively did the exact opposite, someone needs to explain to me why the entire country should expect that he won’t be similarly derelict in his duties if he were to be elected president.

Future Parts: Part 3 contains excerpts certain comments, and statement from various parties involved with, or involved in implementing, the Goodridge decision. Part 4 tells the story of the Supreme Court’s 1988 Beck decision, and why it’s relevant to the discussion of a president’s and Congress’s dealings with the courts. Part 5 covers dicey separation of powers issues that a President Romney might be expected to face, and what could happen if he acts as negligently as president as he did while governor of Massachusetts.

Romney, the Courts, and the Constitutions: Part 1 — Abortion Coverage in RomneyCare

Yesterday was a relatively light posting day, at least in terms of verbosity, because I’ve been watching a fascinating and important e-mail debate unfold primarily between Gregg Jackson and Kevin Whelan, the co-hosts of Pundit Review Radio and the Pundit Review blog. Along the way, there has been some input from myself and at least a couple of other more knowledgeable folks.

The subjects started out being Mitt Romney’s inclusion of abortion coverage in Commonwealth Care, aka RomneyCare, and Romney’s ability or inability to act on the Massachusetts court’s Goodridge ruling “legalizing” same-sex marriage. In the process of vetting these two matters, broader issues about the relationships between the branches of government have come to the fore.

The broader issues strike me as awfully important, and I’ll try to develop them.

Here are the related posts:

  • Nov. 20 — Pundit Review (PR; Gregg); Kevin, The Constitution Trumps Opinions of Lawrence Tribe and the Boston Globe
  • Nov. 20 — PR (Kevin); Defending Mitt Romney, part 2
  • Nov. 20 — PR (Gregg); Mitt Romney, Not the Mass Supreme Judicial Court, Imposed Gay Marriage on The Citizens of Massachusetts
  • Nov. 17 — PR (Gregg) No Kevin, I Have Portrayed Romney Fairly and Correctly. He is a Liberal Trying to Portray Himself as a Conservative
  • Nov. 16 — PR (Kevin) — Here’s a response to your Romney posts
  • Nov. 15 — Townhall (Gregg); Romniacs Ignore Evidence Against Their Messiah
  • Nov. 9 — Townhall (Gregg); Romney Secrets The Media Are Hiding From You
  • Jan. 13, 2007 — Robert Paine; Same-sex marriage licenses are null & void
  • June 17, 2006 — Robert Paine; The Governor’s New Clothes; How Mitt Romney Brought Same-Sex Marriage To America (index to a 9-part comprehensive treatment of the subject)

Along the way, there has also been input from John Haskins, who wrote a six-part series on what he sees as the unconstitutionality of the Bay State’s same-sex marriage ruling. If I left anyone else out, I apologize.

Although I can encourage readers enough to dig into the detail, I know that in the real world many, if not most, won’t. Also, readers obviously haven’t seen the e-mails that have flown back and forth during all of this.

I’ll try to summarize where I believe things stand on these matters, with the obvious disclaimer that I don’t know Massachusetts law inside and out.

The bedrock issue is how much power the courts have.

Haskins believes that, at least in Massachusetts, the courts can only advise. I’m not kidding. He cites as precedent how slavery actually became illegal in the state.

When the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts declared the practice of slavery to be a violation of the state’s constitution, it only had the power to set free one slave, the slave on whose behalf legal action was brought. The only way to make slavery illegal, as opposed to “merely” unconstitutional, was for the legislature to pass, and the governor to sign, a law proscribing slavery. Until that happened, the only way for an individual slave to be freed was for him or her to bring a new legal action. If the legislature had dithered for 100 years (I don’t know how long it actually took; my guess is not long), the case-by-case approach would have been the only one available.

Haskins is clearly historically correct.

There is no reason to believe that constitutional conditions in Massachusetts have changed since.

Here is what that means to the issues at hand.

The first is the presence of abortion in RomneyCare.

In 1981 and 1997, the SJC “ruled” (i.e., based on the above, “stated its belief”) that a state-subsidized plan must offer “Medically Necessary Abortions.”

But wait a minute. Why was the 1997 “ruling” necessary? Is it because, as I suspect, the legislature never passed an actual law requiring such coverage in the intervening 16 years, and the Executive Branch and bureaucracy “just did it”? If so, and if no actual law has gone on the books in the 10 years since the second “ruling,” there is no legal requirement to offer these services, and there will not be until the Legislature passes a real law, signed by the Governor, containing such a mandate. Without such an actual law (regulations written by bureaucrats don’t count), the only recourse for Medicaid patients requesting abortions should have been individual court actions. If the legislature is and has been too lazy, or too afraid, to get off its collective butt to pass a law the SJC has “ruled” is needed, too bad, so sad. Those who are impatient with all of this and want legislators who will actually do something to pass such laws have always had recourse. They’re known as elections.

Conversely (and I’ll admit to having difficulty with this), if the legislature after legislature continually refuses to pass a law the SJC has “ruled” (stated its belief) is needed — too bad, so sad. What is clearly NOT permissible is carrying out an SJC ruling in the absence of enabling legislation.

If a specific law authorizing government-subsidized abortions has never been passed, it seems inescapable that had Mitt Romney wished, especially given his alleged prolife “epiphany” BEFORE he signed the law, he could have based on a proper application of law, he should have claimed that the state had been unnecessarily paying for or subsidizing Medicaid-related abortions for at least a quarter-century, and that the state had no obligation to expand the service to those newly-covered in RomneyCare, without language in the law specifically authorizing it.

That appears to leave three choices:

  1. If that authorizing language was placed into RomneyCare and the history is as I believe it is, Mitt Romney, by signing the RomneyCare law, in effect legalized government-subsidized abortion in Massachusetts for the first time. (UPDATE: This is indeed the correct conclusion.)
  2. If there was no authorizing language in RomneyCare for government-subsidized abortion, then the state has been voluntarily and illegally (it remains illegal without an authorizing law) engaging in the practice for over a quarter-century, and Mitt Romney, without legislative permission, allowed that practice to expand.
  3. This is the most “benign,” but I also believe most unlikely, possibility — If I am wrong, and government-subsidized abortion was already the law in Massachusetts (not the accepted practice, but authorized in an actual law), Mitt Romney, post-”epiphany,” considered the expansion of government-subsidized abortion as a necessary price to pay for covering more uninsured individuals and families in the state.

Commenters or e-mailers can tell me whether it’s Door Number 1, 2, or 3.

Part 2 covers the same-sex marriage issue. Part 3 will be about potential US Constitutional issues, and will appear on Friday.

John Howard’s Apparently Imminent Demise Argues for Term Limits

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:12 am

In Australia, John Howard’s days appear to be numbered.

Though he doesn’t say so, Wall Street Journal op-ed writer Tom Switzer’s explanation (link requires subscription) for the imminent fall of the man who, in Reaganesque style, “fundamentally reshaped Australian society through economic reform,” and who has been a staunch ally in the War on Terror, is in effect an argument for term limits.

In this case, Howard is a victim of his own success, as the bold portions of this excerpt clearly show:

The public’s admiration and respect for him has today turned into boredom or, in some cases, outright hostility. Words such as “sad,” “petty,” “arrogant,” “desperate,” “tired” and “out-of-touch” are freely used to describe him. Economic growth is now so strong that the nation’s central bank keeps hiking interest rates, aggravating many swing voters who are mortgaged to the hilt. In conservative circles, there is much sighing and shaking of heads.

If ever there were a political conundrum, this is it. Australia is the envy of the industrialized world. Unemployment, at 4.2%, is at historic lows; commodity exports are booming; and Aussies are fat and happy.

….. (Labor opponent Kevin Rudd has) appealed to Middle Australia precisely by mimicking Mr. Howard’s agenda, even styling himself an “economic conservative” and copycatting the Prime Minister ….. on virtually everything from his support for big income tax cuts to his opposition to gay marriage.

Once you’ve been around too long, chances are the public will tire of you, no matter how effective you are. Once it’s obvious you can’t be beaten on the issues, your opponents will instead mimic you. Hopefully Mr. Rudd means what he says on the matters above. Given how far to the left Mr. Howard’s previous Labor opponent was, I have my doubts.

It would be better to find a successor to whom to pass the torch before this happens. Even Ronald Reagan opposed the 22nd Amendment, though he “would probably (have won) election to a third term” without term limits (Reagan said he would not have run in any case).

Term limits force succession planning that John Howard should have engaged in, but did not, to take place.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (112107)

Rudy the Terrible (HT The New Editor) – at least according to Ellen Wulfhorst at Reuters:

“He is a scary guy,” said Jerome Hauer, who ran the city’s Office of Emergency Management for Giuliani. “He was probably one of the more divisive mayors the city has ever seen.

Tom Elia at The New Editor notes, as Ms. Wulfhorst “somehow” didn’t, that Hauer has given $9,000 to Democratic candidates since 2000.

As to the “substance” of the story, here is how Gotham felt after enduring four years of “scary, divisive” Rudy:

….. a late October 1997 Quinnipiac University poll showing him as having a 68% approval rating; 70% of New Yorkers were satisfied with life in the city and 64% said things were better in the city compared to four years previously.

Throughout the campaign he was well ahead in the polls and had a strong fund-raising advantage over (Democratic opponent Ruth) Messinger. ….. All four daily New York newspapers—The New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, and Newsday—endorsed Giuliani over Messinger.

In the end, Giuliani won 59% of the vote to Messinger’s 41%, and became the first Republican to win a second term as mayor since Fiorello H. LaGuardia in 1941. ….. The margin of victory included gains in his share of the African American vote (20% compared to 5% in 1993) and the Hispanic vote (43% from 37%) while maintaining his base of white and Jewish voters from 1993.

He’s “scary” because he’s a strong candidate, baggage and all.


Read this (near the end at link; HT Taranto at Best of the Web), and you’ll see why Giuliani is a “scary” candidate — to those who might end up having to opose him:

So every generation of American is called upon to lead. I get very, very frustrated when I hear Americans talk about or hear certain Americans talk about how difficult the problems we face are, how overwhelming they are, what a dangerous era we live in. I think we’ve lost perspective. We’ve always had difficult problems, we’ve always had great challenges, and we’ve always lived in danger. Do we think our parents and our grandparents and our great grandparents didn’t live in danger and didn’t have difficult problems? Do we think the Second World War was less difficult that our struggle with Islamic terrorism? Do we think that the Great Depression was a less difficult economic struggle for people to face than the struggles we’re facing now? Have we entirely lost perspective of the great challenges America has faced in the past and has been able to overcome and overcome brilliantly? I think sometimes we have lost that perspective. Do you know what leadership is all about? Leadership is all about restoring that perspective that this country is truly an exceptional country that has great things that it is going to accomplish in the future that will be as great and maybe even greater than the ones we’ve accomplished in the past. If we can’t do that, shame on us.


Michelle Malkin follows up on the Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland, where a lot of the “baking” appears to have been cooking of the books, involving massive welfare fraud.


I’m afraid we’re going to have to endure years of this deception (bold is mine):

Terri Schiavo’s family is upset with the media for again erroneously depicting the disabled woman as “brain dead” when she was able to interact with them before her former husband took her life. This time, the Schindler family says ABC News and the New York Times wrongly reported on her condition.

Yesterday on ABC’s “This Week” program, George Stephanopoulos, in an interview with Senator Fred Thompson, commented that Terri Schiavo’s autopsy proved she was “brain dead.”

….. “We are requesting that the media take a few minutes to research the facts regarding Terri’s case and, more importantly, her condition,” he added. In doing so they would learn that not one doctor ever diagnosed Terri as being ‘brain-dead.’”

Schindler said that included those physicians who wrote her autopsy report.

He told that media reports on Terri’s painful 13-day starvation and dehydration euthanasia death rarely mention the more than 40 doctors’ affidavits submitted to the court.

Those legal papers either contradicted that Terri was in a so-called persistent vegetative state and they indicated she could have been helped with proper rehabilitation.

Schindler said the media also fails to report the medical records confirming that Terri at one time was beginning to speak, or the videos of Terri interacting with her family and her surroundings. Those prove she was alive and responsive, he said.

Oh, how determined the anti-life crowd and their Old Media sympathizers are to rewrite history.

Positivity: Grateful Residents Thank Fire Heroes

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

This is certainly an appropriate pre-Thanksgiving post.

From San Diego:

About 1,500 attend community event
November 18, 2007

RANCHO BERNARDO – Hills charred in the recent fires were the backdrop as families from Rancho Bernardo sat in lawn chairs and on blankets at their community park yesterday. It was like a collective sigh – a chance to relax, if only for a few hours, to re-connect with neighbors and to reflect on the nearly four weeks that have passed since wildfires raged through the area.

It was also a chance to give thanks.

Some residents in the crowd were still tearful from a poignant performance by the San Diego Children’s Choir when firefighters from their local station walked by. They stood, clapped and cheered.

“I’m very moved by the firefighters and the police – they’re heroes,” said Danna Hibben, 55, choking up as she spoke. “I have no doubt that the firefighters saved our house.”Hibben and her husband, Scott, 54, live on Cloudesly Drive, where about 12 structures burned and many others were saved.

But firefighters who work at Rancho Bernardo’s only station said they don’t feel like heroes – they’re just doing a job they love. In fact, some said they thought about walking behind the crowd instead of in front of it.

“You just come to work, and the next thing you know, you’re at a park and there is a tribute for you and people are giving you a standing ovation,” said Chuck Adams, 36, who lives in Temecula and has worked for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department for seven years. “We’re lucky to be firefighters.”

Rancho Bernardo residents have been coming in droves to the fire station with hundreds of hugs, along with cakes, cookies, pies and other gifts – so many that firefighters had to move equipment to another room to make space.

At first, Adams said, it was tough to receive all the appreciation – they even hesitated to go grocery shopping. But then, they tried to view it from the residents’ perspectives, and it got easier to say, “You’re welcome.”

Go here for the rest of the story.