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Our View: Waiting for local government takes a lot of patience

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While patience might be a virtue worth striving for, we expect our local government to move with a sense of urgency when possible. A few cases in point: Make a decision on the pitbulls. Judge Joe O’Flaherty has been stewing for weeks on whether or not to declare the pitbulls that almost killed a teenager Downtown as vicious. With all due respect, the law should not be that difficult to comprehend, judge. JoJo Kerschner is an innocent 17-year-old who parked at a public lot on city property so he and his family could patronize an Auburn restaurant. He was attacked by a roving band of dogs and sustained 20 puncture marks. The dog bites narrowly missed a major artery that, if penetrated, could have killed him. There were eyewitnesses. His injuries show collaborating physical evidence. If we are missing something, please inform us. Inform the public, who pays your salary, why it takes so long to make a decision. If there is good reason for waiting, or some legal obstacle that precludes you from making a decision, please explain. Otherwise, make a decision on the fate of these specific pitbulls, and let the community move forward. Release information regarding 49 Fire. It’s now been two months since an arsonist or arsonists started the 49 Fire in Auburn. More than 63 homes and businesses were destroyed. The total loss is estimated at upward of $40 million. Auburn residents lost jobs, prized possessions and memories. Several much-loved pets were killed and irreplaceable keepsakes lost forever. Since the Aug. 30 blaze, many have questioned everything from the seemingly slow response times to the automated calling procedures to the arbitrary decision-making that let some homes burn while others were saved. Thousands of other residents are proud of Cal Fire and our local fire departments for saving as many homes and lives as they did and for stopping the fire from killing anyone. Still, 60 days later, the investigation has revealed little tangible results. When the Journal recently sent Cal Fire a public records request seeking 9-1-1 calls related to the blaze, Cal Fire politely declined, saying they are part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Taxpayers have a right to know if there is a serial arsonist in our midst. Those who lost everything have a right to know what is going on with catching the alleged perpetrator(s). In addition, has the response been scrutinized and could improvements be made before another large blaze breaks out, as it no doubt will, eventually? Could fire district consolidation improve our safety and maximize our precious tax dollars, or are residents best served with our current fire-protection procedures? Would weekly updates be too much to ask on the status of the investigation? Patience pays off for Kevin Ramirez. It literally took years for the Fair Political Practices Commission to rule on Sierra College Trustee Aaron Klein’s accusation against then-college President Kevin Ramirez. Klein complained to the commission — and to anyone else who would listen — that Ramirez violated conflict of interest rules in the Political Reform Act. Klein alleged that Ramirez acted illegally by soliciting donations for the Sierra College Foundation to support a bond measure, without reporting the fundraising properly, thus identifying the donors. The Fair Political Practices Commission disagreed. After investigating, they recently released a statement saying no violations were found and the case is closed. Sierra College spent close to $500,000 of taxpayer money buying out Ramirez’s contract. Ramirez said the false allegations “led to my demise” at Sierra College. Though it took almost five years, to Ramirez and his supporters, the ruling was well worth waiting for. Let’s hope that taxpayer patience pays off in other ongoing investigations.