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Opinion: California relief should never have been a question

October 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

I am glad for my fellow Californians that the President reversed course and approved the declaration. That it was ever a question remains a travesty, writes Tess Taylor.

It's hard to know what to call the other news we woke up to Friday morning: that on Thursday, the Trump administration had, in what seemed to be a colossal act of pettiness and cruelty, rejected California's request for a presidential major disaster declaration in the wildfires that have killed 31 people and destroyed more than 92,000 structures.

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Gavin Newsom released a statement that President Donald Trump had approved California's request, only one day after the administration initially rejected it.

So let's recap: The state of California has, this season alone, suffered four of its five largest wildfires in modern history.

In the New York Times, Gavin Newsom estimated that infrastructure damage estimates from the fires approaches $230 million, noting that "recovery efforts remain beyond the state's capabilities. "

Newsom's language is the language of a governor appealing to a President on behalf of a suffering state and a damaged region.

This kind of request historically has had little to do with any kind of partisan politics: Whatever our deep disagreements as a country, we have attempted to behave, in the face of disasters, with our eye to the common good.

I don't know about you, but someday I want to live in a country again -- a country which has a robust public sector that takes pride in caring for its citizens, nurturing its lands, helping its small communities and its cities, supporting its farms and its arts, in fostering peace and bringing people into community.

Right now, I live in a state where suffering Americans have become pawns instead of citizens.

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