As the debris and ashes are removed, this year we can rethink before the big rebuild. If we could envision even two or three innovative ways to rebuild Paradise, we could raise a more resilient Paradise ridge.
What’s our target, and how can we hit the bulls-eye? Being “resilient” or “sustainable” are words used within a philosophy that hasn’t had much success really, so how can little old Paradise shoot for an unrealized ideal? While our building codes are California’s best, so were our fire codes. Let’s ask at this crucial time, “If we rebuild according to the best codes, such as we have, would we become the town and county we desire?”
We need better circulation for our roadways. Now is our opportunity to design as we rebuild. The Town should facilitate leadership for planning, incentivizing, and implementing a rebuild that matches the Town’s name, a Paradise for 2020.
The Town will coordinate with Butte County and should ask for help from as many agencies as will listen and assist. As we live in a democratic republic, we are the government; let’s think and act with the power invested in us.
Estimate, for example, how many new toilets will be heading up the ridge as we rebuild. Tens of thousands of toilets will be needed. This item is particularly relevant to rebuilding Paradise, renown as we are for being without a sewer.
If we cannot get funded by the State or Federal governments now for a town-wide sewer system, let’s rethink the need. There are advantages to septic systems, and they have served us well, with exceptions that we can remedy. With so many of our business corridors and neighborhoods burned, the Town has a greater opportunity than ever before to facilitate clustered wastewater systems.
What we flush makes a difference in how well septic systems work. Paperless toilets exist; let’s demand a good price for an array of 30,000 or so intelligent toilets that will clean our butts and greatly reduce the amount of toilet paper used in Paradise.
By implementing a few good ideas, our downtown business corridor could become reminiscent of Paradise’s past, integrating homes and businesses, allowing more people to live in a downtown that can host the restaurants, shops, and activities that we want.
What are your best ideas for rebuilding?
In this new year let’s resolve to transform Paradise from being the biggest fire disaster in California to becoming the most resilient town in the State. With that resolution in mind, we’ll meet and have committees. It might get messy; yet, organized, open, informed talk is the best way to come to consensus, indeed it’s the only way. I’m anxious to see official committees meeting face-to-face.
We need smart leaders now more than ever. To rebuild Paradise we need sets of capable individuals who will come together to make things right. Right now, in January is the perfect month for our restart.
If you join a planning group or are in the market for a new toilet, why not, for starters, rethink the flush?
Rethink the 'flush' while rebuilding was published in the Paradise Post on January 5, 2019.
Robin Huffman lived in Paradise, California from 1989 until she evacuated from the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018.