Dear Mr. President,
We have more fires raging in California — this time in Southern California. Ventura County has been particularly hard hit.
You declined to visit Northern California to witness the devastation wrought by the Wine Country fires; we suggest you make it a point to visit Southern California in the coming days.
Instead of tweeting your “thoughts and prayers” — which you got around to doing on Wednesday morning — it would mean far more if you delivered them in person.
Otherwise, people may get the impression that you don’t give a fig about us Californians.
There’s already been talk.
During October’s Northern California fires, the San Francisco Chronicle published an editorial with this headline: “California burns: Where’s the president?”
The Los Angeles Times ran this: “Judging from his response to the wildfires, Trump doesn’t care about California.”
Even before the Wine Country fires began, the “failing” New York Times ran a piece with this headline: “Call from California: President Trump, where are you?”
It’s a legitimate question that deserves an answer. We haven’t received one.
Our colleagues in McClatchy’s Washington, D.C., bureau have heard nothing about a possible presidential visit to California:
“California is not in his future travel plans that have been announced or even those that we have heard about off the record. This is through the end of the year,” we were told via email.
We also contacted a White House deputy press secretary. So far we’ve heard ... crickets.
We understand, Mr. President, that you may not feel welcome in a Golden State run by Democrats, which is why we want to make a point of inviting you to San Luis Obispo County — after you pay a visit to Southern California.
Or put us on your agenda for next year. We’re patient.
Here’s why SLO should be on your itinerary:
▪ While we did favor Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, it was only by a measly 8 percentage points. That ranks as one of your strongest showings on the California Coast. (You did win the majority of votes in Del Norte County, but that’s so far north it might as well be in Oregon.)
▪ We are neutral territory — ruled neither by Hollywood nor Silicon Valley.
▪ Your motorcade can route you past a “Hillary for Prison” sign on the Nipomo Mesa. (Leave your windows up, though, because the area is prone to particulate pollution.)
▪ You will be among friends. We have a Republican-run Board of Supervisors, we are a Republican-majority county, and you will find plenty of MAGA-hat-wearing supporters.
▪ Unlike Berkeley, we let Milo speak.
▪ We are an up-and-coming community that could really benefit from a Trump hotel, so please be sure to bring along Donald Jr.
▪ We are home to one of the national monuments you considered shrinking or delisting — but you didn’t! What a perfect opportunity for a photo op.
▪ Lastly, we were once the happiest city in the whole U.S.A. We’ve since fallen to fifth place, but that’s still better than Cedar Rapids, Phoenix or Salt Lake City — all places you have visited.
In all seriousness, Mr. President, it’s time.
Many of us are hurting — not only from fires and drought and other natural disasters, but also from uncertainty and concern about the budget, health care, gun violence, immigration, rising housing costs and rising sea levels.
You are the leader of the United States of America. We are part of that great nation.
Like it or not, we are stuck with each other.
This editorial has been updated to reflect that President Trump has tweeted his“thoughts and prayers” to Southern California.