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Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007 | In the wake of the county fires this week, this was the scene at my “alma mater”, San Diego High School, on Tuesday.

The article speaks the truth — I went in the gym and found one of the principals, Joe Austin in the midst of what I would call controlled chaos — with a de-emphasis on the word chaos. At the beginning of the day, those 300 senior citizens evacuated from a Spring Valley retirement community were sitting on gym bleachers and there was nothing for them. When I got there at 11:30 with my little donation of Ensure and adult sized cleaning wipes, there were enough volunteers, food, and various (age-appropriate) supplies to feed an army, and then some. Even beds were provided, making most of the seniors at that point very, very comfortable and happy, considering the circumstances.

The national news media is very focused on us right now, and Katie Couric of CBS news was at Qualcomm Tuesday last night. As may be expected, comparisons were being made between Qualcomm and the Superdome post-Katrina. While running old video of the Super Dome evacuation, Katie described that scene as one of “violence, filth and chaos.” To be fair, New Orleans was basically underwater, so ground transport was severely hampered, unlike here. However, the piece illustrated how very, very special this part of the world can be during the hard times.

Short of calling Qualcomm during this horrific time as a giant party, it does warm my heart to know that those displaced with no where else to go that have found these shelters, not only Qualcomm but SDHS and, from what I heard earlier, even Fiesta Island, to be safe, warm, friendly, and very well equipped facilities that have been outfitted not only by major corporations and the Red Cross but by ordinary San Diegans who just want to reach out.

As our stadium becomes once again a place of refuge in times of disaster, it brings to mind discussions on building a new stadium (which assumes the current land would be made into yet more ticky-tacky condos and strip malls,) and to even “makeover” Fiesta Island, which most current members of the public basically oppose.

You can find Katie Couric’s outstanding video report here: click on “Video: Evacuees In Qualcomm Stadium”

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