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Our primary target audience is homeowner associations in the suburban-wildlands interface zone during their annual or bi-annual meetings. The expected outcome is a healthy public debate on the merits of fuel reduction and the question of who should perform the work. ie A county inmate crew, a private contractor or altruistic volunteers from the neighborhood. Each option has its own set of risks, costs and rewards.

The purpose of our video project, The Cannonball Express, is to assist homeowners in preparing for disaster and so to assist fire professionals in preventing another massive fire like the 1991 fire storm in the Oakland-Berkeley hills, just as this kind of disaster becomes more and more common in California and elsewhere in the United States. These fire professionals may not admit to wanting our assistance but we won't hold that against them. We are patriots and heroes too. We're just not cut from the same paramilitary cloth and definitely aren't wearing the same conceptual straight jacket. We see fire as a natural phenomena and not as a destroying enemy. The common ground is in preserving human life and wooden homes.

This motivates us to produce a half hour video that will educate, entertain and motivate people living in the suburban wild-lands interface zone on the subjects of suburban forest fires, fire safety and the environment. Our video will use a soft sell approach, praising the power of Mother Nature, best friends, last chances and redemption, instead of being the usual "talking heads" video with numerous experts and lurid footage of burning homes and panicking and grief stricken people. Our final products will be a high quality, fire safety video with believable characters who are a pleasure to watch and a four color brochure that people can take home with them for future reference.

A secondary target audience consists of people outside the influence of homeowner associations. These are the movers and shakers who can influence public thinking and government policy through legislation, education and persuasion. The hundred or so individuals and organizations which have endorsed this video project in writing are at the top of this list. Our goal with this video is to augment the public outreach of fire professionals and to complement their efforts by getting homeowners to take their fuel reduction problems seriously, in their backyards and beyond. Many fire professionals have already begun to recognize the persuasive limitations of exhorting defensible space around homes. They've realized that homeowners really do like their trees and shrubs. So we expect this video will find a receptive audience among fire professionals. Thus, The Botanist's Scene covers fire safe landscaping.

We believe that after seeing this video, homeowners will begin doing for Mother Nature what they're not always willing to do for themselves in the way of fuel reduction, vegetation management, and habitat enhancement. Thus, The Brushcutter's Scene plants the idea that even the most timid, frail and reclusive homeowners can pool their resources to hire a friendly, state of the art and competent professional to protect their neighborhood.

When the worst does happen and wild fire strikes, toxic runoff from burned homes, charred cars and ruined garages full of paint, pesticide and fertilizer, flows into storm drains with the first winter rains and poisons creeks all the way down to the Bay. This segment serves as a reminder of the consequences of neglect. Thus, The Naturalist's Scene covers storm-water runoff and quality of life issues.

This character driven video will result in a very effective docudrama for a wide variety of audiences and a contribution to public safety that fire professionals can respect and admire, if not fully endorse.

Several months after this picture was taken on the edge of the riparian corridor along San Francisquito Creek in Menlo Park, a young mountain lion perched in a tree on the front lawn of a suburban home near an elementary school in nearby Palo Alto was shot and killed by police.

Many wildlife experts believe that young male mountain lions are using the creek corridor to come down out of the hills where the best territories are already claimed by older and stronger males. The lion sighted in this creekside neighborhood may be still alive, as Menlo Park Police officers keep a street map on the wall with numerous red pins in it indicating mountain lion sightings.

Experts also say that human interactions with wildlife usually increase following forest fires, as food and cover are temporarily destroyed in their natural habitat. So if herbivores are forced down into suburbia then carnivores must follow. Politics makes for strange bedfellows so this heightened interaction makes County Animal Control Services another major stakeholder in the issues of wildfire and suburban forest fires.

Special Thanks

This web site is made possible through the generous support of Romic Technologies, Incorporated, a corporation with a conscience in East Palo Alto. It is being maintained by Karl Franzen.

The music on the "Demonstration Video" page was composed by Gerald McMullin. The music on Recipe for Disaster was composed by Drew Youngs. Drew's production contact is Jeff Pollock at mailto:jpsongs@ix.netcom.com

Be Forewarned

Any similarity to persons living or dead named herein is strictly coincidental or is done for satirical effect. Tongue-in-cheek and Generation X humor runs amok here. If you elect to proceed and simply trust that the target audience for the video itself will be homeowners in the 35 to 75 age bracket, then you may be pleasantly surprised.

Fire safety doesn't have to be an unpleasant chore. And if you see value in the political opinions expressed here then please tell your friends and elected representatives about this web site. Leave a message for us in the Guest Book, , or send your cards and letters to:

Steve Kennedy
PO Box 51852
Palo Alto, CA 94303
USA

and please describe how you ran across this web site.

HOMEPAGE