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Staff Report
3:35 pm PST January 9, 2019

Representatives from the state of California are reeling following a Wednesday, Jan. 9 tweet from President Donald Trump that threatens to withhold funding provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest[sic] fires that, with proper Forest[sic] Management, would never happen,” Trump’s 7:25 a.m. tweet reads. “Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!”

The social media post comes at a time when Southern California communities including Malibu are dependent upon FEMA for fire relief assistance. Last week, FEMA representatives told the Surfside that FEMA’s Woolsey Fire disaster relief program will continue to operate at full strength despite the current government shutdown. 

In light of Trump’s recent comments, Sen. Henry Stern and Assemblymembers Jesse Gabriel, Christy Smith, Jacqui Irwin and Richard Bloom issued a joint statement. 

“It is unacceptable to use victims of the fires in California as a bargaining chip in the negotiations to get the federal government working again,” the statement said. “FEMA has done critically important work providing assistance to families and businesses throughout our community — and we urge the federal government to double down on those efforts, not restrict them.”

The officials went on to highlight efforts made to date, including Senate Bill 901 and Newsom’s actions seeking to protect Californians from “increasingly frequent” natural disasters. 

“Beyond today’s headlines, we must remain focused on the core issue: our global climate emergency,” the officials’ statement continues. “Our communities deserve to know that we are addressing the root causes of growing natural disasters, and our children deserve to inherit a world that is safer, not more dangerous, than the one our parents gave to us. As we move forward, we urge the federal government to recognize this crisis and work alongside our state as we fight for climate justice in California and across the nation.”

The Woolsey Fire covered 96,949 acres and destroyed more than 1,600 structures, including more than 400 homes in Malibu.