The Carmel Pine Cone is reporting that MIRA caretaker, Ivan Eberle (no fan of Xasauan Today), has been criminally charged with battery on a firefighter in the line of duty and interfering with a firefighter in the line of duty. Eberle tells the Pine Cone that the charges are baseless and may be retaliation (or meant to discredit him) for his efforts to publicize the fact that firefighting efforts on Chews Ridge weren’t going as well as the Forest Service was claiming; or for complaining about firefighters failing to come to his aid.
Police harassment of residents who exercised their right to stay and defend their homes was a very serious problem during the Basin Complex Fire so, while we doubt that Forest Service retaliation had anything to do with it, it wouldn’t surprise us at all if the charges were extremely weak or false. Interference with, let alone battery on, firefighters engaged in their work is a very serious matter and we’d like to believe that Ivan, however ill-tempered and conspiracy minded he may be in his comments on this site, would not, in real life, do anything that stupid.
If Ivan’s experience was typical he was probably left to fight the fire around his home unaided by the Forest Service or any other firefighting agency. As far as we’re concerned, the question of why structure protection was not provided for the Zen Mountain Center and so many, many homes is a lot more interesting than the details of what went on outside the MIRA Observatory in the heat of the moment. But don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone to be held accountable for that.
April 17, 2009 Update: All Charges Dropped