Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tax Prof in SoCal Inferno

Classes at the three San Diego law schools (California Western, Thomas Jefferson, and University of San Diego) remain closed today due to the rampant fires burning in the area.  (This morning's L.A. Times reports on the devastation: 420,424 acres burned 1,155 homes destroyed, 881,500 people evacuated.)  Pepperdine re-opened for classes today, and Chapman has remained open throughout the ordeal.

Tax Prof Walter D. Schwidetzky (Baltimore) reports from the front lines in San Diego:

I am visiting this year at California Western this year. The fire is mind-boggling. It involves a huge area. ... I am one of the lucky ones. I am fairly close to the coast and south (on the poor side of I5 across from La Jolla). I am maybe 15 miles from the fire and 10 miles from the evacuation area. My girl friend was evacuated and is staying in my 2 bedroom condo with her 3 kids (all older) and 3 dogs. I am glad I did not rent a 1 bedroom. There are no hotel rooms to be had. Likely most evacuees had to go to places like Qualcomm Stadium or the Del Mar Fare grounds. You can smell smoke almost everywhere in San Diego. The smoke often stings the eyes. Many of the freeways are closed.

For more on the impact of the firs on academics and practitioners, see

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The number of destroyed homes is well in excess of the number reported above and is closer to 2000 than 1000. This fire is hauntingly reminiscent of the Cedar Fires, but as stated by official after official notably worse. This is a valuable teaching opportunity as we wait for Presidentially declared disaster status for more federal aid including tax provisions (see Anatomy of a Disaster under the Internal Revenue Code )

Posted by: Francine Lipman | Oct 24, 2007 12:17:13 PM