Two years ago, Sonoma toddler Jack Yankee was the recipient of an outpouring of community goodwill and support when the little tyke battled a rare auto-immune disease via a bone-marrow transplant. Now, in the aftermath of the October fires, Jack’s mom – who operates Woodfield Properties vacation rentals – announced “it’s our turn to help out.” The Yankee family opened up their plentiful stock of stately homes to “those displaced due to fires.” The Yankees say they’ll work directly with insurance companies to place those in need into their furnished homes – replete with “toiletries and a stocked spice cupboard.” Now that’s what we call paying it forward.

“Cruel” and “heartless” were two words Rep. Mike Thompson used to describe the current House Republican tax bill’s elimination of a disaster-loss federal income tax deduction for victims of fires and earthquakes. While the deduction wouldn’t be eliminated for this coming tax season, it means victims of the October fires have only a few months to tally what could be a lifetime’s worth of personal losses. Cynically, deductions for disasters that tend to affect the Democrat-heavy “left coast” – fire and earthquake areas – are set to be eliminated, yet losses from hurricanes -- which tend to hit a lot of GOP-leaning states – are still deductible. Cruel and heartless, indeed. And calculating.

Jason Walsh