By Donna Westfall – October 2, 2016 – In the next few days we will print out what each candidate stands for on a host of topics. We’ll start with the 5th District, Finigan vs Berkowitz; and then move on to the 1st District, Gitlin vs Murray. Then finish up with the three city council seats up for grabs. In that race there are six: Steven Bevier, Alex Fallman, Holly Green, Heidi Kime, Jason Greenough and Justin Williams.
What do David Finigan and Bob Berkowitz have in common. A number of things: Neither one smokes. They are both are in good health to do the job and they both agree that the “Fire Tax” ($150/per County parcel) is illegal.
In the next few days, we’ll be covering how each Candidate stands on each subject based on interviews and track records.
Here is the list of topics:
- Last Chance Grade
- Term Limits
- Airport Terminal Expansion
- Solid Waste
- Sutter Coast Hospital and Sutter Health
- Sewer Rates (660 constituents are rate payers in District 5)
- Jobs and Industry
- Consolidation of City and Country
7 thoughts on “The finish line is in sight. Who’s it going to be?”
I agree, cannabis needs to be thoroughly discussed…unfortunately our leaders are lazy on the job and have not begun to investigate everything this commodity and new industry could bring to our community…the revenue alone could and would get us out of hock as well as provide money for a new law enforcement (Jail) center with focus on juvenile restoration…opportunities are endless…yet no one can see that…
The real challenge for the cannabis industry will probably not be the county general plan, but how our very own environmental industry views any large scale cannabis farming. Water is a key issue for most of the County’s environmentalists and we will have to see just how faithful they are to their creed. The smaller the industry, the smaller the impact will be on the economy and the job growth.
Thank you for bringing another intelligent voice to this topic, Mr. Strait. There are so few people speaking out who have any knowledge of the technical side of cannabis farming. How many gallons of water does it take to produce one job? How many square feet. How much fossil fuel? How does it compare to the timber industry, or tomato farming, fruit orchard production, lily bulb farming, or the construction industry? I have over 20 years of experience answering these questions. A small cannabis industry will have a huge impact! People will be shocked when they learn that 1,000 dollars of pumpkins uses more water than 100,000 dollars of cannabis. Cannabis is the most ideally suited crop for very small family farms who have no negative environmental impact while creating jobs on and off the farm, completing all the steps of production. The Water Board has already issued waivers for such farms. Environmentalists point to these farms as examples of good land stewardship. The county needs to protect these tax revenue generating small farms who fit the scale of Del Norte and have local best interests at heart. It is the large scale operations you refer to that have no place here and would only bring conflict to our community. Many don’t realize how critical the timing is for positioning in this cottage industry. Only the counties that protect their EXISTING farmers NOW with good ordinances, and branding through a regional appellation program will enjoy a long term place in the market. Community Development and the AG department needs to work with experts in the field to make it work. Next year is the last year to take advantage of this opportunity, forever. Other counties are so far ahead of us; we must not be last again!
While I do not have an expertise in cannabis farming, I have been paying attention to the issues that that have plagued it in other areas of this country. Water usage has been one of the main bones of contention, particularly from the environmentalist side of the equation. If you have lived in this County for any length of time you will no doubt have become aware of the over zealous behavior exhibited by Friends of Del Norte and the Smith River Alliance on any activity that threatens either the Smith or the Klamath Rivers. Water usage, water contamination, and any other of a hundred related or unrelated environmental impacts will have them at a fever pitch to thwart most kinds of prospective farming large or small. The Smith River Alliance has already begun to move on the lily bulb farming at the mouth of the Smith. Water meters and new regulation from the State will no doubt come into play as well. Couple that with the very limited amount of farmable land in the County as well as the large scale amounts of Federal lands where cannabis farming will remain illegal no matter whether or not California legalizes it, will impose a limit on just how much it will affect the County’s over all economic health. The County’s general plan may not have much of an impact on what kind of place this becomes if cannabis for recreational purposes comes to pass. I would have to say that there are much larger forces in play in that regard.
Mr. Straight, as a fellow conservative, you are one of the few to spend time adding to the conversation about cannabis in Del Norte. Would you consider hosting an interview with me. There are things to understand about the local environmental groups you mention, including EPIC, the North Coast Regional Water Board, and their alliance with the cannabis industry. Regulation will favor cannabis and incentivize it’s growth, not thwart it. It is also important to understand that regardless of weather or not prop 64(recreational cannabis) passes, the governor, last year, signed into law a comprehensive regulatory package that allows localities total control over commercial medical cannabis. The points you make about federal lands, lack of conventionally arable land, and large forces at work, are exactly why the county desperately needs to get out in front to protect existing agricultural industries while integrating with an unstoppable force.
As you might know I have a radio program that airs on Sunday from 3 to 4 pm. I am always interested in talking to local people on the program about things that are going on in Del Norte County. I am particularly interested in providing a platform for ideas that will benefit those of us that live here. I will extend an invitation for you to come on my program preferably before the November 8th election to talk about your ideas regarding cannabis cultivation and the real possibility that recreational cannabis will be something that all in this County will need to come to terms with. Will you be available to come on the program either October 30th or the following Sunday November 6th? If you wish to take up this task, you may reach me at 707 954-9220 and we can arrange something suitable. As always I am up to talking about most anything that first of all will work and will ultimately benefit the majority of the unwashed masses, myself included. I am not real keen on political posturing, but pretty much anything that remains civil is fair game. Hope to hear from you.
The ‘jobs and industry’ topic should include comments on commercial cannabis regulation under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), passed last year by the state legislature. This subject is relevant to the economic future of Del Norte county. The county general plan mandates supervisors to consider all options for economic progress and development for the people of Del Norte. I challenge all the candidates to be brave and speak up.