Commentary by Samuel Strait – October 6, 2022
It is not often one exposes true ignorance in the local paper, yet Mr.
Kevin Hendrick, Chairman of the local Democrat Party, has outdone
himself in his latest opinion “An Abuse of Democracy” piece found in the
weekly Triplicate. I am not quite sure what the editor of the
Triplicate was thinking when a small dose of fact checking would have
exposed Mr. Hendrick for the fraud he is. We are often greeted by the
mistaken belief that this Country’s government is a Democracy which is
hardly the case. The idea of simple majority rule when it came to
important government matters was an anathema to our founding fathers who
realized that 50% plus one left a significant portion of the population
in opposition to a decision made by the majority. While the threshold
for tax matters was always meant to be much higher than what is
currently utilized in California, a larger affirmative vote gave a sense
that this is what the population viewed as prudent spending by
government. A fifty percent plus one was viewed, as it was
historically, as the road to divisiveness, corruption, and discord.
Such is what we have in a growing form as government has become the
indecipherable monster, consuming more and more of the public’s
resources with little to offer in return. It is the right in this
Country to be recognized as a minority and be able to offer opposing
positions to the majority as well as to highlight the malfeasance of
local government. Clearly this is something that has escaped Mr.
Hendrick’s brain likely due to the fact that minorities only count in
his progressive world when they agree with his progressive values.
Unfortunately for Mr. Hendrick’s values, is that there has never been a
government tax that has produced wealth for its citizens. There is
often the common misconception that what is “popular” is “good”, yet
very rarely results in anything beneficial for the largest part of the
constituency. People who vote for such things that may appear to be
“popular” very seldom receive what they expect.
The City and County have increased the cost of local government by
paying an already generously compensated staff that has been given
raises nearly every budget cycle with an even more generous bump in
salary than usual. Both have increased staffing with no perceivable
improvement in “vital” services, or any services for that matter. This
concern for Police, Fire and Emergency Services which should be a
priority for both government’s general fund has been shifted to Measure
“R” and “S” funding, allowing both governments to freely spend money on
“other needs”. Nothing to see here folks.
The idea that Mr. Hendrick’s is proposing is that the County, by loosing
less than 1% of its operating funding, will loose the ability to provide
“essential services” is preposterous. The City, on the other hand, will
be forced to deal with a 4.6% decline of their revenue. Hardly
significant, particularly when the County’s Auditor-Controller admitted
in the most recent meeting of the Board of Supervisors that the County
was in a very healthy financial situation. There isn’t much question
with all the millions in grant funding that the City has received
recently, that their situation is hardly desperate.
As much as Mr. Hendrick wishes to “paper over the fact” that a Citizens
Oversight Committee is a largely useless organization that is often less
able to determine fraud and waste than our local governing boards. Most
who occupy the representative seats in both governments are hardly in a
position to claim to be acquainted with much of anything their
government does in their name. Government has grown to such a state of
presence in our lives that most have long since been forced to trust
that they will not be taken advantage of in too gross a fashion.
Unfortunately governments only live to benefit themselves and not those
they are meant to serve. The laundry list of departments given by Mr.
Hendricks as being “graced” with improving staffing, facilities, and
services have shown little ability to demonstrate any improvements,
where as infrastructure needs are hardly on the radar. Those living
within the City might have noticed the unnecessary work on H Street and
9th, largely for theater, yet out their front doors are streets full of
potholes, no sidewalks or curbing, street lights not working or
completely lacking, while Beach Front Park and Front Street consume
millions of dollars. The Veteran’s Hall gets new carpeting, while the
County Jail gets nothing. So how are you feeling about the pinch of the
rescission, and your lack of a substantial raise recently? How do you
like paying more taxes so the County’s employees might feel better about
doing less while being paid more? Found a tourist who will stay year
around to help you pay that extra one percent sales tax that you pay for
most everything you buy? Tired of driving on third world roads and
streets? Tired of hearing people like Kevin Hendrick and your local
government telling you how “poor” they are yet don’t hesitate to spend
more of your money?
Granted there will always be the Kevin Hendricks around to extol the
virtues of more and more government and all the benefits that few
receive in return. Tourist will not pay for the grand gestures to the
County or City employees or the recent “theater” of road repairs.
Animal Control will not be healed with the hiring of new employees and
neither will the Sheriff, Probation, Veterans Services, the District
Attorney, Agriculture, Emergency Services, Community Development,
Planning, or Code Enforcement. Increasing staffing levels of government
services will lead to a continued decline of those services and renewed
calls for ever more funding. There was a reason that the founding
fathers insisted on limited government and the ability of citizens to
exercise their right to keep what they earned for the betterment of
their lives, and not grand gestures by a growing government that serves
no purpose. For this County and the City the message is always the
same, “We haven’t taken enough of your money yet, but give us a chance
and we will.” Until those that failed to heed this lesson from history
and voted to approve Measures “S” and “R” learn the lessons of the local
government’s failure to provide “promised” services, Kevin Hendrick’s
“Abuse of Democracy” will occur in the future until both tax increases
are repealed. So save us all the time and money….
Vote “YES” on Measures “T” and “U” to reduce taxes and make government
more responsive to the needs of all the County’s residents. Vote YES on
T and U.