Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – May 23, 2018 – Wow, I guess I can’t say that anything has really changed in the last year and a half after spending another rather pointless two hours in the company of our five elected officials at the most recent Board of Supervisor’s meeting held Tuesday, May 22nd. I had hoped that the animosity that some Supervisors had for for their colleagues had become at least as tiresome as it is for the rest of the population of Del Norte County, but that does not appear to be the case. Hopefully this will serve to give those that didn’t attend a feeling for what did and didn’t happen.
Following the consent agenda, there began comments from the public about the usual suspects, the Board’s tabling of any action on SB 54, the trip to Japan by fifteen Del Norters led by who else but Chris Howard and Blake Inscore, and a few other bits and pieces. One had to grit one’s teeth over the constant miss representation by those few who spoke in support of ignoring the serious implications brought on by California’s passage of the bill. I doubt any supporter would recognize the long term effects that following Sacramento’s lead will have on the State and Del Norte County’s citizenry with regard to those seeking to come to California and those seeking to leave the Golden State. As California continues to become more progressive and even crazier, those that have had enough will pack their bags and depart, leaving near-do-wells and illegal immigrants to fill those population spots left vacant by citizens who made California the Golden State. I find it hard to believe that our elected representatives would not take a stance one way or the other, after all that is precisely what they are elected and paid to do, show some leadership and put the controversy to rest. Not happening. Three Board members insist on letting some one else carry their water as they claim falsely that it will cost the County bucketsful of money. I guess a major crime will have to occur or a reversal in court will take place before our Board of Supervisor’s wake up.
As far as the trip to Japan, we heard how important it was for this mob to go. I was not certain just exactly what that importance was other than some kind of touchy feely claim that you had to be there to understand the importance that such a trip would engendered. Apparently we rubes in the lily bulb fields will have to take the word of the self appointed “experts” that this circus will pay off in the future. Of course any of the How, What, and When was conveniently glossed over so us rubes would not have “too” much information to understand what a colossal waste of time this has been from the starting point when adults co opted a benign youth activity, returning a fishing boat to Japan, into this mess. It is not like we don’t have much experience dealing with Tsunamis or their effects. If local politicians want to hob knob with the Japanese and claim valuable cultural experience and knowledge maybe they ought to resign and move to Japan. Message to Blake Inscore and Chris Howard, this is not the kind of governance that the citizens of this County signed up for, so kindly cease and desist. We do not want to pay for what YOU deem important to this County, that is up to all of us rubes.
From there the Board moved on to “scheduled items”, opioid intervention, report on Cannabis from the working group, Port-a-Potties for the Fourth, another transfer of private property out of the tax base, and another bit on cannabis proposed ordinances. At that point following the property transfer, I’d had enough of this particular meeting. I find it extremely troubling that the Board by a vote of 5-0 authored a letter in support of the transfer of 135 acres of private land to become yet another park in Del Norte County. While I don’t exactly know all the details, it would seem to me that any further loss of developable and taxable land in Del Norte County, less that 20% remaining in private ownership and counting down, is another step towards the decline of this County. The claim was made that the tax loss would be minimal, yet future change of land use and serious development might have changed that scenario to something very different. Of course Hambro’s might have had to wait for awhile for their pound of flesh. What really is tough to swallow is that it hasn’t been that long ago when the Tolowa dee-ni nation came before the Board wanting to consolidate tribal lands in the Smith River area and were denied. The reason by the Board then…….. Loss of a minimal amount of tax revenue. Guess the Tolowa dee-ni nation should get Hambros on board if they want to do a property transfer in the future.
There were other items on the Board’s agenda, but I think this sampling should give any smart person the idea that things need to change if this community is to survive. Don’t forget to Vote on June 5th. It would be a good time to make some of those necessary changes in leadership for the County.
6 thoughts on “Another BOS meeting”
They could have cut the timber and paid their taxes and then sold the worthless land. They held this land with us being the carrier of burden as no taxes were paid. We were waiting for the timber taxes, that is how that zoning works. Right when the County might realize some tax revenue, the County breaks its no net-loss policy.
Sam, allow me to explain my rationale as part of a 5-0 vote. The likelihood of the 159 acre Hambro property ever being developed is zero. Realizing this, Hambros elected to sell 132 acres to DFW and then develop the last 25 acres Which it is doing now. The new reassessment in property tax revenue coming in will dwarf the pennies being realized with the current 159 acre parcel. Much more $ and more services provided.
Roger, I understand what you are saying, and I get that in the current scenario the land is predominately wetland and would not be available currently for development. However; that does not mean in a different political climate, coupled with economic growth, and need for developable land that the scenario couldn’t change. This way, the privately held land continues to shrink, and that 135 acres is lost completely. Sure Hambros developing the 25 acres in the near future would benefit the tax base, but only twenty five acres. Short term solution and immediate benefit to Hambros financial health, but what about long term health of Del Notre County. I can appreciate the idea that Hambros financial health might not be all that great, but yet another park? I some how doubt that it is in the best interests of Del Notre County. More tax dollars going to more parkland, and less tax dollars to support all that parkland. Just doesn’t compute for me. I would kind of like to see eyes on growth not the entire County becoming a park! I really resist the notion of the concept of “never”. The other thing that I find difficult to swallow is that what ever the total acres are why the paltry tax on the property? I pay substantially more on just the few acres, that I own, that increases by the year. No where near 135 or 159 acres.
we were both at that meeting Sam, and you know that is false. The TPZ portion was only valued at $6400, so the tax bill was $64 a year and Del Norte received about $12 of that. The better question is, why do some land owners pay so little in taxes, and how much did Hambro sell that relatively useless land for to us tax payers after having it valued at only $6400 on the tax rolls.
Apparently there is some confusion on Facebook about the sale by Hambros of 135 acres of privately held land to the Park Service, if I recall, a public entity for the purpose of creating more park land in Del Norte County which is not taxable. Caltrans is involved as this sale has something to do with Last Chance Grade mitigation. Gerry Hemmingsen’s amendment was a meaningless gesture as all he was doing was amending a letter that in essence had the Board approving the sale by a 5-0 vote. I am not sure why the sale would require the Board to approve the sale, but Hambros will retain 25 acres which they intend to spend the sale money to clean up the mill site and rehab the buildings on the remaining privately held land. No matter how you look at it, Del Notre County will be losing more privately held taxable land for the purpose of yet another park. The powers to be can talk all they want about a “minimal amount”, but it remains that $6700 more tax money will be gone and worse yet 135 acres of privately held land will now become yet more park land. So much for growth in this County.
You stuck it out longer than I could deal with.