Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – June 10, 2018 –
Another trip to Japan for our Chairman, Chris Howard, and Mayor, Blake Inscore. Yawn! I guess both men haven’t had enough vacation time in the land of the rising sun and the Japanese are tired of footing the bill. What is this, third time around? In this current incarnation, for some unknown reason, there is the exceptional need for both Mayor Inscore and Supervisor Howard to go yet again, as well as twelve others in the City and County Governments at taxpayer expense. I went to the Board of Supervisor’s meeting and viewed the recent City Council Meeting filled with all kinds of justifications for this repetitive venture. Seems there is a great and crushing need for strawberries and Japanese Culture in Del Norte County. I also liked the rather cavalier attitude by Mayor Inscore of the relative insignificance of the trip’s $22,000 TAB out of a City budget of $20,000,000. Must be nice after the 5-0 vote to authorize the expense for a photo opt vacation, including head bands, once again, for the undefined benefits of future rewards of a rather vague nature. Shucks! it is only the taxpayer’s dime for the kind of vacation many of us only dream about. But wait, let’s take a closer look at both the City and County’s most recent lack of concern for the public good and see if the compelling reasons for political junkets to Japan stack up against the many needs of both governments for what is constantly being used as an excuse for lack of action, “NO MONEY IN THE BUDGET!”.
For starters, the City’s Council doesn’t, at least publicly, seem to have much thought for just how the city’s roads and streets of something akin to a third world country will get some attention. Maybe lack of street lighting or blight reduction could possibly capture Mayor Inscore’s attention. Or even, heaven forbid, some economic development within the City to curb its shrinking population? Maybe, just maybe, the City’s Council might move the solution to how to pay for the excessively over built waste water treatment plant up past the nearly $400,000 City Hall project? You think maybe? I suspect that most of the City’s residents might find spending some money for additional resources for the City’s Police Department an excellant start, but hey, going to Japan takes priority over all that. After all, we might get a Japanese tourist or two and find out what we don’t know about Tsunami preparedness. I’m not quite sure why people get elected to positions of authority and then loose all sense of what is important for their constituents to engage in posturing and grandstanding over what is clearly a benefit to themselves and only themselves. Mayor Inscore and the rest of the City’s Council who have authorized this travesty of yet another trip to Japan should be embarrassed and resign immediately. What kind of fool can stand up in a public meeting and excuse this kind of massive over reach. I would think the answer to that is very clear, Mayor Inscore.
Now on to the County’s tawdry part in this continuing train wreck. It should be very clear to anyone who cares, that we are living in a time when County government, led by Board of Supervisor Chair Chris Howard, is a dysfunctional group of people of which two of the most dysfunctional have been rewarded with being returned to that Board for another four years of the same lack of production. While Sup. Howard has been focused on getting his lame behind back to Japan for yet another publicity stunt, the majority of the City’s problems also reside in the County. Massive road and blight issues, a negative economy (something strawberries will not fix), a declining and ageing population, a financially troubled harbor, a vastly underutilized and maintained fair grounds, an uncertain future for the current airline servicing the airport, unfunded deferred maintenance projects where ever you look, a poorly performing school system with deferred maintenance problems as well, no end in sight for a Last Chance Grade Bypass, and a dysfunctional health delivery system are just the tip of the iceberg that should fully occupy both the attention and financial minds of all the Supervisors. Yet, that is not the case. While these issues and many others languish in the background Sup. Howard, recently re-elected to another term in office, has invested way too much time in the great “JAPAN ADVENTURE” which has almost zero in the way of an up side for any of the issues outlined above. Sup. Howard might think that wearing a headband at public events is endearing, but NO! it simply shows just how far three members of the Board of Supervisor’s have strayed from sound government operation. The taxpayers are not here to send the Board’s Chair on a taxpayer funded trip which does not address any of our current problems. I cannot understand how any thinking adult can defend this kind of cavalier spending. To quote Sup. Howard on any number of more significant occasions *We are a poor County, and CAN’T AFFORD THAT!” So why again exactly are we sending another delegation to Japan at for the most part public expense?