By Samuel Strait, Reporter at Large – October 24 2021

For those citizens not paying attention to how various assessments to
your wallet are “supposedly” protected by “Citizen Oversight Committees”
let the buyer be wary.  What recently was exposed in a meeting of the
Del Norte Unified School District’s Measure “A” Citizens Oversight
Committee meeting is a lesson all voters should learn about BEFORE ANY
FURTHER BOND MEASURES OR PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENTS ARE APPROVED IN FUTURE
ELECTIONS……….

As outlined in two, yes, two articles in the Crescent City Times, with
another to come out shortly, the DNUSD has expended nearly $25 million
dollars of the Measure “A” Bond money from 2008 with zero, that’s right
zero oversight from the District’s Citizen’s Oversight Committee.  What
was clear and acknowledged by the current Committee Chair, Steve Lyons,
that NO training had been received as to their duties, NO training had
been received as to how to conduct a public meeting, and NO education as
to what projects were to be funded by Measure “A” Bond funding.

That Measure “A” Bond funding has been spent with NO oversight during
the entire time of the funding’s existence is beyond belief.  Currently
there are several other COC’s in place both in the City and County to
oversee other tax assessments levied by voters in recent elections. 

  • Might it not be prudent to oversee the overseers in light of what has
    happened at the School District? 
  • It is very clear that citizen volunteers are hardly likely to understand or be able to exercise their
    responsibilities without training and education into what their job is
    supposed to be. 
  • Has any of this training, let alone how to properly
    conduct a public meeting, been offered to these Committees? 
  • Have conflicts of interest by members within the current membership been
    exposed?  
  • Do the Committee members know what to look for when projects
    are presented? 
  • Are regular public announcements made to insure proper
    spending has occurred? 
  • Are there any penalties to the parent agencies
    should violations be revealed? 
  • Is there any redress for the citizens that have been abused by misspent funds from the public agency?

The take away from the DNUSD’s clear violation of the public’s trust
from an organization that should be above reproach in NO UNCERTAIN
TERMS, is a wake up to the public on just how far government has
strayed.  It can no longer be assumed that County, City, and even Fire
District Boards, will exercise their responsibilities properly and
legally.  Likewise, it can no longer be assumed that Citizen’s Oversight
Committees can be trusted to operate both independently  and be faithful
to the interests of the public they serve.

This exposure should become a huge “RED FLAG” for those that assume that
the School District and other public services, County, City, Harbor,
DNSMA, Fire, etc. are conducting those services they present as
beneficial to children being educated and warranted for public safety
and welfare.  Perhaps it is past time to find out……..

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