Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024


Opinion By Linda Sutter – August 18, 2022

If you think all is warm and fuzzy amongst our elected, send in a California Public Request for Information and you will discover just how ridiculous they are.  What do they talk about? Most of the time they are looking for a way to screw the residents here in Del Norte County by increasing our taxes.

The email I will expose to you makes you wonder how in the hell has this county survived? According to Neal Lopez the County Administrative Officer of Del Norte County we are Millions of dollars in the red with no end in sight. Especially if Measure R is repealed. Whhhhaaaat?

CAO, Neal Lopez

If our County was in such disrepair in the aspect of money ask yourself one question. Why did they spend the entire amount of Measure R in giving $300 to $500/month dollar raises instead of paying down our debt and then consider an increase in wages after our debt was in control? That is the problem with our Government. EXCESSIVE SPENDING and not fixing the excess debt. They all have Champagne diets with a beer budget.

In May of this year Lt. Schneck wrote to the Board of Supervisors telling them there was no on duty coverage for the third watch for a period of 2 weeks. What is that all about? We all pay our taxes, the Board of Supervisors spend it like no tomorrow yet, we can’t have a service we paid for.  Not only is this a mismanagement of funds but it gets worse. 

In a letter between Supervisor Darrin Short and CEO Lopez, the following was stated, 

On Tue, May 17, 2022 at 9:24 AM Darrin Short wrote: Hello Neal and Randy, Just wanted to share with you something that was said by Dean Wilson at the Realtors Forum on Friday. When talking about the use of Measure R funds it was mentioned that we used measure R to buy cars for the sheriff’s department. Dean said that the purchase of cars was in the Sheriff’s budget every year and the use of measure R funds to purchase cars was not an appropriate use of those funds because it was supplantation. It’s hard not to agree with that. Is there a way we can explain this to the public so it can genuinely be a permitted use of the funds? Or did we make a mistake by using the funds in this manner?

(It should be noted, when I personally met with Mr. Lopez and Chris Howard I was given a piece of paper that demonstrated they were spending $600,000.00 for patrol cars. I guess Neal Lopez thought I was a complete idiot to accept that, but I asked him if that was correct. He said, “Oh, I believe that is a mistake.” No, that wasn’t a mistake you just thought I was stupid and wouldn’t question it. Shame on you.)

“From: Neal Lopez Sent: Tue, 17 May 2022 10:29:00 -0700 To: Darrin Short Cc: Randy Hooper Subject: Re: Measure R: Hi Darrin, First of all, for a former Sheriff to say the purchase of cars is in the budget every year is incorrect and baffles me a bit. They may request a purchase of cars every year, but we are not typically able to purchase vehicles. When vehicles are approved, we need to lease them because we cannot afford to purchase them. Also, although it was the intent of Measure R to actually be able to purchase vehicles outright so we didn’t have to finance them, the SO was able to fund the purchase of their vehicles with Public Safety Sales Tax revenue which is something they receive annually and is not tied to Measure R at all making his statement incorrect anyway. In the FY 21/22 Budget, there were not any purchases of vehicles budgeted. The revised budget now includes $187,000 for the purchase of vehicles because of the increase of annual tax revenue, not Measure R. Measure R would be a guaranteed local source of funding to ensure our law enforcement officers had safe and reliable vehicles without the need to cut corners each year and nickel and dime the budget to find funding for this essential tool for patrolling our community. It is a way to improve the services provided that people constantly complain about. On top of that, the Sheriff’s Department has a budget projected to be in deficit of $1.8 million with ARPA and Measure R funding. Without those funds projected for next FY, the Sheriff’s Department is estimating a deficit of $3.2 million. This doesn’t include the jail, which for the 21/22 budget has a budgeted deficit of $2.4 million with ARPA and Measure R and $4.3 million deficit projected for next FY without those funds. 

Funny how in the June 28, 2022 meeting Legislative Lobbyist Greg Burns presented to the board of supervisors this county would receive $3.2 million dollars for our Sheriff’s department. Yet in the aforementioned  prediction Neal Lopez projects a ….you guessed it $3.2 million dollar shortfall for next fiscal year. Have you had enough yet?

Each time I attend a meeting, receive public information, this information dictates how corrupt our leaders are.  This is a very sad state of affairs

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