By Bob Berkowitz – January 8, 2016 –
It seems to me that many of the problems that face our county get kicked down the road year after year, decade after decade. I don’t have to tell you that the Stremberg’s death when Last Chance Grade collapsed in the 1970’s should have prompted a complete replacement of that roadway, yet, more than 40 years later, the replacement is still all talk and no action.
This section of Hwy 101 is a lifeline to many Del Norters who need ongoing medical treatment in Eureka, so if this lifeline were cut, it could result in serious conditions getting worse or death for citizens of our county. Caltrans own studies have documented the economic devastation that would occur. Businesses would suffer and prices for everyday items would go through the roof. With Hwy 101 no longer useable, more traffic would be forced to use Hwy 199 as an alternate resulting in increased traffic loads. We already experience periodic closures of this highway due to landslides. This would increase the probability that this road could also be closed for a period of time.
I want to be on a board that starts walking the walk. I believe my experience in working as a staff member to the U.S. Congress can help us cut the red tape and get the money that we need to move replacement to the top of the list. Currently the State of California is predicting a $10 billion budget surplus. Some of this money could be used as matching money with the federal funds to move this project forward, but this surplus will not last for long because other areas of the state with less serious needs that ours will be out to grab that money.
Many of our Seniors live hand to mouth, mostly on Social Security. In the last five years, they’ve seen their fixed costs increase to the breaking point. The cost for heating their homes have increased 22% during that period. Other increases are on the way with water and sewer bills going up. We need to expand public and private partnerships that can help, so that no Senior goes hungry. We can do this by expansion of the “meals on wheels” program and others, but the board of supervisors needs to be actively engaged. I want to be a part of putting words into action.
Some specific problems that affect those of us who live in District 5 include investigating the traffic flows as people travel from Howland Hill Road and make the left hand turn on to Elk Valley Road. This is a very dangerous intersection because of the cars coming up the hill on Elk Valley Road. We need to slow those cars down to prevent accidents at that intersection.
When traveling North on Parkway Drive and merging with the traffic along Washington Blvd can be dangerous when the cars on Parkway don’t pay attention to the yield sign. We need to look at that so that we reduce the probability of accidents.