Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Opinion Piece by Linda Sutter – October 13, 2016 –

I can see why there is not much public participation to the Local Transportation meetings, you will find it hard pressed to remain awake. As Sebastian Cohen gave his presentation on the LAST CHANCE GRADE, I looked around the room and it looked like even Commissioner, Chris Howard, had a hard time keeping his eyes open. Newly elected Supervisor 2nd District, Lori Cowan, was struggling as well.  And for good reason.

Sebastian Cohen went on and on and on and on about the studies needed to be done by CEQA ( California Environmental Quality Act and NEPA, ( National Environmental Policy Act) and where the money come from.  But was clearly pointed out that it would take more than 3-5 years to complete the new studies and get the money before a design could be completed and a new road installed.  However, the real point of interest. If the road gave way tomorrow we could bypass CEQA and NEPA.  Does anyone have any dynamite?

So now came the public participation time. I asked the formidable question. Why can’t we utilize and set up ferries for transportation? In Sebastian’s infinite wisdom and the only answer he could come up with is, “it’s not feasible.”  When I asked why, Commissioner Finigan, who is current chair to this transportation meeting, in open public forum told Sebastian Cohen he did not have to answer that.

Ok, let’s get this right. I have the floor, I ask a question. I get a curt response which is not to answer my question. As a citizen as well as a taxpayer of this county I don’t have the right to know the answer to my question?

I decided to interview Sebastian Cohen after the meeting had concluded.  “So, Sebastian, why is it not feasible to utilize ferries to transport vehicles from Crescent City to Klamath?” I asked.   Chuck Blackburn interrupts and states, “I’ve been a fisherman on that river for 30 years and it’s not feasible”. Well, Mr. Blackburn, you are absolutely right.  I doubt I could load up my small car on your fishing boat much less a fleet of vehicles and have you transport me from Crescent City to Klamath. But, the fact remains, it would be far cheaper to build and utilize two ferry transporting ships coming from each direction then it would to take out a mountain that cannot withstand going over it or around it or through it due to the geological make-up of the mountain. Anyone listening yet?

I have looked into the price of the ships that we would need to make this job come to fruition and it is a fraction of the cost compared to the billion dollars plus that is needed to fix this problem.

Then there was the “Community Advisor,” Kevin Tucker, who informed me “we” have discussed this option and concluded it was not feasible.” Who in the hell is “we?” Do you have a mouse in your pocket?  If that was discussed publicly I don’t know how I missed it.  Actually, the last public discussion ended in fiasco, whereby you folks split the crowd so no one could get any information and it was to divide and conquer the community.  Now the commissioners pick Kevin Tucker to represent the community wants and desires. I think not.

The only creatures allowed to speak their public minds are people like Blackburn who gets up and tells them how great of a job they are doing, all the while constantly rubbing the brown stuff off his nose. Does anyone give a damn that this behavior by our officially elected is outrageously lacking in performance?

After the 20 minute meaningless dissertation provided by Cohen who states in his own words to expect the same, and it’s gonna be a long time, only one Commissioner, Dave Finigan, had something to say, which wasn’t much, because Finigan takes pleasure in demeaning the public by refusing to have questions answered. This is our Public process or lack of.

Tamara Leighton, came to the meeting unprepared. Good God why should I expect anything any different. Her idea to bring to the table in regards to the acquiring of information regarding HWY 199 and Elk Valley Cross Road intersection, “ I think we should get on our cell phones and call in anything we see regarding this matter so we can collect valuable information from the public regarding this matter.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME…

Whoop. whoop, whoop, the red lights flashing because the officer pulls you over for being on your cell phone. “Yes officer, well, I was at a meeting where Director of Transportation, Tamara Leighton, told me to report anything good or bad in regards to HWY 199 and Elk Valley crossroads.”  In all fairness, in the meeting they did tell us to pull over before we made that call, but how many people actually heard that? Actually there were only 20 people if even that at the meeting today and 6 of them were on the board.

Oh well, just another meaningless meeting with no teeth, no hope, and no resolution with the same old people who do what they have been doing best for the last 20 years. NOTHING.






    1. Actually Linda my comments are not based simply on my opinion, but from the experience of having a United States Coast Guard certification for carrying passengers in vessels up to 200 tons, familiarity with operating vessels along the Pacific Coast from San Francisco all the way into the Puget Sound,and having entered most ports along the way. Since you do not seem to grasp the concept that your ferry idea is not feasible as long as there is or can be at any cost, a road alternative, perhaps you might enlighten us by pointing to ANY instance where a ferry in open ocean waters is a better alternative to a road? The Victoria to Port Angeles route doesn’t count as it is not in open waters and as yet there is no road alternative. Vancouver Island is just that, an island.

  1. Well Mr. Strait, a storm would hinder a ferry from transporting vehicles? Uh, no…apparently you have not been to Port Angeles, Washington? Where they have a ship that runs daily to Victoria Island which is about 2 hours to cross over…so that is not why my idea is not feasible… my idea is not feasible because the harbor is to shallow (15 feet deep) to have a ship that carries 20 vehicles in it to transport…but…i just learned of this at the harbor debate…

    Equally, Mr. Strait, the idea that Berkowitz and Gitlin can get anything in a timely fashion is a fantasy as well…and Mr. Berkowitz in his infinite wisdom indicated that just the other day on crescent city politics forum, when he now has flipped the script and openly said, “it will take 10 years to fix last chance grade” when his platform as well as Gitlin’s platform indicated 5 years..what a joke….so…in essence…who are the better candidates the ones who constantly lie to the public for votes or the ones who state it will take 23 years, but get it done quicker than that?? This county has no recourse this year for candidates…but what we can do in 6 months is RECALL…

    1. Linda, Linda, Linda,I guess you just don’t seem to understand that the ferry between Port Angeles and Victoria, which I have been on several times, and has on a number of occasions been forced to suspend operation due to rough “sheltered water conditions’, is not the same as operating a ferry in unprotected waters, the open ocean. While it can be done, it does not assure one that passage from Klamath to Crescent City will occur year round. Also, as you indicate it takes a ferry two hours to cross the something like 20 miles of water,but you also have to factor in the wait time for the ferry schedule which can add another couple of hours to the actual distance traveled especially in winter. In addition, having a ferry that is limited to twenty vehicles will not even come close to accommodating the amount of traffic on Hiway 101 even in the winter time. I shudder to think of the backup both way that this will cause, As far as the harbor depth issue, that is about the only thing in your over all scheme that can actually be remedied. As I said before, move on.

      Relating to Bob Berkowitz and Roger Gitlan’s idea for a solution at five years, I don’t believe you will find anything what so ever in my post about the feasibility of a five year solution. As far as Mr. Berkowitz and Mr. Gitlan’s stance on the issue, it is something you will have to take up with them. I will say that if something isn’t done to speed up the process, a potential tragedy may be looming. As the current “stakeholders group” can’t even decide on a route and continually pound on a drum of dotting every last “i” and crossing every last “t”, something I can imagine warms the hearts of our local environmentalists, I can’t imagine that even they will stick to the 2031 timeline. So my only contribution will be that if someone doesn’t light a fire under our erstwhile leadership, of which only Bob Berkowitz and Roger Gitlan seem to understand the urgency, we will continue to dance an impotent tune a la Kathryn Murray and David Finigan. So as much as you disparage the five year plan and carp about Bob talking about a “ten year construction phase”, I have yet to see you come up with a suitable alternation. From that I will say move on, move on. You aren’t making any sense about this topic.

  2. Linda, When you proposed the “ferry idea” in an earlier piece in this forum, I spent a bit of time writing about just how unfeasible that your idea is and continues to be. I wish that you would either drop the subject or better yet go back and really read what I wrote when you first proposed this “solution”. Even though an alternate route around last chance grade will be expensive and no doubt take far longer than necessary, a sea route has too much against it to be workable. As an example, during this recent bad weather, ferry transportation would more than likely be suspended for the duration of the storm. How would you like to spend a couple of days in Klamath until the ferry resumed operation? Just saying, but that is probably the least inconvenience that a ferry bypass would bring. Wake up and work towards a solution that has some reasonable means of solving the problem.

    I will agree that the possibility of the stakeholders group or the local transportation commission coming up with a timely solution is a long shot. The idea that David Finigan and Kathryn Murray can get anything done in a reasonable time frame is a fantasy.

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