By Roger Gitlin – January 22, 2021
The Tuesday, January 19th Crescent City Council meeting was an interesting one. There was a long discussion about campfires on the beach along the City coastline. There are some in our City who wished to ban ALL campfires on the beach. I would respectfully disagree with that position.
Angie and I who live on ocean frontage are NOT one of those private properties who wish to eliminate those who want to roast marshmellows and hot dogs on our property. The ocean is for ALL to enjoy… Make your campfire and PLEASE CLEAN UP YOUR MESS.
The new Ordinance requires written permission from the property owner: Granted… Nonetheless, the discussion was vigorous and predictably opinionated as one might image.
City Councilor Isaiah Wright spoke in support of those folks who wished to restrict the campfires on our City coastline. His argument was, if nothing else, persuasive. As coastal property owners, Angie and I did NOT necessarily agree with Councilor Wright’s argument, but we certainly respected it.
I appreciated Councilor Beau Smith arguing to adjust the northern tip of 9th St and the beginning of the new Ordinance. He spoke well and I appreciated his evaluation of the issue. After over an hour of discussion, the vote was polled to vote to adopt the Ordinance to allow camp fires from the top of 9th St to Battery Point.
Councilors Inscore (maker of the motion) and Smith voted YES. Next the often very quiet Councilor Wright… he paused then voted YES…. His vote was followed by Vice Mayor Alex Campbell, YES and Mayor Greenough, YES. The final vote was 5-0.
Here’s what concerns me: When an elected takes a position in opposition to the majority, a position I often found myself in while serving on the Board of Supervisors. STAND BY YOUR VOTE. Councilor Wright decided he did NOT want to be in the minority and at the very last moment, changed his vote to be part of a 5-0 vote. It is difficult for me to respect an elected who switches in mid-air to be part of a unanimous vote. All too often this occurred with Supervisor Bob Berkowitz who often abandoned his position on an agendized item to vote with the power structure, Hemmingsen, Howard and Cowan, for what I can only assume was an effort to curry favor.
I expect my elected to match his rhetoric with his words. Folks, these almost-always 100% 5-0 votes on our local governances displays a disturbing dynamic: The elected lacks the necessary core value absolutely imperative to healthy, diverse government. 5-0 votes are nothing to crow about or be proud of. I would have hoped Councilmember Wright would have believed his own words and voted NO on this Ordinance. I could respect the minority vote rather than questioning his desire to be a part of the unanimous vote.
We will keep watching your elected to see if their rhetoric matches their vote. EYE ON DEL NORTE