Sun. May 19th, 2024

By Roger Gitliin – EYE ON DEL NORTE – February 2, 2022

The Crescent City Harbor District met in public meeting, Feb. 1.

Allow me to commend the new Administration for its excellent work in attempting to change its old, dishonest and corrupt practices which hurt tenants and the Public alike.

Credit to new Harbor president Rick Shepherd and new Harbor Secretary Harry Adams.

There is much ground to cover to bring this Governance back to any semblence of respectability.

During Public Comments, I brought to President Shepherd’s attention the following:

*SECOND REQUEST: The website had not been updated since December elections displaying pictures and official titles of Harbor officers. After my additional polite request, the website has been PARTIALLY updated. In an effort to be helpful, I have provided Harbormaster Tim Petrick pictures of ALL commissioners.

*SECOND REQUEST: I’ve asked president Shepherd to agendize the history of how the Harbor expropriated tenant Rachel Towe’s RV Anchorage (now renamed Redwood RV) in May of 2017 AND how the Harbor acquired the Bayside RV Park for $600,000.

*SECOND REQUEST: Discussion/Action item to have commissioners decide if the Harbor should engage in possible conflicting behavior by acting as landlord oversight for all tenants while engaged in tenant status for both RV Parks. Conflict of Interest.

*I asked president Shepherd to agendize discussion on continuing the relationship with Alex Lemus, CEO of Reusable Energy Capital Partners(REC).*****************Despite the continuing confusion of who is responsible for a $283,000 payment to the Harbor (REC and Lemus have vowed not to make this payment and its successor is financially insolvent), Commissioners moved forward on a Long Term Resident Transition Plan, if only in the discussion of how to improve the deteriorating conditions involving 86 tenant families. Mr. Lemus spoke first on behalf of REC. Lemus spoke of ” …doing the right thing” in transitioning tenants. “Doing the right thing” has multi-definitions. What’s right for one is not necessarily right for someone else. One must keep in mind REC is a FOR PROFIT entity. MR. Lemus’ words were misleading and empty of meaning without further specific clarity.

Noticeably missing from the Transition Plan was any mention of an adequate tenant Harbor-provided ombudsman or legal counsel to protect the tenants. It is my hope Commissioners will insert this tenant ombudsman into the Plan.

* Commissioner Brian Stone AGAIN spoke of his close association with the Lemus Group and with a congressman’s legislative aide re: the painfully-slow process of acquiring the Dredge Permit. To remind all, the Army Corps of Engineers has acknowledged its responsibility to dredge the Crescent City Harbor…the matter which remains unresolved is where to remove the dredge material.

Commissioner Stone was less than honest when he disclosed a Eureka location where accumulated materials can be deposited. The cost of this option reportedly remains very expensive.

In the seven months of my attending Harbor meetings, there was never a PUBLIC mention of the Eureka option.

Stone’s intentional (if not delusional) misleading of the Eureka option continues to delay the process of obtaining the appropriate Permit and explains why the Harbor, in bad faith, has not been dredged in a decade; this dredging inaction continues to cause great harm to Harbor tenants. Sadly, Commissioners Wes White and Stone have not so quietly championed a hotel in the Harbor on the very site where Fashion Blacksmith situates.

* President Shepherd and Secretary Adams reported from the Ad Hoc Committee the poor physical conditions of some of the HARBOR buildings. Adams stated these mold-infested buildings must be razed. Shepherd stated the Harbor has NEVER conducted such an extensive examination of these dilapidated buildings. He vowed to speak with each tenant about deferred maintenance. His first meeting will be with Fashion Blacksmith. I have personally observed long-standing gaping holes on the north-facing siding.

The Ad Hoc Committee should be permanent and called the Harbor Maintenance Committee.

Again, I recognize the stellar efforts of the new Harbor Commission administration.

Part II : How to clean up the Harbor

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