By Samuel Strait, Report at Large – March 5, 2021
Just recently having viewed the map of all the counties in California
that were on board with the Jefferson State movement and those that are
within Oregon who are involved with the Greater Idaho movement, it
struck me that the island of resistance to both movements was on the
very top of the north coast of California in Humboldt, no surprise
there, and Del Norte County. When I first arrived in the county to take
up residence in 1974, it was the bastion of rural conservative thinking
that occupied much of California at the time. People were fiercely
independent and hard working. Fishing, logging, and lumber mills formed the backbone of the local economy. Men would lean out of pickup truck windows and converse in the middle of a street. Certain restaurants, long gone or now closed, were other places to meet and talk about things that mattered and sometimes even things that didn’t matter. The local government was hardly much more than a token of what it is now, and Sacramento was totally ignorant to the fact that Del Norte County even existed, not that anyone cared. Visitors were few and barely noticed. What a change forty five years has wrought.
Gone is the simple and rewarding life of that time to the now Sacramento
centric edition of 2021. Our current leadership and bureaucracy lies
breathless in anticipation of orders from “down south” unable to take
any step that might locally solve just a few of the problems we
currently face. Critical lack of real education in our school system,
unemployment, an unhealthy dependence on scraps in the form of grants
infrastructure debt, and major issues with our roads and streets. The
list seems overwhelming, yet paralysis rules the day in city hall and
county government. Money is found for irrelevant things, the pool
reopening, trips to Japan, charging stations, front street, its park,
traffic circles, and lighted cross walks. Last Chance Grade continues
to be a trial for a second week. The wastewater treatment plant remains
heavily encumbered, while the City orgasms over the “new city hall”.
Leadership sits in thrall to the possibility of scraps thrown by either
the State or the Federal Government. Gone is any sense that the morbid
creatures that have been voted as our representatives will ever stir
themselves to be proactive.
It is a shame as there is much to offer in this small but rural
community, but the loudest voices wailing about all manner of injustices
seem to have cast us into following the train wreck in Sacramento.
None of the issues we face are of the least bit interesting to those in
a position to do something about it. That being the case, a concerted
effort over the next year and a half to do something about it should
galvanize the most faint hearted. Both the Board of Supervisors and the
City Council need change to have the County move towards a better
future. The current school board must recognize the District’s failures
and get on with the task of preparing our young people to be other than
the next generation of inhabitants of the welfare rolls. Tourism and
Government services are not going to cut it. Prosperity solves a whole
lot of our current problems. Grasping the pandemic narrative does not.
Time to cut the strings and move beyond Sacramento. Maybe Greater Idaho or Jefferson State?