Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

By Roger Gitlin – EYE ON DEL NORTE – May 6, 2022

A big THANK YOU and recognition to Pastor Steve Perez of the Hiouchi Community Fellowship Church for hosting Thursday’s evening District 3 Supervisor Candidate Forum.

Candidates Big Rock Water District Board Vice President Joe “Hank” Akin, Del Norte Unified School Board Trustee Frank Magarino and incumbent Chris Howard delivered opinion, viewpoint and answered questions from the 28+ voters in the audience who braved the inclement weather.

Pastor Steve moderated the event and announced candidates would deliver three minute opening comments in alphabetical order.

Akin spoke first, followed by Magarino and then Howard wrapping up the opening statements. Alphabetical order?




Intended or not, this small detail of who spoke when continued throughout the evening, with Howard seemingly speaking last without retort from Akin or Magarino on several hot button subjects.

Not fair!

Subject questions revolved about the current DNSD operations, Measure R sales tax, the Budget, Term Limits for Supervisors, Sister City /Japan Agreement and the growing challenge of Systemic Homelessness.

Hank Akin:

* “I’m running for Supervisor to serve you.” Akin said for too long, Smith River, Hiouchi, North Bank and Gasquet residents have not enjoyed constituent representation from the current supervisor.

*”I’m a fighter. I will stand up and represent you, am accessible and not beholden to any group or anyone except you, the Public.”

* Akin acknowledged the vital importance of volunteerism in addressing community needs such as blight abatement.*Akin cited his initial support for the Measure R sales tax increase for infrastructure and law enforcement but states continued burdensome taxes are unsustainable. He embraces the Citizen- driven repeal.

* When learning Gov. Newsom may impose $1,000 per diem fines and penalties on communities which do not embrace the massive expansion of low income / no income housing, he affirmed his opposition and doubted the Governor could or would strong- arm rural communities like Del Norte.

* Akin further underscored, “We can not solve our community problems by throwing money at the problem.”

*Akin stated Del Norte County is in crisis.

Frank Magarino:

* Stated he will be a”full-time” Supervisor.

* Magarino shared his disdain referring to an L A Times article praising the welcoming conditions for the so-called homeless in Crescent City. Magarino cites that article as encouraging the throngs of LA homeless coming up or being shipped up to Del Norte County for these services. Magarino states he observes many new faces among the homeless who are not Del Norters.

* Magarino supports Measure R sales tax increase and opposes its repeal.

*Magarinto seeks higher paid DNSD deputies and expanding jail and patrol staffing.

*Magarino seeks an assigned Deputy in Hiouchi.

* Magarino is running because change must be made for Supervisor in Dist. 3

Chris Howard:

*Howard defines his service to the young.” Youth is the most important part of my service.”

* Howard referenced 250 children living in vehicles in Del Norte County.

* Howard adamantly defended the Measure R sales tax and opposes its repeal slated for a November election.

* With reference to on-going operations within the Sheriff’s Department, Howard says the Department.”needs more love.” Howard cited low morale and the difficulties in undertaking a law enforcement career.

*Howard defended his exemption from term limits stating the contacts he has developed in Sacramento and Washington are essential for Del Norte County. His absence from the Board would hurt his inexperienced colleagues, Valerie Starkey and Darrin Short.

* Howard defended the Sister City Agreement with Rikunzentakata and his family’s $25,000 personal contribution as an economic driver which, in his words,” … put Del Norte County on the map.”

* Howard staunchly supported the conversion of the Coastal Inn and Suites to Legacy, units designed for homeless and indigent individuals, located within the heart of Crescent City.

*Howard references still daily fines for communities which oppose Sen. Mike McGuire’s 150 Homekey housing projects, along the North Coast.


My analysis:

A change must be made in Dist. 3 Supervisor.

I mean no disrespect to Mr. Howard but he is clearly not understanding his negative impact on small, charming rural Del Norte County. Chris Howard never participated, not once, on a Take a Bite out of Blight or Smith River Alliance Volunteer community Cleanup.

Howard opposed Gitlin-Berkowitz Resoution stating Law Enforcement is under Siege.

Though exuding charm, is articulate, and knowledgeable, Howard is also arrogant, condescending, and believes he’s the smartest most important person in the room. Clearly, Chris Howard is neither.

His condescending, toxic, self-proclaimed importance insults his two BOS colleagues Starkey and Short. Grades for last night’s Dist. 3 Forum:

In alphabetical order…




The next and final Candidate Forums, sponsored by the Del Norte Asoociation of Realtors are

Wednesday May 11, Dist. 3

Thursday, May 12, Dist.4

Friday, May 13, Dist. 5

at the Crescent Fire Protection Dist. Fire Hall on Washington Blvd.

Now, it’s your turn…V O T E, but vote wisely June 7.

  1. Joe “Hank” Akin came by our home on Fred Haight Drive and stopped to talk with my husband, adult son and I. He came in and answered our questions, listened to our concerns and even asked about the concerns of our neighbors! I had heard him speak at the Smith River town all and have decided to support him. My 29 yr old son was shocked that a “Politician “ would be interested in the average person and was very impressed with his responses. Our family will be voting for him! Please be a part of the town hall meeting at the Smith River community center on Tuesday evening to hear Joe Akin.

  2. Howard is supposed to be a Republican? You sure would not know it from his positions.
    He cares about the children of Del Norte County, which is laudable, but what is he doing to curtail the cycle of bad parenting? Maybe he could volunteer his time for counseling? Selling a little milk, cheese, and beer to Japan puts Del Norte on the map? Are Japanese tourists flocking here to spend their money?
    The old Smith River Hotel was a toxic hazard, leeching in the ground. That didn’t get addressed until right before the last election. It could have and should have been taken care of way before then.
    What about withholding information from residents about the proposed legislation for the Talowa to expand tribal boundaries in Hiouchi? Do people really believe he didn’t know anything about it?
    In two terms, what has this guy really done to improve his District? Let’s hear it, folks!

  3. As an attendee of Thursday’s debate, I was more inspired by the faithful comments that decorated the walls than the solutions offered by the three candidates. All three gentleman conducted themselves professionally and gave convicted testimonials to their perspectives. The Sheriff’s Dept. and the homeless crisis issues seemed to dominate the discussion without real solutions. As I drove the beautiful drive home I was left thinking about two things; 1) Where is the prosperity and economic success Mr. Howard claims to have brought to Del Norte County? Does he not drive through town, or shop, buy gas, or know that people have less disposable income. Even the County’s new Salary increase can’t keep up with inflation.
    And 2), Mr. Margarino’s comments about an LA. Times article that highlighted how well Del Norte County enables Homeless. It’s like offering a “Free Picnic”, everybody show’s up! Free Housing, free Medi-Care, free food, and probably free drugs are sure to attract more freeloaders.

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