By Samuel Strait – Reporter at Large – January 25, 2021

In a recently posted article by none other than Jessica Cejnar,
“Crescent City introduces and is already chipping away at an Economic
Development Plan”, we will find a regurgitated narrative of what
Crescent City imagines what “Economic Development” represents.  The
piece is clearly cringe worthy as she, the journalist, fails miserably
by not asking such an obvious question, “What exactly in the entire
piece represents any sort of economic development?”
 

The City’s finest is well verse in talking about Beach Front Park, Broadband, and HAS199.com, but what has that anything to do with the “Grand” plan to
shake up the lack of any economic development what so ever in downtown
Crescent City.

  • As far as HAS199 is concerned, the harbor has been so poorly run for a couple of decades, at least to the point, it required a bed tax boost to stay solvent. 
  • The airport has a new terminal and jet service to Oakland, but has had its over all enplanements dwindle by just short of fifty percent. 
  • The sewer plant now several years old has yet to live up to its excessive over reach and can’t make much progress towards paying down its debt with out making water and sewer services beyond the reach of many city residents. 
  • And finally the 199 Highway improvements held up by militant environmental activism, is unlikely to happen if the city’s father continue to sit on their hands.

Of course when it comes to economic development, the Crescent City
Council hasn’t a clue as to what it will take to make new businesses
viable in downtown Crescent City.  It most certainly isn’t broadband,
the Beach Front Park Project, or even the opening of the swimming pool
at the expense of a half million dollars per year.  It is hard to open a
business when City government gets continually in the way. 

Most businesses in Del Norte County, let alone the City, must contend with an
unequal competitive playing field of which recently both the County and
the City have made it worse not better.  It is hard to compete with
businesses a mere 21 miles away when gasoline can be up to a dollar per
gallon cheaper, sales tax is zero, and a wide variety of shops are not
crowded out by big box stores.  Especially when those same big box
stores are allowed to remain open for the past year when many small
businesses were forced to close or depend on random openings with yet
more layers of regulation heaped on their backs. The latest closure: Wing Wah Restaurant in the Safeway Shopping Center.

There is nothing about City Councilors who grandstand when talking
about improvements to the City’s irrelevancies, when real problems with
the Council’s  decision making adds yet more burdens to existing
businesses and makes it fool hardy for any one wishing to start one.  As
vacancies continue to multiply in the City’s core, how is it that new
residents will be attracted to the down town area?  How is it that young
people who already flood north for entertainment and shopping will
remain in Crescent City when broader horizons beckon?  How is it that
these wandering youth will be beckoned back to Crescent City when good
paying jobs are scarce and opportunities for a start up business is
another mountain to climb?

We already have enough taxpayer supported employees in this community
without the tax base to support it.  It has become so ingrained in this
community and such a burden that “economic development” is but wishful
thinking.  The average salary in both the County and the City is skewed
to the point that government pay totally overwhelms that of most in the
private sector.  When you add the benefit package most receive, small
business find it difficult to even compete for the employees to operate.

I see no evidence that the City is even aware of the problems most small
businesses have to deal with on a day to day basis. What has been
outlined here is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and Cejnar
gives little to believe that the City’s Council even cares enough to
clean up their act.  Workshops and paid consultants are but sophistry
for the uninformed citizenry. A few more uninformed citizens do not make
an unrealistic desire workable or successful.  The reason two new
members of the council were installed was due to the appalling
shortsightedness  of Crescent City’s previous Mayor, Blake Inscore.  In
less than a calendar month, at least from the tone of the comments in
Cejnar’s article, the new members of the council are as clueless as the
existing and former members of the Council. 

Let me repeat, swimming pools, park renovations, new city halls, pedestrian only cross walks, and highly compensated bureaucrats DO NOT MAKE FOR BETTER ECONOMIC CONDITIONS.

7 thoughts on “Economic Development in Crescent City, Fat Chance!”
  1. The lack of sales tax by shopping in Brookings may not be an issue when comparing prices at Brookings vs Crescent City stores. Items at Kerr’s Ace Hardware (before it closed) were usually higher than at Crescent City Ace even with sales tax added to the later. Also, many Brookings residents drive to Wal-Mart as the prices are significantly cheaper even with the sales tax. I think some Brookings stores just mark up their prices 7.5% and then advertise “no sales tax”. As to gas prices, I think the North Coast cartel has the community by the short hairs.
    Finally, the argument for shopping in a non sales tax state could be lessened if the California Franchise Tax Board would enforce the current law which requires tax filers to declare purchases made in tax free states and to include the tax that was not collected on one’s FTB 540 line 63.
    Also, you should submit this essay to The Triplicate for those who may not read it here. It needs to be widely disseminated.

    1. Once again excellent points, yet they have not persuaded large numbers of local residents from making the trek north especially on weekends. As to the Franchise Tax Board somehow being able to collect cross border sales taxes, good luck with that one. I agree that some stores in Brookings have higher prices than Walmart and Home Depot, but the over all trip to Brookings consistently garners savings that Crescent City cannot match. I sometimes wish it were not so for the sake of local small business, but local government could do so much better to even the playing field and simply doesn’t. The loss in revenue for tax reduced enterprise zones could very likely be made up in increased sales, if local government could see their way to some sort of arrangement. But we have too many government bureaucracies that are inefficient or bordering on insolvency to allow for that.

    2. As to the Triplicate, a pale shadow, now a weekly, that no one takes seriously any more. Circulation that barely reaches the public. Narratives rather than local news. Not long for this world if recent developments are any indication.

      1. I think Country Media, which is a collection of Oregon newspapers, had to take the Triplicate as part of the deal with the bankruptcy court. Not only is it a weekly, but there is no longer a B Section, their Crescent City office is closed claiming the virus for the closure, and a lot of the same stories appear in both the Triplicate and the Pilot. Yet they STILL charge $1.50 an issue. What is keeping this paper afloat? Oh for the days of Jim Yarborough and Geoff White.
        As to declaring sales tax not collected on one’s state return, one is essentially on the honor system to do so.

        1. Country media is a chain of ten Oregon coastal papers, plus the Triplicate and three others in North Dakota and Montana. They are based in Salem, Oregon and are owned by the Hungerfords. None of their newspapers are particularly exciting and at least in Crescent City, they did not learn from the mistakes of the previous owners. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Triplicate published five times a week and had a circulation of nearly 7500 subscribers. Three years of Robin Fornoff kind of did them in. Of course he had practice, having done the same at his previous job. I am not sure what is keeping them alive, but I won’t be surprised if the Pilot and the Triplicate combine in the next year or so.
          We are talking about paying taxes here are we not? Honor system? I would say that the American public is not too awfully happy with the way the government squanders money right and left and then expects them to be honored to give them more tax money that they do not honor or respect. Honor is another one of those traits that must be earned not simply handed out like day old bread to the homeless. I have the distinct impression that if you asked people whether or not they feel their local, state, and federal governments deserved to be honored, the response might not surprise you.

    3. well that was a laugh a minute….Brookings is by far the place to shop for groceries and gas. Even going out to eat is worth the trip up north. let’s look at the cost to eat …lunch in Brookings, and remember you actually get seated in the restaurant not take out like in Crescent City. Pancho’s offers full plates of food for $6.95 with a drink and tip you spend $10.00.(20% tip)..Matties offers breakfast anywhere from 6.50 on up. Rice bowl has lunch specials for $6.50…. in Crescent City if you can buy breakfast including coffee…..your looking at $15.00 not including a tip…lunch is going to cost you $20-30.00….and that is take out…

      As far as declaring purchases..that’s a joke…nobody going to declare anything….Bug station isn’t always open…and even when it is we all place our fruits and vegetables out of sight….and by the way, Brookings does not have to mark up their stuff 7.5 % the state residents pay through the nose for their property taxes…that’s why there is no sales tax

      1. Good list of restaurants, but you forgot some particularly great ones worthy of a more urban area: Oxen Fre Public House, Fat Irish, Catalyst Seafood, Zolo’s Pizza, Black Trumpet Bistro, Compass Rose Cafe, and Off the Wagon food truck at Chetco Brewery. RIP: Vista Pub and Dee Ann’s Tea House.

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