By Jeff McCaddon – October 28, 2020
At the conclusion of this letter is a public comment made during the October 27th Meeting of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors. In all fairness, I must state from the onset that I was in error over two statements, and used confusing language in another.
My first error was that Del Norte County Administrative Officer, Jay Sarina, needed Board of Supervisor’s approval to spend under $50,000. This statement was wrong, as he may freely spend under $50,000 at his discretion. The second error was that I identified the glossy mailers and robo-calls recommended by their hired political consultant as “advertisements.” I was corrected at the end of the the Board of Supervisors meeting. These mailers and robo-calls were intended strictly for “informational purposes,” as they were contracted to Clifford Moss in Oakland for “Ballot Measure Strategic Communications for Del Norte County,” which is not to be confused with “advertising.” If they say it is information, then it is information. If it were an advertisement, then they would have said so. I apologize for my lack of research, comprehension of word-magic obfuscation, and subsequent false statements.
My statement about Kymmie Scott’s narrated script for the robo-call is in need of clarification. My statement of Ms. Scott using her “public office” referred to her position as a public officer with the title of Emergency Services Manager, not her actual physical office. My statement of Ms. Scott using the same method, “robo-calls,” as those used for emergency notifications should not be confused with using the same physical “platform” or “equipment” that are used in her department. These are important distinctions that needed clarification. I apologize for any resulting confusion.
All those inaccuracies and moot statements aside, there are still several questions that come to mind. “Strictly Informational” materials are normally disseminated to the public through “Public Service Announcements” (PSAs). Newspapers, Radio and Television Stations most often fill-in unsold advertising slots with Government and Non-Profit PSAs at no cost, and later use them as a tax write-off. Excuse this old fool for asking a real stupid question; If PSAs are normally provided free of charge, why was a political consultant needed in addition to standard PSAs?
My bone of contention has always centered upon our government’s lack of priorities. We have a lightly populated and mostly impoverished community. The amount of money allocated for hiring a political consultant to provide a PSA is more than many local families make in an entire year.
What made the 1% Tax Measure more important than all the other government “information” distributed to the community? Are we to understand that all PSAs require the services of consultants? As we understand that millions of dollars in additional tax revenues would be of ultimate importance to those controlling our local budget, does this importance trump all other issues?
We are presently in an officially declared Statewide “State of Emergency.”
- When our local small businesses were shut down and community members faced bankruptcy, how much money was spent to provide direction and countermeasures to prevent economic hardship?
- How many consultants were hired during the Pandemic to help meet the needs of the community?
- Do these costs exceed the amount paid to disseminate the “Ballot Measures Strategic Communications for Del Norte County” about the 1% tax increase?
- What, if anything, was the actual positive result of prior PSAs for the community during this State of Emergency?
We saw many of our government offices and services closed during this Pandemic, while our government conducted business from home on new laptop computers. Government meetings were closed, and conducted via computer. Our government politicians, managers and workers still maintain their same wages, and the costs of infrastructure remain seemingly unchanged. All of this seems to work agreeably for our local government. They are fat, sassy and ready to grow by leaps and bounds. Is any of this really working for the community? Does our government even care if it works for the community?
Meanwhile, the Governor of this State has us on an economic lock-down. While those who live off government wages, entitlements and subsidies survive; others in small business and the private sectors suffer to the point of bankruptcy. Is this the intentional economic genocide of California’s middle class? Once gone, will any of it ever come back? Will big-government, utilities and mega-corporation franchises be the only things left standing?
Our local governments have starved their emergency services departments for decades and funneled money into inflated wages and State mandated programs with little or no local benefit. Now, instead of making budget cuts, they want more taxes for emergency services. Does that make sense?
Our State and Local Governments are hungry for more tax dollars at the exact same time that they are intentionally destroying their private enterprise tax base. Does that make any sense?
The government of California is starving for a Federal financial bail-out because of irresponsible financial decisions. That is the primary reason why there has been no second stimulus legislation passed. California, Del Norte County and Crescent City have champagne tastes and a kool-aid pocketbook. Their solution is for us all to fork over more tax money to buy them even more champagne.
Our local governments are in lockstep with Sacramento, and I fear that they will drag the rest of us down with them when California’s economy implodes. Who will pay the government wages, entitlements and subsidies when California is bankrupt?
The parasite is killing its host.
What follows is my public comment as sent to the Board of Supervisors:
October 27th, 2020
To: Del Norte County Board of Supervisors
From: Mr. Jeff McCaddon
Re: Public Comment to be read aloud during meeting
It has come to the notice of our community that your County Administrative Officer, Jay Sarina, authorized “Up to $40,000” to advertise your recent 1% Tax Increase Measure. It has also come to our attention that Mr. Sarina made this expenditure without public hearing or Board of Supervisor’s vote during open meeting; though a signature of Board approval is on the contract. It has also come to our attention that the Emergency Services Manager Kymmie Scott made claims in an advertising announcement using her public department title in an attempt to sway the vote in favor of the tax increase.
What are we to see next from our County Government? Will you use public money to support the candidacy of public officials? Our County financial resources must not be used to sway votes during an election!
Not only did the County use public funds to influence an election, but it was done surreptitiously. Mr. Sarina and whoever signed for the Board of Supervisors must be held accountable and reimburse the County for the full amount paid for these advertisements. They should also resign from their posts for attempting to sway the result of a public election through the unauthorized use of public funds.
Likewise, Kymmie Scott should resign for using her public office to make claims in an attempt to sway a public election. This community receives emergency bulletins under the authority of her department through the same robo-call method used for this advertisement. How many unsuspecting citizens considered this to be an emergency plea to support the Tax Measure for their own survival?
I do not expect any action to be taken by your Board. Ethics is a non-issue in Del Norte County, as is the observance of the law itself. Indeed, as was written long ago, there is “No law north of the Eel and no God north of the Klamath.”
Mr. Jeff L. McCaddon