corruption

Failure of the Fourth Estate and our Political Elite as Well

Opinion Piece by Samuel Strait – May 31, 2016 – Having taken a bit of time to look around in someone else’s local political patch, I’ve come to realize that the kind of things we have unfolding on a regular basis here in Del Norte County have become the norm in politics in rural America and no doubt in the cities as well.  In spite of more intense scrutiny of our daily lives by all forms of media, things are not often as they seem and much of our local media TV, radio, and print Newspapers have an increasingly difficult time telling fact from fiction if that was ever their intent.  They have come to rely on sloppily constructed narrative based on what they have been told by our locally elected officials every time something pops out of the corruption closet.

A recent example of the Triplicate’s tunnel vision appeared in a front page narrative about our own Queen Martha McClure when asked to spin her recent inclusion about potential corruption committed while occupying a seat on California’s Coastal Commission.  This was followed by a number of “letters to the editor”  in which McClure lemming, Brian Stone among others, attempted to pass off MS. McClure’s transgressions as “political theater”, before going on to regale us with stories from her rather lackluster career as a Supervisor.  If Mr. Stone truly believes that Ms. McClure is unable to feather her own nest, he might just wish to know that Martha has a long history of looking out for herself long before her elevation to Queen hood.

Shortly after Ms.McClure’s exposure as accepting “gifts”, the Triplicate published yet another clueless article on the paper’s front page where both Ms. McClure , Rick Holley, and in a past life Kathryn Murray have enabled the DNSWMA burdening us with another outrageously expensive twelve years of insanely expensive disposal fees, $140+ per ton with built in yearly cost increases. Mr. Ward, executive Director of DNSWMA, either isn’t aware or doesn’t care to inform the commission that $140+ per ton is among the highest rates paid for waste disposal in the entire country. Maybe somebody should clue Curry and Humbolt Countiy as well.  It does;  however, illuminate how unprepared Mr. Ward is when negotiating contracts, and is another example of MS. McClure’s poor judgement, or is it?   Of course the vaunted Triplicate, its editor and their reporting staff couldn’t engage in proper research of these topics because Kings, Queens and their Prince and Princesses are not to be questioned.

As it is I have not mentioned the fiscal fiasco brewing in the City’s increasingly desperate financial condition, starring none other than that go along to get along pair of heroes Rick Holley and Kathryn Murray.  Does excessive over the top, and unaffordable sewer plant ring any bells?  Sounds like MS. Murray’s “connections” to out of the areas State level politicos have yielded little in the way of solutions to the cash strapped City. Maybe it is a good thing that she is trying to “jump ship”, but hopefully she won’t become the County’s problem as she has been the City’s.

Of course Mr. Finigan, another long term Supervisor, seems to have recently become a topic of conversation and as this story has circulated for some time yet never has reached the conscious level of the past three editors of the Triplicate, it is yet another example of what is wrong with not really knowing the people who hold the levers of power in local government.   In an amazingly patronizing “Coastal Voices” piece, our former life time County Clerk, Gerry Cochran, attempts to make his “connections” with the State’s past politicos into a reason to overlook what may be serious transgressions by our current crop of long time Kings and Queens.  But of course these stories have had only the last couple of weeks to come to the forefront in the County after years in the making.  One shudders to think of all the transgressions by our political elite that we will never know about.

There are historically long experienced reasons why the founders of this Country gave the media first amendment rights.  Why government was to be limited in all forms.  And why our elected representatives and officials should only be in office for a short period and not a life time crowning.  It is precisely why shorter terms, limited government, and newspapers acting like the “fourth estate” that this Country was reasonably successful for so many years.  It is the loss of this kind of thinking that has produced an endless stream of people of influence in public office who lose their way.  Ms. McClure, Mr. Holley, Ms. Murray, Mr. Finigan, Judge Follet, and no doubt others in local government should perhaps take a hard look at their careers and see that they are not found wanting.  The object of any government is to do the best job for the greatest number, without the greatest number forgetting that they are the best arbiters of their own fate.

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