By Bob Berkowitz – June 30, 2018 –
When I read David Finigan’s musings in Tuesday’s Triplicate, I have concluded that he must be living in an alternate universe. In the article he accuses Supervisor Gitlin and I of every offense possible with the exception of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. In other words, his accusations have no connection to reality. Yes, he lives in the world of myth.
Here is what he accuses me of: Using the dias to advocate for others to run against the incumbents. FALSE. Saying I could not work with this board. Again FALSE. Accusing me of opposing the development of the airport. Again FALSE. The one thing his article is lacking is, not a single fact to back up his accusations, but lack of facts to back up accusations have never been his strong suit.
Finigan says the recall is not about cannabis, yet the leader of the recall movement is the former Chairman of the Cannabis Working Group, a group that reports directly to the board. Well, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s not an elephant.
Now let’s look at the facts.
HARD FACT #1: During Finigan’s 20 years as a supervisor, he failed to get any funding at all for a bypass, not a single dime. Finigan says The Last Chance Grade bypass had unanimous support of the stakeholders, which is true. What it lacked was dollars to back it up. As far back as November of 2015, Supervisor Blackburn urged Finigan to get serious about funding for a bypass for Last Chance Grade, but that plea fell on deaf ears.
This new board, working together, has achieved what many thought was impossible. It got millions of dollars dedicated to beginning the work required for a bypass. In other words, this board accomplished what Finigan failed to do for 20 years, get a financial commitment for the bypass.
HARD FACT #2: Finigan implies that Berkowitz and Gitlin are tight and concludes that we always vote together and against the other board members.
Here is the Story:
In the last three months, there were 30 motions either made or seconded by Bob Berkowitz or Roger Gitlin in the board meetings. All of them except for 3, were passed UNANIMOUSLY by the Board of Supervisors. In 2 of those motions, Roger Gitlin voted No on a motion by Bob Berkowitz.
HARD FACT #3: The petition for the Recall of Roger Gitlin and Bob Berkowitz states that Partisan politics has no place in local government. So let’s examine the statement and see if Partisan politics exists on the board of supervisors.
Here is the story:
There are 4 Republicans and 1 Democrat on the board. So if the accusation was true, you would think that all of the Republicans would be voting against the one Democrat on issues that come before the board. In the last three months, the 1 Democrat has made a motion or seconded a motion on 38 measures. The Republicans on the board supported the the Democrat on 35 out of the 38 measures or 92% of the time. That means these motions or seconds were passed by the ENTIRE board voting TOGETHER.
Playing Partisan politics? The facts tell a different story.
HARD FACT #4: Finigan implies that Berkowitz is not a hard worker on committee meetings.
Here is the story:
During Finigan’s tenure on the board, the only way the general public could communicate with the board was with a 3 minute comment. They never got any feedback from the board of supervisors. Speakers never knew if the board even listened to them. They felt ignored. Berkowitz and Gitlin concluded that this system was not the way communication should work. They went to work and committed to have a “Daily Town Hall” meeting six days a week where citizens could interact with a supervisor in an informal way. In the last year and a half there have been 445 meetings. These meetings are held at the Fisherman Restaurant at 6am and go for an hour.
This method of communication was so effective that the National Association of Counties awarded a 2018 Achievement award to our county. Our county had never been recognized for anything positive from NACo during the 20 years of Finigan’s tenure.
HARD FACT #5: Until Martha McClure was fined by the Fair Political Practices Commission for her shady dealings with the Coastal Commission, David Finigan was the only Del Norte County Supervisor who had ever run afoul of the of the commission and had been fined by them, therefore giving our county a negative image with the rest of the state.
HARD FACT #6: Our county seems to be the poster child for recall mania, but when you look under the hood, you find that all three of the supervisors elected since 2012 are facing a recall threat. What is the one thing they have in common? They are all Republicans, and they all have been charged with the same offense. Only the name of the supervisor has been changed to suit the proponents. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure who’s behind this. You can bet that someone from the radical fringe of the local Democratic Central Committee will run to succeed both Supervisor Gitlin and myself.
Recall elections were never meant to be for trivial offenses. They usually involve something criminal, or someone having sex with the wrong person, or financial improprieties. There is none of that here, only a desire for those who want to be a supervisor, but can’t wait for the regularly scheduled election.
On a radio interview, Jesse Davis, the leader of the Cannabis Working Group said this about Supervisor Gitlin and myself, “I want their supporters to get together and defeat this recall.” And later in the program he said “the board has passed everything we have asked.” When asked for the reasons for the recall, Davis responded, “I don’t care what the reasons are.”
I would hope you care, care enough to see this recall for what it is, a blatant attempt to usurp the normal election process and force you to accept the outright lies, distortions of fact and deceit in the name of a power grab.
I would implore you not to be taken in by a vindictive former supervisor who is still licking his wounds from his election loss in 2016. When someone asks you to sign the recall against Supervisor Gitlin and myself, just say NO. Your voice is too important to be stolen by those who lust for this job.