By Samuel Strait, Reporter at Large – June 29, 2021

Most people who genuinely care, will have received the news that the
recent recount of the Fire Protection District’s effort for a parcel tax
which initially failed has been reversed by once again the narrowest of
margins.  This has produced the historical conundrum of a nearly equal
split in voters on what should be considered a tax measure and be
required at least a two thirds vote to insure a smaller level of
discontent with the outcome. It is certain that the “boys” at the CFPD
are whooping it up with glee over their apparent success, but it is
certain to come at a significant cost to the district.  They may not
know it yet, but they have just created a “giant problem” for themselves
going forward if they choose to accept this as a “win”.

The problems do not end there.  What is even more troubling is the fact
that most parcel tax voters and a growing percentage of the local
population are developing a mistrust of anything local government is
involved in and rightly so.  With the recent debacle at the Clerk’s
Office under the direction of Alissia Northrup, the distrust has kicked
into high gear.  Most certainly there is much to be concerned about
Northrup’s handling of this questionable voting process and it is easy
enough to cry foul.  Whether fraud is a major concern or not, and not
easily proven, what should be of even more concern is the office
itself.  Something that in a very spectacular form has emerged regarding
Alissia Northrup’s Office over the course of the past two weeks. 
Irregardless of whether or not fraud was committed in the Clerk’s
Office, the larger question remains, is the Clerk/Recorder Alissia
Northrup competent enough to run her office?

In the course of the current debacle we have learned that no one in the
Clerk’s Office can make an accurate count in a voting situation where
every vote matters.  Even after the current “recount” is it correct? 
Northrup has now had three reported opportunities to come up with the
correct numbers and has certainly whiffed on the first two counts, why
not the third?  It calls into question every thing that her office has
done since she was elected, and perhaps even before.  The Clerk/Recorder
is dependent on scrupulously and accurately kept records and counts. The
public expect that out of this office without fail.

How is it that on the first count a “Yes” is misplaced?   How is it on
Northrup’s second bite of the apple, four additional votes fail to
emerge?  Is the recount, the third bite at the apple, actually correct? 
After all, there should be “NO” confidence is this recount after the
train wreck leading up to this point. Given the Clerk/Recorder’s obvious
mishandling of the votes, the obvious questions of competency in her
Office and coupling that with the Crescent Fire Protection District’s
questionable manufacture of favorable voting circumstances, if the
CFPD’s Board certifies this recount and proceeds to assess parcel owners
the additional parcel tax, there will be stormy clouds in the District’s
immediate future.

The best path forward for the District under this set of circumstances
is to not move forward with this disaster, work with the community on
what they expect and are willing to pay to support a reasonable level of
financial support for what they actually need.  This is not found in the
current ten year master plan, the way the voting was structured, and the
outcome.

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