Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

Commentary by Samuel Strait – June 9, 2022

For the past several days, I have been out and about collecting
signatures in order to put Measure “R” to the test in November. It has
been most entertaining and a very good time was had in a kaleidoscope of
people from places far and wide.  While the intent was to collect the
signatures of the local voting public, friendly people from all over the
United States and some parts of the greater world have chosen Crescent
City as one of the places to visit and in some cases spend time and
money.  Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Texas,
Wisconsin, Kentucky, Florida, and Colorado were just a few of the States
represented.

Smiling, happy people who are enjoying the beautiful place we call
home.  Some enjoying the rain on Saturday, others the fog and wind swept
beaches and even the sun which has graced Del Norte County every now and
then through today.  But back to the business at hand, collecting
signatures to place on the ballot in November a repeal of Measure “R”,
the 1% sales tax which has many locals searching for extra dollars only too happy to join
a growing chorus of displeasure over local government spending what few
dollars they have to hire expensive employees and not provide the
services that are actually needed.

Talking with the soon-to-be-homeless down at the harbor, a small
business owner struggling to keep prices down as sales tax increases are
sending customers fleeing to Oregon, and in one particular case bed tax
paid to the County, City and the Harbor adding to the burden of those
that provide places to stay for visitors.  Most have to live within
their means.  They cannot demand their neighbors aid them financially. 
None of these folks have the luxury of living on six figure salaries,
nor can they say one thing and do another.  Still inspite of their
troubles they tend to be a friendly lot mixing with those that for what
ever reason are happy for local government to take what little they have.

On the other side of the coin, clearly those that work for government
and fear they may have to do with less after November should the local
voters deem they have not measured up to promises made, and bait and
switch routines reveal that the nearly a $200 million 2022-2023 budget
is clearly enough to provide the necessary services that seemed to be
lacking.  Funny how a few of the County’s work force can find time in
the middle of a work day to shop at Walmart and be rude and
condescending at the same time.  Might just be why the level of service
could see some improvement before hiring extra workers.

In any event, collecting signatures allowed me to reconnect with many
friends and acquaintances that in some cases I have not seen in awhile. 
It also allowed for time to make new friends with a few visitors who
were curious about what was happening in our world.  Walmart is a true
melting pot that attracts shoppers from a broad range folks, not only
locals, but those from other countries as well.  It is a phenomena that
is hard to explain, but never the less can be addictive.  Very often the
same faces stop by with their greetings and well wishes very definitely
appreciated.  From the door greeters, to the jobber, and even the man
that chases carts all day soon become well recognized over the course of
the day.  An experience not to be missed.

Nevertheless, the gathering of signatures was a task that was met with
success and the repeal of Measure “R” will appear on the ballot in
November.  Thanks to those that think local government already has
enough of their money.  It will now become a test for the voters to
determine its fate.  Keeping in mind that despite all the “good”
intentions of providing a better level of service by local government,
most of us are still waiting for those benefits.  Some are wishing they
had that money taken by tax was back in their pockets.  For money, as
the old adage says, “does not grow on trees” mythically doing good work
or adding unnecessary programs as local government claims is “for our
benefit.

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