Opinion by Samuel Strait – February 13, 2023
I recently had the opportunity to spend time with one of our earnest
City Councilmen, of whom I won’t reveal his name because quite frankly I
am embarrassed for him. He stated solemnly that he became a city
councilman to “work” for his community and I believe him. It is just
that he clearly does not understand what that means to an average every
day person that he is meant to represent, and “work for”. He has an
enviable work history and work ethic that should make him the ideal
candidate to accomplish what his stated goal is, unfortunately some
where along the road to his present position he has forgotten what it is
like to be a member of “we the people”.
Most folks from farthest reaches of the past are not but very ordinary
folks with a desire to get through life the very best that is possible.
They do not dwell too heavily on the fantasies of life, being out of
reach for many and only the play ground for the few. When I hear people
that are supposed to be in positions of leadership wax elegant about the
possibilities often firmly entrenched in the world of the extravagant
say, “We wouldn’t be able to do that without that new source of
funding”, I want to burst that bubble in the most complete way possible
for most of us do not live in that world.
Because this particular leader lives in a government world with few
restraints on spending money that is not his to spend, the notion of
need often is not in his vocabulary. As such it gives free rein to a
fantasy world of excess that is beyond the realm of sound financial
practice and quite often enters him into a world that offers little in
the way of actual benefit to those his leadership is meant to lift up.
It was; therefore, some what of a shock to learn what he has occupied
himself with over the past fifteen years. But then again, when you work
for the government it is not such a complete surprise, no matter how you
occupy your time.
The City leadership has become entrenched in a world that has little
meaning in the lives of most that live in the City of Crescent City, or
the entire County for that matter. Yet, the decisions made that do not
solve some of the more immediate problems for the residents regularly
come in the form of what the City government “wants” rather than in the
form of what the residents need. The edifices both existing and planned
for in Beach Front Park are irresistible for many residents and their
leadership because the lure of “free money” in the form of millions in
grants often fail to consider the future and its costs not born by
future “free money”. And then what?
The stark reality is that nothing south of Front Street will ever be
self sustaining. The more “free stuff” you end up with, the more it
costs to keep it that way. If Del Norte County was a urban center with
a population of hundreds of thousands of people, even then it costs
millions of dollars each year for something that is seldom used by the
population and in no way becomes suddenly affordable for that small
population to even justify the expense. We already have a community
pool that requires hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to
continue its operation. Imagine that extended to an amphitheater, the
Native American Cultural path, an expanded Kids Town, the Sister City
Mural, and an elaborate expansion of sports facilities. The dreams of a
few are clearly on the path of never ending financial burdens for the
City and the County as well. It matters not what is given to you, the
importance lies in what you are going to do with it once you have it.
For those that live here where the government is doing the “doing”, yet
has anyone without “stars in their eyes” figured out what will happen
next and how much is that going to cost? Hopefully, it starts with what
is needed, but until that Councilman and two others I listened too can
figure that out, it is far from likely. Beach Front Park will become
the play ground for the few and the burden for the rest of us.