Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Opinion by Samuel Strait – April 17, 2022

Following an article I wrote for the CCTimes, titled “Another Study,
Does Anyone Really Care?”, April 15, 2022, I received an e-mail from a
candidate that is running for Supervisor asking for information about a
study that was the recent focus of the Board of Supervisors at the April
12th rendition of another “Clown Show”.  While it is easy enough to
supply the sources for the information they had asked for, the
information is completely irrelevant to the world of Del Norte Citizenry
for it’s lack of benefit to the people.  This is something that the
current Board has no understanding of and anyone who runs for office
should become aware of this.  The study and all of the information
contained within, and the thousands spent to generate the “study”, are
simple government for government and have no benefit or worth to most of
the local residents.  Point of fact, local residents could have lived
their lives thousands of dollars richer and unaffected without the study.

Del Norte County currently supports thirty six departments, three
Commissions, and fifty four Commissions, Boards, Authorities, and other
government oversights.  Small government you say?  I shudder to think
what kind of nanny collections exist at the State level, and the federal
government is far worse.  So much for limited government.  No wonder the
County’s BOS is constantly eyeing our wallets for the next robbery.  The
issue has become not that our local government has anything to do with
“providing” vital services, or making an effort to make our lives better
it is simply a local government that is intent on creating more
government, whether it is needed or not.

Of the twenty seven thousand residents in Del Norte County, most will
have no direct contact with any of the County’s departments, and without
doubt most of those residents have no idea that some departments even
exist.  The example from the previous story highlights the Department of
Community Development, with Supervisor Starkey’s “golden Girl in charge,
Heidi Kunstal. Someone Supervisor Starkey has ladled heaping praise upon
to the point that ” her work is so thorough that there are ‘No’
questions to be asked of her” following her presentations.   Well,
Supervisor Starkey how about this one.  The “Study” that you requested
and likely was approved as a consent item, to the tune of many thousands
of dollars, refers to “growth” in the County when for the past two years
the County has lost over 600 residents?    How does a declining
population require nearly 600 new homes?  How accurate is the figure of
1285 vacant or occasional use dwellings?  Why would the County require
the construction of nearly 600 new dwellings if there are nearly 850
vacant homes and another 450 homes only used infrequently.

It is this kind of government that populates most of the departments
within the County.  Government for the sake of government.  Commissions,
Boards, Committees, and other government gatherings are in abundance,
consulting on every possible foible that the human mind can dream
about.  As with a majority of the County Departments, of what use and
expense are they in the lives of most that live here?  Would it be
possible to eliminate much of this waste and never be the wiser?  Likely
it would not be missed.  Much of what passes for government in this age
never existed for much of the history of Del Norte County.  With Measure
“R” funding this waste continues to grow.  In a four page justification
for Measure “R” funding, Director Heidi Kunstal of Community Development
cries “crocodile tears” over the “havoc” that loss of funding would
create in her department.  Likely she fears loosing the ability to hire
“consultants” for $50,000. $60,000,Or $70,000 at a time to craft
pointless studies about the next eight years of “community development”
to wow Supervisor Starkey with the “thoroughness” of her power point

It comes down to the gargantuan size of County government that disputes
the need for Measure “R” money.  How much can local citizens save if
their governments were stripped of all the waste?  How much would County
residents save if the unnecessary portion of the County’s work force
were given their “walking papers” and the remaining employees were there
due to merit? Unfortunately governments are not so easily dismantled and
fight any and all attempts to bring them back to the point of actually
being beneficial to the local population.  This is the message that
future representatives must be instilled with when running for office. 
It does not matter whether nearly 1300 dwellings are vacant or only used
occasionally.  What matters is that the Department of Community
Development is unnecessary and should be eliminated, along with several
other County Departments.  A sweep through the list of fifty four
committees, boards, authorities , and sundry other time wasters to
target the useless for termination.  Only then can local government be
considered worth the cost of their continued existence.  Keep that in
mind if you have chosen to run for office and represent Del Norte County
in June.

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