Sun. May 19th, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – March 23, 2024

I suppose the Crescent City Council meeting of March 18th was some what
ground breaking, yet not unexpected.  Our representative republic was
for a moment converted into a monarchy compliments of the Mayor of
Crescent City, Blake Inscore.  More on that later. To begin the meeting,
following the normal opening ceremonies, Mr. Dennis Powers was on hand
to present to a full house a brief summery of his book “The Raging Sea”,
the account of the March 28th, 1964 Tsunami that struck Crescent City in
the early hours of the morning, resulting from a 9.2 earthquake in the
Gulf of Alaska.  Mr. Powers, with accompanying visual images, took us
through the day of the event that killed 11 local residents, destroying
30 blocks of the City and produced 60 missing.   While many of those in
attendance were either very young or else where at the time, it was a
sobering reminder of the power of the sea and the strength of the human
character.

Following the presentation, most in attendance left the meeting which
resumed following a short break to hear public comments without benefit
of the accustomed “zoom feature” that had become part of regular access
for residents unable to come to the meeting in person.  We learned later
that the decision to suspend this feature was an action taken without a
vote by sitting Mayor Blake Inscore.  Public Comment consisted of a
presentation by Mrs. Donna Westfall calling attention to the proposed
increase to the City’s sewer rates currently under review by the City
Council with particular attention to the “expansion component” of the
system and promises made at that time.  It was mentioned that should the
City move forward with the rate increase, a Proposition 218 protest
would be forth coming.  Further public comment included a call to the
Council to recognize the already burdensome recent tax increases as well
as future proposed assessments by the local school district to pay back
a $44 million school bond for facility improvements currently planned
for the November 2024 ballot.

The consent agenda, including a renewal of the “State of Emergency”
surrounding Pebble Beach Drive slide activity, closing a portion of that
particular street and a few other items was quickly passed 5-0.  On to
the Public Hearing segment of the meeting, items #6 and #7 regarding the
amendment of the general plan to cram 52 multi residential apartments
into less than a full block at 1405 California Street with suitable
contributions by the taxpayer in order to satisfy demands by Sacramento
to avail the City of more mid level affordable housing.  Naturally, one
never knows on what planet this equates to “affordable housing” by any
rational standard without massive subsidies and HUD vouchers, but that
is the state of the housing crisis in California.  Resistant to this
action of what passes for “urban development” was in the form of
“Commercial Property” owners nearby who felt that their businesses
could be impacted by the project.  Concerns were quickly swept aside and
both items were put to bed with consecutive 5-0 votes.

While the “new affordable housing” was generally greeted with enthusiasm
by the Council and checks a few boxes, I am not sure that this path to
“urban style living” is a necessarily positive path forward to what
should clearly be recognized as a rural setting.  Too much of the local
push to create housing seems to ignore the fact that single family
residences that have traditionally made up rural communities and
contributed enormously to the “pride of ownership” and corresponding
pride in the local community have gone the way of anonymous urban
sprawl.  It perhaps should be noted that urban sprawl likely is a
contributing factor to the rapid decay of modern American Cities.  Just
an observation.

On to the most important “event” of the evening, an hour long robust
debate on whether to allow “sandwich board and wind blown signs” within
the City.  Apparently, after a couple of years floating around the
meetings of the City’s Planning Commission a draft to revise the City’s
Sign Ordinance has made it to the City Council proper where further
changes were requested for this terribly critical and important item,
that nobody pays much attention to in the first place and no action took
place except to ask for further revisions.  Comments about other City
ordinances that “need revisions”, one can only imagine will occupy
future City Councils well into the future.

A quick dip into the City’s Housing Authority, a report on its annual
plan revealing the extent of the housing authority’s role in subsidized
housing in the City.  A continued exposure of just how far the City and
County have invested themselves in a dependent style culture that
dominate the economy in the area.  So Sad.  Back to New Business and
Mayor Inscore’s self promotion to Monarch status, suspension of “zoom
participation” by the public, a vote “after the fact”, personal  “hurt
feelings” offered by the Mayor and Councilor Wright, and City Manager
dysfunction cited as the reason for the suspension and final termination
of the feature.   Of course the City’s contractors and officials will
still have access to the zoom feature, the public not so much.

Then the end was near after four hours with Measure”S” finger nail
polishing by City Manager Wier about “road repairs” that had trouble
making it though a weekend successfully without returning to the natural
state we have come to expect with the City’s streets.   Pothole dodging
is very likely to become a local sport in the City as proper street
repairs continue to elude the local City Council’s attention to the
point that most streets can no longer be simply repaired and should go
on a lengthening list of streets that simply need resurfacing in their
entirety.  Maybe the City’s lack of attention to streets can be elevated
to a future Olympic Sport and tourists can flock to the City to
“practice” for this event at future Olympic sites.  Paris anyone?

2 thoughts on “King Inscore And The B Team”
  1. Driving down Washington I glanced over to where I thought the housing was going to be built. To my surprise it looks like it’s already in progress. What I saw my reaction was, “I guess it’s better to live like a sardine rather than in your car.” In my opinion that is a poor place to cram housing. Traffic is already heavy in that area, and I read about a lot of accidents at the intersection. And if it’s apartments who is going to get the rent money? Also I expect my utility bills to go up again, esp water and garbage. What about sewage for that many units? I’m sure the planners took that into consideraion, lol. I watched the whole meeting via YouTube which showed I didn’t have much to do. The discussion about the signs dragged on so long it became confusing and I literally had to bust out laughing.

    1. Remember the maxim for decision making: the length of discussion is inversely proportional to the complexity of the problem.

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