Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait
The recent Harbor Commission Special Meeting was pretty much the
expected 5-0 vote to approve both leases to Alex Lemus and Renewable
Energy for the harbor’s two RV parks. The future ensuing train wreck
will no doubt be painful, but it could not happen to a more useful
collection of supercilious idiots who are oblivious to their impending
doom. When asked just how many redevelopment plans the harbor
considered in 2020 after a “nation wide” advertising campaign took
place, the response was, “several interested parties reviewed the
offering, but only one, Alex Lemus offered a proposal.” No one on the
Commission even considered the remote possibility that the redevelopment
plan is not financially feasible given the terms offered in the Harbor’s
proposal. Further, no one even considered the possibility that what they
got from Alex Lemus, just might be that bridge too far.
The current lease to Renewable Energy asks the sum of $820,000 per year
for twenty five years. The harbor presently earns nearly that much in
its current configuration. Maintenance and management trims that figure
to around $600,000. Lemus’s proposal calls for relocating all current
tenants to another location equal to their current site. The harbor is
not involved in any way with this process other than to take Lemus at
his word. Once the land is cleared of occupants, Renewable Energy will
somehow transform the current properties into a “high end” RV, rental
mobile, and luxury cabin park to “attract” short term occupants within
the invested amount of several million.
To the average soul in Del Norte County even a million dollars might
seem to be a significant amount of money, but for this project it will
likely just be the start of the necessary funding to actually complete
such a project that even remotely resembles the architectural plan
offered of the finished product. The rental Airstream trailers come at
a price tag of $130,000 to $160,000 each, and luxury cabins can be
$150,000 on up for each one. Landscaping and suitable infrastructure
could easily swallow up the entire budgeted amount. So how just
exactly is it the harbor has not considered the possibility that this
project will go the way of Lemus’s solar power project and result in
Renewable Energy’s filing for bankruptcy owing the harbor thousands?
How is it the Commission didn’t get more than one proposal in the first
place? Why is it no one on the commission asked other interested
parties why they offered no proposal? Has the district reviewed the
proposed budget for the redevelopment offered by Lemus’s company to
determine just how much “lip stick” he had decorated the pig with? It
was crystal clear that no one on the Commission had asked these and
several other germane questions to understanding the feasibility of what
was being proposed. With the approval of the two leases, this
Commission has now backed themselves into a corner with no easy way
out. In the process they have created a larger problem for those they
profess to have the most concern for, yet offered those in harms way no
The problem is, that nobody would particularly mind if the Harbor
Commission was taught another “painful” lesson, as they have truly
earned that and then some. What will become an ongoing story is the
plight of those that are living in both RV parks who have no possibility
of relocating to somewhere locally of equitable condition to what they
now have. How many will end up parked on the street? How many will be
forced to join the ranks of the homeless? All we have to do, is “trust”
that Alex Lemus will honor his word to be responsible for a painless
relocation. Overhearing RV park tenants expressing their fears, coupled
with the dismissive attitude of the Commissioners, this transition will
not be pleasant. Then again has the local Harbor Commission been
blinded by fairy tales and puppy tails, with dollars signs above it
all? Is it even possible that this will end well? I don’t think it
will take long to find out….. Until the Harbor Commission learns that
the families within the harbor deserve more than being dismissed and
cast adrift, there will be no peace at the harbor. This legacy of
dismissal and tone deafness does not bode well for the harbor’s future
prosperity, nor those that will be forced to move, especially so if it
does not end well…
2 thoughts on “Lemus Gets The Harbor To Bite, Now He Just Has To Reel Them In”
Awe yes the Harbor. Lemus demonstrated his ugly head a few meetings back.
In the Commissioner’s infinite wisdom believed that Lemus was going to write a $300,000 check that was owed by REI. REI had gone bankrupt after installing the solar panels. At that meeting Lemus smack dabbed them in the face. “I’m not giving you $300,000 you can put it towards your $10 million dollar loan. Everyone of the commissioners were stunned.
Yet these commissioners signed a contract with this Shark. So here is what will play out. They are supposeD to get approximately $420,000 per year for leasing the parks to Lemus.
Lemus will be developing the park with his money which is part of the $10 million dollar loan to develop the harbor. So what is to say the harbor will receive $420,000 for the lease? They won’t.
It will go towards the $10 million dollar loan. In essence and by their own official decision we have officially lost the harbor.
When you have people like Mr. Shepard running the ship who doesn’t even have knowledge of the Brown Act and how to run a meeting do you honestly believe these same people can make a $10 million dollar decision from a shark?
I can hardly believe how gullible the Commission is.. you people really think this will work?????????? You are throwing all of the locals, all the fisherman, all of us who LIVE here under the bus. Do you really think the high and mighty are going to moor their multi million dollar yachts here? In the rain? the wind? the cold? and what? trot the south beach in their little swim suits????? You all need to be replaced before it’s too late for any of us.