Thu. May 23rd, 2024

By Samuel Strait – Reporter at Large – March 26, 2022

Looks like the month of March has been “Whine About Measure ‘R’ Repeal
Month” for members of Del Norte County’s Board of Supervisors and its
Bureaucrats.  Both Board Meetings this month have contained a suitable
amount of whining from District Three’s, Supervisor Chris Howard, Animal
Control, and the Sheriff’s Office.  How surprising….  Almost before
the signatures were done being counted to put a repeal of Measure “R” on
the ballot in June, the howls of indignity were heard from the mouths of
Lords in the various departments of County government.  A sigh of relief
was heard throughout County Government when the Board managed to delay
the reckoning until November.  More time to spin about the devastation
to the County’s ability to “provide service” to the voters.

Most recently it was the Sheriff’s Office, given time at the March 22nd
meeting by Supervisor Howard, to wax elegant about the guaranteed loss
of three deputies should recent raises found to be funded by Measure “R”
money be lost to the Sheriff’s Department. Not that with the attitude
being displayed by the three deputies that Measure “R” funding will keep
them any longer than a more lucrative job offer becomes available closer
to home.  Current senior man Lieutenant Schneck followed up his tale of
woe with he wouldn’t be able to field officers for complete coverage if
the officers were to leave.  Nice bit of hand wringing there, for a man
that made $220,000 last year.  Surely that kind of salary comes with
some sort of expertise that is able to “work through” such thorny issues.

Not to be missed was our introduction to County Department whining,
featuring Animal Control, in the March 8th Board Meeting where Animal
Control Director, Justin Riggs, was allowed to expound on his tale of
woe with his department.  According to Riggs, his department is in such
a State that even the kennels at the Dog Pound are barely keeping up
with proper servicing, and humane complaints are at an all time high. 
How Dramatic.  Riggs went on to complain that positions were vacant, at
least those that required a lengthy title to describe, and issues were
often months in addressing.

Never fear though, the County spin for keeping Measure “R” intact was
ready and waiting to leap into the breach for Animal Control. A
condition ripe for front page news was patiently waiting for the
opportune moment to spring out for public attention.  An issue, months
in development out in Smith River, just waiting for Animal Control to
leap into action for maximum propaganda effect to high light the woeful
nature of Animal Control’s deplorable state.  Not enough staff… 
Positions of Animal Control Officer vacant.  An Animal Services
Supervisor necessary to function.  No training for large animal handling
available or someone to undertake the task.  Will Horrors never cease.

After a mountain of complaints and months passing the Animal Control
Department found time with the under appreciated Sheriff’s Department to
join forces yesterday to descend on a pasture in Smith River containing
five horses, a foal, five goats, and a pig.  It seems the reported
cattle, 23 plus was the count, were not available for pick up.  Likely
in the months that it took Animal Control to respond, they’d been
moved.  The unsupervised animals, less the pig were bundled off in the
care of Animal Control in a space of several hours, likely spent chasing
the unrepentant pig  who remains at large.  The complaint of inhumane
treatment to the animals in question is likely to elicit much publicized
charges in order to further broadcast the need to keep Measure “R” in place.

The reality continues to be, that hardly anyone has noticed that Animal
Control was in desperate straights, as service has not been exactly mind
blowing for years.  The addition of more staff to meet needs is the wet
dream of all the County’s departments and with Measure”R” funding a
growing government will be assured.  But does Del Norte County really
need more employee’s feeding off the taxpayer?  Except on rare
occasions, has anyone found service in the County totaling lacking? 
Does the Sheriff’s department not show up, eventually when called?  Is
the same true for Animal Control?

Most County residents do not need much of a hand from government and can
readily handle their affairs independently without constantly being on
the phone to request services immediately. When and if service is vital,
or attention necessary, the appearance of law enforcement and animal
control in this situation handled things eventually.  Would two
additional bodies have helped?  Likely the answer is yes.  Can the local
citizenry afford $3.1 million dollars out of the local economy to see
that happens?  Probably not….   The local Board of Supervisors needs
to stop whining and tighten belts…..  Then we may just survive…

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