Thu. Oct 22nd, 2020

By Samuel Strait – September 27, 2020

Recently, there has been word floating around the County that the local
Board of Supervisors was planning a series of video conferences
surrounding a decision to purchase a local motel and convert it into a
homeless shelter.  Now I realize that our Governor, Gavin Newsom, has
made it his task in life to seriously take up one of the many problems
produced by this insanely progressive state and throwing money at the
“homeless problem” is just one of them.  Hence, Del Norte County, has
some time ago received a portion of the Governor’s grand gesture.
Rather than repurpose the money received for something that would truly
benefit the homeless, such as fixing pot holes in our streets thus
making maintenance of homeless conveyances, bicycles, shopping carts and
skate boards, much more rare, the supervisors have elected to consider a
train wreck in the making, the purchase of a homeless shelter.  Now I
know that some truly bright citizen in Del Norte County will challenge
the use of the homeless funding for the nefarious purpose of fixing pot
holes, but it is a practice that those in government, especially in
California, use all the time in the progressive way forward.  Bet not
many know that.

Anyway back to the message at hand.  It is not often that a plan to
spend the tax payer’s money is so obviously ill conceived right out of
the gate.   Well, maybe the brilliant minds that authorized the spending
of $2.7 million for the massive Covid-19 testing and tracing center
currently being built with Cares Act money in the thriving metropolitan
area of Klamath, California , population right at 800, will rival that
of the BOS’s decision to consider spending money on a homeless shelter.
I don’t know, maybe I am ill informed and the County will have
substantial resources in the general fund to continue to fund this
project long after the grant funding dries up.  That is the SAME County,
and not to forget the City of Crescent City, that is crying “poor me” AS
THEY HAVE BOTH PLACED BALLOT MEASURES ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT FOR
INCREASES IN SALES TAX REVENUE.

Apparently the loss of property tax, sales tax and occupancy tax for
starters, from the motel property is of little concern to the BOS and
the City.  Apparently, the sales price of $1,800,000 does raise red flags
as to the condition of the property.  Clearly the cost of elevating the
property to meet county and state codes, fire codes and handicap
standards is of little concern in this endeavor.  Staffing, maintenance,
insurance, utilities (electric, water, sewer, internet, cable TV),
security, counseling (drugs, alcohol, mental issues) all come at cost
and will remain an expense to the county long after the initial purchase
of the motel.

Add those requirements to long term building maintenance, the visual
appeal of having a homeless shelter displayed on one of the town’s main
thoroughfares, Highway 101, both north and south, great for businesses
in the immediate surrounding area.  Charming location for the many
tourists who stop and stroll along 101 during our summer months.  The
visual and real blight that seems to be attracted to such locations that
currently are hidden from the general public by being off the beaten
paths.  Keep in mind the problems that have arisen when the county
elected to “rescue the homeless from inclement weather” at the fair
grounds a few years ago, and the misguided attempt by a previous
bureaucrat at Health and Human Services to feed and clean up the
homeless in the immediate vicinity of the Health and Human Resources
building.

Finally, aside from the sheer impracticality of having a local and
faceless government address homelessness, there is the fact that while
you may be able to some what ameliorate the misery of 40 or 50 of the
homeless population in the county at great cost, what happens to the
remaining 300 to 400 people caught up in the same circumstances?  Will
there be a lottery for shelter?  And on and on….What happens if the
homeless population spurns use of the facility?

I am not sure if anyone listens at either the Board of Supervisors or
the City Council now that they no longer face the public face to face,
but this is a very bad idea on the surface and the negative unintended
consequences of moving forward with this proposal could very well be
massive.   This, if the BOS moves forward with this proposal is not
something to be discussed at a few video conferences.  This proposal
contains all the elements of truly bad government and it is my hope that
some one will recognize it as such.

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