By Linda Sutter – April 3, 2019 –
A local townhall meeting was held in the Arts and Crafts building of Del Norte County fairgrounds. Topics of discussion were the following;
CRESCENT CITY ORDINANCES REGARDING HOMELESS.
Mike Justice of Daily Bread Ministries stated there are a handful of bad apples but that is not the whole group. He stated, “he had 13 beds 5 months out of the year which are full.” He stated, “Mental health, addiction problems, and lost jobs were main causes of homelessness. His group has been very active in cleaning up projects in Del Norte County. So far they have done 22 clean ups in 1 1/2 years. Rules are enforced.”
He stated, “The majority of people are good people who have been cut off from cash aid and food stamps. Women with children.”
Commander Stevens of Del Norte County Sheriffs office stated that what Mike Justice said was accurate. Just a small amount of homeless individuals are using drugs. “Law Enforcement does what we can. We are talking about getting portable showers and bathrooms to be placed in various places.”
Joe Mansfield, who is a retired officer from Berkeley said, “Be careful in setting up camps, while he was in Berkeley a triple homicide occurred.”
Vickey Dickey a county resident stated, “Land should be considered for people who need help. But don’t enable those who don’t want to work.”
City Manager Eric Wier stated, “City council is committed that public spaces can be enjoyed by everyone. The ordinances that were rescinded are just one part of a larger issue.”
The second topic was a no show of Jason Roe who is the Investor of 200 A street where luxury condo’s are to be built. Mr. Roe related in an earlier telephonic conversation, “The homes that he plans to build will sell for $800,000 to $1 million dollars each.” He stated that he will bring in industry by giving jobs for the construction site.”
Eric Wier stated, “The City had issued Mr. Roe demolition permits”, however, did not inform the public that before the city can issue a permit for demolition they need to have a coastal commission permit which has not been renewed since September 26, 2014.
Mr. Roe stated that there is a real need for vacation homes and time shares in our community because last year in Del Norte County billions of dollars was spent on tourism and vacation homes. He stated he got this information from the 2019 Economic Summit. The Economic Summit told Mr. Roe Del Norte County received one million visits. Mr. Roe finished his statement, “I feel it is unfortunate about the loss of jobs in Del Norte County but what is fortunate is tourism.” Mr. Roe feels very positive and confident in bringing these luxury condos to Del Norte County.
The third segment of the town hall meeting was PELICAN BAY STATE PRISON.
Chief Deputy Warden Rodney Bell, Warden Jim Robertson and one other gentlemen informed the public in 2007 there were budgetary issues and furlough leaving the department in tough shape until about 2009. The department went through some changes. Currently using fire crews… 2 full time up to 3 crews. Mr. Roberts stated, “we understand our foot print in this community and want to pay back. We are actively engaged in our community.”
First District Supervisor Roger Gitlin has been instrumental in working with Pelican Bay State Prison in a close knit relationship with Pelican Bay and achieved what was thought not achievable to get crews to work in our community keeping our community pristine.
The Del Norte County Sheriffs office has also become a big player in getting out work crews to help with projects around our community as well. Commander Stevens stated, “part of the problem is money. We use to have more robust programs years ago. Programs went dormant, however we have got it going again without money. Not as robust. When we see a need and identify the need we take care of smaller problems with 3 or 4 guys.”
The last segment of the meeting was talking about the removal of Klamath Dams. There was a panel discussion between Scott Wright and Samuel Strait.
Samuel Strait stated not gonna talk about silt, fish, or water, or potential dams creating decline of salmon populations. Strait talked about $450 million dollars to remove 4 dams and feels Klamath Renewal Corporation vanishes in 5-20 years.
Scott Wright from River Design Group, a non profit organization to remove dams, stated, “Overall project funding is taken care of. California paid a small surcharge of $16 million whereas Oregon paid $140 million.” Scott said “ Pacific Corporation had a 50 year license which expired in 2006. At that time they looked at best options which was to remove the dams, because, it would have cost more to repair them which would have been passed off to the taxpayers.”
Roger Gitlin reported he was the only NO vote to send a letter seeking possible mitigation money. He stated, the harbor made claims that the silt will meander 200 miles down to our harbor. The harbor needs dredging now how do we know if our current problem will be aggravated after the dam removal.
Scott Wright stated, “5 dams were removed on the Rogue River in Oregon with minimal consequences and positive change for fishing guides. No sand or gravel will make it out to ocean. Decayed algae currently is in reservoir a portion of that will evacuate and go down river and out to ocean but there is a petty large area to be dispersed. There is a 5 year dredging plan in the harbor but the harbor has not dredged since 2011. We will work with harbor master to make sure nothing get impacted. Mitigation funds will financially help deal with unforeseen circumstances.”
Sam Strait states in closing, “My concern is will restoration happen in a reasonable amount of time.”