Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Commentary by Samuel Strait – July 25, 2022

In the coming months we are going to be inundated by propaganda from
both the City and the County moaning about the prospect of losing their
$4 million a year slush fund.  We will hear all sorts of spin about the
devastation that will occur should voters in November, vote to repeal
one or both sales tax increases from Measures “S” and “R”.  It will be
made to imply that the world will end and neither the City nor the
County will be able to offer services that do not seem to have appeared
despite assurances that “things will improve” with the new funding.

Since the passage of both Measure”S” and “R” we have heard about all the
“great” things that both governments  have been able to accomplish,
focusing on the community pool, fire and police services, road repair,
and emergency services for the City.  The County also has a list
including the Sheriff’s Department, emergency services, fire, and road
repair.  In the past eighteen months of receiving what now has to be $6
million dollars, have any of the stated goals been met?  Can anyone
point to any thing that resembles improved services?  Has the
expenditures allowed either government to honestly say, beyond hiring a
substantial number of high dollar employees, that ANY benefit to the
County’s residents surfaced?  Anything at all?

It would seem after a near river of grant funding that seems to
regularly be reported throughout the City and County and the $6 million
in increased sales tax revenue flowing into local government coffers
that at least something of note would have surfaced in the last year and
a half.  Sales Tax revenue, by the way, has come directly or indirectly
out of the pockets of local residents.  What you say?  How can that be
possible?  Ask yourself when you go to buy something that is taxable, is
there a sign at the cash register saying “Residents need not pay the
increase in sales tax?”  I certainly haven’t seen such signage.  When
those who are non residents pay the increased sales tax, is it possible
that they would have been able to spend that money to support local
businesses instead of it being swallowed up by the increased sales tax?

If you are a City resident and think that the City “Needs that extra
revenue” ask yourself how often you actually use that community pool
that you just paid over a million dollars to renovate?  Ask yourself if
you think that you really want to cover a nearly $400,000 short fall in
revenue to operate that pool you do not even use every year?  Ask
yourself if you think it is a wise expenditure of $500,000 of Measure
“S” money plus $750,000 out of the City’s general fund, plus $400,000 of
road repair funding from the State, plus another $400,000 dollars to
create an Architecture’s wet dream for two blocks on Front Street.  Then
ask yourself if the City’s Police services have gotten any better? Will
hiring three well compensated fire captains at Crescent Fire and Rescue
to attend to twenty fires per year make you feel any safer from fire? 
Has your street had any pot holes filled lately?  Any resurfacing been
done on the streets that are more like those in a third world Country? 
Are you tired already of the City “who needs the MONEY” yet seems more
interested in creating monuments for themselves without addressing those
one time expenditures that actually would make living in the City far
better?  Keep those questions in mind as we move closer to November,
when those in the City have to answer those questions for everyone who
lives in the County and is footing the bill for the failures just in the
past eighteen months.

Not to forget the County’s role in all this splurge of spending, nothing
but deceit, and an orgy of new hires, which was explicitly forbidden in
the stated purpose of the need for the additional revenue.  Multiple
times were we told that “no money for additional salaries and
benefits!”  The County quickly forgot that pledge and has done little
else.  Along with new hires, both the City and the County “discovered”
the additional revenue to give everyone a substantial raise.  Have you
or a family member gotten a substantial raise recently?  When the County
Supervisor’s constantly point to the inadequacy of wages and benefits
for their employees, is $50,000, maybe $60,000, or even $100,000 plus
per year something you would claim to be inadequate?  Plus benefits that
could amount to $15,000 on up per year.  It is all well and good to
compare salaries with those from out of the area, but we live in Del
Norte County where City and County employees are compensated rather well
by comparison.

It is another three months until election day and on the November ballot
will be the opportunity for both the City and County residents to weigh
in on how smart of an investment both Measure “S” and “R” were to this
community.  In the mean time I will be regularly pointing to all the
unnecessary spending being done by both the City and the County that
serves very little in the way of need for additional revenue.  In
addition, both the City and the County seem to have money in their
general funds that have magically appeared.  Couldn’t possibly be that
previous government funding has been covered by the new sales tax
revenue, leaving that “magic” surplus in both general funds could it? 
Can we say “slush fund” anyone?

One thought on “Looking Forward To November”
  1. Sam, remember the name of the game “Starve the Muscle to Feed the Fat.” Should the Slush Fund 1% Tax be repealed, our government financial managers will strip Emergency Services of ALL FUNDS out of spite; only this time they will get people killed. They will not make rational cuts to graft and corruption, money funneled to Good-Ole-Boy crony contractors, fat government paychecks and free trips to foreign countries. They WILL cut emergency services! What’s more, their media mouthpieces will spin this travesty to look legitimate.

    Our Del Norte and Crescent City governments have become self-serving white collar organized crime groups. Our only hope is to establish a Del Norte/Crescent City Emergency Services District that is funded separately from the rest of our governments. We citizens can fund these NECESSARY services; and our Police, Sheriffs Department, and Fire Districts will work for us directly. They will get proper funding; and our local government con-artists will never again be able to use this repetitious fraud.

    We should privatize our Water and Sewer District, Harbor District, Fair Grounds, School District, Roads and Public Works, RV Rentals, and all excess Real Estate. Bonds can be sold, and held by residents as equity investments. Our County and City employees should work for the community; NOT a group of flim-flam artists!

    Be prepared for epidemic lawlessness. This group of hucksters and gangsters who gained control of Del Norte and Crescent City would rather destroy the place, and every citizen in it, rather than relinquish their grasp of our local treasury. In truth, our local governments serve NO LEGITIMATE FUNCTION. They exist solely for their own enrichment and the benefit of the wealthiest Good-Ole-Boys that they serve. Managers of our local government are not “Public Servants;” much less trusted stewards of fiscal responsibilities. We should demand that the financial records of both the County and City be publicly available ON-DEMAND for all to see. Independent audits should be launched into cronyism, nepotism, malfeasance, misappropriation and embezzlement.

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