By Donna Westfall – October 4, 2016 – In comparing these two candidates, I looked at their track records, their responses to phone calls and/or emails, and their involvement in the community. I also asked some pointed questions about their health, their lifestyle choices, and their stance on a variety of issues affecting our community.
In my September 16, 2016 email to Kathryn Murray:
Good morning, Kathryn;
Now let’s turn to Roger Gitlin: When I interviewed Gitlin and asked about his health and lifestyle habits. He was totally open and forthright. “I’m in good health. I don’t drink except when eating Sushi and then I enjoy some Kirin beer. I don’t smoke. I get a ticket about once a year for a.) speeding, or b.) talking on the phone.”
I asked him why he doesn’t buy a headset and he replied “Lazy, I guess.” Unsolicited he volunteered that he loves his wife and has never been unfaithful.
In the nearly four years Gitlin has been in office, he has always responded promptly to phone calls, emails and even bumping into him on the street or in a meeting. I have found him to be extremely approachable.
Kathryn Murray. Her slogan, “Progress with Compassion.” Former President, Ronald Reagan was known as the Great Communicator for his ability to connect with his audience. Kathryn Murray will become known as the Non-Communicator since she doesn’t respond to phone calls or emails and tends to avoid me on the street. She has been on the Crescent City, City Council coming up on eight years. I’m one of her constituents. She does not respond to me.
Recently, the Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayers Association held a forum for the 10 candidates running for office. Nine of those candidates responded. Seven of those candidates showed up. Kathryn Murray got an “F” for failing to communicate or show up.
Roger Gitlin. His slogan, “Let’s Fix It. Work in Progress.” He’s finishing up his first four years as 1st District Supervisor and is running as an incumbent. He’s very vocal about what needs to be fixed.
Let’s look the issues.
Last Chance Grade – or the race to fix it before it falls into the ocean again:
Murray sits on the Last Chance Grade Stakeholders Committee and seems content to settle for a bypass built around 2039 when we’re all dead, but since she does not respond to me, I have nothing to include here.
Gitlin seeks a five year plan to study, select, build and complete the by-Pass. Last Chance Grade will not endure for another 23 years. Gitlin reminds all the Golden Gate Bridge was built in 53 months from January 1933 to May 1937.
The Airport Terminal Expansion-
Murray sits on the Airport Authority and favors remodeling the terminal despite none of the “partners” contributing any money as they said they would.
Gitlin voted against the Terminal for the following reasons: 1) of the Border Coast Airport Authority’s seven members, only Del Norte County elected to participate in Phase 2, the Terminal. The Board voted 4-1 ( Gitlin dissenting) to fund the entire $2.8 million of the 5% funding requirement at a cost which sacrifices other County-derived services.
“I remind all this a Terminal project is NOT a runway extension project which would allow jet aircraft to access CEC. (2) Pen Air, the only commercial carrier serving the airport is supported by a $4.3 million Essenial Air Service contract from the FAA. Currently there are two flights a day moving a maximum of 60 passengers in and 60 passengers out of CEC. What happens if the EAS contract cancels? Would Pen Air continue unsubsidized service? Del Norte County may be left holding the bag, a terminal and no commercial carrier. Priorities first: Extend and bolster the runways to accommodate 21st century equipment.”
The Fluoridation Issue-
Murray believed her dentist that fluoride added to the municipal water was good in preventing cavities and should continue even though she voted to reduce the levels based on the EPA stating 41% of our nations teenagers had fluorosis, the first sign of fluoride poisoning.
Supervisor Gitlin believes fluoride in public water is duplicative and unnecessary. “Let’s teach our children to brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Schools can teach brushing teeth in K-6 classes where fluoride toothpaste can be utilized. Give parents the choice.”
Note: Fluoride was no longer added after the November 2012 moratorium passed to stop it.
Supervisor Gitlin has organized the Take A Bite out of Blight program, a private non-tax payer supported volunteer effort to clean up our neighborhoods. To date, Take a Bite out of has conducted 22 separate clean ups on both private and public property. A beautiful community is a magnet for visitors and a source of pride of residents.
At the last Beach Front Park clean up City Councilman, Blake Inscore, showed up along with City Council candidate, Steven Bevier, Public Works Director, Eric Wier and City Clerk, Administrative Analyst, Kymmie Scott. Kathryn Murray has never volunteered to help with the Take a Bite out of Blight program.
Del Norte Solid Waste – (The Transfer Station)
Murray sat on the Solid Waste Authority collecting $300 per meeting until other elected officials asked that the stipend be stopped. She’s in favor of continuing the Joint Powers of Authority (JPA).
Gitlin uncovered and wanted an investigation into the $25,000 of missing funds. A consultant was employed to advise the DNSWMA on the benefits on a Joint Powers Authority. “I disagreed with the findings which supported a JPA.”
Sutter Coast Hospital –
We’ll be happy to publish Murray’s response if she wants to submit something.
Supervisor Gitlin correctly observes Sutter Health Corporation pays very modest property taxes on the $43 million assessed Hospital. Sutter Health does not disclose its financial records, a clear violation of conditions seeking property tax exemption. Sutter receives this exemption from the State Board of Equalization, under the Welfare institutions code. You can’t have it both ways. Disclose financials or pay your property taxes. 1% of $43 million is $430,000. Del Norte realizes 19 cents on the dollar, about $80,000 to the General Fund of Del Norte County.
While we are open to receiving information from candidate, Kathryn Murray, and will certainly publish it on these and other topics, we endorse Roger Gitlin for continuing to do the job as 1st District Supervisor.