By Donna Westfall – July 2, 2016 –
If you’ve lived here for any length of time, you’ve heard the saying that “there’s no law North of the Klamath.” Well that saying should be refined further to say “there’s no law North of Dr. Fine Bridge” if the multitude of complaints from citizens from Smith River are to be believed.
Those citizens appeared in strength at the last board of supervisors meeting demanding that they get the police protection they pay for. According to Joni Forsht a long time resident of Smith River, former Pelican Bay State Prison Correctional Officer and former Sheriff’s Department Deputy, the people in Smith River are “scared to death” because of all of the crime in the area. “We’re desperate and we want action” said Forsht. She said people are scared to go to work because they don’t know what they will find when they get home. In parting comments she said to the supervisors, “remember, you work for us.”
Forsht was just a number of speakers who echoed the same theme. Beverly Van Dyke a 38 year resident of Smith River said that, “we never leave the house. Smith River is very creepy now with the criminals stealing the mail, and cashing checks.”
John Roberts, another Smith River resident said that they are not getting their share of the property taxes they pay for law enforcement protection in the area, then he turned to each of the board members, saying “we’re counting on you.”
Glen Hill, the fire chief of Smith River was so overcome with emotion that he could not utter a word when he got up to speak. His daughter got up and spoke for him, talking about the criminal element in Smith River.
The main theme of the residents was that this problem has persisted for a long time in Smith River and now it’s come to the breaking point.
Supervisor Finigan said “we must look to possible strategies and talk with neighborhood watch groups and we have to meet with staff to work on solutions together.”
This sounds like the same old broken record coming from Finigan. For almost every problem, it’s the same answer, “we need to talk about this.” That’s it, all talk and no action. In other words it’s just the same old “hot air.”
As usual, the Smith River citizens came away with no commitment to action, but there was a lot of talk.