Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Commentary by Samuel Strait

It could be said it is the year 1870 and the wild, wild west has taken
over Del Norte County and run the local sheriff out of town.  Whether
you agree or disagree about the current difficulties our sheriff faces,
criminal charges, and the latest shoe to drop in this affair, his
resignation, there are five members of our local Board of Supervisors
that have a lot of explaining to do.  Beyond the fact that they seem
unable to govern properly, there is a general sense of malaise that has
infected our local leaders beyond the simple state of ineptitude,
inadequacy, and incompetency.  Most of the issue with the appointed
sheriff’s saga lies directly in the hands of those five Board members,
who had the opportunity to show real leadership by simply being curious.

Seems like such a simple thing, but the truth be told our local
leadership is bereft of any measurable level of curiosity when it comes
to the fate of so much of the County’s business.  This is particularly
so with those that purport to be guardians of the people in districts
one, three, four, and five.  As we have seen on a near continuous basis
of late, this failure on the part of the Board to take seriously the
weighty bits of business that comes before it, one can certainly
understand the sentiment expressed in the Sacramento Bee’s article, “No
Law North Of The Klamath”, and no effective local government as well.

We are now being led by five individuals that rule by “consent agenda”
for the most part.  No measurable sense that anything placed in front of
them by the local bureaucrats is worthy of question, probing questions,
that “get to the heart” of the real benefit to the community.  The
appointment of then Undersheriff Waltz to the position of the County’s
Sheriff is just one such glaring example of the inability to ask
responsible questions rather than simply taking what is offered in the
rush to “get the County’s business taken care of”.    Don’t think it
hasn’t been noticed that too often Supervisors Short, Howard, and
Hemmingsen do not appear to be prepared to take up the County’s
business, nor are knowledgeable about what comes before them.

Not to leave out often absent Supervisor Berkowitz, now deceased, and District two’s
Supervisor Valerie Starkey, no real joy there either.  While Supervisor
Starkey can be said she is quite often in the room when decisions are
made, being a “team player” gets her constituents and the citizens no
where fast.  Perhaps she has some curiosity in her make up, but
penetrating questions directed at staff seem to elude her.  How can she
feel comfortable appointing a man to the office of the County’s sheriff
without ensuring he meets all the standards that  is required of him and
further have no interest in interviewing him as suitable for the
position.  All the talk about transparency and letting the citizens
understand the process of how government works, falls on it face when
even those making the decisions do not do the job expected of them….

It should be a huge embarrassment to the current Board when they DO NOT
KNOW where the prospective candidate for appointment to county sheriff
even lives.   This false notion that what Board members need to know to
make weighty decisions about what effects the citizenry of the county is
to be spoon fed in a bureaucratic generated packet, should stop
immediately.  Our supervisors are tasked with the job of making
decisions that affect the entire County.  A task that for sometime has
completely escaped those that were elected to their current positions….

A primary is on the horizon in June.  It is time for local voters to don
their thinking caps and examine in detail each of the candidates running
for elected office.  Some have track records in public office that
expose them to being dysfunctional choices for office.  Others are
unknown quantities that should be carefully examined before the June
Primary comes upon us.  This is not a popularity contest for who can
bring home the most bacon for his or her district.  This is serious
business that can allow local government to join the twenty first
century and move the county and its residents forward……  By the way,
it is not 1870!

4 thoughts on “No Law North Of The Klamath, No Local Government As Well And No Sheriff!”
  1. Worse of the Worse ? In 2011 there was a Deputy named Barber…I can’t remember the rest but he was trained by another deputy who Ca. DOJ actually removed….about 5 years earlier…..

  2. WOOOOOEE HOSS HOLD THE PHONE!!!!AND SHUT THE FRONT DOOR….Valerie Starky was the ONLY supervisor who opposed appointing a sheriff instead of electing one. the four idiots who appointed him was Short, Howard, Hemmingsen and Mr. Berkowitz, God rest his soul…Thankfully, Hemmingsen isn’t running for another term, he is attending Christ Last Supper, Howard has a worthy opponent who will do their due diligence, and Short needs to go.

    As for that dirty sheriff who was here for a stint he was the worse of the worse. Allowing his inexperienced deputies such as Sloan to run around destroying peoples lives and continue to wear a badge on top of her make-up and hair. Yeah, I hope Sheriff Scott fella can clean up the mess of the Sheriff’s office. Mr. Waltz will have to face federal charges as well as local charges.

    1. Guess you didn’t catch Starkey’s interview on KFUG. Not very reassuring that she was opposed to him, just wanted more information at the time. Thought the process was rushed, but certainly did not do anything about it. After the vote, which her “No” vote really didn’t matter except for show, she closed ranks with the rest on Waltz. She wasn’t opposed to the process, just the speed of the process.

  3. Could not agree with you more on this, Sam.

    It is very heartening to have candidates opposing incumbents. People should have a choice, the foundation of our democracy.

    As I have mentioned before, apathy runs rampant here. Somehow, some way, voters need to be reached.

    May I suggest the CCT sponsor a series of candidate forums, I would recommend having them throughout the County, especially in Smith River, Hiouchi, Gasquet, and Klamath. It can be done at low cost. Donna, Roger, and yourself would do an excellent job moderating.

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