Tue. Mar 5th, 2024

Opinion by Samuel Strait – May 23, 2022

A couple of days ago, I stopped to chat with my neighbor where I learned
of a recent development in his world, the loss of a faithful friend, his
dog Dahli.  Everett had rescued Dahli many years before as a stray and
nursed her back to health to become his constant companion for many
years.  In the course of the conversation I received a copy of the local
paper, the Triplicate, where Dahli had been eulogized in the pages of
the paper.  Later following my visit with my neighbor I happened to read
a guest column by Kevin Hendrick, “When women succeed, America succeeds”
(Triplicate May 13, 2022).

Over the years, Mr. Hendrick, Chair of the local Democrat Party, can be
found voicing the Liberal/Progressive line to all that will listen, so
his column and its title made me pause to read his slant on the topic
and learn what lingual gymnastics Mr. Hendrick would employ on the topic
to explain the title of the piece. Granted Mr. Hendrick is sold on the
notion that everything can be solved in his one size fits all world if
everyone would think the way he does, no exceptions.  Unfortunately, he
fails to recognize that we are all humans, each one of us different,
often in too many ways to count.  This makes his political philosophy
dead on arrival.  Speaking of genders, men very often are not always the
best arbiter of success, particularly in the political realm, yet to
conclude that more women will change that dynamic and automatically
produce that sought after success is somewhat suspect.

Drawing on the historical perspective of an America long dominated by
men, Mr. Hendrick seems incapable of recognizing that times have changed
and women have taken a much more active role in all sorts of areas
previously dominated by their male counter parts.  For some reason,
perhaps unrecognized by Mr. Hendrick, things have not exactly gone
swimmingly when women are in charge. Here in this County for a number of
years, women held a majority of Board of Supervisor seats with no
visible panacea in sight. Horror of horrors, might I suggest that with
males, it might just be the quality of their individual skills that
equate to success or failure of leadership, and the same could be
possible for women?  No disrespect intended for I was raised in a family
where the adult female, my mother, was much better equipped to assume
the leadership role, yet having three sisters I have found that this is
not always the case.

Mr. Hendrick goes on to wax elegant about our two current female
Supervisors, and anoints them with all sorts of superpowers, that they
have yet to live up to.  Supervisor Valerie Starkey does indeed “get
around” and appears to be adequately resourceful enough to do a credible
job.  Yet, as a life time employee of a bureaucratic nature, she retains
the blindness to bureaucrats as the answer to all issues to be
addressed.  She does ask questions, but they are too often irrelevant or
not the right ones to be able to make a truly informed decision.  She
fails to understand the concept that too much government can be worse
than too little.

As much as Mr. Hendrick would like to apply labels of bias and
disrespect to both women from the current males on the Board, it is
clearly to great of a reach on his part.  The newly appointed Supervisor
Masten may have “years” of commitment to public service, she is but a
“rookie” at this level of service.  Thus far, her instincts have led her
into making several stumbles in the course of her contributions to
meetings and her “experience” has not been up to the task.  The
complaint by Hendrick that she may have hit the “bureaucratic wall”
because she was a “woman” or even a “Yurok” is ludicrous and should not
be taken seriously. Mr. Hendrick seems to think this is the 1880’s or
maybe 1920.

Supervisor 2nd District, Valerie Starkey

Personally, I think that if Supervisor Starkey were to think less as a
Democrat and more of as a citizen of Del Norte County, she would be
better served as a supervisor.  Having served in government for a long
period, it is unlikely she will be able to contort herself into
believing that the local bureaucracy is first and foremost self
serving.  Most simply cannot help themselves, no disrespect intended. 

Supervisor 5th District Susan Masten

As to Supervisor Masten, it is not from the standpoint that she is a
woman, an American, a Californian, a Del Norter, or even a Yurok that is
problematic, it looks like lack of skill is her largest problem not that
a strong dose of reality won’t help,   Her public face thus far seems to
be separate from her private face, making it hard to evaluate her
ability to learn from her mistakes.  There will be time to evaluate that
ability to be an effective leader in the ensuing months, but she is off
to a poor start, however Mr. Hendrick wishes to cast his perceived
biases along her “bureaucratic wall”.  In the end, America, and even our
part of the world, will be successful if and only if who ever leads has
the necessary skills to be an effective leader,    Woman or Man.

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