Opinion Piece By Jeff McCaddon – October 24, 2019
Candidates, I do not want to hear about your dreams. Dreams lack a methodical plan of action and the all-important element of financing. If you don’t know how you are going to accomplish or pay for an endeavor, then go back to bed… Sweet dreams.
Claiming party affiliation and preference is only helpful when your political party itself has a credible and practical platform. Your history of local political service means little unless it amounted to good works. If not, then I would be prone to select someone else. From past observation, the most obvious asset that our local leaders have in abundance is hubris… Pride in statistics that have been fudged, other people’s accomplishments, general principles, or as an occasion to just plain feels good!
When I moved here in the late 1980’s, Crescent City was booming. The Prison was being built, fishing was going strong, there were small shops galore, and little neighborhood markets were scattered about for those who walked to the store. This was before K-Mart came to town, there were still remnants and burned-out traces of the old Hobbs, Wall Lumber Mill beside the old Pay Less Market. Most everything on Washington Boulevard was undeveloped except for the High School and the new residential development across the street from it.
The one thing I remember most about those days were the celebrations. Those people had a parade and party for every holiday on the calendar, and a few that they made up along the way, like the Teddy Bear Parade for the Kids, and the Annual Crab Races for the Fishermen. What celebrations we have left today have become objects of protest by our new oversensitive empowered overlords.
Despite words to the contrary by our local politicians, not everything is perfect in paradise. When I came here, almost everybody owned their own home. Now, most people are renters. We’ve lost most of those dear people during the economic downturn of 2008, no thanks to our local government. Over the past eleven years, a vast majority of our County’s residents have either moved or been brought into bankruptcy.
The City has a history of lending support to potential local industries. A Micro-brewer, Oceanfront Resort, and other ideas were tried. Somehow, we were sold the idea that we could become a destination resort community. We were sold a new sewer system to support that aim. But then, Crescent City was always a twisted version of Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come.” We tried one idea after another, and they did not come. Perhaps it is time for our local governments to stand aside and let the free-enterprise system do what it does best- turn a profit. Private enterprise must be profitable or they fail and cease to exist. Government can fail countless times, never turn a profit, and never face the consequences for incompetence.
Every community must have an economic hub, an industry to provide income from either tangible exports, or services rendered to those outside of the community. “Outside of the community” is a most important caveat. Just like Nations have a “Gross Domestic Product” based on exports; so do States, Counties and Cities.
When a politician tells me that they have a “Fantastic” or “Incredible” idea, I believe them. “Fantastic” refers to a thing of fantasy, and “Incredible” means it lacks credibility. I expect politicians to lie. Politicians have lied from time immemorial. What I never expected was that so many people would fall for the lies. An increasing number of people will insist that all we need to survive are Pixie Dust, Bernie Bucks and Love. Oh, let’s not forget the Dreams. Lots and lots and lots of Dreams!
Candidates, I don’t want to hear about your dreams. I want to see practical plans for things that will actually benefit our community. All of the law-abiding and responsible members of the community should experience benefits, not just a small group of cronies.
I want to see a plan to make Crescent City totally financially solvent and debt free by 2030. We should always keep on hand at least 10%, preferably 25% of our annual budget in cash emergency reserves.
To accomplish this gargantuan task, it will be necessary to locate and remove waste and inefficiency from local government. When it comes to complete and perfect incompetence, the schools will be a good place to start. They have been rewarded for inefficiency for far too long.
In defense of the teachers in our Schools, they have been saddled with an “educational” model, mandated by the State of California, which provides little practical education, and heaping loads of political indoctrination. Our educational curriculum itself is at fault. Administrators who support and defend this curriculum by fudging statistics should find another line of work.
I would like to see ALL of the additional county taxes for support of our local schools and colleges repealed. Look at your County Tax Bill- I am talking about the long list of extra money we continue to give these losers to this day. Simply removing these unnecessary taxes will put hundreds of dollars back into the pockets of local tax payers and deprive these Socialist indoctrination centers of money to subvert the system and twist the minds of our youth. Such a plan would not de-fund our public schools, but rather remove the excess that we threw at them to improve education in our schools. They did not improve.
We should promote a return to basic education in reading, writing, mathematics, history, civics, through home schooling and alternative charter schools. Our best teachers will find better job satisfaction in private systems that actually provide an education. We should also bring back the study of logic and rhetoric so our youth will not be so easily duped by pop-culture, television and radicalized instructors.
Another County Tax that should be repealed provided additional money for the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. The people of Del Norte County should not be forced to subsidize an organization that is mis-managed. If the Fairgrounds cannot generate enough money to support itself, why should the citizens pay the tab? Replace the management with folks who can turn a profit.
County fairs originally came from harvest festivals. After a good harvest, people would party. After a bad harvest, they would not. Folks, outside of our fisheries, casinos and a small agricultural segment, we don’t have a harvest. We really don’t have anything to celebrate about anymore. We’re to celebrate another year of government cutbacks and higher taxes? Be real!
While putting the City and County on solid financial footing, I’d like to see the note on our Sewer Treatment Plant payed-off with Bonds that are sold and issued to each and every home being serviced. From that point on, residents only pay for maintenance of the system. Homeowners will be part-owners of the sewer system. Those who cannot pay their Sewer Bond cash, should be offered low interest loans, not to exceed their current water and sewer payment. We will need flood insurance for the Treatment Plant. It is in a Tsunami hazard zone and needs to be protected with adequate insurance… To my knowledge, this was never done.
I’d like to see our local Police Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies paid an annual retention bonus. This bonus can be paid for with discretionary money, such as air travel to, and accommodations in Japan for our local “Dignitaries,” along with community fund-raising activities.
I’ll digress for a moment for a short history lesson. Some fishermen found a boat and reported it. The numbers on the boat matched a school vessel lost during the 2013 Japanese Tsunami. The boat was restored by local school kids and placed in the front window of the old Daley’s building to raise donations to send it back to Japan. It sat, and it sat.
The City and County did not want to invest a penny of government money to send the boat back. Something I agree with. Such endeavors are in the scope of donations and volunteerism. Great!
A patriotic Japanese shipping company returned the boat to Japan, and the funds donated for the project sent local school kids to visit Japan. Good idea. Great!
Then, our government officials got involved. All of the sudden, trips of THEM to Japan was in the interests of the City and County. The boat, that started the relationship, and the kids who repaired the boat, were the stuff of donations. Government Officials are something special indeed and merit government financing. This needs to stop.
Yes, it is wonderful to help deepen our relationship with the people of our sister city, but the money should come from donated funds. Rotary International and other local public service organizations might wish to spearhead such an undertaking.
Both the City and County have far more pressing local needs for these funds, not the least of which is retention of our local emergency responders. Another good use for these government funds is to pay off our local government debts.
I’d like to see true disaster preparedness among the people in the County and City for all eventualities. There has been much talk about, and preparation for Tsunami, but little about other potential disasters. What of fire, flood, hale and extreme wind events? If nobody’s noticed, the entire world is experiencing the most erratic weather in recorded history. This is a cyclical event caused by sunspot activity, a Grand Solar Minimum, which subsequently causes volcanoes to awaken globally. Those who believe we can stop the extremes of weather magically by a halt of all industry have fallen for the carbon-credit shakedown of the “Dreamers.”
If anything, we need to beef-up our efforts to meet the challenges that are coming our way. Ever heard of the Carrington Effect? Solar Flares? Coronal Mass Ejection? Scientists agree that we are overdo for such an event, and the Sunspot cycle is right. Read about what happened during the Carrington Event, and compare it to the recent rash of fires in California. This is no coincidence, and it will continue. What happens when all the transformers blow? What happens when there is no electricity for six months, or even a year or more? No way to pump water. No way to pump gasoline. No food deliveries. Not just here, but throughout one or more of our Nations three Power Grid systems.
I believe that every critical service in Del Norte County should be EMP hardened. This would include our First Responders, communications, and water and sewer systems. Emergency vehicles should likewise be hardened to absorb an electromagnetic pulse or coronal mass ejection.
I’d like to see Civil Defense evacuation shelters inland, fully stocked with provisions and equipment to survive lowland threats. Both tents and portable structures can be had through military surplus at bargain prices. We should also be purchasing military grade high-water and recovery vehicles for disaster response through military surplus also. Should our bridges go down, it might even be a good idea to buy a few military grade amphibious bridges.
It would be great to see Crescent City and Del Norte County become autonomous and self-sufficient in regards to energy, water, and food production. We should invest our resources into projects that provide a firm foundation for both static survival during economic downturns, and also for growth when economic opportunity is identified.
A great way for all of our citizens to save money is home gardens. Even if it is a container garden on the porch, a garden can save money. We should be encouraging our local gardening clubs to provide assistance for those who wish to grow their own food. Our local food bank should have the ability to glean excess home grown food contributions. Incentives can be offered to bare land owners to support community gardening endeavors.
Our County and City governments are in very sad condition. Our local governments are like terminal patients on life-support who deny they are dying… “Problem? Who me?”
How did we get this way? Where do we go next? Perhaps a look at history will help.
Crescent City began in 1854 as a Port for shipping goods to Sailor’s Diggings and other gold finds in Southern Oregon. Over time, mule trails and stage roads were forged through the Siskiyous, with taverns and rest-stops like the infamous Robin’s Nest aka Robber’s Roost.
Local gold and mineral discoveries up French Hill, along Hurdygurdy Creek near Big Flat and along the old Stage Route at Altaville up High and Low Divide provided a short-lived mining industry. All the while, the small town of Crescent City gathered all of the tradesmen and professionals to be considered something other than a boom-town.
Gold and other minerals became scarce, and the City organized the first logging operations near Lake Earl in the 1970’s. Steam Donkeys and a small gauge rail system were added. Crescent City eventually became a Company-Town. Almost everyone worked for Hobbs, Wall and Company, or could trace the money in their pockets to lumber.
Hobbs, Wall and Company went under during the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Other operations continued to log redwoods. Lumber and Fishing continued as mainstays until the 1990’s. Out went the local mills and logging jobs, and in came Pelican Bay State Prison. Federal, State, County and City governments have become the dominant industry for Del Norte County ever since.
Now, we once again are facing a new economic paradigm. The State of California is well over a trillion dollars in debt, and is inviting the entire world to live off our welfare largess. Gee, I wonder how that is going to turn out?
Many responsible hard-working citizens have already left California. Many tens of thousands are joining them each month. Meanwhile, housing values are tanking because nobody of substance wants to live in a State run by a Socialist white collar organized crime group. Recall petitions are circulating, and the State of Jefferson secessionist movement is gaining steam.
None of this will resurrect the old Crescent City and Del Norte County. They have gone the way of the Shopping Mall and an entire industrial and retail model that gave way to foreign slave-labor manufacturing, automation and internet marketing. However, there is room for small scale production in Del Norte County, and even larger if cooperative businesses are formed.
But, how to survive during the interim? Next year, we will be required to live on 55 gallons of water per day. It takes on average 40 gallons on average to do one load of laundry and 15 gallons to take a shower… There’s your 55 gallons of water; enjoy! The State recommends people buy underground cisterns and harvest their own water. The program for a tax incentive goes away this year. Has our local government organized to provide low interest loans and perhaps Bobcat/backhoe work at cost? Nope. Nothing.
We have been encouraged to install solar voltaic systems in our homes. Has our local government organized to provide low interest loans and local installation crews at cost? Nope. Nothing.
Of course, our local governments really are in no shape to provide an alternative water and power system for its citizens. They are approaching insolvency along with the rest of the State. Just about every large city in California is on Moody’s long list of “Technically Insolvent California Cities.”
Instead of bribing the disadvantaged and indoctrinated masses with high-minded and impractical promises that cannot be kept, I would like to see solid goals, with practical plans for accomplishing them and a realistic source of funding. Unfortunately, these are desires that I do not expect to have fulfilled here among our career politicians.
Our only hope is for patriotic local citizens to run for office… All offices in both County and City elections should have multiple patriotic contenders. I’m not talking about flag waving, firework popping, “God bless America” screamers; but rather those who hold the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights sacred. We need people who will fight to protect our Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Even those who exist within our government itself. We need people who will not sell us out, and have enough moral backbone not to be compromised or intimidated. Any veterans, firefighters, law enforcement officers, or other patriots that value what rights we have left might consider the task. If you don’t act now, what rights will be left when your children are grown?
If interested, make contact with people who care as much as you. If you belong to a political party, make contact with them. If you are an Independent, contact organizations like the Crescent City – Del Norte County Taxpayers Association. Now is the time to act. Put your platform together and run with it. Your community needs YOU!