By Roger Gitlin – EYE ON DEl NORTE – December 8, 2021
Tuesday’s Crescent City Harbor Commission was almost too painful to watch.
Harbor Commission president Brian Stone has very limited people and management skills and yesterday’s meeting glaringly revealed his inability to articulate and justify the many inconsistencies on the Dec. 7th Agenda.
My candid observations are not meant to be mean-spirited or intentionally negative There’s just no other way to tell you how poorly these meetings are organized and presented.
1) Mr. Stone feels it necessary, almost to a fault, to admonish the few folks in the audience on how to behave at the Harbor meeting. Stone’s feeble and threatening presidential utterances did little to garner any respect but rather inflamed those who took the time to attend the meeting, like myself. Stone strategically placed a large male employee ” enforcer” to make certain those who addressed the Commissoners did so in a respectful and dignified manner. An abysmal failure!!!
This latest admonishment is not stand-alone behavior. Brian Stone’s autocratic behavior was condescending, insulting and unprofessional.
2) During my opportunity to speak during Public Comments, Tuesday I asked when will the officers, including Mr. Stone, be replaced for the new year. I also learned one Commissioner, Harry Adams , in an effort to help tenant Fashion Blacksmith, by hiring a diver to assess the silt buildup near the FASHION Pier, which has and continues to compromise the excavator lift allowing FASHION to work on some of the larger vessels like The Gladnick. I respectfully requested the Commission reimburse Commissioner Adams for this expense.
Normally, commissioners do not respond to Public Comments but Stone took presidential exception and retorted….stating ” no action can be taken on dredging without a series of approved Permits, lest the Harbor Commission might be fined or sued.” Are you kidding? That’s what the Harbor is concerned about???
Mr. Stone has confirmed nominations to replace the president and Secretary will be decided upon at the December 21 meeting. This outrageous statement by Mr. Stone displays his absolute lack of concern to assist Harbor tenants and is stunningly indifferent. Shocking!
Brian Stone has been a Crescent Harbor Commissioner for seven years. His accomplishments if any, appear to be counter-productive to tenant needs.
3) Next on the Agenda was an action item to approve an Ordinance, codifying and amending Articles I and II.
The Ordinances were so convoluted and inconsistent, it was embarrassing to watch. One Ordinance prevented the discarding of trash into Harbor dumpsters. Another ordinance called for special assessments on slip rentals if the vessel occupied more than 80% of the slip site.
Responsible for this debacle was Stone, himself and Harbormaster Tim Petrick. Audience members and other Commissioners frustratingly brought this to the attention of the president and the Commissioners agreed to continue the item to the next meeting..Unbelievable!
4) The next item for Commission consideration was to approve the 2019/20 Audit of Harbor finances. The astute members in the audience again pointed out unexplained expenses including a $600,000 discrepancy associated with one of the RV parks. This prompted a ZOOM intervention from Harbor attorney Ruben Duran who spoke for several legal minutes and his explanation were absolutely murky and unhelpful. I remind you folks the Board of Supervisors voted to assign 2% of the County proceeds, a figure of about $75,000, from the Transient Occupancy Tax to the mismanaged Harbor District. Major Red flag .That item was also continued to the next meeting.
Alas, Harbormaster Petrick reported progress (or lack of same) on the seeking of dredge permits from the State Water Quality Board.
Mr. Petrick rambled on with nothing but “filler” and reporting absolutely nothing. During Public Comments on dredging, I suggested to the Commission to write the Water Board, request to be placed on the Water Quality Board at its January meeting, a once a month meeting.
The Harbor Commission is in real trouble. Changes need to be made soon.