By Roger Gitlin – EYE ON DEL NORTE – January 5, 2022
Tuesday’s Crescent City Harbor District was hands down, the best meeting I’ve ever witnessed or in which I ever participated.
The Meeting was refreshing and painful, sometimes at the same time.
Most of ALL, the January 4th Harbor meeting demarcated a clear culture change. Credit and recognition to new Harbor president Rick Shepherd. An era of transparency has begun, a win for the Public. BRAVO!
It was not business as usual as the Crescent City/Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce CEO Cindy Vosburg
delivered a presentation and asked for an additional contribution to the Del Norte Visitors Bureau. I believed Ms. Vosburg completed her presentation when she asked the Commissioners for questions. The PUBLIC was then allowed to ask away. I enquired, “How much are you asking for? ”
Ms. Vosbug omitted that tidbit in her presentation, stated she was asking for “….just $4,000 more, ” added to the $6,000 contribution last year for a total of $10,000.
We were told Del Norte County increased its contribution to $112,000 (Visitors Bureau and Chamber). The City made a similar $90,000 contribution, also divided between the Visitors Bureau and the Chamber. Nice to see where the 1% (13% increase from 7.5 to 8.5 %) City and County Sales Tax increase is going.
No mention was made of the increase % requests from Ms. Vosburg.
Wow! A 40% increase.
The Chamber CEO felt it necessary to answer my question PERSONALLY. Me? I’m just one person of the Public and the Public has the right to know these details as currently, the Harbor District takes 2% of the 10% County Transient Occupancy Tax to pay back its past debts. I hope you’re following this.
Not surprisingly, Comissioner Brian Stone made the motion to spend OPM (Other Peoples’ Money) to make the motion to approve with Commissioner Wes White making the second, with lots of “reservation.” Secretary Commissioner Harry Adams recused himself for financial reasons.The Motion failed to pass with a 2-2 vote. Commissioners Gerhard Weber and president Shepherd voted NO.The deadlocked item was then tabled for discussion at a later date. The message was a clear one: Get your financial house in order before you spend OPM.
Gone is the old guard and self-serving partisan, ineffective Harbor leadership that has journeyed out of its way to compromise tenants’ best interests and failed to serve the best interests of those who own vessels and businesses/RV parks which rely and depend on good governance.
During Public Comments, I asked president Shepherd to kindly update and post ALL pictures and biographies of the Commissioners, a practice that has been woefully inadequate. Hopefully, Harbormaster Tim Petrick will respond E X P E D I E N T L Y!
I also requested the Harbor investigate itself and share with the Public the questionable negotiations and tactics employed in acquiring both Rachel Towe’s Harbor RV Anchorage in May of 2017 for zero compensation and the $600,000 purchase of Bayshore RV Park. It was brought to Commissioners’ attention the Harbor Commission wears TWO hats: one in which it leases out commercial sites AND another to either expropriate or acquire both of the aforementioned RV parks: the practice noted above is a clear CONFLICT of INTEREST.
The Harbor needs to sell BOTH Parks and compensate Ms. Towe, accordingly. It is hoped this very item will be placed on an upcoming Agenda. This gets better. Lots more to discuss on the Tuesday meeting.
Part II tomorrow…