Mon. May 27th, 2024

By Donna Westfall – July 22, 2018 – Here are some key points; Last Chance Grade, LCG, was constructed in 1894. The area is known for landslides. Hundreds of landslides including one that ended the lives of local Del Norte County resident and realtor, Kurt Stremberg’s parents when that section of the road fell into the ocean.

Congressman Jared Huffman, (D) and Senator Mike McGuire (D) are using LCG as one reason to rally support for the latest increase in gas taxes called SB1 put into effect on November 1, 2017.  The taxpaying public cries, “Nonsense!” The taxes were increased without public support or vote. Another example of taxation without representation.  The $5.2 BILLION transportation funding bill may go down to defeat this November at the polls.

Continuing to talk about money in the billions, IF LCG were to close for whatever reason, it is estimated that our county would suffer loses in the billion dollar range, plus commuters would have a 6-8 hour detour.

Understanding the seriousness of the situation, why did so few people of the public come out to the July 19th meeting?  KIEM, channel 3 news,  Leon Purvis, reported that “dozens of local residents made their way out to the open house” in a community of 27,000.

What’s at stake here?

  • 12 cents a gallon increase plus $38 increase in vehicle registration.

Hot topic? The real hot topic, in my opinion, is the egregious nerve of our tax and spend government. Their atrocious handling of our public funds makes my blood boil.

History of the gas tax.  When I started driving, I paid 25 cents a gallon.  Today’s gas prices in Del Norte County are at $3.85 a gallon.  I drive into Brookings, Oregon, where I save 60 cents a gallon. In the 50 years since I started driving, billions of dollars have been collected by the State of California.  And yet, what happened to that money?  Were our roads repaired?  This area can’t even repair potholes properly.

I brought the above scenario up to Mr. Purcell from Congressman Jared Huffman’s office Thurday night during the dog and pony show on LCG; and he didn’t seem to know a thing about divereting billions of dollars from the taxes collected on gas.  I don’t believe him.

  • A 12 page study made by the  Legislative Analyst’s Office ( notes that the April 2017 legislation passing the tax and fee hikes included many provisions spelling out what the new funds could be used for but lacked provisions to hold “the administration accountable for achieving these outcomes” and to evaluate progress toward completing goals.

How stupid does our state government think we are? Pretty stupid.

To go into a little more depth, in 2010, under Gov. Arnold’s administration, a diversion of billions of dollars of gas taxes was arranged to pay for other things. Most outrageous was that it was executed even though state voters passed ballot measures in 2002 and 2006 meant to prevent exactly such siphoning. Yet our government wants us to believe that they will indeed spend SB1 funds only for transportation related expenses. And that LCG will have an alternate route sometime before 2039.

I don’t believe them anymore. Do you? It would be stupid, not just stupid; it would be insane to believe them with this kinda track record.















2 thoughts on “Part 2: Last Chance Grade: Hot Topic?”
  1. After reading both of these articles, I’m not sure if I understand what you are trying to say or what the point of this article is supposed to be. It is more of an editorial than actual information.

    1. I suppose the futility of Del Norte County depending on the idea of Sacramento or our State representatives wishing to be proactive about solving one of our County’s most pressing problems has escaped you somehow? Perhaps the basic concept that the State does not appear to be the least bit concerned about our LCG being the “number one” infrastructure concern on the North Coast, yet had only allocated token amounts to resolve the problem? Maybe the idea that they “need” $50 to $60 million dollars to do “studies” and have acknowledged they either do not have it, or do not wish to spend that kind of money here? Or perhaps something much simpler, the highway south of Crescent City has been slide prone since it was constructed and much of the original right of way has slid into the Pacific Ocean, yet the State has done very little to do anything about that most basic of problems except spend millions of dollars trying to maintain a failing right of way in what remains of it original location. I am not sure how much clearer the two articles you refer to as having “no point”or are unclear can be. We are being “jerked around” by our State representatives who have no intent to solve this critical problem any time before the end of this century if ever! Money from previously passed “gas taxes” have not been spent in their entirety for the purpose they were intended and later efforts to insure this would not happen again have not been successful. The current “gas tax” does not include any money for LCG on its wish list of projects yet has money for “projects” that are not on any local list as being a priority for the economic health of this County. I would think that this information alone is a bit beyond an editorial.

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