By Samuel Strait – Reporter at Large – January 24, 2021
When commercial fishing struggles to pay its bills, the harbor will not
be far behind. In recent years as the commercial fishing fleet has
scrambled to overcome shrinking seasons, regulations, high fuel
costs,insurance and a host of other responsibilities, so has the harbor
struggled to pay its bills. The passage of Measure C in 2018 and the
subsequent income, did not mean that the Harbor Commission was in the
clear and could start taking on projects that were flawed from the very
start. The recent dive into solar power should not make any one on the
commission comfortable with that decision as there are a number of
issues with solar power that have clearly been over looked.
If the commission is trying to emulate our feckless governor and his
insistence that California will be into solar power, electric cars, and
new houses powered by the sun, they might be over looking the
impossibility of his eco friendly dreams for the State. Currently both
solar and wind power make up less than ten percent of the power sources
in the entire state. Electric vehicles represent about the same
percentage of cars in the State. We currently have at least two
recharging stations in this area, and they do not appear to be over
used. Solar power itself has an even bigger set of problems that have
unlikely to have been mentioned when the harbor was talked into its
current set up. Maintenance and durability here on the coast will become
an issue early on in the life of the harbor’s solar array. It may not
come back to haunt the harbor’s current commission, but at some point in the near future it will.
In the mean time money has been spent on the project the harbor can ill
afford, and the debt for the inner boat basin remains. With poor fishing
seasons possibly on the horizon, and tourism as an alternate income less
certain in the immediate future if ever, worrying about the light bill
seems a bit short sighted. Clearly the focus might have been more in
line with the promises made when Measure C was placed on the ballot of
taking care of the debt and the long over due deferred maintenance that
has built up over many years. I am not certain how many voters make the
mistake of taking office holders at their word, but apparently enough
that believe the propaganda that sold Measure C to the public would
result in responsible behavior in the harbor commission’s meetings and
decisions. I would say that is not the case.
While I agree with one of the comments made about the first portion of
this series, a Santa Cruz Boardwalk along the road to Whaler’s Island,
it might be a bit of a stretch in the times we are living. Many coastal
community’s have taken ideas similar to that and made for a welcoming
place for visitors to spent time and money. While it may not allow for
a full time ferris wheel, entertainment for a substantial portion of the
year could attract people to the harbor. Small communities which have
utilized their assets to the fullest generally do much better. The
harbor would do well to heed that measure of success, rather than chase
Governor Newsom’s dreams.
4 thoughts on “PART 2: The Harbor”
Could the Harbor District be set up as a Cooperative with all the businesses and boat owners paying into a fund than then receiving a portion of the profits, if any? A Ferris wheel without retail development would still be monetarily successful in that it would draw locals and day trippers from Humboldt, Curry and Josephine counties to ride the only wheel north of San Francisco’s Gate Park. Also. where is the second charging location besides the parking lot at Front and K?
Walmart parking lot. I don’t think you understand the numbers involved for a ferris wheel operation to be successful. It is more than a few hundred people coming to Crescent City on weekends. Having been part of a tourist related business on two occasions, one in doors and one out doors, both could not generate enough business to turn a profit for about five months out of the year. Although the in door venue came the closest. There simply wasn’t enough traffic to sustain them through most of the week, particularly during poor weather periods. Many times not even on weekends. A ferris wheel is normally a family oriented activity that needs children to be available for it to be successful. Not going to happen most years while school is in session. Santa Cruz has an abundance of both people only a stone throw away and better weather, yet even week days in the off season can see a a dramatic difference in numbers. Been there several times and have seen the difference first hand.
I appreciate your arguments for why a Ferris wheel would not be successful here. There have been so many ideas over the years to improve the economy of Del Norte County, and it would be very enlightening to here yours. I look at Crescent City today like the village of Mendocino was in the 50s. Cheap housing and storefront rents allowed artists to move to Mendocino in the 60s and 70s and now Mendocino is a thriving town, although it has now priced out the artists that rejuvenated it. (Ditto Carmel in the 40s.) So how do we reinvigorate Crescent City without ending up like Mendocino so that its residents are not priced out from “economic development”? Economic development good when it lifts all boats, and perhaps you have strategies to make it happen.
There are certain things that need to happen before any economic development can occur. It begins with education. Our current public schools produce a mediocre product. Our government increases the problem with dependency. We have in this county more government than we can afford, which squeezes out any sense of entrepreneurship that is left. If the schools can’t educate then parents must fill the void. When enough well educated people are in the community there is no need for government to create dependency and it can be reduced to a more beneficial and affordable level. Once resources that were employed by government dependency programs are yeilded back to individual people, resources become available for economic development, something government is unable to do efficiently. At that point a year round tourist economy is possible, and maybe some resource based economies. Perhaps a resurgence of commercial fishing, limited timber harvesting, reopening of a sawmill, some careful copper mining. None of which can happen without taming the militant environmentalists. Crescent City and Del Norte County is not viable as a community stuck at 24,000 residents plus the prison population. It has to grow, and I don’t mean grow as a government town. We already have growing evidence that as a government town we have too many elements of government that can’t live within their means. I think 40,000 is a good round number, then maybe things will happen.