By Jeff McCaddon
Copyright Jeff McCaddon, March 26th, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Consolidation of City and County governments is not a new or extremist idea; such mergers have been done throughout the United States, and in many other Countries. Our own California State Capitol of Sacramento consolidated with Sacramento County in 1974. Such government mergers are done to simplify overly complex bureaucratic processes, reduce financial waste, and ease the tax burden on community residents.
Del Norte County and Crescent City have seen considerable government growth during the past few decades; while at the same time the tax-base from our private sector has almost been eliminated entirely. California’s mandatory business closures during the Covid-19 Pandemic have brought an end to over 25% of Mom & Pop brick-and-mortar small business Nationwide. Locally, this has left only large franchises, big-box stores, and Native American Casinos standing. Economic trends indicate even franchises and small online e-commerce enterprises are likewise collapsing. Yet, looking at the bigger picture, we have Del Norte County’s primary industry and employer; Big Government!
Is it any wonder that Del Norte County is a land of the impoverished unemployed, homeless, and marginalized middle-class? We have a ruling body of elected officials, executive managers and middle managers, drawing $100,000 to $250,000 per year incomes, with no concept of community service. Aided by a small army of disciplined attorneys, well-groomed politicians and their financial good-ole-boy and girl cronies, these Managers consider their self-perpetuating bureaucracies to be a growth-industry. The larger their budgets, the higher their own salaries!
Is it any wonder why the highest priority of our Crescent City Government, in the depths of the Pandemic State of Emergency, were plans to improve Beachfront Park? While businesses failed, personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures escalated, our City Mayor, City Council and Executive Managers considered the nearly half-million dollar expense for the closed Public Pool to be more important than emergency services. Indeed, the Public Pool was so important that it required a 1% sales tax increase to keep afloat; with an obligatory tip-of-the-hat to our volunteer Fire Department. Nobody ever questioned WHY emergency services had not received necessary funding in the first place. Starve the muscle and feed the fat is a government strategy as old as dirt. If funding is cut to emergency services, then it provides an excuse to dip-into the well of higher taxes. Like a bunch of chumps, the public falls for the scam, time-and-time-again.
Of course, there were other reasons for the 1% tax increase, like a fancy new City Hall and their planned Beachfront Park Pavilion. The City Council even hired a special group of insider SPENDERS to distribute their new tax revenues. Much of this money will be directed toward a likewise insider group of local contractors. Oh, and let us not forget the considerable expense for mountains of plans, studies, environmental reports, and complicated California mumbo-jumbo that feed the engineers and “scientists” who make the right political contributions.
The Rulers of Del Norte County have likewise failed their community. They marched in lockstep with the draconian business closures mandated by Governor Newsom. These mandates have resulted in the mass-exodus of enterprises large and small, and the financial destruction of most who stayed. The only ones making a healthy profit are Walmart and Amazon; with Amazon posting a 40% increase in profits during the Pandemic.
While their community suffered, the County Government funded their “Strictly Informational” ad campaign for a County Tax Hike with taxpayer dollars. Where will all that money go? Sit in on a budget meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Most of it goes to feed State mandated fluff supporting programs that do not directly serve our community; out-of-county Mental Health Services being the primary offender. Though we cannot forget our local Del Norte County Unified School District (DNCUSD), that produces very-Woke yet intellectually bereft students. Instead of shutting down these schools during the Pandemic to address their failure to provide a basic education, the County kept them on payroll. At the same time, attendance for the DNCUSD’s lack-luster online classes dropped. Parents, faced with home-schooling their kids could select from a variety of online educational institutions; why settle for the losers at Del Norte’s dunsel factories?
Does the Government of Crescent City serve its community; or does it simply serve itself? The same could be asked about Del Norte County! I am not talking about those on the bottom rung of City or County Government who actually work to earn a modest living; but rather the fat-cats on top who run the show. Consolidation of City and County governments would eliminate most self-serving elected officials and executive management positions because of redundancy. Resources and overhead of City and County would be shared and moved under one roof, paperwork reduced, and bureaucratic processes simplified.
Our local governments have more leaks than the Titanic; but it is money that they are hemorrhaging. Both City and County are hungry for even more tax dollars to pay for their dreams of never-ending government expansion. Through Consolidation, the City, which has long spent beyond its means, will be able to liquidate unnecessary frivolities and pay off debts. Through Consolidation, the unwieldy County Government could be restructured to become more efficient and responsive to legitimate community needs. Both governments, once united, might even take a stand against California mandates and start to serve their community once again,
As the dystopian and misanthropic California spending-spree comes closer to financial collapse, we need to plant our feet on solid ground and ask some hard questions. We in California are lounging on the deck of the Titanic; do we want to sink with it? The signs are everywhere, homeless encampments in all our major cities, soaring crime rates, shuttered businesses, and cultural revolution. Meanwhile, CNN and the alphabet chorus tell us to be calm, don’t rush for the life-rafts, things are actually getting better!
Do we of Del Norte County and Crescent City want to restore private industry? Can we survive without it? The US Government printing presses are creating mountains of cash, and we have all been recipients of just a small fraction. The balance of this newly created money has been wasted on special interests and the financial machinations of the Uber-Rich.
It is a sad fact that over half of our young people in the Del Norte County Unified School District are functionally illiterate. Nearly 75% of our young people are mathematically dysfunctional. However, they have received one of the finest Marxist and Maoist indoctrinations available. The economic literacy of these kids is as skewed as that of their teachers; they were never taught about hyperinflation, nor that it is an inevitability of fiat money creation.
Hyperinflation is coming to America, just as surely as it came to Venezuela. How do I know this? Because our leaders are doing the exact same thing that was done in Venezuela. Today, the cost of a single roll of toilet paper in Venezuela is a week’s average wages. How can people live like that? They don’t! Over 4 million people have fled Venezuela, and there will be no end to the migration until regime change.
As the value of our own US Dollar collapses, imported goods, and domestic manufactures dependent on foreign commodities will become extremely expensive. Survival during hyperinflation, even for those who work for the government, requires local industry. We will need locally produced, processed and packaged foods. We will need people skilled in manufacture and repair of everything from shoes, textiles and clothing, to upholstery and electronics. Most of all, we will need a government that encourages industry and private enterprise.
Crescent City and Del Norte County once was such a place. We had small farms, orchards and plant nurseries, seafood packaging plants, small local grocery shops, shoe shops, upholstery shops, electronic repair, shade-tree mechanics, small beauty salons, curio shops, restaurants and people who ran businesses from their garages and homes. We also had a bunch of local celebrations for each and every holiday, and the Crab Festival and Teddy-bear Parade. All of that is gone now. Downtown is filled with government offices and empty buildings. Even the Veterans and Christmas Parades have been canceled because of Covid; or challenged by “Wokeness.”
Have our local governments served their communities during the Pandemic State of Emergency? Can we expect our government, as it exists today, to ever serve its community during a time of crises? Perhaps, if government costs are cut, we can claw back some of the high taxes we have been paying. Should our City and County governments consolidate and be reformed?