OPINION PIECE BY LINDA SUTTER
On Feburary 27, 2014 at 3 p.m a State of Jefferson Workshop was held at the Board of Supervisors meeting place in the Flynn Building. The room was packed with anticipation of getting an idea of what type of debt would be taken on if the State of Jefferson became a reality. The primary purpose of this meeting was to gather facts and information regarding the feasibility of forming the State of Jefferson.
The county came prepared to discuss numbers, with a rough idea but nothing set in stone which was extremely commendable for the departments to take the time to make a presentation and get somewhat of an idea of what the money numbers would look like if Del Norte separated from the State. Gary Blatnik gave a presentation on what the health services looked like, Tamaran Buchanan gave a overall picture of what it would cost to run the roads, Jay Sarina gave a presentation for the county services, Dean Wilson gave a presentation for the sheriff services.
At the end of the meeting Mark Baird who is the main speaker and promoter of the State of Jefferson and who had informed Chair Finnigan in a telephonic conversation the evening before that he would not be present at this workshop, mysteriously made an appearance. That is when the sparks began. As the meeting was about to close, one of the Jefferson State promoters asked Chairman Finingan if Mark Baird could speak as he drove 5 hours to Crescent City to get to this meeting. Chairman Finingan and Supervisor McClure reminded the public that this was a workshop and unless Mr. Baird had information regarding the feasibility study as this was a workshop then it would be out of order to speak. Mr. Baird assured the Board of Supervisors that he had information to help them decide. Mr. Baird was permitted to speak.
MR. Baird showed his true colors at this moment. This is the moment where you want to come to the Board of Supervisors and proudly present the numbers that would encourage and persuade the Board of Supervisors to want to join the State of Jefferson as it is a worthy cause. That did not happen. Mr. Baird had absolutely nothing to offer or present to the Board of Supervisors regarding the issue at hand or feasibility study, or to the followers of Jefferson State except how disconnected he is from the reality of what it takes to become a new state. Mr. Baird was redundant and practiced in his words and actions. Mr. Baird demonstrated at that very moment he has no intentions on presenting numbers but instead wants to get up in a public forum and say words and expect people to bow down and follow his lead. Mr. Baird finally had to face reality. The reality that you need to work on your presentation and get the much needed information regarding feasibility and present it to make your case.
The Jefferson State followers scream, “lack of representation”, and no one disputes that. But are they willing to pay dearly for that representation? Clearly the State of Jefferson followers are not willing to pay $4,000 for an advisory vote to be placed on the ballot much less pay someone to do a feasibility study, or at least get someone to do a study for them for free.
At this point does the public really want to incur an insurmountable amount of debt for the pig in a poke that three of our supervisors already have succumbed to; the cause of Jefferson State that will inevitably lead us all off the cliff without a happy ending?
In closing, I am proud of Supervisor McClure and Chair Finingan who are quick in wit, strong in leadership skills and who do not cow down in hard issues. I am also disappointed in the State of Jefferson leaders who have not given any insight on this cause other than feel-good rallies.