By Samuel Strait, Reporter at Large – April 29, 29\021
It would appear that the Board of Supervisors should be prepared for a
lump of coal in their stocking this Christmas or when ever the State
gets finished with their final report on alternatives for Last Chance
Grade, maybe by 2023. It remains a mystery as to why exactly the other
five options, Alternatives A through E, were dismissed as unacceptable,
beyond a passing reference to environmental concerns. Is it because the
local Environazis hold the State of California in a state of perpetual
fear over threats of legal action? Of Course the man that knows all, is
that genius, Supervisor Hemmingsen, only he’s not talking.
As to the tunnel and Alternative F, there doesn’t seem to be much hope
for the State to fork over $1.3 billion to $1.7 billion for that
option. Likely to be twice that if it were to be an actual option by
the time the State makes a decision. What becomes interesting is when
Board Chair Chris Howard weighs in with “the State and Federal
representatives haven’t said no to the first alternative. I think as
a Board, our coursework is pretty much outlined for us to waste no time
in advocating for this at the national level.” Where was that kind of
talk when our very expensive lobbyist was talking about “earmarks” and
Last Chance Grade was quickly dismissed as the County was “unprepared”
to go forward with a request? Where indeed was that kind of talk when
newly elected Supervisor Bob Berkowitz in 2012 asked the Board to
consider his proposal for engaging the National Government for funding?
Seems as though there was a lot of disdain for that idea by Supervisors
Howard, Hemminsen and former Supervisor Cowan. Then why have Boards for
the past sixty years not begun planning for a bypass of Last Chance Grade?
Bottom line is there doesn’t seem to be a lot of leadership on display
at the County’s Board of Supervisors at present, just a lot of stasis.
Knowing the obvious, that the State will choose Alternative X, because
they have to do something even if it is unlikely to solve the problem
shouldn’t be an option. What exactly is wrong with any of the five
Alternatives, A through E? Surely our “resident genius” on the Board of
Supervisors will enlighten us as to the particulars. What about the
two choices currently being considered will save $10 million and shave a
year off the project? Has the State already decided to go with
Alternative X? The silence from the City Council is deafening!
Such an impressive result from what will be three years of studies, no
real solution. As was said in my previous article, back to the band aid
box. No Christmas for Del Norte County. If Supervisor Howard thinks
that our Federal representative is going to move mountains to find
federal funding for our major transportation issue, pause and examine
his voting record, or even the legislation that he proposes. Not much
to hope for there. Seems we should become resigned to traffic circles,
lighted pedestrian cross walks, handicapped curbside ramps, and new
biking lanes for infrastructure improvements for the foreseeable future.