Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – July 13, 2018 – It was a pleasant surprise to see that the Triplicate has finally published an issue without the non stop nauseating coverage of the recent third trip to Japan, this one at local tax payer expense. I’m not sure whether it is ignorance or a simple disconnect with the general feeling expressed by most people when asked to opine about the merits of this recent trip. Most locals will acknowledge that no matter how much the trip is spun, it will be difficult for those that went to explain justhow the county and city benefits from a few hours spent in Japan exchanging ideas that could not be done without a face to face meeting AT MUCH LESS COST TO THE LOCAL TAXPAYER! Contrary to the hype circulated by the Triplicate, Board of Supervisors (BOS) Chairman. Chris Howard, and Crescent City Mayor, Blake Inscore, this latest trip was not well received.
I am not sure how it can be explained away in any reasonable fashion, that the money used on the trip could not have been spent on any number of more imminent local problems that immediately and directly benefit local residents. No matter how many times local preparedness learned from this trip is couched in terms of “sometime in the future we are going to be much better prepared to deal with a 43 foot tsunami” questions will be raised as to JUST HOW? The simple differences in what constitutes our sister city’s circumstances and our own are almost beyond comparison. Rikuzentakata is a relatively large city with many more resources to draw upon. I can’t see any way that Crescent City is going to raise it’s elevation 40 some odd feet and rebuild, nor construct a rather elaborate sea wall to lessen the impact of a future tsunami.
Not all people in this County are lemmings, to take at face value that some where down the line this Japanese boondoggle will result in anything but more wasted time and money by some of our local representatives. Apparently Howard and Inscore are not satisfied with the current four trips back and forth and wish to saddle this community with the cost of yet another trip across the Pacific by a delegation from Japan.
The City’s representatives who were all on board for this excess, think nothing of spending money on signs when the roads in the City resemble those in third world Countries. They talk about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a “new city hall” when they haven’t figured out how to pay for the waste water treatment plant. Can take a trip to Japan, without the least concern about understanding that the State of California is unable to settle on a route to bypass Last Chance Grade, let alone pay for it at any time in this century. And the bad decisions keep pilling up.
Del Norte County’s Board of Supervisors, has an even more daunting task of infrastructure needs, the previously mentioned Last Chance Grade, improvements to Highway 199, the Harbor’s financial debacle, what to do about the “new airport terminal” when Contour Airlines realizes that Oakland to Crescent City route is a financial loser, the DNSWMA’s problems with recycling and the inevitable increase in garbage collection fees, just to point out a few issues that Howard, Sup. Cowan, and Sup. Hemmingsen might just wish to consider rather than worry about lessons learned in Japan or any future trips at taxpayers expense.
When the average voter is faced with the nearly constant bickering on display at the BOS and the gross incompetence of our City’s Council it is small wonder that no one bothers to vote at election time. If this was but an aberration found in just the past few years there might be hope for the future. It does not appear to be the case. It may not be strictly a local malady, as it has the appearance of having infected the nation as a whole. It would be nice if the local paper, the Triplicate, Howard and Inscore would take off the rose colored glasses and head bands and understand that this obsession with Rikuzentakata is not generally well received.
2 thoughts on “Take off the rose colored glasses”
Sounds like a reasonable summary of the problems, a few of them that seem to resist solutions that should be obvious.. there is no real sense of community here because the best interest of the entire population is not considered. I was talking to a young family on vacation here last week and they were appalled at the number of homeless, and wandering foot traffic along S. Beach where they were camping in the local harbors RV Park. While the park itself and their facilities were good, the feel of safety there and they put downtown left them feeling that Crescent City is not a safe place. For those of US, that were born here and have returned to consider retirement, the change is shocking and although these socio-economic cause and effect are playing out all over America, it seems to me the problems are not insolvable. Lack of basic affordable housing, crime reduction, blight cleanup and infrastructure improvement, as well as road conditions surely should outweigh any frivolous expenditures by local government. A lot seems to get swept under the rug here. As a good friend of mine who own property here pointed out, there is too little being produced here to make gains toward a vibrant economy. What can be done? Shop Local, Volunteer your time if you can, look for solutions that help all sectors of this area. There are many good people here working toward solutions and I commend them all and appreciate the positives.. a lot of decisions seem to be made behind the scenes by only a few and directly financially benefit those same few. Please state the entire cost of this trip to Japan here now and any ongoing positive measures being taken to address the lack of general services being provided in exchange for taxpayer contributions to the salaries of all elected officials. The Grand Jury Report was certainly a brief snap shot of the immediate concerns that should be front and center of revitalization. Some serious infringements are taking place. That much is obvious.
Sam, I’m not one of the “vast majority who hungers for these cultural exhanges.” This particular Sister City is rife with self-serving politicals. Rikuzentakata can certainly spend its resources any way it pleases. Japan continues to fund this community with housing and feeding of Del Norte visiting “guests.” The City and County must answer to its citizens. Sending a small platoon of government electeds is poor policy in a community financially challenged.
I will not support these highly questionable expenditures.