Commentary by Samuel Strait – August 30, 2022
It is not often that the powers to be in my life let me loose to
interact with the public, let alone for several days in a row. Such as
it is, I have been perched for several hours over the course of the last
several days in front of our local Walmart collecting signatures to put
a parcel tax repeal on the ballot sometime in the coming Fall.
Generally this endeavor has been successful, but more importantly it has
afforded me the opportunity to come to terms with some of the most
pressing issues that our local agencies and governments seemingly
continue to fail to address.
I was prepared to hear that property taxing in California and within the
County are a major concern for those that chose to be vocal about the
topic. Many of the complaints were of the nature “too high and for
what”, was the general sense that these taxes did nothing to improve
their daily lives. The sentiment continued for those of long term
residency that just in their life time services and quality of
government had declined substantially even though there was “a lot more
of it”. Many expressed a clear intention to move to somewhere else in
order to improve their lot.
It has been fairly well established comparing United States Census data
from 2010 to the present that Del Norte County’s population has declined
substantially, California’s as well. The common thread seems to be the
fairy tale atmosphere exhibited by those in local and State government
that all is well, keep doing what has been done for the past couple of
decades. As crime, homelessness, and the debilitating effect local
government has on small business impacts the local scene in many
negative ways, government has completely lost focus. Inflation and the
resulting high cost of living seems to have escaped most of those in
charge. They, meaning those that stopped to chat, have become incensed
over local politicians constantly pleading poverty, receiving the
largess from the voting public, in most cases with a bare majority, then
squandering the increased revenue on pointless projects that do nothing
to improve their daily lives. All the way from County and City
governments to various districts to include the Crescent City Harbor and
a couple of Fire districts have been called out as the chief villeins
with which their ire has been directed.
While most recognize the need for funding, time after time, issues were
subject to the voting public’s wrath of promises made and not kept.
Recent antics by our City’s Council over the extravagance at Beach Front
Park and Front Street. The community pool, a $3 million amphitheater,
the crazy architectural rendering of Front Street at the foot of H
Street, recent removal of perfectly fine driveways down H Street only to
be replaced with no discernible difference with “new driveways” that
meet some unknown “standard”. The list of clear indifference to what
would be acceptable to the public for the use of such funding has been
“a swing and a miss” by all public agencies, and a subsequent rush for
the exits by a growing number of the local public. Stunts, by local
government to curry adulation and favor with the public by boldly
advertising “sidewalk repair along H Street” as a useful expenditure of
Measure “S” funding has not gone unnoticed and for the most part
received the disdain it deserves. Clearly not what was expected.
The County, the City, and even the Harbor District are wearing the
patience of many in the County who had very different expectations from
their local governments and what has been witnessed over the past
eighteen months is not it. Granted much about local governments over
the past year and a half have been exposed as dysfunctional, much of the
reason citizens felt additional funding would correct those
deficiencies. Unfortunately this has not been the case and is unlikely
to change with those who currently represent us.
As such I will be continuing with my perch in front of Walmart,
collecting yet a growing list of locals who have graciously asked some
well thought out questions and signed on to remove another of the local
tax increases. If you have the time, and wish to drop by, look me up
and I will make time for you. Repeal Measures”R” and “S” by voting YES
on Measures “U” and “T” in November. There are many in this community
that cannot afford pointless local governments who make no pretense of
honoring their promises. Sign up to put yet another poorly thought out
parcel tax up for repeal as well. See you at Walmart…..
2 thoughts on “Tales Of A Crescent City Signature Gatherer”
Sam, thank you for volunteering your time with signature gathering. It is very rewarding speaking with folks about issues and that in fact, many feel similar to you on views. You wonder how in the hell some of these knuckleheads can get elected to office. Who’s voting for them?
I think a big distinction between you and Joe Citizen is that you are taking the first important step- putting yourself out there, sharing views, getting involved. Rather than just bitching and idly sitting by, mountains could be moved if folks would get involved.
And there is also the other side who remain complacent and unconcerned about the damage they wrought on their fellow citizens.