By Samuel Strait – Reporter at Large – August 10, 2022
The 4-0 Club seems to have become a regular “thing” for our Board of
Supervisors, as Supervisor Short was basking in the glow of a “new”
grandchild in Wyoming. Congratulations to him and his family, a truly
worthy absence as the August 9th meeting of our august BOS was nothing
to write home about. Not so much as a single dissent was to be had.
The 4-0 Club was intact, that is when they could actually make a
decision. Serve to say that this BOS meeting was a carbon copy of what
passes for local government where dithering about inconsequential things
was the norm. More new hires at the Department of Health and Human
Services, four to be exact, and an expanding list of new contracts for
DHHS on the consent agenda. One wonders what ever are the new hires to
do if the local DHHS contracts out more often than the entire “federal
Of course we were meant to notice that every time Supervisor Chris
Howard spoke it was to include the phrase “short staffed”. How in the
world could County government ever have survived prior to all the “new”
hires since the voters graced the County with a couple of million
dollars from the SALES TAX INCREASE. It must have been a “true
nightmare” for County Departments, but wait a minute, they seemed to be
pretty good at “contracting it out”. What ever it takes. Aside from a
few budget transfers, one of truly a breathe taking amount, the County
Treasurer’s Quarterly Report was a real attention grabber.
It seems that in 2020 Del Norte County had squirreled away nearly
$50,000,000.00 in an investment account. Poor County indeed. It did
not end there; however, as it now seems that that investment account
has grown to nearly $100,000,000.00 as of June 30th of this year.. Not
too shabby when our faithless leadership was spinning us with “tales of
poverty”. To think, this is a Board of Supervisor’s that continue to
cry “poor me” over the potential loss of $1,800,000.00 from Measure “T”
in November. What was even more astonishing is the on going effort by
this BOS to peddle the crushing need to continue with this public
robbery of local citizens.
Of course nothing like rubbing “salt in the public’s wounds”, when a
“discussion of the “possibility” of money for road repairs was tabled.
A scintillating discussion ensued regarding the munificent sum of
$50,000.00 to be spent on road maintenance. How generous. Most folks
remember that Measure “R” money was to be used for road maintenance and
repair, instead of the surge in hiring for new employees and their wages
and benefits. Something we were told by the County’s former CEO and
Supervisor Chris Howard that wages and benefits would not be among the
expenditures from Measure”R”. How soon Supervisor Howard forgets.
It got better, as Supervisor Howard and Chair Hemmingen clearly were in
opposition to expending money on “road repairs” without a “Formal
Plan”. Something County Roads may have difficulty formulating due to
being, yes, you guess it, “short staffed”. Course, there is always the
old Chris Howard standby, “it would be too expensive!” Granted
$50,000.00 isn’t much, but $100,000,000.00, or a small part of that,
would certainly make a far greater impression on road repair and
maintenance than anything the has come out of Measure “R” funding.
It was made crystal clear in that topic alone that those on the BOS, who
plead extreme poverty, were not hearing the public. It has been
eighteen months since Measure “R” income has begun trickling into the
Del Norte County Treasury and no one seems to be able to point to ANY
improvement in service for the Sheriff, County Fire Departments, or
Emergency Services. There has been no significant County inspired
movement on road repair or maintenance. In fact, there seems to be a
certain level of resistance to even the smallest token of funding
towards the roads in the County. There is ample evidence of what we
were told would not happen. Measure “R” funding for wages and
benefits. There is also ample evidence that the County’s need for the
paltry $1.8 million in sales tax revenue is at best questionable, and
more inline with a County government that is growing far beyond the
needs of its population and their abilities to pay for it
Vote “YES” to repeal the sales tax increase in this County in November.
Vote “YES” on Measures “U” and “T”!