Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – March 1, 2024

I actually gave thought to attending this particular “Special Meeting”
of the County’s Board of Supervisors, on February 29,2024, but the
futility of narrowing down the multitude of issues that surround the
content of what would constitute a “Strategic Plan” for the County that
was of any value to the County’s residents or have faith that the
current make up of the County’s leadership could in any way carry it off
is daunting. Having attended meetings of the BOS for some time now, the
idea that future planning to address issues that often rub up against
Federal and State insanities are solvable within the County’s
bureaucracy seem a faint hope.  Already our local what passes for
government spends far more time seeking to clutter the halls of
government with an ever increasing level of unaffordable dead weight.

While it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who lives in Del Norte County
that its residents are few in number and most are relatively poor. 
Sixty percent of the County’s budget is for the most part entangled in
the mandates of the State which fund the Department of Health and Human
Service.  Nearly half the County’s work force is engaged in making sure
that it provides services for County residents that insures that they
are nearly as dysfunctional as DHHS.  When approaching anything that
resembles a plan that would be considered “strategic”, our local
government will look at symptoms of our issues without a hint of
understanding the underlying problems that plague this County and likely
every other poor rural counties in the State.

Lack of affordable housing, lack of jobs, a non existent economy, are
but a superficial  facade for what ails Del Norte County. Housing is
expensive State wide and as a result affordable housing is only
available by subsidizing that industry.  Unfortunately it is
unsustainable.  Jobs, for what ever reason are NOT lacking in this
County.   As a result there is no reason to think that our population
which consists of a great many poor people cannot become gainfully
employed.  For what ever reason they choose not to be employed.  One
only has to look at the vacancies in the ranks of the County’s
government work force to understand this. While it is easy to point to
the fundamentally flawed public education system, once again that is
only part of the problem.

As far as this particular attempt by the County’s BOS to address
“Strategic Planning”, it will likely occupy an inordinate amount of time
and funding with very little chance of success. Ultimately it will end
up on that “shelf” when constant revisions as a result of lack of
success will foil any chance of correcting issues years in the making.  
Clearly issues of blight, lack of infrastructure maintenance,
homelessness, crime, and a hundred other issues that line up on the “to
do” list are not things that fell off the truck last week.  They are
problems of long standing.  Unless services are reduced to those most
critical to the County, progress will become insurmountable and
government will continue to be reactive.

There is not a half million population in this County and the resources
that go along with it.  If those kinds of situations exist in California
and they are having difficulty addressing their issues, the future looks
pretty grim for Del Norte County going forward.  Our citizens may wish
to be served in a fashion that is unaffordable, it is up to our
leadership to understand the futility of reaching for that level of
service and bring sanity to what our local government is capable.  This
is not readily apparent in our leadership at any local level. 
Government cannot continue to buy what it “WANTS” when it cannot afford
what it “NEEDS”.

While I watched this meeting on video, I detected no evidence that this
was something that merited any consideration that this was to be
considered Strategic in any way.  There is no clear plan or solutions
for even addressing the issues revealed by the public.  The issues are
long standing and if there is a “Plan” for addressing any of these long
standing issues, planning to address them would have long since
occurred.  It has not.  Patting the County’s bureaucrats on the head and
praising them for their lack of success merely inhibits any effort to
correct course.  The County’s labor force, those that actually conduct
the County’s business, are not at fault for the dreadful lack of ability
at the leadership and supervisory level.  Until that void is corrected,
this County will suffer from a government that is entirely reactive, and
not in a positive way.

3 thoughts on “The 5-0 Club, A Special Event”
  1. I believe a strategy plan from the supervisors are set up so they can do nothing and to make the public believe they’re doing something but they’re really not. Just to show the public something Is being done. Just to appease the people that need help in the county. But they’re really doing nothing and that is really what is being done. But, what is really being done is studying the problems, or to hire some outside agency to do study for them. This will cost us more money in the long run which is a waste of money. And the supervisors will have nothing done in the long run because they’ve already spent the money on the study. So the job cannot be done and then they can say we need more money to do the job. Imagine that! You need to talk to Supervisor Wilson. He loves strategoc plans and he doesn’t have to really do anything because studies need to be done. When we all know what needs to happen in this small county All we need to know is where are we gonna get the money to do jobs that needs to be done in the county. This is my opinion and this is what I see is happening in this county.

    Look at Last Chance Grade. We all know that needs to be happening; to fix the road or 101 Highway. Look at how many studies and strategy plans went into that road over the years and still nothing done, but the road still needs to be fixed. But there’s been a lot of money thrown at it over the years. It’s kind of like our county likes to do. It’s kind of like the roads that need to be repaired. We have a road department hich could do the job With no problems. In a lot of cases the roads just needs some gravel and a greater run across. But do you think that the county can just do that without spending billions of dollars, just for this small projects? And this could be done quick. Things like this doesn’t need to go to bid, we have a Road Department that can do the job for less money. Our supervisors think they need a strategy plan to do the job. NO WE HAVE A ROAD DEPARTMENT THAT CAN DO THE JOB FOR LESS MONEY, AND THEY WORK FOR THE COUNTY ALREADY. IT’S ABOUT TIME TO USE COUNTY EMPLOYEES FOR JOBS NOT TO GO OUT TO BID ALL THE TIME! Why do we need some people to study the road which the county already knows about And they already know what needs to be done, and this will cost too much money to study; which the county does not have money because they spent in other ways. So less roads will be fixed.

    So these are the ways your supervisors like to spend money. By not really fixing the problems that need to be fixed. They are always easier way to fix problems. Why do we have to take the hard road and spend more money in the long run. Supervisor Short should not be a supervisor. he does not have common sense that I can see in my opinion. Windmills, solar panels like in the Harbor is not what we need and this does not work in this area. We had windmills in the area at one time. I think it was in Fort Dick back in the seventies. And they were taken down for some reason. Maybe we need to look at the reason why they were taken down. Not just starting all over just because some government agency wants to spend money in his area and hurt this small county. I think we ought to check out how many agencies are paying Supervisor Short and if he has the whole county’s back. He needs to think about bringing jobs to the area for our kids. Not for some other big agencies that not gonna create jobs for young folks to keep them in Del Norte County.

  2. Yes, a “Strategic Plan”. This will save us.
    Now when nothing really gets accomplished the Board can say, “We are still ironing out the details of that for the Strategic Plan, then we will address it.”
    The Strategic Plan should be:
    The Board of Supervisors shall create expectations and desired outcomes for each County Department. Those departments failing to meet these expectations and desired outcomes shall be subject to administrative discipline up to and including termination of the Department’s Director.

  3. Wonder what the “Facilitator” cost us. He said he’s been here about a whole 36 hours and sees we are in good shape. I saw nothing in his presentation that was really enlightening and with all the government employees we have surely someone could have come up with a plan. Not to be nitpicky, just saying.

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