Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – October 16, 2023

I am not quite sure how to describe the facial expressions of our
members of the Board of Supervisor’s at their recent meeting, October
10th, 2023 when they were greeted with their namesake “potted” plants 
during the public comments section of the meeting.  Priceless, I would
venture to suggest was for those who witnessed the presentation.  Sad in
other respects, as that is what it amounts to when looking at the course
of events for the past nine months as the current Board struggles to
find relevance as representing the citizens who elected them.  While the
rubber stamp voting of 5-0 of most items presented to the Board on the
agenda continues, and local government focuses to expand both in numbers
of employees and cost, $208 million for the coming year, none appear to
understand what governance was meant to be in the United States of
America.  Less Government, not more and a 0-5 Club would be refreshing.

Otherwise, not much new to report, same opening Ceremonies, Board
reports, and a Consent “C” Agenda with two thirds of the County’s business
within for one 5-0 vote.  Little discussion as the norm on the Consent
items, lots of “new” agreements and reports, money spent and little in
the way of explanation as to WHY?  Perhaps a meeting in which the Board
is asked the questions “If it wasn’t here in the past, why is it
necessary to have it now? and, Why do you even meet if the business of
the County is conducted almost entirely by its bureaucracy?”   Oh Boy! 
The County now has an “Opioid Litigation Working Group, another must
have Supervisor Valerie Starkey micro management affair.  There is much
more in the big “C” Agenda, yet it for the most part has little to do with
anything beneficial to most who live and work in Del Norte County.

Scheduled items included the “potted” plant awards, the caravan concerns
on Highway 199, oh and somewhere along the way the announcement that 101
South was open to two way traffic after eight years.  This was followed
by fifteen or so members of the public virtue signaling club over the
Board’s failure at the previous meeting to second Ms. Starkey’s motion
to continue the Bridge program for the County’s near-do-well uninsured
and low income population for “free” Covid 19 shots.  Wondering if
Supervisor Starkey won’t pick up a loaf of bread at the grocery store
unless her neighborhood “pays for it”, free after all and critical.  Not
to mention the “free” shots aren’t “free” and we are meant to operate
under the illusion that these underserved locals, 8.2%, we are told
can’t afford the $100 cost for the shot.  Budget maybe, if it is that
important to you?

Public comment was followed  by the Point Saint George Lighthouse
report, part of the County’s District Four.  Wondering how the citizens
on the rock feel about the $2 million dollar face lift that may be
coming their way.  Usually not much of a “voting” block on the rock
except for a few of those pesky helicopter tourists.  There goes the
neighborhood.  The Point Saint George Lighthouse report was followed by
a dip into the Board of Equalization, then back the weighty matters of
Fish and Game. Concerns about the Elk Herd in the Bertsch Tract and
forest access after the Smith River Complex fire.  Got to let them
tourists who flock to the North Coast during the winter that we are
“open for business”  after all.  Finally, whew, the end was near. 
Picking out yet another “vacation” for Supervisor Howard, California
State Association of Counties, wasn’t enough.  A letter to the Pacific
Fishery Management Council isn’t enough, nor a zoom attendee, let’s send
a physical person.  Who could possibly fill that role, Supervisor Howard?

Hope the potted plants survive the next couple of weeks.  See you next
time.

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