Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Commentary and Opinion By Samuel Strait – September 16, 2023

Three weeks have gone by since the last time the County’s illustrious
“brain trust” met, but changes in how the County’s business is conducted
has continued along its mindless narrow path.  One would think that when
the Department of Health and Human Services represents much of what
passes for government in the County our elected would wake up to the
fact that a population mired in poverty, mental dysfunction,
homelessness, drug abuse, alcohol dependency, and the growing dependence
on a dysfunctional government agency that it would occur to someone with
a brain on their shoulders something was amiss.  Not our Board of
Supervisors, as they continue to pour money, resources, and new
employees into the equivalent of a “money pit”.

The Board meeting, while there was some dissension in the ranks,
continued with its one direction of throwing money, giving raises, and
hiring new employees at DHHS with zero to show for it except the growing
ranks of those dysfunctional people in the community. More homeless,
more joining the ranks of the mentally disturbed, more poverty and no
solutions.  “The State” is the problem now. Won’t give us the “freedom”
to throw money at the wall and see what sticks.  After years of DHHS
failures suddenly the Board’s sole function becomes carrying the
Director of the DHHS’s water with opposition to the State’s new
direction focusing on permanent housing of the Homeless.  Sad, that they
seem to have forgotten how recent their own floundering occurred while
addressing that very same issue.  The Board’s solution….spend more
money and resources on the issue.   One wonders when it might dawn on
the “brain trust” that the State has not received any push back from
either the BOS or DHHS that growing the local DHHS isn’t working. Only
makes those problems worse, not better.

Such is life when the “sharpest” tacks in the box are not stepping
forward to clean up the mess.  The meeting of the BOS on September 12th
was yet another example of the growth of dysfunction, while the Board
cheered the malefactors on.   It doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to
understand that more is not always better.  Juvenile Hall will become an
“opportunity center” likely to become yet another burden on the tax
payer with little to show for it. We will now have a formalized Office
of Public Defenders.  Several employee reclassification’s, aka employee
raises.  A mere twelve item consent agenda full of all kinds of
government expansions, appointments , a report on the current County
emergency, and no, not the wildfires, and the retention of our County’s
counsel for another four years.  Same old song, along with a heap of
backward progress.

Nine months, and no sign of life from the current 5-0 Club.  The fiscal
disaster that is the County’s budget made its way forward, to be
finalized by October.  The year’s ballooning of the local crime lord’s
spending comes in at $208 million, up more than ten percent over last
year. Anybody else get a generous 10% raise for the coming year?  Any of
the County’s businesses have a 10% increase forecast for 2023-2024?  
Unfortunately for the Board, only about $40 million of it is in the
general fund.  Big “whine” from Supervisor Howard over that troubling
state of affairs. Likely have to curb his “travel plans”  for the coming
year.  Must be time for another Sales Tax increase to solve the problems
of Fire, Police, Emergency Services, and infrastructure, which never
seem to be solved.  Oh wait, its the local school district’s turn on the
calendar for 2024, $44 million, seems to be on their minds.   Property
owners and renters beware for that little bit of inflation.

While there is much more to tease out of this particular Board meeting,
most thinking locals will figure out that our current BOS and government
bureaucracy does not have us upper most on their collective minds.  Keep
that in mind when you go to vote in 2024.

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