Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – August 27, 2023

And, oh, by the way our illustrious 5-0 Club got together for another
forgettable head scratchier, August 25, 2023.   While there was some
slight attention paid to the recent wild fires events that have engaged
the community recently, our illustrious Board of Supervisors were more
concerned about the power being on at the County’s offices and giving
“high fives” to the abysmal job provided by County Office of Emergency
Services and its head, Bill Steven.  His performance and that of the
Office he heads was less that stellar in providing timely and useful
information in order for community members to make decisions as to how
to cope during the recent “emergency.”  Heaven forbid should we ever
have to operate on what little Mr. Steven had to offer should the
situation become much more dire, but leave it to our Board to become a
public cheering session for the circus most of us endured for nearly a week.

The regular session opened with Chair Short studiously looking down
while mumbling through the opening ceremonies, then quickly on to the
Board reports.  Supervisors Starkey and Wilson were their usual
loquacious souls, still convinced that if government could possibly
afford all the “bells and whistles” why so ever not.  Of course paying
for it and whether it is even somewhat useful is a question that seems
to escape all of the Board most of the time.  Most certainly all the
Measure “R” money invested in the Office of Emergency Services has not
survived the test as “new and improved”.   Something not entirely
unexpected, at least given all the other short comings displayed by
other local government departments.

Anyway on to the Consent agenda, where entertainment was provided by a
proclamation making September 2023 “Suicide Prevention Month”.  Was
wondering what happens during the rest of the year when talking about,
certainly a very serious topic.  An Agenda littered with appointments
and contracts for services which sailed through without so much as a
single word of discussion.  Not that anyone could have discussed much
with the power outage making access to Board material reduced to a trip
to the Board Clerk’s office, which by the way had electricity while the
rest of us did not.  One thing of note, is the fact that in nearly every
Board meeting, contracts for services, mostly from Health and Human
Services, six on this particular eighteen item agenda, where no one asks
if anyone is utilizing any of the two hundred plus service contracts
that DHHS currently has active?  Interested people would like to know,
Director Brown.

Scheduled Items consisted of the Public’s time to shine while Chair
Short studiously was examining his watch.  I am not quite sure whether
he had that grooming appointment for twelve O’clock, or he wanted to
make sure no one violated the three minute cut off zone, unless you
happened to be an “expert” on some topic where you may talk for
hours.  Of course there is the possibility of that grooming
appointment.  The topic of the failure of OES and the possibility of
redundant services through Coos Curry was offered, where Supervisor
Howard suggested the Tri Agency as a mechanism for that going forward. 
Nothing like self interest. Unfortunately, Chair Short, with his “deer
in the head lights demeanor” failed as usual to begin the process or
recognize the opportunity to be an actual leader.  Not sure what he
would do in a situation where a sensible solution to a serious problem
being offered needed a decision, and he was anything but “missing in

The other item scheduled was a very informative presentation on Green
Diamond’s activities in the community.  Certainly a refreshing change
from the bumbling, stumbling efforts by the County in being beneficial
to the local citizenry, also known as those the County’s government is
meant to benefit. It appeared, at least, they had a much better handle
on what was going on with the wild fires, than the County’s OES.  Makes
one think that when a private company has to accomplish a task, they
have to be somewhat effective rather that what is typically seen from
government offerings.  Pacific Power should also be given some credit
for assessing the power situation and acting accordingly, rather than
waiting for a week to declare a local “state of emergency.”

Regular items of government business consisted of the burning issue of
the County’s Drought Resilience Plan and the formation of a Public
Defender’s Office.  Juvenile Hall’s closure will have to wait because
the County’s Union doesn’t have the necessary “time” to make the County
“dance”.  Maybe next meeting.  The final item was wording a letter to
the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s abrupt closure of the
near shore ground fish area. While there appeared to be some concern
about whether or not the letter “might be too late”, the BOS ultimately
decided to forge ahead with a letter opposing the closure.

Budget transfers money to purchase tax defaulted properties and
unexpected costs by Probation for mental health services was notable
only to the extent that it kept to under fifty thousand rather than
millions.  Legislative and Budget issues were a “no show”.   While that
ordinarily would bring the adjournment gavel down at just a shade under
two hours, plenty of time for Chair Short’s hair appointment, the BOS
decided that the week old wild fire situation merited a resolution
declaring a local emergency. While this all sounds ever so serious,
maybe like a week ago, it gives the County the opportunity to beg for
money from State and Federal sources to pay for on going issues related
to the current fires.  Possibly even squeeze a bit more out for “other
unrelated items”.  While the Board is at the squeezing state, perhaps
money for a lengthened runway at the local airport so that the air
assets fighting the fires would be able to operate that much closer to
the event.  Not much good did that $55 million dollar airport
terminal for us except add yet another edifice that will shortly be
requiring growing maintenance costs going forward with very little
ability for the current commercial air service to grow as well.

Till next time unless the BOS dissolves as an unnecessary encumbrance on
the local tax base and the “real” unelected government in the County
stands up to be recognized

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