Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – May 26, 2024

The local Republicans may as well join the Democratic Party for all the
marginal differences that currently exist.  The local version of
Republicans tore the band aide off at the most recent Board of
Supervisor’s (BOS) meeting by being “all for Big Government and Higher
Taxes”.  The only odd thing that came out of it was it was the Democrat
that put the brakes on one of Supervisor Howard’s more memorable lapses
seeking support to make it harder for citizens, you know them as the
people he is supposed to represent, to slow the ability of government
institutions to pass tax increases at the drop of a hat.  More on that
later, just keep reading.

The most recent version of the train wreck also known as the Board of
Supervisors meeting on last Tuesday May 14,2024 included some revealing
activities pulling back the drapery and exposing the failure of
Representative Republican government at the local level.  Although this
is something that has been evident for some time, it is time to call it
for what it is, endless government expansion at a growing cost to the
taxpayer’s wallet for no appreciable gain for those that are to be
represented by local government.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which represents half the
County’s workforce and 60% of the County’s budget can’t retain
employees, or fill the 30% vacancies in its budgeted stable of workers. 
At the beginning of most recent BOS meetings we have introduced for the
most part new hires for DHHS, two in the current session, yet it
continues to bleed those already working and can’t seem to hire
replacements fast enough.  The endless repeat of the “County doesn’t pay
enough” is a refrain that no longer can account for the deplorable state
of affairs. Ineffective leadership and toxic work environment are never
mentioned as a more likely cause of the issue.

When it is mentioned that as the DHHS grows, so follows the number of
vulnerable people in the department’s care and any suggestion that this
is a larger problem is met with silence and incredulity.  At what point
will this Board realize that they contribute to that growing population
of dysfunctional people at every meeting.  It has become obvious the
actions this BOS takes is directly responsible for a growing 
catastrophe and it is being played out before their eyes at every
meeting.  Increasing salaries and employing more people will not end 
with any sort of success.  Time for a new approach by reducing
government and its expense to see if the vulnerable population decreases
as well.

The Consent Agenda is composed of twenty five items proposed by the
County’s departments.  Eleven are from DHHS requesting for the most part
additional services.  The remainder are spread among the remaining of
the County’s departments many asking for promotions coupled with raises
or the creation of entirely new departments in County government.  You
will recall at the last mention of the 5-0 club that on a future Consent
Agenda item would consist of the formation of a “Human Resources and
Risk Management Department”, and Voila Item #24 has such.  Formed with
the merest suggestion of transparency.  What will they do?    Who really
knows?  The Consent Agenda has become a real growth segment of County
government where it can grow unchecked with very little vetting from the
public.

Scheduled items consist of the Public Comment section and a Public
Hearing over a Use Permit for a cell Tower.  The item was discussed at
length, tabled and Verizon was asked to find a more suitable site then
come back.  Apparently, the Board missed the part that the Company had
already searched for sites and this one was the best of the choices. 
Case of NIMBY was reason enough for the Board to come to its decision no
listening involved.  A dip into the Board of Equalization then on to yet
another effort to resurrect the Tri Agency, something that was thought
to be dead and buried, but not so.  The three governing agencies will
get together for another bite at an apple that the public does not wish
to occur.  This continued obsession has become another reason why the
trust in local government continues to erode.

Legislative and Budget Issues for the most part consist of a series of
letters requested by Supervisor Howard that support or oppose various
legislative items currently being acted upon at the State Legislature. 
Only two items refer to other bits of County Business, that of a letter
of appreciation for funding for Pyke’s Field and the reclassification of
a Cook’s position at the Sheriff’s Office.  The remaining letters are a
support letter for Constitutional Amendment 1 (ACA1) which allows for
governing bodies to pass tax and fee increases with a lower voter thresh
hold, making a mockery of why two thirds vote should be the standard for
passing such increases, and three letters of opposition to an initiative
and two assembly bills which removes various items from local control.  
None of which should have made space on the Board’s Agenda.

The problem being that all items except for the letter in support of
ACA1 were passed with little discussion other than the items would take
local control away from this Board which has given no evidence that it
can be trusted to act in accordance with the best interests of the
people they are supposed to be representing. While the letter in support
of ACA1 failed lacking a motion.  It clearly shows that Supervisor
Howard does not understand that as a Republican, small government and
less taxation should be his calling, not making it easier for government
to grow and milk the tax payer for increased funding because the State
wishes to enshrine a lower thresh hold for voting in more taxes.  The
stunner was it was the Board’s only Democrat that put a halt to this
travesty.  The idea of two thirds voting for tax measures was not so a
small group of malcontents could stall the government’s business, but to
make sure that the government made it’s case for the vital nature of
raising taxes to a super majority and not to be able to do so when ever
it felt like it.  Fifty percent plus one is simply another word for
Anarchy where the government doesn’t have to make the effort to prove
its need.

And we are adjourned at two hours a forty five minutes.  Til next time.

One thought on “The 5-0 Club Fails, But What Is New!”
  1. Just bought a $26.99 item and paid $2.23 tax. Worth it to drive to Brookings. Dawned on me that there is poor voter turnout here so since a majority of local citizens are probably hired by government they will turnout to vote to keep Measures S and R so they can keep their pay, get raises, and hire more people. Being sarcastic but getting fed up.

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