Sun. May 19th, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – April 18, 2024

Currently spending time in a Country where the focus is on doing the most with the least for the largest portion of its citizens, it is not hard to figure out just where our local government goes off the tracks so much of the time.  The April 9th meeting of our local Board of Supervisors was just such, in a long line of failure to consider the entire County population when sputtering through a typical meeting.  Until the local BOS can figure out that sometimes saying “NO” to proposals offered by well meaning County Employees and even the various Board members, the County will continue on its downward path to irrelevance.

I would say that the only thing of importance in the opening stages of this particular meeting was that Health and Human Services had no new hires reported.  The Board reports were a combination of irrelevance and meaningless drivel.  No one on the entire Board can seem to understand that the best use of their time would be spent in the company of the largest array of their constituents, not sycophants, to find the leanest path to actual governance possible.  They also need to have faith in the abilities of the population that every solution doesn’t necessarily have to be a government solution.

Moving on, what would it be like if there was no Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)?  First of all the taxpayer would be relieved of 60% of the County’s budgetary expense, money that could be used to benefit the taxpaying public directly and improve their collective standard of living.  The “Consent Agenda” would for most meetings nearly cease to exist.   What about the “vulnerable” among us?  Well, I would say that they may have to figure out just what it means to be a functional adult, leaving only the few in the population that can be helped along by their friends, family, the many aid organizations that already exist.  What a novel concept, sorry Norma.  The Agenda passed 5-0 with hardly a mention of the raises and promotions that cluttered the eleven items.

Public Comment, featuring a summary of many of the things that local government should be doing, most likely to be ignored, yet that has become a common feature in this Board’s lack of the simple sense of listening.  Most are so caught up in themselves and what is important to them, that it has become impossible to open their ears to anything contrary to their specific agendas.  Rather sad for those that were elected to carry the messages of their constituents and not solely theirs.

A report from the film commission asking for more money.  Lots of slick graphics showing how much the Commission brings into the County when a movie is filmed here, a mere $15,000 in additional funding, a direct ask, which has the local Board furrowing their collective brows.  Typically the Film Commission receives their share of funding through the County’s Chamber of Commerce, a direct ask has clearly required the County’s “Brain Trust” to fumble around in unfamiliar territory.  It is not as if the money was as good as in the Commission’s coffers, it was just the unfamiliar mechanics that caught the Board out.  Such wisdom on display.

A quick appointment of the County Counsel, Jacqueline Roberts, to replace the previous “star” in the office.  Definitely, no gold star as yet with the new appointee.  And on to Chair Wilson’s must have “Strategic Plan”, which I’m quite sure we will be regaled with its “wonderfulness” for some time to come.  And here we have, the first draft, pounded out by the Strategic Planning Team……       Okay?  And how is much, if any, of this possible in the time frame allowed, and how does any of this really matter to a vast majority of those of us that live here?   Less government, less taxes, less nanny state, more freedom to choose what we need from our government.  Now you are talking.

On to Budget Transfers, a backup generator and shelter for the County’s lift station.  I guess that the lengthy loss of power to the County has put some thinking caps on a few people in positions of authority.  What a surprise.  A couple more HHS promotions scattered around the prize of the meeting, something for the Tri Agency to do.

Back in January the Board thought that they’d put their stamp on what they thought would be the joint powers agreement for the Tri Agency.  In a rather contentious meeting it was decided by the Board to eliminate Off Shore Wind Development as a consideration for economic development.  The City and the Harbor took umbrage.  Because time had elapsed, and the Tri Agency’s newly found life hung in the balance a rather unusual procedure had to take place requiring a 4/5 vote to even reconsider an item where action had been taken in the January meeting.   Well, after a bit of discussion, mostly from Supervisor Starkey moaning about not being present at the January meeting, the motion failed to carry.   Supervisors Borges, Short, and Wilson voting “NO”, Supervisor Starkey “YES”, and Supervisor Howard Abstaining.

Couple things to note here.  First the previous Tri Agency was an utter failure other than a few one off government projects that Supervisor Howard is so fond of memorializing, that have now become more of a problem a few years down the road due to mismanagement and failure of concept.  Maintenance has become yet another glaring oversight in those projects as well.  For the reconstituted Tri Agency to focus on yet another one off government funded, to this point, project is not a recipe for success.  No matter how rosy a picture Howard, Inscore, White, Hendricks and other cheerleaders of offshore wind power paint, the economics simply doesn’t line up to anything  but lots of taxpayer funding wasted for no benefit to the public.  The second thing to keep in mind is that the Crescent City Harbor is in dire financial straits and may not be able to maintain its obligation to fund the future of the Tri Agency.  And finally, the Tri Agency was reconstituted in opposition to the will of the people that attended the meeting in October where the people’s representatives went against the people they were meant to represent.  Perhaps it is not such a bad thing that the Tri Agency should “Rest In Peace”.

Two hours and forty three minutes and we are adjourned. 

One thought on “The 5-0 Club, Oh! What A Mess”
  1. I wish more people here in Del Norte cared about how our county government is failing us. I do hear many complaints about the Board of Supervisors. Many of these complainers just do not care enough to actually vote and make the needed changes.
    Our most recent Board of Supervisors election is a splendid example. There were three opportunities to change those who represent us on the Board. Those that did take the time to vote simply put the same people back on the Board. Sad.
    I am not sure what the answer is, but I hope we find one soon.

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