Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – December 14, 2023

The one thing that I have discovered since being on the road, is that my
email server does not like third party software and it makes life
difficult when sending emails composed from that software.  Hence, my
reporting will be somewhat delayed until I return to the United States. 
Be prepared for a blitz once I am on US soil.  Now on to the topic at
hand, the Board of Supervisor’s meeting of November 7th and the
continued failures found.  While Chair Short continues to stumble
through meetings without end, one would think he would become more in
tune with the task after nearly a year in office, but he remains as
clueless as he was at the start.  I would guess as in life he constantly
needs his hand to be held.   How he functions in real life continues to
be a mystery even to himself.

On to the trials and tribulation of yet another in the mysteries of just
how inept this Board has become.  Opening ceremonies, and Board reports
followed the usual lines of government nanny statism.  One would think
that it would occur to members of the Board, that as much as they would
like to think that their flayling about between board meetings, and more
government meddling does not seem to be doing much good.  Similarly, the
public can be misguided by the energy shown, particularly by Supervisor
Starkey, as she never seems to be able to recognize that “new” programs,
particularly those that cost significant amounts of tax dollars and find
their way to solving the problems of few or none in the community, would
be a refreshing wake up, but “NO”, MS. Starkey never saw a government
program that she wasn’t completely on board with.  Unfortunately,
Supervisor’s Howard, Wilson, and the “empty headed” Chair Short continue
to follow along.  I’m completely baffled by the lack of recognition by
this Board, that most actions, not spoon fed to them by their
Bureaucracy, are making things worse not better.

The Consent Agenda, 17 items long, fully 70% of the current business,
5-0 in the affirmative.  Little or no discussion about more hires,
raises, the renewal of the questionable service of the Chief Public
Health Officer, appointments by the Board of the least effective member
of the Board as a representative to RCRC and the Golden State positions,
and more attention to the least effective department in the County,
Health and Human Services.  As Health and Human Services continues to
grow in cost and employees, the return to the County becomes less and
less.  The prime example of what I would hope was at least the Status
Quo of a governing agency, but “NO” the numbers reveal the continued
decline of the results from that entity to the citizens of this County.

Timed items include the comments from the public, largely ignored:

  • An update by CalTrans regarding the Highway 199 circus. It looks like
    summer of 2024 will come about before 199 will be back in full
  • A fascinating presentation by our local school
    Superintendent Jeff Harris, waxing elegant about the district’s new way
    of avoiding educating local children by getting them up to date on
    entering the “Hand Out” version of what to do when you graduate and can
    barely function in society.  No thoughts about what’s wrong in Public
    Education, or actually making an effort to educate, simply a move to
    provide “social services” to prepare for the inevitable entrance into
    the “nanny state” by way-too-many of our youth.  Got to keep those
    minions at Health and Human Services fully employed. 
  • The agenda rounded out with a Treasurer’s report showing a respectable balance sheet,
    without any chagrin showing on the Board’s faces as they continue to
    hire new employees, shirk responsibility for infrastructure while
    loading the local tax base with new encumbrances.  Can’t after all spend
    money like was advertised when shilling for Measure “R” passage
    occurred.     Like the Sheriff’s Department for instance, or the
    County’s woeful sewer system, maybe?  Finally a dip into another
    ordinance, that will likely make things more difficult for property
    owners and their ability to manage accessory dwellings, but what else is
    the Board good for but to make life more difficult.

Regular Business items and the silliness continues.    You just can’t
make this stuff up folks.   Property owners and renters in the two
County sewer districts are going to be hit with a major increase in
their property tax bills.  Oh, renters, you think you will avoid this
increase tacked on to your rent?  Think again. The Board in it’s
infinite wisdom seems to think that this infrastructure project doesn’t
qualify for the money socked away in the Measure “R” account.   The
question becomes, then what does?   It somehow escapes the rational
mind just how inept our Board has become.  The crushing liability of
owing property in Del Norte County, coupled with all the other tax
levies recently encumbering the local population, one has no doubt as to
why people are leaving California, yet somehow this Board fails to read
the “memo”.   The BOS will only be able to function at this rate for so
long before the cost of government out strips the public’s ability to
pay for it.  In case this is a surprise, that bench mark has arrived.

More noticeable failures in the continued employment of Dr. Aaron Stulz,
as Public Health Administrator.  The only applicant for the position? 
Surely, we are better served without a Public Health Officer at all?  
The law library report, and the Cherry on the whole mess, a “working
group” to hold the Sheriff’s hand, consisting of two members of the
Board, and a report, that wasn’t a report about the County’s
infrastructure “wish list”.  One would think that once Measure “R”
passed the report would be chiseled in stone.  Maybe in a few months? 
Fortunately for this time around, the follies are near at an end.  A
Legislative item, consisting of a letter of support, good luck with that
and mercifully we are at an end.

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