Commentary by Samuel Strait – April 15, 2023
Yes, that’s right, sixty vehicles shortly to be in the stable of
vehicles assigned to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). A
thinking person, seemingly vacant on the County’s Board of Supervisors,
might wish to inquire whether or nor DHHS even had sixty employees and
what would the Department even look like if every one of the
Department’s vehicles were occupied and tooling around the highways and
byways of the County, or even the State. Would there be anyone left to
conduct the business for which those employees were paid to conduct?
Never fear County Taxpayers, I am quite certain DHHS has indeed a
sufficient number of employees to occupy such a generous fleet of
vehicles, it might be the work aspect that might not measure up.
As to April 11th’s meeting of the BOS, that is indeed another tale to
tell of government indulgence at taxpayer expense not to be missed.
Opening ceremonies as if the citizens of this Country really matter, was
followed by the usual display of government expansion…ten new
employees, six for DHHS, three for the Sheriff, and one at Roads. Nice
balance there. Then, mundane matters of business followed by the
“return of certain Board members” reports of their glowing magnificence
to the citizenry for the past couple of weeks. Not to be shy,
Supervisors Starkey and Howard played to the audience of things we
should know about but for most would hardly care. Of course the two
waxed elegant about this past Friday’s one day extravaganza celebrating
the rather pointless Sister City relationship, youth emergency
“Preparedness” (another party away from real education) and the
revelation of what exactly $200,000 nets the City’s citizens in the way
of a local “pottery display”. Thanks ever so much Harley Munger, we
probably couldn’t live without that expensive piece of hardware taking
up space in Beach Front Park.
On to the “Consent Agenda” where one item, that of yet another “new
hire” was looking for a nice advancement in pay that was summarily
dismissed and another, the aforementioned item pulled for discussion of
fourteen new vehicles for DHHS. Otherwise, an additional ten items
passed 5-0 with no discussion. The BOS seems quite comfortable handing
out its powers of determination to our local bureaucracy with little
oversight and regular “atta boy” affirmations. Mustn’t tax the “brain
trust” too regularly as the couple of items of general business is
likely a sweat soaking ordeal as it is.
As to DHHS’s new vehicle additions, there was at the behest of
Supervisor Borges, a concern that the vehicles were to be leased rather
than purchased outright. Not to worry the item passed 4-1, Borges
dissenting. Clearly the notion actually a concern by Supervisor Wilson
that the current vehicles may not be exactly used in any sort of regular
fashion completely by passing the idea that DHHS might not even “NEED”
sixty vehicles on a regular basis. We learned that some vehicles were
listed as “Unsafe” and others sat for weeks, even months without use.
Yet, not a single member of the Board asked the question “Are sixty
vehicles necessary for your Department?” Or perhaps, can you make do
with what you already have?” Wouldn’t want to have to worry about
“Climate Change”, and our local government’s contribution to it. The
Governor is watching.
The move to general County business was largely to accommodate
Supervisor Starkey’s lust for more government involvement in the local
community with new developments on the Closure of Juvenile Hall coupled
with suitable arrangements for local remediation of youth offenders.
Supervisor Starkey’s fondest desires met. Nothing like extending every
and all efforts to mute the closure and its cost by racking up more
local interventions. Then there is the on going problem of homeless
blight east of Walmart where yet another clean up occurred recently.
Good time to get the government involved. And finally another Starkey
project for a film commission event surrounding past “Star Wars”
invasions of the County. Just some “minimal” use of the County’s staff
to provide power for the festival and waive the use fees. What a deal.
Budget transfers consist of nearly $100,000 for a new roof for the
County’s recreation department. Where’s Measure “R” money when you need
it. Oh, that’s right, paving the Veteran’s Hall parking lot. All those
underground citizens who live beneath that parking lot will be happy to
know they will be dry next winter. Then, the Agriculture Department
steps up with the need for “device” registration fees for the nearly
completed budget year of a token $2200. Cheap at double the price.
because the final four items are for the County’s taxpayers to cough up
$36,000 for two mobile portable electronic signs and two mobile incident
command center trailers. Wonder if they come with a donuts and coffee
service when all that regular emergency and incident occurs within the
County. Mustn’t be unprepared. After all there may be “TWO” such
incidents in the same year or so.
Rounding out the follies are Concern over the possibility that DHHS
might not be getting all the funding necessary for CalFresh, got to
take care of that new CalFresh hire. And, since we are beating the
“emergency preparedness” drum in conjunction with Tsunami Days let’s
make sure we are in line for some more “grant funding” for DHHS. While
normally this would put another BOS meeting “in the can” so to speak, we
were delighted to get a rare glimpse in to just how far local government
has stretched “limited government” for their benefit. Think I misspoke,
not even a little bit. And be reminded that this represents just three
of the County’s behemoth sprawl over the lives of everyone who lives in
The agenda has three final items labeled “workshops” regarding what
three County department’s budget requirements are for the next fiscal
year, current expectations, plus any expansions claimed to be
necessary. The level and depth of what these three departments find
“necessary” not for the benefit of local citizens, but for the benefit
of local government services is both exceptionally expensive and bears
little in the relationship of what is the most limited form it should
take to be of direct benefit to its consumers, the public. Our
supervisors, in telling fashion, applauded these “monsters” of
government dependence placed on the backs of very people that elected
them into office. So this is what passes for governance in this Country