Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – September 30, 2023

While I would much rather talk about the trip that I am on, sad but
true, another wasted two hours listening and commenting at the most
recent Board of Supervisor’s meeting, September 26th.  No progress by
any of the Board members when it comes to understanding that government,
inefficient and ineffective at best, does not age well when even the
most entitled of the County’s work force, its Union head, fails to
understand just how good its become working for the public.  And yet,
Ms. Williams continues to whine that it is “not good enough”.  Worse
yet, the current BOS doesn’t get it either.

True to form, can’t after all deviate from the inevitable, Chair Short
seems ever fascinated with the surface of his lectern while going
through the motions of the opening ceremonies.  One would think by now,
he would have his lines memorized, apparently not. The mumbling
continues.  Supervisor Starkey entertains us with her latest doings,
salivating over the greater reach of government. And on down the line
where fantasies of something of importance is to be elicited from our
“hard working” representatives.

The consent Agenda, next up, loaded with another employee for the
Department of Health and Human Services, (DHHS) as well as six other items on
the thirteen item list.  One wonders if any of the County’s other
departments is able to get something in edgewise. Fully two thirds of
the entire agenda appeared to be headed for for a quick 5-0 vote when
two particular items were pulled for later discussion.  Seems the
5-0 Club is getting quite adept at putting on a show for the public when
it comes to the perennial rubber stamping of the Consent Agenda, but not
so fast.  Item four was primarily pulled so that Supervisor Howard could
puff out his chest and pretend to be “looking out” for his
constituents.  Nice Job Supervisor Howard.

A quick dive into Public Comment, mostly about the budget set to finish
off this particular meeting then on to a series of reports.  The first,
an expensive report on the County’s abysmal efforts to have some sort of
effective communications in the County when an actual emergency hits. 
The bottom line, is that this is going to take a lot of money,
naturally, more new hires, and lots more money.  Did I say that twice. 
Of course nothing the County does can seem to get around lots of money
and new hires, and then there is no difference when all is said and
done.  But someone on the end of a zoom call, I should say four someones
will be paid heaps of money to say the obvious, you’re going to have to
hire more staff and buy all sorts of new toys for the County’s
disrespected employees.

The next two items for the government’s important general business is to
insert themselves into the “opioid crisis”  where a rural vehicle, a MAT
vehicle, is to be purchased to save the “Walmart souls” in the bushes a
lengthy trip to Humboldt to get detoxified when they overdose.  That
plus anything else in DHHS’s cupboard to get the problem under control. 
Just like the Homeless problem in the County.  Get the County involved
and watch the numbers continue to climb.  Seems like “the government can
fix anything”, Supervisor Starkey, would be giddy with glee.  I promised
not to get too carried away, so as to not hurt anyone’s feeling.  It is
just at some point, those that represent us might take a breath and
realize that more dysfunctional, yes, more dysfunctional County
government is not going to make things better.  Citizens continue to
fail the functionality test when they become increasingly dependent  on
government services which have very little possibility of solving any
kind of problem.

A quick change of dates for November’s meeting.  Wouldn’t want to
interfere with a California State Association of Counties

(CSAC) meeting, another trip for Supervisor Howard after
all.  And heaven forbid a meeting during Thanksgiving week. Budget
transfers of $236 thousand to probation for excess jail expenditures. 
Then back to the Consent Agenda where Supervisor Howard got to
Grandstand over item #4, whoopee! and Supervisor Starkey got to make a
unhappy emoji when no second was forth coming to continue a “bridge”
program for those uninsured, or too poor to pay for a Covid 19 booster. 
Of course with all the programs funded by DHHS, that one should be
covered as well.  Not to worry too much, Supervisor Starkey, you can
also have a “bake sale” to pick up the slack.  What was I thinking, a
gofundme PAGE.

Aaw, at last, the 2023-2024 Budget coming in at $208 million this
cycle.  Only an eleven percent increase over  last cycle.  Likely will
be needed with all the raises and new hires.  One has to hope that some
where in this explosion of spending that at least the County’s employees
are happy.  Wait..  Not a chance!  MS. “pound on the lectern” Williams
will be playing hooky from her real job to fight for more pay and
respect from the BOS.  Could be trouble.  When the people who do the
work for the public aren’t happy, that usually means that local
government has finally hit the tilt button and become too expensive for
every one.  So sad, trouble ahead for this Board.  Vote taken without
much discussion 4-1, Supervisor Howard in the “dissent”, can’t be
looking bad with a 5-0 vote.   Unfortunately Howard really wasn’t
against approving the budget, for him it was all about making a
“statement”.  Never fear the 5-0 bobble heads are true to form. 
Wouldn’t know “bad government” if it was shouted in their ears.  Back to
enjoying the view.

2 thoughts on “The 5-0 Club: When Will They Ever Learn How To Govern?”
  1. Norma Williams has every right to pound the dias as you put it. All County workers should be receiving $7.00 per hour over the minimum wage. The department heads should get a 30% cut in their salaries.
    That would pay for the County employees $7.00 increase in pay.

    Let’s face it folks, Gov. Gavin Newsom just passed minimum wage for fast burger joints to $20.00 per hour. And the local newspaper is advertising $19.50 per hour to start in the police academy. What a joke.
    The greedy Chief Administrative Officer, LOPEZ, should be paying attention to what is going on before giving County workers a lousy 2% raise. OUTRAGEOUS. In fact, all the Supervisors should be replaced based on that alone.
    This County is doomed. There is no vision, too much corruption, and a complete lack of integrity to do the right thing.

    In the meantime, Darrin Short boasts to the public, “You should look up this bicycle enthusiasts and a dancer with one foot, because those were heart warming stories he took back from a taxpayer paid vacation to Sacramento, which did not benefit the community whatsoever, all under the guise of The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) meetings that are allegedly important to attend”. Yes off to California State Association of Counties (CSAC), maybe this time he can purchase a whore and come back telling us how that benefitted the community.

    Funny how the County never mentioned wanting to get their $60,000.00 donation back from the Tri-Agency. Guess no one will have that information. Oh well, what can we expect?
    Right now, Supervisor Valerie Starkey is the only one busting her bottom. Supervisor Joey Borges doesn’t bother offering the public feedback from the meetings he attends. Which means no transparency.

    1. While I greatly appreciate your zeal in defending Ms. Williams, perhaps a little math and economics is in order. Thirty or so department heads with an average salary of $150k at a reduction of $50k will net you about $1.5 million, if any of those heads would agree to such a preposterous suggestion. The remaining 355 employees that are expected to have their hourly wage increased by $7.00 per hour, let see, 355 times $7.00 is $2485.00, times 8 hours is $19,880.00, times 5 days in a week or $99,400, times 52 weeks $5,168,800.00. Looks like you are still a little short on making that a wash. Safe to say that this is some what of a fantasy. Unless of course you are willing to have $200 or $300 added to your property tax bill, or maybe a 3% increase in sales tax should cover it. The tourists, we are being told will cover most of that. Granted that the nimrods in Sacramento think they can raise wages in fast food joints to $20 per hour and the public and small business will not suffer the consequences of this lunacy is pretty much guaranteed. Point being that one lunacy should one experience it, should not be followed by a second. As far as Ms. Williams pounding on the lectern while threatening said Board would be considered rather juvenile in most civilized circles, but as one of the Walmart circle, I wouldn’t know about such things.

      The larger picture, known as the economic one, says that the County’s work force already got two raises in the last year, one compliments of Measure “R”, that combined ended up north of 4% and resulted in an increase of this year’s budget by $20 million. In addition, many of the County’s employees receive what is referred to as step raise periodically. Coupled with the fact that not only have we seen no improvements in County service, but our issues have grown. Kind of puts a whole different spin on things. I know, the typical argument is that our apples don’t measure up to other people oranges, but that fails in so many ways. Point is, that in this County, County employees have a leg up over most people currently employed by the private sector and don’t really have to do a very good job. When you factor in that historically when the government’s bureaucracy feels they aren’t getting their share of the taxpayer’s dime, government as an entity has become too large and costs more than the taxpayer can afford. Nothing good after that has ever happened for those people.

      Finally, as to Ms. Starkey, lots of energy growing an increasingly dependent population on government programs and subsequently at higher and higher cost to the taxpayer. If that is a good thing, color me stunned. Clearly her callous disregard for the cost of growing government with her multitude of pet projects has escaped notice. Representatives were not elected to solve even every problem known to the five thousand or so she represents let alone the rest of the twenty seven or so in the County. All she is doing is making people less functional. Not a good thing at all. Problem for Ms. Starkey is that she doesn’t even realize the damage she is causing to this County.

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