Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – February 29, 2024

The Agenda was deceptively short and sweet for a near four hour Board of
Supervisor’s meting on February 27, 2024.  A mere eight item Consent
Agenda. yet still occupying nearly fifty percent of the Board’s
business.  Several obligatory intangible items in the mix, request for
funding in a funding strapped County to purchase plaques for honorees in
both the Sheriff’s Department and Probation.  Apparently plenty of money
to spare in both parts of the County’s government.  Money for homeless
in its fifth version, some promotions with suitable compensation
attached, with little discussion leading up to a 5-0 vote.

OOPS! skipped the opening Ceremonies, not that there was much of note. 
The usual pandering by those that use this portion of the meeting to
toot their horns, Supervisor Borges, stoic as usual, Supervisor Starkey,
brief as possible, Supervisor Howard, could have still been on vacation,
Supervisor Short, likely still trying to associate “Science” with Off
shore Wind Power, and Chair Wilson, trying to make sense of it all.

Scheduled items began with a discussion of why exactly The County’s
government was leading itself along an awfully bleak future path into
the future.  Clearly mouthing all the words that Del Norte County was
not blessed with a particularly large population and a similarly meager
tax base, yet is growing government at an unsustainable rate, mandates
not with standing. The current Board clearly has not equated poor with
with the necessity of what is absolutely necessary from its government
and yet leave enough left over which will allow the County’s population
to remain solvent.  It does not take a particularly astute individual to
understand that the Federal and State governments have enacted policies
that are literally destroying the ability of the productive portion of
the citizenry to remain in the State.  Recent growth in local government
coupled with poor taxing policy is certainly a poor direction to embark
upon if the County wishes to retain the little of what is left of that
population.  Public, State, Federal, County, and City represent the
largest collection of land owners in the area, which I might point out,
DO NOT CONTRIBUTE ANYTHING to the local tax base.  They merely consume it.

Other scheduled items consisted of a report from the Humboldt/Del Norte
Film Commission which while it had some elements of giving attention to
the Del Norte part of its title by paying attention to its few success
within the County, it was largely a direct request for funding directly
from the County in addition to the funding received from the local
Chamber of Commerce.  Clearly we do gain some benefit from this
association, but the Humboldt portion of the Commission will always get
the lion’s portion of its attention.  This was followed by a TUPP
presentation on tobacco and associated products.  Much of it concerned
current efforts by TUPP to curtail retail sales of those products to
minors.  Good luck to them in that endevour.

The remaining item which appeared to have attracted a suitable
following, was an effort by Supervisor Short as the “first step” to
address a decade long problem adjacent to Elk Valley Road by closing
streets utilizing funds ear marked for “vital community services”,
otherwise known as the County’s slush fund, Measure “R”.   The problem
being addressed, while carefully skirting around the actual cause of the
problem, was the garbage strewn, lawless area inhabited by many of the
County’s homeless for the past decade.  $50,000 has been selected as the
initial investment for gates and concrete barriers to deny access to a
swampy area that will without doubt be quickly circumvented by the
area’s permanent dwellers.  The initial investment of $50,000 will
quickly be overwhelmed in a few succeeding months, requiring more funds
to follow this ill advised effort.  At some point the extravagance will
fade into the swampy ground with nary a finger pointed at this insanity
proposed by that genius Supervisor Darren Short.  Nor will it close this
particular area from use by the County’s homeless.

Regular business items consist of a singular item, that of the
development of a “Strategic Plan” for the County’s future.  Thus far it
consists of the hiring of another consultant, a couple of days of
listing the County’s major ills, no apparent suggestions as to how they
are to be addressed, lots of faith in current public employees to
address such issues, (not that they have been particularly successful
for the past many decades,) the purchase of some undefined, yet spiffy
software for what purpose we have yet to find out, and an expiration
date of not more than a single year.  The Assistant County
Administrative Officer, if one was able to understand what he was
conveying, reported on what appears to be months of his attention, yet
appeared unable to come up with the “Strategic Plan” without resorting
to the tried and true method County government resorts to when engaging
thorny issues that are not easily resolved.  Hire a consultant……

A couple of questionable budget transfers, a Hospital Preparedness fund
and money to the “New” Public Defenders Office, that appears to already
have sufficient funding budgeted for the current year.  Strange Days? 
Finally, a couple of reports from the County’s ACAO, largely
unintelligible, talking about more problematic legislation from
Sacramento and the County’s state of budget at the halfway point in the
budgetary year.  Curiously spending that remains to be done during the
remainder of the budget year is as usual relatively healthy, likely
awaiting the last few months where a deluge of spending will occur,
inorder for department heads to say,”see we spent it all, which will
require the BOS to up our budgets for the coming year.   And that’s how
it works…

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