Commentary and Mostly Opinion by Samuel Strait – December 10, 2023
Since I am on vacation, I will not spend the time to detailing the last Board of Supervisor’s train wreck, err, meeting, November 21st, as it is safe to say that not much good transpired. Actually the Board Chair, Darren Short, reached his peak in his efforts to remain a serious contender for the worst kind of leadership imaginable. More on that after a quick pass at what transpired in a “Cliff Notes” version of this particular meeting.
The usual grand standing by various members of the Board, highlighting the wonders of their efforts over the past several weeks. No surprises here. More government, more employees, more vacations, and more dysfunction creation in the local populace. What a surprise! Another weighty Consent Agenda, near 70% of the Board’s business this time around. More stealth promotions and wage increases, appointments, and contracts for Department of Health and Human Services. You have come to know it as the list by which the County’s employees wish to make their lives easier, waste more tax dollars, all on the shoulders of the local “Walmart Shoppers” in the community. Nothing controversial here folks. Wouldn’t want the unwashed to know what is really happening in the “Halls of Government”, after all it has to be something “good for the locals”, doesn’t it?
Moving on to Supervisor Howard’s recent vacation regarding the 2023 Groundfish Season Closure, where he was not expected to be successful, and he wasn’t. Who’d a thought? Money well spent. Then on to an up lifting report from DHHS about their Public Health branch. A round of applause here. Looked good, kind of like all department reports sound, until the number roll out. Was that 60% of the local population on Medi-Cal? I could be wrong on that, but the number was enough to make even “a government program for everything”, Supervisor Starkey blanch. Seems like every time government grows, so does the level of the current crisis it is attempting to solve. How’d a thought that was the way things worked in the government world.
A quick dip into the Board of Equalization, then on to the floundering Tri Agency disaster. How much money is going to be spent on an agency that shouldn’t exist. Whose sole purpose is to promote “economic development” not generate “projects” in the hope that it will lead some where and likely consume yet more tax dollars without accomplishing anything. The last effort not only failed to provide any significant development on the economic front, but managed to lose nearly $300,000. And, by the way, has any provision been made encumbering the current version of the Tri Agency with the debt owed to the PUBLIC for the money invested in the latest version of the Tri Agency? Doesn’t appear so. Finally more DHHS shenanigans, and a budget transfer to replace a totaled vehicle at the Sheriff’s Department.
Not quite done yet, as I alluded to at the beginning of this piece, Chair Short had an announcement at the beginning of this, what passes for government in Del Norte County. He stated since the Pandemic is over, apparently he didn’t get the memo in June, that the PUBLIC would no longer have access to the “Zoom” participation in local government. Or, simply stated, physical presence or written notice would be the only way for the PUBLIC to be actively engaged in local government. The fact that the Board meets on a Tuesday in the middle of the work week and most likely that is a large part of why the public fails to attend most meetings, something that clearly escaped the Chair’s mental capacity for sound leadership, and that the ZOOM application at the very least allowed more PUBLIC presence. Then who in government would want that to occur? In any event I don’t suppose the County’s legion of employees and countless reporting contractors will suddenly start showing up to meetings rather than “zoom in”? Didn’t think so. So what’s good for government….. well you get the idea.