Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Commentary By Samuel Strait – July 19, 2023

After witnessing the theater performed twice a month in the Board Of
Supervisor’s chamber for many years now, it should be crystal clear to
anyone paying attention that it is unnecessary theater. We can dispense
with the notion that the BOS is of any use whatsoever to the community
and does little else but follow the dictates of those unelected
bureaucrats that occupy County buildings and offices.  They do not have
the power to do anything but vote in the affirmative and give the veneer
of legitimacy to those that actually call the shots.  If anyone in the
County thinks that after a veritable parade of new hires since the
beginning of the year, things would get better for those government is
meant to serve, fat chance.  Sorry folks, the pattern was already set
and no Board or even individual member of the Board has chosen to do
anything other than continue the almost uninterrupted line of unanimous
5-0 voting.

Granted there is an occasional “No” vote when the dictates of the
County’s unelected becomes so distasteful that a sole member of the
Board votes in the negative for form sake.  Not that there is often much
in the way of energy behind such a vote.  I heard once, that “it was
expected, just to show solidarity.”   Even if there is so much of a
question asked, it is of such limp wristed in nature that it can barely
be regarded as an honest question.  One almost never hears anything
uttered by a Board member that merits the slightest bit of attention. 
Bad news and dysfunction litter nearly every report followed by words of
praise to the point that one wonders if the five have slept through the

Couple of examples of the lack of leadership in the most recent Consent
Agenda where the power of authorizing contracts has been usurped from a
Board vote into the hands of the unelected head of the Department of
Health and Human Service (DHHS).  The DHHS which oversees over 200 contracts
for services, most mandated by the State, that address various issues by
clients of DHHS that represent a minuscule portion of the County’s
population.   In some cases months pass under contract with no clients
served at all.  Surely there has to be a better and more efficient use
of funding than to blindly follow State mandates.  End result, three
quarters of the BOS’s business handled without much discussion, a public
member ejected for trying to force a discussion, and a 5-0 vote to
approve what is essentially the un-elected’s wishes.

Scheduled items, public comment, and a report by the County’s federal
lobbyist.  The question becomes, of what worth is the County’s lobbyist
to the citizens of the County that require Mr. Burns’ services.  Cannot
someone in the bloated ranks of the County’s employees be asked to watch
the activities of the federal government and report back?  Does Mr.
Burns actually have the power to sway the government to favor things
that affect Del Norte County at the federal level?  Inquiring minds
would like to know. And, finally has Mr. Burns’ activities resulted in
anything that has impacted lives in the County directly since he was hired?

General government consisted of the recent issue of a potential culvert
failure on Washington of epic proportions.  Wondering how it has reached
the state of emergency?  No real explanation forthcoming.  Then another
grant to rescue our disintegrating County Jail followed by attention to
the County’s “Elected Department Heads who worked through the
Pandemic”.  Perhaps they expected to get paid and be on vacation for the
entire three years, and get a little extra as well.  Such a sweet gig
working for the public where you can sweeten you pay check with a
unanimous vote of the Board.

A budget transfer to remove some trees, some letters to the State, and
adjournment in under an hour and a half.   Course, if Mr. Bieber had
been allowed a couple more minutes of “public comment”, and Chair Short
refrained from having him ejected for trying to discuss the “seventeen
item Consent Agenda” , the meeting may have lasted a couple of minutes
longer.  So Sad. Theater required?  Not that this reporter actually
expected any changes to the twice a month theater of the absurd, it
would just be nice if some recognition of the massive dysfunction
displayed by the Board in the vain attempt to be somehow meaningful to
the County’s residents…Just a little bit?  Maybe beyond the go to
response of the “State makes us do it”, or it may of been a problem for
years, but we’re on it now.  Better yet, when the unelected moan about
not being able to perform, more employees and better compensation should
be delayed until some sense of improvement is evident.  Oh wait, any
improvement is unlikely to ever happen.   How can the County possibly do
with less?  The 5-0 Club at its “bobble headed” best.

2 thoughts on “The 5-0 Club, Who Is Not In Charge Of Anything”
  1. Curious where the trees were that cost $19,800 to remove because of a threat to a home. Wow, if word got out I bet there would be a line of homeowners wanting to get trees removed that were on county property.

    1. Several years ago I had to have a tree whose base was termite eaten out and threatening to fall on my neighbor’s garage. The bill for having it taken down was $800. My, how inflation has affected the County, that is if the County didn’t contract the work out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *