Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – June 12, 2024

The Board of Supervisors met last Tuesday, May 28th, without the “strong and strategic” leadership of Chairman of the Board, Dean Wilson and it went downhill from there. 

While “silent” Vice Chair, Joey Borges,
broke out his voice for the session, not much wisdom was in evidence. 
More hires at Health and Human Services, likely to fluff up the
vulnerable population number, what’s new, the Opening Ceremonies, and
another  move of Board reports to the end of the meeting when most
everyone has left.  Transparency, What is that?

Next up, the Consent Agenda, where nearly half the items approved 4-0
were that of our largest Department, DHHS, stewards of the County’s
dysfunctional and growing population.  More programs to prevent that
population from ever regaining some sort of decision making and problem
solving capabilities and life time occupiers of “nanny state”
California.  The remaining treats for the taxpayers are large bites of
taxes to fund Federal Lobbying, an expensive accounting system for the
County’s Treasurer, help for the County’s portion of Pebble Beach Drive,
and finally a few other “needs” of the County’s Departments, Probation,
The Sheriff’s office, and Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness.

Scheduled Items consisted of the Public being allowed to address the
Board over a perceived miscarriage of justice by our previous Sheriff
regarding the death of a local woman.  The family of the woman has asked
the Board to reopen and investigate the death of their daughter “closed
as a suicide”  where there is ample evidence that this is not the case. 
Pretty rough session for the Board which should require and initiate
some action.  This was followed by the expenditure of $4.2 million
Measure “R” funds with little evidence of the County’s honesty in its
spending of sales tax money for the purpose of “vital” community
services.  Zero funding for any of the County’s five volunteer
departments (known before the tax was passed),  some spending for the
Sheriff leaving it in worse shape than before, a dysfunctional and
expensive Emergency Services, and NO USEFUL INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAMS,
unless locals on their way to work wish to take a quick detour through
the Veteran’s Hall parking lot to experience what smooth, new pavement
feels like.  And finally, a tip of the hat to older Americans.

General Government consisted of sending Supervisor Starkey on a trip to
Florida for a National Association of Counties Conference.  Taxpayers to
foot the Bill.  A couple of future public hearings and a discussion of
improvements to Pyke Field. Too little grant funding for the grandiose
visions of our County, so time to pare down all the aspirations and be
sensible and realistic.  The Del Norte “Strategic Plan” strikes again.
Understand that for all the infrastructure issues the County has, time
occupied to pursue Grant Funding for Pyke Field seems a bit short sighted.

As we roar along to the conclusion of this relatively short meeting, the
BOS  could not keep away from several train wrecks in the making. 
Measure “R” funding to lease “storage space” for Search and Rescue (SAR)
as if the fund can’t be used for a more suitable purpose  and the
“Oversight and Advisory” Committee actually was worth the effort. 
Surely the County has some bit of storage space that is unoccupied that
DOES NOT REQUIRE A LEASE? Then there was this, a letter of support for
the Golden State Salmon Association to promote funding to build more
hatcheries in California to feed the burgeoning population of China. 
Their need for protein is great.  That is after California recently
spent part of nearly a half billion dollars to eliminate two hatcheries
on the .  Klamath River.  Such intelligence.

And the finale, Board reports to a near empty chamber.  The only
thing of note was Supervisor Howard’s plea to fund a Biometric slash
burner.  While it was suggested more than forty years ago,
environmentalism and lack of suitable material shot down that effort
before it was off the planning table.  While it would seem like a great
tool for forest management and fire prevention, not to mention an
alternative source of electricity, a bit of research revealed some
serious flaws in the proposal. Basic economics for providing sufficient
fuels for the project quickly proved  that the cost to collect and
transport fuels to a location quickly exceeded the practical ability of
such a burner to provide affordable electricity in Del Norte County. 
Way to go Chris.

Whew, a meeting at end in less than two hours.

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