Opinion Piece by Samuel Strait – March 30, 2017 –
Having so recently been out of town in Washington State for a couple of weeks, it was wonderful to be back in this corner of the world where the troubles of our world seem to be for the most part an after thought, particularly at 5:30 in the morning. Please note, and this is specifically for our illustrious Censor-in-chief at the Triplicate, Robin Fornoff, the collection of vagrants in front of Safeway was alive and well, out in full force, screaming and yelling obscenities, pan handling, and generally being a public nuisance. Otherwise, peace and tranquility were on full display. I suppose I should have left it at that, but I put on my flack jacket and sat down to view the video of our latest County Board of Supervisor’s meeting held March 28th. I can’t say that anyone who is paying attention should be surprised, but the war continues in the board room unabated.
It is often said in the scheme of things that at some point the proverbial buck stops at the highest point. With respect for our current Board Chairman, Supervisor Howard, not that I am feeling that charitable towards him at the moment, he has quite clearly transformed what is supposed to be a responsible, mature, group of local leaders into something that can only be described as a dysfunctional brawl. I was under the impression that when the electorate replaced David Finigan, Martha McClure, and retained Roger Gitlan, that a clear path forward would penetrate the conscious of the new member of the Board Lori Cowan, positions that she campaigned on, and those two others that remained, Chris Howard and Gerry Hemminsen. That has clearly not been the case for the initial ninety days of this new year. For that dysfunction, Chairman Howard, as the Board member at the top of the heap, it is up to you to roll up your sleeves, that is if you can set aside the juvenile behavior that has been on full display at Board meetings, and return to working for the County for the benefit of its Citizens.
It has become crystal clear that Chairman Howard has a poor grasp of what is proper decorum at public meetings, when HE can’t seem to rein in his personal animus towards other Board members and is constantly unable to admonish other members whose petty outbursts are an embarrassment to good government. Are you listening Gerry Hemminsen and Lori Cowan? As far as the almost bizarre nature of the “gang of three.” Howard, Cowan and Hemmingsen, at what point will the responsible grown ups resurface? The Board of Supervisors is not the place for elementary school yard bullying or cliques. While the bulk of this unacceptable behavior rests on the shoulders of the chairman, the other two members of this trio have much to rein in, something that I do not believe is possible at this juncture.
It has become almost painful to listen to what has been assumed to be mature adults fumble with clearly laid out proposals, often broken down into very simple terms repeatedly stated, and yet these simple proposals some how have become too difficult for this trio to grasp. While important progress towards possible solutions to some of this County’s most pressing problems have been vigorously opposed and bypassed, we are left with sitting and waiting for others to control our destiny. If that isn’t bad enough, much time and energy has been wasted on what can clearly be seen as mismanagement of appointments, inappropriate travel, and a virtual barrage of inaccurate information that for some odd reason this trio actually gives credence. Unbelievable!!!!
With the signs of the growing displeasure of the electorate and growing numbers of calls beginning to surface for recall, one would think that Chairman Howard, Supervisors Cowan and Hemmingsen would recognize that the current direction of the Board has not found favor. How they chose to respond may be indicative of the length of their political careers. Moving Last Chance Grade forward as quickly as possible, health care, blight, dissolving the Solid Waste Management Authority JPA (DNSWMA), the lack of an economy, and a multitude of other issues face this divided board. The trio who currently hold the lever of power need to act responsibly and shed their very public display of immaturity and selfishness or the power of the electorate may just trump what has been happening for the last ninety days much earlier than expected. I would hope that Chairman Howard, Supervisors Hemmingsen and Cowan will revisit their actions over the last three months, do some soul searching, and become more inclusive, otherwise it will be the citizens of this County that will pay the price for what has gone on thus far….