Commentary by Samuel Strait – August 31, 2022
Two of the most void of “Common Sense” on the City Counsel, Mayor Thomas
Greenough and Blake Inscore were vibrating with suppressed excitement
over the recent reception of a $3 million Grant for the purpose of
constructing another useless edifice in Beach Front Park, most notably
an out door amphitheater. Of course neither men were seemingly aware of
the folly of such an endeavor, nor of the consequences to the future of
such stupidity. It is as if both men live in the same world currently
occupied by Brian Stone and Wes White down at the Harbor, that of the
kind of fantasy world that treads the tip of the thinnest branch of a
tree, just waiting to snap off and plunge to an unforgiving earth.
Nowhere does an amphitheater in Beach Front Park make the least amount
of sense, but another randomly and very occasionally used bit of lip
stick on an otherwise heavily decorated pig. No thought to the future,
the cost to maintain it even if funding could be plucked off that magic
money tree. What in the world are these two individuals thinking? Or
the entire City Council for that matter? Does not Del Norte County
weather give anyone a pause when contemplating such an extravagant
gesture? Who, I might ask will use such a “white elephant”? Beach
Front Park has become a $10 million “money pit, and Crescent City voters
should take note. Not only for the initial outlay of funds, but the
kind of money to be expected from your pockets going forward.
How many “new” hires will be required to “look after” all the new show
pieces. Nothing about this has any real means of “paying” for itself,
not even the community pool. As the City’s population continues to
decline, fewer citizens will be there to foot the increased cost of
taking care of the current Council’s “grand design”. If the City’s
behavior thus far is squandering the recent Measure “S” with no end in
sight, how will it be even possible to encompass future “vital” projects
that have been neglected by the Council for years, let alone any “New”
project currently being funded?
This is a stark warning to those in the City that wish to remain. None
of the projected projects thus far proposed or initiated are remotely related to “vital” City services.
A YES vote on Measure “T” to repeal Measure S in November
will go a long ways towards preventing future disaster in Crescent City.
10 thoughts on “The City’s “NEW” Out Door Swimming Pool”
Our local governments conduct themselves similar to white collar organized crime groups. The residents of Del Norte and Crescent City need to strip away our corrupt government’s financial management of critical community services. We MUST establish an independent Emergency Services District with their own financial management, and accountable solely to their residents; not the local “Government.” We must establish financially independent and self-directed Public Infrastructure District; responsible for maintaining roads, parks, public buildings, harbor, fairgrounds and water; and NOT allowed to launch new developments without a 70+% majority vote from taxpayers!
Once these “Governments” of Del Norte and Crescent City have been stripped of funds for maintaining critical services, they can take what money remains and spend it on what appears to be their highest priority; DISTRIBUTING GRAFT!
So how far is the noise from this amphitheater going to travel. I live on Railroad and I can hear events from the fairgrounds, the 4th of July fireworks show, the foghorn, and even the sea lions. I really don’t want to hear more noise. I’m sure they thought of that.
I already see a lot of tourists. So why do I have to pay Property and Sales Taxes? It’s all about the tourists.
I’m curious to know what your personal vision is for Crescent City?
Someplace everyone can have at least a survivable standard of living, not just those that are unaffected by inflation, higher taxes, and under utilized public show places that continue to swallow up public funding in great amounts with no real benefit to half or better of the local population. Someplace that is considerate of those that have the least in society and does not continuously impose elitist visions of grandeur that they can ill afford in their struggle for the basic needs in life. Need I go on? Perhaps,,,, who will actually benefit from from the $30 million spent in Beach Front Park and on Front Street is a better question you should ask.
You don’t even know what you’re talking about. Do your research!
I am open to suggestions Ms. Johnson, where exactly have I gone wrong? What research are you referring too? Thus far you do not appear to have much to offer us. How is an amphitheater in Beach Front Park going to put affordable food on the table, pay rent, and take care of utility bills for many in the City? Will it fill a gas tank? Buy necessary prescription medication or pay for a doctor’s visit? Will it even pay for school supplies, a child’s birthday bicycle, or clothes for school? Interested in learning from you how this feat of magic will take place. Many who live in the City already struggle with these and many other issues that do not have the space in their existing resources to generously provide the world with new monuments to human civilization. The ball is in your court…
Besides, what’s so bad about grass, a blanket or beach chair, and a portable stage? That is if the truth were to be told.
Mr. Strait, thank you for your lengthy responses. I want to start by saying that I completely agree with you that we need to address the needs of our citizens who are currently in a difficult place. COVID caused many of our people to lose their jobs, businesses, and homes. I know that many of our residents have gone to where they can, including our many encampments. We need to figure out the best way to get all of our people back to work, to a roof over their heads, and back to the ability to thrive. We need addiction treatment programs and alternatives to offer to people who have turned to drugs to dull the pain. Do you have some ideas on how to do that as a community?
Having said all that, I believe your vision of the amphitheater is, unfortunately, incredibly narrow and lacks any kind of vision as to the possibilities it brings to our community. First, the amphitheater will not be dug in but raised as a platform, so the “outdoor swimming pool” is not a thing. The skene, or the “petals”, behind the stage are capable of being raised or lowered. Speaking of the skene, an acoustic professional was consulted and found the acoustics of this design are great. The grant request was started at least five years ago and was recently rewarded to our community. The $3 million dollars is a grant and is not to be paid back. Think of it as a gift to our community.
I think grass, a blanket, a beach chair, and a picnic basket (I know you didn’t say basket, but that kind of goes with listening to music or theater outside is necessary on a summer night) are wonderful. And now you have a permanent stage with wonderful acoustics that will entertain so many people that everyone including tourists will look forward to weekly concerts during the summer (weather permitting!)!
Speaking of tourists, I think we can agree that the survival of our community is based on tourism. Creating tourist opportunities for entertainment is so important. Creating an atmosphere of music, food, creative crafts, art for sale, and more will bring people here. We already have a plan in place for an avenue of food trucks in the park. Electricity has already been set up so the trucks will not have to use generators. The plans for people to set up booths to sell crafts and art have already been decided. Envision people with musical and dancing/artistic capabilities throughout the park, putting out a hat for tips. People love to enjoy creative people. If you think there is no one in the encampments who is creative, crafty, artistic, musical, or theatric, please visit them and inquire. With these scenarios, they will be able to start earning money for food, rent, etc.
Also, it’s free to go to the park and listen to any entertainment on the stage of the amphitheater, so people will have a great place to spend the day. Why not have fundraising events at the amphitheater to raise money to help different causes in our community? It’s doable!
What about Shakespeare in the Park?! There are so many kinds of theatre that can be enjoyed there: plays, comedy, etc. There are people in this community trying to create possibilities for growth. The least we can do is support them.
This all sounds positively wonderful, except for the part about the feasibility of it as a year round or even a part time venue. Tourism, having been in the business for much of my life here, will never be a complete substitute for an economy in Del Norte County. So, no I don’t believe this community can survive on tourism alone. Part time at best, unless covered. “Weather permitting” sounds like it could work until events are cancelled due to weather. “Free” events still cost money to put on. Park maintenance will quickly become expensive and remorseless. Very few people think about that future when “expensive toys” are dangled before their eyes.
I have traveled the Pacific Coast states many times where a tourist economy appears to be a viable option for many a small town, but weather is fickle and uncompromising, making tourism as it has been here a transitory thing, not to be completely relied on. People come during the summer months which artificially increases our population to make a tourist economy somewhat viable and the vision of Beach Front Park appear to be fruitful, the remainder of the year we are a population of 27,000 people with what will be an under utilized manifestation of wistful summer days past. It will take a lot more than what you envision to make this “gift” anything but another pig with lipstick with a voracious appetite. Investment capital for one thing and the ability to grow, neither of which we have in sufficient quantities.
As to the amphitheater itself, I am well aware of the fact that anything dug into the earth itself is a non starter and no one would be foolish enough to construct such a monster. I am familiar with the skene, or as you have described them as “petals”, from trips abroad where they are employed in places with a much more forgiving climate. Even in those places they are often “stored” during the off season where the local population is insufficient to warrant remaining in place. And when I say insufficient population, it most certainly dwarfs anything in this area. It is not that my vision is narrow or lacks the vision of possibilities, we simply do not have the necessary population in Del Norte County or in the immediate area to make anything like this financially feasible. In the mean time, resources which could have an immediate impact on as you say, mental health, homelessness, and simple infrastructure repair are no where to be found in Beach Front Park’s community pool, amphitheater, or the “pottery” display. Food carts, arts and crafts, acoustical music, even the farmer’s market all lack a year round audience, and any possibility of such an audience is simply to far away from here to trust the vagaries of mother nature. Make no mistake, I like the “concept” of a fantasy in the park, it’s just the reality that has me concerned.
This is not yet a community where your vision has much of a place for most who struggle daily just to make ends meet. Until that is better understood by the visionaries in the County, I stand by my assertion that the obsession with Park is misguided. The lack of population and the ability to grow, strike one. Lack of investment dollars for other indoor tourist activities, strike two. No immediately available population center, strike three. And the weather, you are tilting at windmills.
Explain to us how this amphitheater isn’t just going to turn into another neglected landmark within this community, likely overrun and turned into a homeless encampment?
Please also explain where the money to maintain this project is supposed to come from?
This community needs to develop a methodology to prevent our leadership from spending local funds on projects that offer no discernable financial return to the community–especially those projects that add a continual drain on the treasury and the tax payers.