Sun. May 19th, 2024

Opinion mixed with facts by Samuel Strait – October 12, 2023

It seems a bit of innocuous business performed a couple weeks ago at the
September 26th meeting of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors has
raised the conscious level of a portion of the community to the point
that a dozen or so members of the public felt the need to actually
participate in the public’s discourse. In what was a typical sparsely
attended meeting, at least by the public, as an item that normally would
have received hardly any notice from a Consent Agenda that is routinely
passed by a 5-0 vote got pulled for a bit of scrutiny.   It, the item,
was called out for additional discussion by 5th district’s Supervisor,
Dean Wilson and was subsequently pulled kicking and screaming from the
Agenda for a bit of that public discussion.

Supervisor Dean Wilson, 5th District

While this is a relatively out of character move by the BOS and is often nothing more than a bit of
additional theater, it is something that should happen on a more regular
basis for many of the items “rubber stamped” by the Board with little or
no discussion or attention to the potential negative outcomes for the
community when passed.  In any event, the item, a bridge program which
would enable, pay particular attention to the word “enable” to be
discussed later, low income, uninsured residents of the County to
received a Covid 19 vaccination at public expense.  After all we should
be accurate when talking about anything that is labeled “free” by
government, because it is only “free” to the recipient, where others
ultimately “pay the bill”.

The item, championed by Supervisor Valerie Starkey, subsequently failed
to receive a “second” and passed into BOS history as as one of the few
programs in recent memory that did not become another entitlement funded
by the taxpayer, or create yet another dependent, dysfunctional class of
local citizens.  Whew, dodged a bullet there.  I am quite sure it must
have been a blow to Ms. Starkey’s brand of “bleeding heart liberalism”,
but hey, government was never meant to fix the whole world’s supply of
problems, Right?  At that point, I really did not give much thought to
any developments over the issue until a routine physical at a local
doctor’s office found the decision by the Board to be a topic of
conversation.  My first thought to the doctor’s concern was that he
shouldn’t fear, that government always seems to have plenty of built in
redundancy.  Likely some other government program would swoop in to
cover the vacancy. And, as far as Supervisor Wilson’s personal take on
the subject, there were after all three other supervisors present, and
we still, at least to my knowledge, are a “Representative Republic, not
a Democracy”;  hence, we are bound by the decisions of our elected, good
or bad, until the next election.

Yet the issue did not die.  At the recent October 10th BOS meeting,
suddenly people who had never involved themselves beyond hopefully
voting, appeared to whine and complain about what they viewed as a
tragic moment of government malfeasance, comparable to one of America’s
greatest tragedies.  Thirty minutes of calls for the item to be
revisited by the Board.  Claims of “no choice” for the unfortunate and
numerous other woeful outcomes  amid hand wringing and claims of future
catastrophe.  Ultimately, it was patiently explained to the public, that
the Board had made a decision that could only be revisited at a future
Board meeting under “special circumstances.  Not a happy group left the
chambers as civic duty performed, no successful resolution to pleas, and
disgruntle citizens were left plotting future action.

Now the circumstances are set, and the education part begins. This is
not the place to discuss the relative benefits or issues with the Covid
19 shots, but it is the place to discuss “lack of choice” claims and
what government offered “free” programs do to members of this
community. 

First and foremost, the fact that the BOS failed to
authorize the bridge program for “free Covid shots” most certainly does
not eliminate “choice” for 2200 local citizens in this County.  If. and
it does not appear that the entire 2200 low income residents even wants
the shots, those that still “do” want the shots have a variety of
“choices”  which would enable them to receive “The Shot”.  The “bridge
program” is but one option.  Not all choices are “free”, but there are a
number of other ways of receiving a “shot” for free.  Other options
require a certain amount of functionality in the uninsured, low income
individual which the “bridge” form of dependency and dysfunction does not.

To begin with, no one has been excluded from receiving a “free” Covid
shot.  It is just no longer a choice from the “Bridge Program”.  The
residents who may have been able to access the “bridge” program do in
fact have plenty of options which will result in a Covid 19 shot, should
they choose to proceed.  The issue that presents itself going forward,
is that not all choices are “free”.  We are operating under the illusion
that a $100 to $130 expense is a truly insurmountable cost to low
income, uninsured individuals.  Remember, they do have some form of
income.  Most people that are actually functional, wish to have a Covid
shot, where it is a priority, and they have income should be able to
either fund basic health insurance or the shot.  Those are but a few of
the many “choices to be made.

Having a continuous dependence on government programs for “free” stuff
breeds dysfunctional citizens.  Not only does it effect the recipient,
but it is not free.  Until those in government understand that this
Country was never meant to breed dependence, hand out “free” stuff, nor
solve everyone’s problems, government leadership will continue to fail
being beneficial to its citizens.  The more dependence the government
ferments, the less functional members of society exist to support that
government. Ultimately that government fails.  History has repeatedly
shown this to be a fact.

Supervisor Starkey’s activism has no place in a government leadership
role.  She is merely a representative of her constituency and as their
leader should act as such.  While she alone has not assumed the entire
mantle, it is a failure found with few exceptions in this entire Board. 
As much as the compulsion to do “good” exists in many of us, it has a
bad habit of doing the opposite.  The “bridge” program may appear to
solve an identifiable problem, yet in its place it creates a greater
problem, that of low income, uninsured residents who are unable to solve
very basic problems in their lives.  This, in fact, is a much greater
problem going forward for the individual than a free Covid shot.

2 thoughts on “The Continuing Education Of Supervisor Valerie Starkey”
  1. It’s unfortunate for Republicans that Supervisor Starkey is the only board member creating action. It’s also unfortunate for Republican’s, and residents of Del Norte that the liberal policies sponsored by Darrin Short and Chris Howard are suffocating our community in Social Service entitlements.
    Working families can’t sustain the price gauging and inflation being mandated by the State and enforced by our local elected.
    If only the California Governor would ask people to jump off a bridge, we could solve our stupidity problem.

    1. Well Branden, Supervisor Starkey is head cheer leader for most of the programs that you find abhorrent over the last nine months. She has had a far greater reach than nearly every one else on the Board when it comes to creating and funding programs that foster dependence and dysfunction for many adults and children in the County. We are awash with hundreds of programs from nearly every County department that promotes dependence in lieu of creating functional citizens. Valerie Starkey has a big heart, which makes her a terrible leader. She is such a nice person that it is impossible for her to say NO! We already have a substantial population of dysfunctional people in the County that will only grow during her tenure on the Board. I feel very sorry that she is clueless about the damage her predilection for activism causes to those her disregard for becoming functional people has effected. She fails to understand that the world cannot be fixed unless those that need the repairs are willing to invest in themselves rather than have something spoon fed to them by Starkey Programs which historically fail most of the time. People in Ms Starkey’s world rarely become successful no matter how much time and money is spent. Yet the effort will be applauded when a handful succeed while the over all numbers grow. Take any program the County has invested in over the last few years and watch numbers of people rise. Homelessness has at least doubled, crime up dramatically, mental health just look at the near endless contracts authorized at every BOS meeting, infrastructure needs out of control, the list is endless. Until the BOS can become the 0-5 Club, the County’s Bureaucracy will bury the County in a version of the “Starkey nanny state” that is unsustainable. Sooner or later Ms Starkey will have the County all cocoons up in programs and nobody will be left to pay the bill. Governor “hair gel” is already well on the way of destroying the State, Ms Starkey is the local version of his highness.

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