Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – February 26, 2017 –
I was under the mistaken impression that once Supervisors McClure and Finigan had taken their last curtain call that the citizens of Del Norte County would be done with actors pretending to be leaders, but alas, that is not the case. Having recently digested the video of the last “Special” meeting of the Board of Supervisors and read the comments in the Crescent City Times, then even sucked it up and read the Triplicate’s rendition of events, I can see that acting is still in play from our leadership at both the City and the Board of Supervisors. I don’t know if Mayor Inscore, Supervisor Hemmingsen, Cowan and Chair Howard realize it, but we have already heard all the excuses for not taking full advantage of ANY opportunity to move the bypass of Last Chance Grade FORWARD.
Mayor Inscore’s appearance at the Board’s special meeting is a case in point. He is in a position of authority here in the County and should be exercising good judgement before he publicly complains about receiving phone calls about a proposal for fixing Last Chance Grade then proceeds to muddy the waters by talking about something he has no specific knowledge about. Looking it up on the internet is not always the best way to go about gaining local information, especially when the source is but a phone call away.
It continues to amaze me to have a known major problem, that everyone admits is a problem, and yet there is significant resistance to try something that is a new approach to the problem that may or may not be successful, and has no real down side other than the Board has to vote to support the effort. It continues to amaze me that any person in a position of leadership would be willing to sit on the side lines expecting others to carry the water without so much as making any, and I repeat any alternative proposal.
I and many others in this County are tired of the refrain, “People are saying we haven’t done anything, yet there are all these unknown and unspecified things that we have done behind closed doors.” Something former Supervisor David Finigan was a master at spitting out when trapped in a corner of inaction. Or the tried and true, “We are in the midst of a process that is working its way through the labyrinth of State and Federal Government requirements, give it a chance.” “There is no plan here, this is like a third grade math problem, I can’t support this.” “I’ve spent several hours on the internet researching the issue and can’t see how this is going to work.”
Earth to Mayor Inscore, Supervisors Hemmingsen, Cowan, and Howard, be proactive and come up with an alternative. It is wonderful that you felt compelled to visit Japan and have a feel-good-moment when the priority should have been here in the County coming up with your PLAN. In case you missed it the Executive Director of the local transportation commission said point blank, the current process of approaching the Federal Highways on an emergency basis is an awkward fit for a program that normally deals with much smaller projects and may not be successful. Seems to me that another arrow or two in your quiver is not unreasonable. The recent action at the Board of Supervisors not to gain that arrow at no real cost to the Board is not very leader-like? And, Oh, by the way Mayor Inscore, do you have that plan ready and waiting to bail out the financial morass that is the Waste Water Treatment Plant, or does someone else have to come up with that proposal too?
It has recently surfaced in the Crescent City Times, a REAL news source, that Governor Brown, you know the guy in Sacramento that doesn’t even know we exist, has authored a letter with his priorities for infrastructure to the Federal Government should funding become available as promised by the currently much maligned administration. Not surprisingly, Last Chance Grade is not on that list. Also not surprising is that our representative Jarad Huffman has managed to include a lesser project in Sonoma County for the citizens that matter most to him. I don’t see much beyond lip service from that source. Of course we could go by Supervisor Cowan’s internet research in which by population California stands to reap $100 million in Federal funds from a program she can’t find to be in existence on the internet. She voted NO. Chair Howard wanted to be reasonable, yet voted NO on the proposal. Supervisor Hemmingsen appeared perplexed in the meeting and could not make up his mind, of course knowing full well that to abstain was as good as a NO vote. The end result is that we here in this County cannot depend on our Supervisors Howard, Cowan and Hemmingsen to be proactive and move one of our most pressing problems towards a solution. That is some kind of leadership. Just exactly what the doctor ordered, endless delay?