Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

By Samuel Strait – Reporter at Large – January 24, 2022

When one views the latest rendition of what passes for County
government, it becomes a mystery as to why we even have those that sit
as Supervisors any more.  Oh wait! It seems that there was a singular
vote taken in January where one supervisor cast a “No” vote.  Otherwise
4-0-1 clearly has been the vote tally of choice, Bob Berkowitz from
district 5 a chronic absentee.  When, by the way, is Berkowitz going to
admit that he can no longer serve, and a special election can be called
to replace him with someone who at least attends the meetings.  No,
wait, since the Board appears to be letting the County’s Bureaucrats run
the County why bother.

Reports from each Board member was a laundry list of meetings that were
attended by the various Board Members.  Supervisor Starkey led off with
a “short” list of her activities, that likely was the longest of the
members.  Supervisor Short for the most part cribbed off of Supervisor
Starkey’s list.  This was followed by Supervisor Howard’s much shorter
list, yet he managed to talk extensively about home insurance, likely
because he was feeling a hefty financial bite out of his pocket, but did
not offer much to resolve the problem that has most homeowners in the
County in the same condition.  He concluded his remarks with his
discussion of Measure “R” in a meeting with the staff of the CCTimes. 
Then continued with some whining about the fact that the repeal vote was
going to take place in June and what a shame if all the “New” wages and
benefits for six “new” county positions would have to go away if the
repeal was successful.  You will recognize Measure “R” as a 1% sales tax
hike that was advertised as NOT TO BE SPENT ON ANY WAGES OR BENEFITS. 
Promises, promises from government.

As to the business of the meeting on February 22nd, very little
curiosity or critical thinking by the Board was evident regarding the
“Consent Agenda” with the exception of a member of the public.  This was
easily taken care of by an expedited dismissal without even a hint of
concern or discussion.  What’s new.  No evidence that the Board even was
aware of what was on that agenda.  Seems there are a number of “new”
positions to be created at Health and Human Services.  Several contracts
for other services and a nod of approval to the Tolowa for some stream
improvements.  No indication how any of these items came to be or if
even they were necessary.  More money spent with no discussion or
questions from the four lumps sitting as “Supervisors”.

A 10:30 timed item was to star Lord Aaron Stultz, waiting, and an
anticlimactic “no show”.  Apparently moonlighting at Sutter Health kept
him from his regular day job at Public Health.  Must be nice to get paid
twice for the same time period by two different, or is it three
different employers.  Likely his report would contain all sorts of Covid
cautions, a hospital report, numbers of inmates with Covid, and a couple
more deaths.  Nothing to get excited about unless he continued to offer
the now completely debunked “Covid” can be controlled and defeated, if
only we “follow the science.”  Be sure to get vaccinated and boosted!

Only one public comment, while relatively benign, elicited no response
from the Board.  There did appear to be some noticeable effort by the
Board to remain indifferent and dismissive, but not a peep was uttered
in response to the Public Comment.  A presentation by California Fish
and Game in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Board (Smith
River Alliance involvement) to refurbish the Saxton Public Boat Ramp on
the Smith River at no cost to the County’s General Fund.  That would
come later.  The project would not take place and the land transfer
would not occur until the County committed to managing and maintaining
the ramp for 25 years following the rehab.  No one asked the obvious
question, “Just how much was that going to cost?”  Not to worry, that’s
a problem for another day.  More castles and palaces to take care of
and, for our children to pay for.  Its more government after all, what
more could the Board ask.  No real discussion, after all it was a “No
Brainer”.   4-0-1.

The next item, again a “NO BRAINER”, at least according to Supervisor
Howard, was to receive a presentation by Kymmie Scott to establish a
“Del Norte Natural and Cultural Resource Protection and Preservation
Program” to be integrated with emergency services.  Good Golly, Miss
Molly, another potential Measure “R” employee.  According to Scott, the
program would be grant funded although not all the funding was in place
before Scott was asking for an agreement for professional services to be
provided by her employer, Tidal Basin, Inc.  No money was to change
hands assured Scott, that is until grant funding doesn’t materialize, or
disappears somewhere down the road.  Again no substantive questions or
discussions, just a lot of word salad about how “Great” this would be. 
Who comes up with these bat brained ideas?  Vote was taken 4-0-1, what
did you really expect.

The remaining item was a “letter of support” for the job killing
expansion of the Smith River National Recreation Area Act introduced by
Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen.  No surprise there, another Democrat. 
“Concerns” by out of area enviro-nazis which expressed “opposition” to
potential mining on the North Fork of the Smith River.  Not concerned
about potential good paying jobs or that mining is no longer operated
like it was in the 1850’s. But, Hey, no one ever bothers to check the
facts if an enviro-nut case utters them.  Just a 4-0-1 robotic vote, no
questions asked.

A budget transfer to pay for all the “Zoom” meetings that likely were
completely unnecessary and difficult to access.  The government
again….  Looks like the paint dried on the wall, how fascinating. 
Maybe we should all do that the next time the BOS meets.  Adjourned
until next time, paint drying might just become a popularity issue for
the BOS….

7 thoughts on “The Robots Met Again”
  1. Thanks for readjusting my perspective Sam.
    I just figured all the Yyyyeeeessss, YYeeesss, Yes sheep were democrats.
    I’ll pay closer attention.

  2. Thank you Sam for keeping us up to date. Unfortunately it sounds like only the ones that read the CCT will know what goes on. I used to go to the BOS meetings, but half the time I didn’t know what they were talking about. I liked Mr Gitlin. He went out of his way to help me once. I figured the other BOS felt he was a nuisance and they were flat out rude to him. At least he cared about the community, e.g., organizing clean ups.

  3. You can’t blame it on that, Sam! There are sitting Board Republicans that were not endorsed by the Republican Committee. Even an endorsement by the Committee does not guarantee a win, if you look at your history.

    Besides that, who other than you, to write an article, even attends the committee meetings from the public?

    Let’s admit the real problem is apathy, lack of voter education.

    1. Not “blaming” anything on any one. Just pointing to the faulty logic of saying “because you are a Republican you are ‘for smaller government and less taxation'”. Who said anything about an “endorsement” guaranteed a “win”. I just found it contradictory that an organization that prides itself in claiming it was against higher taxation would not support an effort to eliminate a tax that was clearly designed to circumvent the reasons that were given by those in the government stating it was meant as a financial curative for certain issues. Those in the government being for the most part Republicans. No mystery here, just a logical conundrum exposed.

  4. Sam, it is indeed a very sad situation. This county has no one to blame but themselves. Apathy runs rampant- no one chooses to challenge the incumbents, no one attends the candidate forums, and most important, only about 30% of registered voters even vote.
    Seems like there ought to be a recall effort to get Berkowitz out of there if he is not effectively representing his District.
    The sad state of affairs has been going on for years. Other than a “hope and a prayer”, who out there can make an effective argument that it will change?

    1. There are four sitting Republicans on the current Board, at least I seem to remember Valerie Starkey saying that she was. Darrin Short is on the Republican Central Committee. Need I say more? The local Republicans need to clean house before there will be any effective opposition to what is going on in Del Norte County.

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