Thu. Oct 22nd, 2020

By Roger Gitlin – October 12, 2020

Tuesday, October 13, 2020, our Del Norte County Board of Supervisors is taking up two items:
 
Item 31…Authorizing $600,000 for emergency interim housing during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Coastal Inn and Suites,
AND
Item 32… Approve the purchase the Coastal Inn and Suites on the 101 (665 L Street) for the purpose of converting this private motel into a County property to address the short-term housing needs of those without shelter.
 
It’s a bad idea. It’s a very ill-thought out bad idea.
 
This community and I support a shelter for those in need of housing and services but the location of this property is grossly inappropriate and will create many, many more problems than it will solve. The key issue is and remains LOCATION.
 
Why would anyone place such a facility in the very heart of Crescent City? Close to 1,000,000 vehicles annually go up and down the 101. The picture is not a pretty one.
 
  • The City will lose $34,000 annually on Transient Occupancy Taxes.
  • The County and the City will lose its share of the Coastal Inn and Suites property taxes. Currently, Coastal Inn pays about $8,500 per year in property taxes.
 
Allow me to share the following: The County budget for 2020/21 is $145.6 million. By far the largest Department in our County is the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and their budget is $67.1 Million.
 
DHHS represents a staggering (and growing ) 46% of the County budget, Astounding!
 
The proposed purchase of the Coastal Inn and Suites is part of a $600 Million ($550 Million in CARES reimbursement and $50 in State General Fund allocation, of which Del Norte has requested and will receive a $2.4 Million grant). Approximately $1.9 Million will purchase the Motel from the Jenny DePew Family Trust. The remainder will be directed for operational funds.
 
What will be the impact on City law enforcement and emergency services?
What is the sustainability of on-going funding for this purchase?
Political funds are exactly that, political. Funding can and I predict will eventually disappear… and how will County tax payers keep this homeless shelter in the very heart of our community, open and properly managed. We know San Francisco and Sacramento have experienced failure in purchasing motels in their communities, The City of Milpitas is discussing injunctive relief at its upcoming City Council meeting.
 
Will the faux need for an additional 1% County sales tax eventually pay for this facility? I am voting NO on the increase on the General Sales tax and recommend you folks who do not live within the City, vote NO on the County Tax.
 
Is there any who believes that many of those occupying this “free housing” doesn’t bring with them their own set of: drug, alcohol and mental health problems
 
Does Del Norte County and the DHHS have on staff a resident, qualified psychiatrist? The answer is NO ! Sutter Coast Hospital dropped that ball some years back.
 
On Tuesday’s Consent Agenda, there are 11 items referencing Agreement with the Del Norte DHHS funding; matters; three of those Consent Agenda items outsource psychiatric care to Yuba City and Redding. This is yet another case of the County acquiring the infrastructure, yet fails to address the staff needs to make their efforts successful.
 
Indeed the footprint for this growing Department is profound.
This proposed purchase speaks poorly of a community which attempts to grow itself on the problems of folks’ drug, alcohol and mental illness. There is big money in DHHS.
 
Del Norte County has a long, long history of being the dutiful and obedient child following Mother Sacramento’s every wish and whim.
 
I ask you how does this magnificent, beautiful Del Norte County emerge into prosperity by importing these Herculean challenges? It is my dream one day, that the largest Department in Del Norte County will NOT be the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
 
For now, Del Norte languishes in a sea of social ills, a reservoir of mediocrity.
 
TRAGIC !
 
Indeed, there is big money in poverty.
 
Roger Gitlin is Del Norte County Supervisor 1st District
 

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