By Roger Gitlin – EYE ON DEL NORTE – October 23, 2021

Friday’s DNUSD Citizens Oversight Bond Committee meeting was nothing less than a train wreck. The Del Norte Unified School District by law must set up a Citizens Oversight Committee which is tasked to track one of the alphabet soup school facilities Bonds you observe on your new Property Tax statement; this one is Measure A, a $25M bond, passed by Del Norte voters some years back. The only member of the eight member Committee who actually takes her job seriously is Angelina Countess-Bieber of Smith River. The others are simply rubberstamps for the District OR cheerleaders for yet another School Facilities Bond for $47M, slated for a November 2022 election

Yesterday’s meeting was a Dog and Pony Show.

The Chairman of the Committee was a Mr. Stephen Lyon. Regrettably, Mr. Lyon had ZERO understanding of how to conduct a meeting. I chatted with him today in an attempt to relate proper and appropriate protocol for conducting a meeting since no one, not the District, not Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations Jeff Napier, Superintendent Jeff Harris nor any of the current members of the School Board took the time to train him on conducting a Government meeting.

Further, I advised Mr. Lyon his loyalty is to the citizens of Del Norte County, not the DNUSD.

I’m not sure he agreed with me on that statement. 12-15 people were sitting in the audience patiently waiting to speak during several public comments opportunities on how the Oversight Board was overseeing the spending by the District. Chairman Lyon was unaware with each and every action item discussed, a public comment period is allowed. He denied the public to speak, save for the Public Comment period at the very end of the meeting. Members of the Audience, not surprisingly, became frustrated and angry by the ignorant Chairman’s behavior and lack of understanding of this protocol.

Finally, when members in the audience were allowed to speak, one member exceeded her three minute limit. Chairman Lyon advised her to cease speaking and when the speaker continued, Mr. Lyon began to bang his gavel for no less than 90 seconds in a feeble attempt to quash the speaker’s comments.

He also stated the people in the audience were NOT the public, but ” people with an agenda.”

Immature, Ignorant and Irresponsible behavior by the ill-prepared Chairman, Stephen Lyon.

The Public is growing impatient with the gross disdain and lack of respect by our local governances and is speaking up loudly and sometimes aggressively when their rights are being violated; I do not blame them! I hold Ass’t Superintendent Napier responsible for this train wreck, not intervening and allowing the verbal barrage on Mr. Lyon to continue. This is lamb to slaughter mentality and for an unpaid volunteer, no less.

Suddenly and without notice Crescent City Police Department Chief Richard Griffin appeared in the Boardroom, apparently responding to a call from the DNUSD.

Was there on-going criminal activity?

ABSOLUTELY NOT…This inappropriate call for police intervention by the District was inexcusable.

I want to recognize and commend Committee Oversight member Angelina Countess-Bieber for her courage and ability to assuage the angry audience and introduce new items for discussion at the next Citizens Oversight meeting, the 3rd Friday in November, 11/19 at 3pm, in the Boardroom of the DNUSD at 3pm.Hope to see you all there.

3 thoughts on “TRAIN WRECK At $25 Million School Bond Meeting”
  1. I tuned in to the COC meeting just in time to see and hear the Fire Chief interrupt the meeting; cut off the person speaking during public comment; then expound on parliamentary procedure—or at least his version of same. How did the Fire Chief get involved in the COC meeting…he just interrupted like he was the person in authority. Has he been appointed by someone to barge in as he did and take over the proceedings of a Committee? He was disciplining the person speaking for taking more than 3 minutes, but who/what authorized him to interrupt and take control of the meeting? Can anyone of us citizens do the same thing? How would that disturbance fit in with a Committee meeting? I would like some answers to this fiasco…such a rude occurrence.

  2. I’m really glad the I stayed long enough to join in on the Pledge of Allegiance, it had been a long time. I could tell by the way they started the meeting that it was sliding down hill rapidly. When they couldn’t even figure out, and a decision on how, or who had the power to move an agenda item from 4 to 5, or 5 to 4 that it was time for me to go. I was so productive after I left. I went shopping for dinner, I swept and washed the floors, did some laundry. All the energy came from what I probably would have said if the board would have asked me where I was going, when I was walking out the door. It’s absolutely scary how these few can be in charge of so much. You know what else is sad, is on a board, there is always a few that don’t really understand what their okaying, they are trusting the one next to them to know, and rubber stamping them. Well, in reality, that makes them just as guilty as the ones that are rubber stamping the actions of those that are using the monies on repairs, not new construction, which is illegal.

  3. Well said. It should be noted Chief Griffin had to explain to Chair Lyons on two occasions the rules in allowing the public to speak.

    The entire board was completely incompetent and uneducated on not only how to conduct a meeting according to the Brown Act but had no training or understanding what their purpose was as an oversight committee.

    Chair Lyons did not want to hear about the over $2 million dollars that was spent on repairs and according to prop 39 a construction bond was to be utilized for construction. Mr. Lyons didn’t want to hear it because he himself admitted several times through his own omissions he didn’t know what he was doing.

    Chief Griffin was knowledgeable fair and consistent. Big thanks to him and Mrs. Bieber.

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