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.