Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

By Donna Westfall – January 22, 2019 – I asked my Supervisor 1st District, Roger Gitliin, to look into updates on the $163,000 penalty for the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) lease termination.  I was surprised it wasn’t anywhere on the agenda because if it had been, I intended to attend the meeting and speak during public comment.

Knowing that Sup. Gitlin would take care of my request for an update, I watched the video to get the gist of what transpired. He tried asking Chairman Lori Cowan for an update.  He really did try. Color me not surprised because for the first two years Lori Cowan sat on the BOS dais every time she wanted to confront Sup. Gitlin, she would turn to him and say, “You just don’t understand.” Let me tell you something.  Sup. Gitlin understands.  He understands really well and can run circles around her because in my opinion, he’s smarter than her and he’s more ethical than her.  However, with her newfound power as Chairman of the BOS, she can simply interrupt Sup. Gitlin and talk over him constantly. Her rational?  “It’s not on the agenda.”

Excuse me. How do you get something on the agenda with this type of resistance? When an elected official has the floor, it’s common courtesy to allow them to finish without being interrupted.  I predict this will not be the last time Chairman Cowan interrupts Sup. Gitlin.  Now, let’s take a look at her performance:


Here’s the timeline on just this one subject:

December 11, 2018 – Agenda Item #15.  Director Heather Snow comes to the BOS and let’s them know that she’s asking for approval of nearly $163,000 to terminate the lease for the AOD located at 1279 2nd Street in Crescent City.  Only Sup. Gitlin asks questions about what looks like squandering the public’s money. Why is that?  Is it because the others don’t care?  Haven’t read the report? Have they already made back room deals?

Now get this.  The draft of the TERMINATION AGREEMENT IS DATED November 5, 2018.

When Sup. Gitlin questioned her, her response, “….Not entitled to any better deal.”  “Industry standard.”  Does she even know what the heck is she talking about? She has NO numbers on the amout of leasehold improvements. That should be the first question. I would be very, very surprised if it approached anywhere near $100,000. The space is only about 3,000 square feet. She admitted knowing little about commercial real estate contracts.  Want to watch:  Go to and pull up at 2 hours 27 minutes and 58 seconds. Start there.

January 8, 2019 –  Director Heather Snow gives an update which consists of letting the BOS know she is in negotiations with the landlord.  She intends to bring more documents to the BOS in a couple of more meetings. Remember the lease stops on January 31st, or in 23 days

Now just think about this for a second.  Getting a figure for leasehold improvements takes all of five minutes.  It’s one simple communication with the landlord. He knows how much he spent to modify the space to accomodate AOD. It was spelled out that the payback was taking place in the first 5 years of the lease.  They already finished 2 years, so 3 years to run.

January 22, 2019 – Here we have local county resident, Crista Norton give an excellent and very succinct public comment about the fiasco.


January 31, 2019Lease terminated.  Offices are cleaned out.  AOD has moved and merged into offices over to K Street.

A last word about the continued bad leadership at the BOS.

*  Interrupting a fellow supervisor and talking over them is bad form. But according to members of different public meetings, Cowan doesn’t limit her bad behavior to the BOS dais. Her rudeness and talking over people is on going. I was surprised that not one member of the different groups came forward yet to ask that she not sit on their committee’s any longer.

*  Eliminating Sup. Gitlin from committee’s or not asking him which committee’s he’d like to be on is bad form.

*  Ignoring pleas of the public for such things as in this case updates on squandering public monies.

How do I know this is bad form? I asked for investigations and many members of the public asked for investigations on allegations of graft and corruption on the sewer plant upgrade/expansion. It fell on deaf ears. I suffered through the same kind of BS with Kelly Schellong when she was Mayor for two years in a row while serving on the City Council. And then there was Kathryn Murray as Mayor.  Same thing, only worse.

Again I don’t see any headway towards prosperity in this poor forsaken town due in part to the poor leadership exhibited as it was today… on video…. in the BOS chambers. As far a I’m concerned, we’re entering one more year of poor leadership at the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors with inexcusable behavior, favoritism, and not listening to the public or definitely not listening to Sup. Gitlin.









6 thoughts on “Update on squandering $163,000 taxpayers money on a penalty”
  1. MEL, if you do not like how someone reports news maybe you should step up to the plate, or quit reading. people are so apt to criticize and rebuke but never put themselves out there to make a change. just saying.

  2. LESLIE BARNES I can tell you Roger Gitlin and Bob Berkowitz are against handing over $163,000.00. There was no termination clause invoked by the second 10 year lease agreement heather snow signed. She is trying to get them to sign the agreement now. This will be a lose lose situation. Sup Hemmingsen has to recuse himself from the vote. which leaves Howard and Cowan voting yeh and Berkowitz and Gitlin voting nah…so we will see where this takes us. Also if you pull up December’s agenda and look for the item on the agenda that speaks to this you can find documents attached. The documents that are attached is the blank termination clause that was suppose to be signed by Chris Howard. Now Chair Cowan is prolonging this issue by stating to the public she is waiting for HEATHER SNOW to justify this expense. GUESS WHAT there will be no justification; it is the board’s way of sweeping it under the rug and paying the money which will be considered FRAUD, EMBEZZLEMENT, AND MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS. Seems to be a common practice in DEL NORTE COUNTY.

  3. I would like to get a reply from Bob Berkowitz about the Lease Situation I’ve already asked you once before Bob and I would like to know what you think what and why this happened? You are my supervisor and I Voted for you and so did my husband so please reply to our question and let us know….. Thank you!

  4. I have another question! What does BOB BERKOWITZ say about this; I would appreciate his opinions about what’s happening to the Crescent City TaxPayers! Since I am in Bob’s district I would really appreciate knowing what he thinks is going on???

  5. Excellent Reporting Donna. Roger certainly has the Right To ask any Questions To understand just what is going on with that lease he trying to Protect the Crescent City Tax Payers Looks like information is being swept under the Rug buy the rest of the Board maybe they would rather the Grand Jury looked into it???

  6. You are not telling the full story, free of emotion and bias. I would like more options for news. Take ego and emotion out and let your readers form an opinion. Then, take the bias out so that you can report on Supervisor Gitlin when he uses dishonest tactics. Who moved to approve the consent agenda containing the lease? Who moved to approve yet another lease for 15 years? Full story, please. Follow your headline ($160,000) Roger not getting the appointments he wants is another story. And when you tell it, report his attendance so we have a full view and balanced perspective.

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