Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

Opinion by Samuel Strait – May 12, 2022

I will leave it up to “Eye On Del Norte” to give the hard cold facts on
the most recent election debate for the candidates from the County’s
District Three, Chris Howard, Frank Magarino, and Joe Akins.  It is time
to pull off the gloves and get down to what I see as the heart of the
differences between the three men who are looking to be District Three
Supervisor and let them know what they might look like to a potential

I have now listened to all three men articulate what they see as their
“street creds” towards being the “best ” man for the job. The following
will be a concise and to the point offering of whether or not any of the
three candidates can listen, learn, and then produce some measure of
solutions, if possible, to a few of the purported issues facing the
County.  In the recent two hour session where all three candidates were
offered a series of questions and asked for a response, a pattern has
been established for each man.  All of the questions are time worn
issues that do not easily lend themselves to any form of solution to be
found by the County’s government.  Most will not likely be solved in any
satisfactory manner, hence it is important to understand that when an
elected office holder says “I have the answers” the voter should be
wary.  If that same person were to say, “I am open to what say my
district’s constituents”, then just maybe we have a winner.

Beginning with the incumbent, Chris Howard, if you wish a polished well
spoken representative who fancy’s himself as “having all the answers”
if, only enough money was available to expand government endlessly, then
Chris is your man.  Government is Chris’s answer to every issue.  He is
a poor listener, well entrenched in government both within and outside
of the County. He has a fascination with government operations that he
views as “successful”, yet do not appear to have “solved the issue”. 
When confronted with facts that dispute his vision, he is quick to point
to the notion, that this is the way government works, nothing to see
here folks.  He “talks” about his successes not in evidence and seems
unaware that others may see something very different from his version of
events.  This combination of traits leaves him little room to understand
why things do not work as intended.    There are problems that
government was never meant to solve no matter how many times local
bureaucrats relay citizen concern over a particular problem.

Frank Magarino, quite simply is a man of “I’s” which exclude those he
wishes to represent.  It is unclear whether he is capable of listening
and learning.  There are many aspects of government operation that he
will have great difficulty adjusting to from the perspective of
primarily coming from a business orientation. Government is quite simply
messy and often does not react well to a business model.   All things to
all people is an oxymoron and unattainable in any form of government. 
Compromises are therefore, the name of the game, but are rarely the
answers everyone is looking for.  This is why government should work to
become as small as possible and cost the least to allow individuals to
acquire skills to solve their own individual problems.  Mr. Magarino
does not appear to grasp the fundamentals of what does and does not
happen in the government world.  His previous experiences on the Del
Norte Unified School District failed to forge any understanding of
promises made and not kept which was particularly noticeable when the
school district promised one thing, and produced something barely
recognizable to those promises.  He and Chris Howard are very similar in
that regard.  Attention to deferred maintenance was not what was
expected by those that voted to approve Measure “A”.

Last but not least, it was refreshing to hear from a candidate that does
not have all the answers, and can admit to that position while running
for office.  Too often politicians get wrapped up in their “visions” and
are ultimately unsuccessful, without ever knowing “Why?”.  Mr. Joe “Hank” Akin can
and does defer to others that may offer a better solution and has a
better understanding of what “representative” actually can be defined
as.  Clearly there will be a “learning curve” and multiple frustrations
for this candidate with practices currently engaged in the decision
pathway as well as the understanding of how far the local bureaucracy
has strayed from what they are tasked to undertake.  Most of Mr. Akin’s
path as a Supervisor will occupy the ground between what can be
accomplished with less, not more, and still have County government
satisfy the very basic needs for his district’s residents.  A tall task
of which Mr. Akin is the only one of the three that will have some
measure of success for the County’s future.

For those that are running for this office, the past should become an
education for what has been a long standing set of well defined issues
that stubbornly refuse to succumb to the adage that more has to be
better.  What has not quelled the concern for those perpetual issues
must become open to a stark change of course where excess, expensive and
extravagant solutions become a thing of the past.  Government has long
ago crossed the line of becoming too expensive without any signs of
measurable success.

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