Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

By Donna Westfall – August 1, 2016 -Sometimes the most interesting news is the news that never makes it to the local mainstream press. This last week it was the political rhetoric out of the mouth of Mr. Finigan at the last board of supervisors meeting.

During the supervisor’s update information on their activities since the last meeting, Finigan went on and on at length about Last Chance Grade. He then stated that all of the progress on Last Chance Grade was almost derailed by a small group of politically motivated individuals who are advocating for a 5 year plan to get the road done instead of the 23 year plan advocated by him.

So who are the small group of politically motivated individuals who want to see the road completed in less than 23 years. One of them is Kurt Stremberg whose parents died the last time Last Chance Grade fell into the ocean. Stremberg has a seat at the table on Congressman Huffman’s Stakeholders group. Politically motivated? I don’t think so.

This past April, in a newspaper letter to the editor he had this to say, “We need community action and support from our elected officials to shorten the timeline for a solution to Last Chance Grade. With that current time frame for construction of a bypass, Last Chance Grade will have fallen into the ocean leaving us with another disaster as bad as 1964.” Or how about this statement by former Supervisor Chuck Blackburn, “When the bureaucrats take over, good luck. According to the timetable of the stakeholders group it will take five to eight years for study, selection of route and negotiations with a completion date of 2031-2039, depending on the length of the bypass. Is this acceptable, folks? I don’t think so.” Many others have advocated for a 5 year plan such as this from Doug Parton, “Gitlin is calling for a five-year plan to replace the bypass road around Last Chance Grade. Finigan and wanna-be supervisor Kathryn Murray both sit on the Last Chance Grade Stakeholders Committee and are content to settle for a bypass built in 2039. More talk.”

It would seem that the only person who is politically motivated is Finigan himself. He is in a tough reelection battle with Bob Berkowitz. Berkowitz is one of those who advocate for the 5 year plan. Finigan is now in a position where he will have to defend his 23 year plan. The voters will have to decide which one of these plans is more advantageous to the citizens of Del Norte County and the rest of the state of California.

6 thoughts on “Where there’s smoke, there’s Finigan”
  1. Politics at its best..
    Bet a simple solution that wouldn’t cost nearly as much is out there..
    But it’ll never be found…never happen..
    A ferry system would not work well.
    Slow..would kill tourism.. truckers? And on the open sea? No thanks..
    We need to elect competent leaders..
    Maybe in 2020..

  2. What everyone seems to be mising here is the fact that ALL impact studies including a ferry take time (a minimum of five years)and money to complete. Not to mention it ALL has to be approved by the California Coastal Commission. The one fact that everyone seems to be missing is by CAL TRANS’ own admission, they have over 80 years of geological information and the technology to make lasting repairs and improve the Last Chance Grade route at fraction fot he cost. The state has spent an average of 2 million a year in maintenance of Last Chance Grade since it has been constructed. Do you really think that the state is willing to spend tens of millions of dollars for studies and then back that with a minimum of hundreds of millions for a new road????? When the state can spend a quarter of that to maintain the existing road

    1. Mr. Jones, I do not get the impression that anyone here expects the State to do any more than what they are doing. It was made clear several times, in several places, that the State has no ability to fund a bypass project in any meaningful manner. The hope is that the Federal Government can be galvanized into action to fund a project sometime before 2030. There are two different camps each promoting a time line that may or may not come to fruition. The State as an option to fund the project does not seem to be one of them. The current snag in the process for an early resolution appears to have come from within the Colorado branch of the Federal Government which will possibly make make the process exceed the best case scenario of five years. Granted, local environmental groups have yet to make their wishes known, and the Coastal Commission will likely have a say in the matter.

      A ferry alternative is hardly likely given the circumstances to be overcome, and alternate routes will no doubt have their individual issues. One can only press on and hope for the best outcome in an issue that the State hasn’t the ability to be of much help. Perhaps an environmental issue might speed things along?

    2. you are right to mention the coastal commission, but in an emergency situation it would be easier to set up the ferry ship than to bull doze a mountain…and the cost would be a fraction of what it would cost to do the mountain…keep in mind they rebuilt the bay bridge in one month after it collapsed from the earthquake of 1989… so the army core of engineers could probably do some amazing work in getting platforms set up for the use of ship ferries. AND THE coastal commission maybe a hindering factor but not a 5 year hindering factor as with the mountain…and again, this would provide life time sustainable jobs with benefits and retirement.

  3. both candidates are delusional…nobody mentions the fact that the studies conducted in 2011 stated you cant go over the mountain or through the mountain or around the mountain due to the geological make up of the mountain….with that said…no body has taken the time to conduct an investigation on utilizing ferry ships from cc to klamath at a fraction of the cost…the ships i speak of are the ones that leave out of port angeles washington…that can float through all types of weather….250 million dollars would not only set us up for life, it would provide life time jobs…unlike a road that is doomed no matter what…this county is in for the final spiral out of control end of all end…hang onto your hats and pocketbooks folks…there is simply no leadership…

    1. I don’t know whether or not both candidates are delusional but establishing a ferry route from Klamath to Crescent City is not an answer, Clearly you do not have much experience with the open ocean or you would realize that to compare the Port Angeles to Victoria ferry run with what you are suggesting isn’t the same. The more or less protected waters of the Straits between Port Angeles and Victoria are significantly different from the open ocean waters of the Pacific. Constructing and operating a ferry port in Klamath and Crescent City is far from easy as you might wish it to be. Time of transit, maintenance on ferries and docks would be long and endless. $250 million would barely scratch the surface of such an enterprise and each person or vehicle would have to pay a rather breath taking price to ride the ferry. Port Angeles to Victoria on the ferry is not free. How would you like to live or work in Klamath and pay $60 round trip to get back and forth? Come on Linda, be realistic when you talk about these kinds of things. Just the few things that I have mentioned are by no means all of the issues that a ferry transit would bring to by passing Last Chance Grade.

      There are stable land routes around last chance grade contrary to your statement that there are not. It will come at a very high cost to use any one of them, something the State will not do at this time. Only the Federal Government would be able to bear the cost. It just becomes a question of how to get over all the huddles to get there, and how long, if ever, it will take.

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