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.