By Branden Bieber – January 13, 2023
I don’t know much, but know I live in one of the most spectacular places in the World. I know I was born along the beach, at Seaside Hospital in Crescent City. I know our community is full of proud, caring, and hardworking individuals. I also know during the past year I’ve tried to engage in the local politics and have been shunned, silenced, and not responded to when questioning detrimental local policies.
It started in November of 2021, when I called the now retired Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen. After our family decided to homeschool our boys. I was concerned about the November 2021 Health Ordinance from Del Norte County that threatened to imprison Del Norte County Citizens for not wearing a mask. When questioned, Hemmingsen explained that my son would not be arrested for not wearing a mask, but his guardian could be. After some lively, but respectable debate Hemmingsen expressed the Ordinance was potentially overreaching, but that he was powerless to do anything about it. Another “State Mandate.”
That non-influential reasoning, accompanied by the occasional Dr. Stutz Zoom appearance made me realize what a delicate balance Democracy is. It also instilled in me a new sense of American Pride. Like any civilization, America has a history of conflict, greed, troubles and tribulations. Freedom, success, entrepreneurism, and the pursuit of social equality are also part of our history. It is evident by life’s existence, that personal freedom’s are worth fighting for. The Freedom to express your thought’s in a public forum. The Freedom to say to “NO” to non-consensual policy.
Fast forward to January 10th, 2023 at the Board of Supervisor (BOS) meeting. From the previous Friday afternoon, through Tuesday’s meeting, I scanned a couple hundred pages of the 800 page meeting agenda. I commonly spend most of the time reading over the consent agenda. This meeting had 18 numbered consent topics that would be voted on and approved with one vote. Despite some valid and justified approvals, many of these items deserve critical thought and questioning. For instance, a couple pay raises including one for the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services. An eight Amendment over three times the original contract price. Three separate consent items that renew Agreement’s with Willow Care Psychiatric Service totaling $507,000. These three contract started on July 1, 2022, and are over half expired. Then there was consent agenda item #13, distributing $2.5 Million Dollars to Del Norte Office of Education. The $2.5 Million is to fund 4 Psychologist for 4 years in the School District. Despite personally believing the agreement addresses the consequences instead of the problem, I asked the BOS if minors would be evaluated with or without parental consult. No one in the room provided an answer.
I continued commenting on my observation of the Board’s personal harassment of the Chief Probation Officer, and the hostile work environment being allowed at the Juvenile Hall. It was during these comments Chairman Short shut off my microphone, called in two deputies, and cleared the Hall at the Flynn Center. Armed with only my personal comments and pursuit of honest debate, I was far from a threat.
What is a threat, is the indifference to tolerate crime, inflation, mental abuse, poor child development scores, and Government overreach.
This was not the first time, and not likely the last time Chair Short and the BOS’s infringed on my 1st Amendment Rights. Oh well, stay dry!