Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – October 8, 2018 –
I think it was some time last spring when I was approached in a local
business by a signature gatherer wishing for me as a registered voter to
sign on to the petition to place Measure C on the November ballot.  When
I said no thank you, I think he was a bit discombobulated particularly
after I patiently explained to him why I would not be a party to such a
travesty.   To be honest, I didn’t give the whole sordid mess much
thought until I heard Paul Critz, Don McArthur, and Brayden Hatch
chatting up the topic as if no one in their right minds would oppose
Measure C.  Wrong, I oppose Measure C and so do most folks that do not
sign on to the mostly emotional argument of “Save the Harbor” while in
the process of proposing to rob Del Norte County of hundreds of
thousands of dollars of potential income each year with no end to the

Yes I know, the defenders of the harbor “CLAIM” that it is the visitors
to our fair County that will pay the freight for the decades of
mismanagement by the Harbor Commission.  NOTHING could be further from
the truth.  The TAX money collected from visitors, is money that won’t
be spent at local businesses, restaurants, gas stations, or grocery
stores but rather be sent directly to Washington DC.  It may even
motivate some vacationers to skip Del Norte County all together.  Lets
face it local voters after the first $10 million goes to the Federal
Government, money will continue to be robbed from the local economy long
after the debt 38 years in the future is repaid to the Department of
Agriculture is but a memory.

Unfortunately, commercial fishing is another resource based industry
that State regulation and environmental tinkering will continue its
steady decline.  As the current supporters of Measure C acknowledge,
depending on the declining fortunes of our fishermen will not provide a
stable income for the harbor commission to pay its bills.  Hence the go
to solution for all government mismanaged operations, ANOTHER TAX.  A
person only has to know that excluding the loan payments for the harbor
rebuild, the harbor may be able to meet day to day expenses now, but at
the same time they have managed to amass $4.1 million dollars in
deferred maintenance that they currently have no way to pay for. Not a
very hopeful scenario for the harbor in the future particularly when you
factor in any potential future damage that might be incurred by another
substantial tsunami.   Oh, you thought the current commissioners had
taken care of that problem with the $55 million dollars spent to
“harden”  (I love that characterization) the harbor.  Sorry folks, but
that too is a myth.  They only thing that the $55 million dollars has
accomplished was creating a giant pencil farm in the inner boat basin,
prettifying it, and making it a lot more expensive to fix when the next
tsunami rolls through.

I believe it was Mr. Critz, who accused me of having faulty logic
regarding my opposition to Measure C, not quite sure what about my logic
he was referring to, often the case in our conversations, but I find
this particular TAX a bit short sighted and unnecessary.  It seems
pretty clear that the local harbor commission cannot continue to afford
to go down the path they have chosen and they don’t appear to be willing
to entertain any other options, other than to tax.

At some point local voters must come to the realization that having most
forms of government run anything is a recipe for disaster.  The harbor
is a case in point.  Three decades should be long enough for the harbor
commission to realize that times were changing and a new dynamic was
necessary for the harbor to remain solvent.  No such luck.  Now at the
eleventh hour we are being asked to bail them out of yet another
financial disaster from which the local economy can ill afford to divert
hundreds of thousands of dollars to prop up a financially ailing harbor
indefinitely.  Perhaps, as has been suggested, it is time for the harbor
commission to dig their own way out of their mess, sell off some assets
to settle their debt, then privatize the harbor, a direction where many
public harbors have gone, a privately held marina.   Seems like it would
be a win for all involved, no more harbor commission and some private
investor to shoulder the liability and expense.

Of course, we are being told the harbor is set to go bankrupt in two and
a half years, like that will mean just exactly what?  It has also been
said that “The State will come in and take over and we will loose local
control”.  Perhaps the Department of Agriculture going to come in and
scoop up the harbor and take it some place, I think not.  It seems the
current harbor commission is all out of brain cells and appear unable to
think out of the box.  All of the “Sky is Falling” rhetoric is just that
rhetoric!   Even if Measure C were to fail, and it should, two and a
half years is plenty of time for smart people to find a solution without
resorting to robbery of the local community.

Vote “NO” on Measure C.

2 thoughts on “Why I’m Voting NO on Measure C”
  1. A boat, like an RV should be considered a viable asset of sorts. If you happen to have an RV sitting around, you might as well stockpile it with food, water, supplies and fuel and keep the battery charged up with a mechanical kill switch (most RV’s do have this feature).

    When the Fukushima disaster struck and we had ample warning of an impending Tsunami, where were all the boat owners to rescue their assets? Few did. Any boat owner knows that the last place a boat should be during a Tsunami is at the water’s edge, like at a harbor. You are as safe during a Tsunami in a boat away from the coastline as you would be any other day away from the coastline.

    Instead, most boats were left at the harbor to get destroyed. On purpose.

    I saw this with RV’s during all the fires this year. Thousands of RV’s, including half million dollar luxury RV’s perished for no good reason. If you are going to get displaced from your home, why not use an RV that you already have?

    Welcome to my frustration with the harbor. After seeing so many people lose their boats and the harbor suffer extensive damage, I was left scratching my head on the amount of money the harbor received to fix it. Looks to me like we got a brand new car when our old trusty car was totalled. That’s not how insurance works. Insurance would refuse to insure something they know they will lose out on again and again. Yet, somehow, the harbor got repaired but I doubt the next time a Tsunami hits, the harbor will ever get repaired. Insurance providers need to stop supporting stupidity.

    If you own a boat and purposely ignored the warning and left your boat to be destroyed, then I can’t fathom why you should have been bailed out in some way.

    The sad thing is, there will be another Tsunami, and the boats and the harbor will once again, get destroyed.

    Any effort to keep or repair the harbor (again) or support those who don’t help themselves, I oppose.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know that there is a commercial income aspect of the harbor but I just don’t see why everyone else should pay for the tools for few to profit from.

    My questions are this: By having the harbor, how much does the community benefit from it, financially, in total? And how much money has the harbor cost the community in total? What does the future benefits of the harbor have on the community when compared to the risks of dumping more money into it?

    I’m not convinced the harbor is a good idea. Just like I’m not convicted that the entire beachfront park should be converted into some sort of utopian experience not that dissimilar to a drastically scaled-back Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, with fewer rides and attractions. A boardwalk would be pretty awesome, but just a matter of time when it is all destroyed.

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