Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Commentary by Samuel Strait – February 13, 2022

I think Supervisor Howard was somewhat offended to learn that at least
some of his constituents find his demeanor somewhat offensive and
dismissive while on display at Board of Supervisor meetings.  Of course
he is not alone, as this impression of disdain exhibited by he and his
colleagues across the Board at public meetings is a common complaint by
those that attend those meeting in person and via video.  He also might
not be aware of the fact that this interpretation of the Board’s
attitude as disrespectful has been evident for years by not only the
County’s Board of Supervisor’s, but by other Councils, Commissions,
Authorities, and Committees that have proliferated in Del Norte County
over the years.

It is as though those with “certain” issues brought before various
government groups deserve different levels of “Attention” depending on
whether or not it conflicts with the Board’s agreed upon policies.  Too
many issues are brought before the Board as “CONSENT” items that seem
predetermined to be passed without any discussion or opportunity to
examine said items.  It quite often requires a great deal of concern by
the public before a closer examination of consent items are grudgingly
removed and discussion commences.  Even in those instances the Board
rarely seems to listen.

Supervisor Howard was foolish enough to defend his demeanor as not
something he had previously been aware of and most of his experiences
appeared to contradict those opinions.  A suggestion for Supervisor
Howard, “He may wish to broaden his circle of contacts, as the comments
I made to him were of the milder sort.” Of course he is not the only
representative that is not generally adored.  Many others in County and
City government have been labeled much less kindly than my feeble
efforts to paint a picture of a more significant concern over the
attitude of some of our more overt symbols of autocratic behavior.   It
does not help when over the past two years that this behavior of “we
know better than the Walmart shoppers in the County how to conduct the
business of government” while hiding behind masks and video meetings.

Just a cautionary aside to not dismiss these observations and opinions
lightly.  A hard look at behavior as a representative can be
significantly enlightening.  After all, representatives are meant to
represent “all” their constituents, not just those that are included in
their circle of enlightenment.  As I said earlier it pays to know more
about your responsibility to be inclusive on a broad scale, to get a
better feel for what your constituents want to see from their
representative including those you disagree with.  It could lead to a
more even handed approach to governance and pay dividends down the road
for the entire spectrum of the County’s population.  At present not many
in government representation can claim that mantle of representing Del
Norte County respectfully over its entirety.

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