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Coastal Voices: Prayer issue about due process, abuse of power

Judging from the hot level of public talk and print, I predict the issue of prayer before government meetings will continue to draw lots of attention in Del Norte County. Some in the community have accused me of grandstanding, lacking sincerity, becoming a divisive force on the Board of Supervisors, including a bevy of assorted catcalls one might not necessarily find on a Hallmark card. Others, many of whom I have never met, have embraced me as some sort of hero for standing firm on a number of issues. I am neither hero nor herald from hell. I would suspect the truth is somewhere in between. 

This commentary is not about prayer. It’s about process and it’s about power — attempting to implement one and curb the other. 


Preserving a way of life for future generations

Our remaining small family farms are worth fighting for. It’s a way of life for many in Del Norte County and a stable income for 256 families, including mine. However, agriculture in Del Norte County has been in sharp decline over the past decade, in large part due to tightening regulations and competing economic forces outside our community’s control. As we look for ways to gain a competitive edge and stay in business, we look to support projects that will have meaningful and long-term economic impacts. One of those projects is Highway 199.


Did you know: Outspoken supervisor livens up local politics

“I don’t give up.” 

If anything sums up the entire philosophy of Supervisor Roger Gitlin, that’s it. Elected just two years ago as county supervisor of District 1, he has been a lightning rod for a number of controversial issues. As a new supervisor, he says, he was expected to keep his mouth shut, get along and not make waves.


Coastal Voices: Painting over mural was avoidable

I thought there might be more community outrage over the desecration of the student-painted mural at Crescent Elk. Then I reread the story (“Student mural is painted over,” July 26) and realized that if you believed the comments of Jeff Napier, you might believe the painting was warranted. It appears to me that Napier was either misinformed or flat out lying when he said that the stucco had already been compromised when the mural was painted, that the surface wasn’t prepared properly before the mural was painted and that the district wasn’t notified so maintenance could inspect the wall. 


Coastal Voices: Klamath salmon facing major threat in drought

The drought of 2013–2014 didn’t sneak up on us. For the first half of the winter it simply didn’t rain. Sparse rains arrived late in the season and there was meager snowpack in the mountains. The Yurok Tribe and California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a major drought emergency. 

Water managers scrambled to figure out how to best allot a limited amount of Trinity River water, which flows into the Klamath, amongst many competing interests. Despite the knowledge that migrating Klamath salmon would be in peril from low flows when the fall run started, the Bureau of Reclamation sent an entire year’s worth of cold fish-sustaining flows from the Trinity to the Central Valley. The Yurok Tribe, and others, including the Hoopa Valley Tribe, sent letters to the agency warning that salmon will face a desperate situation by late summer — if preventative flow is not available. 


Coastal Voices: Still a lot of work to keep fair alive

Like many of you, I am strongly supporting the “Save the Del Norte Fair” movement. We have been greeted with substantial enthusiasm for the effort, which will hopefully conclude with the successful passage of Measure F by voters in November.

But I do have some concerns. With all these early cheers for the Del Norte County Fair, a bit of complacency has drifted over the campaign.

Let’s be perfectly clear: It is going to take a lot of hard work by a lot of people to make sure the Del Norte County Fair and the Del Norte Fairgrounds stay open long into the future.


Did you know: Report from the Wiens, now in living in Hawaii

Under the heading “Whatever happened to them?” is whatever happened to Richard and Laura Wiens. For you folks who may be reading the Triplicate for the first time, Richard was the editor and Laura was the Neighbors Page editor for many years until they left for sunnier shores in Honolulu some three months ago.

I caught up with Richard at lunch at a local IHOP Restaurant on Waikiki recently. Richard is now the managing editor of City Beat, an online-only newspaper based in Honolulu. He manages three editors and six reporters. The major focus of the paper is investigative reporting with an emphasis on government, politics and the environment. I asked him what the major difference was between an online newspaper and a print paper. He says that once a reporter makes a mistake in an article and the paper is printed, that’s it! There is no way to recall the error and make it right; it will be a part of that paper forever, whereas with the online newspaper, if a mistake is made, it can be corrected immediately.


Coastal Voices: Tribute to great community as I retire

With heavy heart, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly bid farewell to the wonderful community of Crescent City, as I retire as the Police Chief on Thursday, having just completed four decades in law enforcement.


Coastal Voices: Hospital’s plans ‘bad for us’

Never underestimate the difficulty of changing false beliefs by facts — Henry Rosovsky

I am writing in response to a recent editorial by Mr. Scott Feller (“Judge hospital facts for yourself,” July 3), Sutter Health’s latest appointee to the Board of Directors of Sutter Coast Hospital.

The title of Mr. Feller’s opinion piece poses a dilemma — how can anyone judge the facts when Sutter Health won’t release the facts? Despite formal requests by our elected officials, Sutter refuses to release meeting minutes and financial documents necessary to discern the suitability of Sutter’s plans for our community. Sutter frequently releases their paid advertisements and editorials by individuals connected with Sutter, but nothing of substance.


Did You Know: The rock or the hard place

Under the heading “be careful what you wish for” comes the unintended consequences of prison realignment. This is where the governor, in order to comply with a federal mandate to reduce the state prison population, signed state legislation whereby low-level state inmates would be transferred to local county jails. 

Unfortunately, this transfer to county jails was not without controversy. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that those transferred prisoners must receive the “reasonable accommodations” specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act. What this actually means is the state prisoners housed in local jails must receive the same level of care and privileges that they would receive in a state prison.


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