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Coastal Voices: Healthcare Dist. mired in secrecy, extravagant spending

As a board member of the Del Norte Healthcare District, I have raised concerns regarding the transparency of the decision making process by the District. As a government agency, the district is required to follow the Brown Act, a state law that requires that all decisions must be made in open public meetings following advance notification of the action that is being considered. There are few exceptions to this legal requirement.

My primary concerns center on the extravagant sum of public money that has been spent on legal fees over the last three years and the secrecy that has surrounded these decisions.

In 2012, the district sued Sutter Health to prevent the conversion of Sutter Coast Hospital to a critical access hospital. I initially supported the legal action due to the purported facts that critical access was limited to a maximum 15 acute beds and profiteering was occurring. Once those myths were dispelled it became apparent to me that legal action was not worthwhile.


Another View: Taking stock of the good things we have here

As a new year begins, and an increasing number of disturbing events unfolds around the globe, it may lift our spirits to look at some of the good things we have going on here at home.

In days of yore, when Del Norte downpours never seemed to cease from November to April, grumbling about wet weather was the favorite local pastime.

But after four years of drought, forest fires and water restrictions, the only thing I hear these days on the subject of rain is approval and relief.


Rising seas are transforming Del Norteís lakes and cliffs

A fundamental change occurred in Del Norte county during 2015, with little notice or news. Lakes Earl and Tolowa have become the Tolowa Estuary.

Tidal flows now pulse in and out of the estuary through the beach berm at the former breach site, even at the lowest tide there is a wide channel where once there was a beach berm holding the water in the lake.


Coastal Voices: City should consider cannabis economy

My name is Robert Derego. I spoke at the Crescent City Council meeting on Dec. 21 that was addressed in the paper as "City favors pot ban."

The printed article said something to the effect that I did not "believe that something that could make so much money should be banned." I did not say that it quite that manner, probably a more accurate generalization would have been "something that is becoming now known more as benign than illicit with such a large market value and historical geographical association to our North Coastline should be considered in balance with the economy.".

I do not know that I said "believe" so much as cited actual revenue numbers and studies attesting to medical cannabis efficacy and its regulations association with several reductions of harm, including no increase in teen use and reduced consumption of more dangerous drugs.


Coastal Voices: Let's shine a light on Sutter's secrets

I write to address Sutter Coast Hospital CEO Mitch Hanna’s false allegations against me, as printed in the newspaper, and to ask Sutter to release its secret documents, so our community can learn the truth about Sutter.

After reading this article, please join me in asking the hospital board of directors to release the documents, which Sutter was required to produce in my lawsuit against Sutter. I think community members would be interested to learn how the Sutter Coast board and Sutter Health executives really operate.

To the wonderful Sutter Coast employees, please know this: I deeply appreciate the care you have given me. My suit against the Sutter Coast board (which includes local residents and Sutter Health executives) was filed to hold Sutter accountable to the promises it made to my late husband Sonny when he gifted his land to Sutter Coast: that Sutter would operate a locally owned, acute care hospital, not a downsized Critical Access facility with a 25-bed limit and a restriction on how long patients could stay.


Another View: Real danger from jihadist refugees

As Middle Eastern refugees continue making headlines, it might be interesting to compare them to a group of former refugees who call Crescent City home.

Because the Hmong people of Laos sided with the U.S. during Vietnam, thousands were persecuted, dispossessed, imprisoned and executed after America’s withdrawal in 1975. Surviving refugees fled to countries around the world, including the U.S.

The Hmong have since become such an integral part of our community, most of us no longer think of them as refugees, immigrants or foreigners. That’s one of the reasons I love this nation of ours — anybody can become an American.


Coastal Voices: Community support growing for housing homeless Del Norters

“If you build it, they will come” is a transposed meme from the fantasy-drama film of 1989, “Field of Dreams,” starring Kevin Costner and others. Today it is a phrase that describes the perception of some Del Norte County stakeholders (supervisors, council members, and some of the general public) to argue against the development of emergency and transitional housing for the unhoused (homeless) citizens of Del Norte County.


Another View: Light of the World is too powerful to extinguish

Not everyone believes Dec. 25 is the day Jesus was born. 

Some Bible scholars say biblical texts prove he arrived in Autumn. Others say it was spring. It’s commonly believed that no one knows, and that the date was chosen to Christianize an ancient pagan festival involving the sun god and the winter solstice.


Coastal Voices: Communities need to step up to end human sex trafficking

The U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution to make Jan. 11 a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness.

In every country throughout the world—including the U.S. — women and girls are trafficked and enslaved for sex. They are someone’s mother, daughter, sister, friend — hidden behind locked doors and pulled shades, forced against their will to engage in sex acts with dozens of men a day.

Sex trafficking — the transport of women and children within and across national borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation — is a $32 billion dollar annual industry. Right here in the U.S., an estimated 14,500-17,500 victims of human trafficking are brought in each year, most of them women and girls trafficked for sex.


Another View: Consumption-based rate won't help poor

Yet another in a long line of Crescent City sewer and water-rate hikes is in the works, even though many residents are already struggling to pay the current rate.

In the last six years, my minimum combined water and sewer bill has gone from around $62 dollars a month to about $84, and may exceed $100 after the next hike. It would be even higher if I didn’t diligently conserve water.

How are those of us who aren’t well off going to keep paying ever increasing rates, with no end in sight? I’d like to know why our city council hasn’t devised a plan to provide some sort of relief for low income ratepayers. Pacific Power provides a discount for those who can prove they need it, as does Frontier Communications.


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