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Coastal Voices Guest Opinion: State should stop overruling us

As a former supervisor who was very involved in the matter of Tolowa Dunes State Park, Lake Earl flooding and the closing of Kellogg Beach to traditional uses, I take exception to Peter Douglas’ rantings at Del Norte County’s government decisions (“‘Rogue behavior’ cited: Coastal chief blames damage on the county,” March 4).

We are rural America with rural ways that are far from the confines of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. We are a free and open people trying to make a living and enjoy our lives in this wonderful place.

It is becoming more difficult doing things that we have been free to do for generations only to be more stifled by government agencies that control about 80 percent of our community. We elect local people in the county, city and harbor district to do our business. Agencies such as the Coastal Commission are appointed by the governor. Their executive director is hired. These people have too much power and consistently overrule our elected body decisions at the local level.

I would like to challenge state parks to share with our community how Tolowa Dunes State Park was really formed. I would like to share my view that it was formed illegally at a hearing in Eureka, where the agenda item referred to a discussion on the Tolowa Dunes project. A vote on the formation of a state park was not on that agenda. Three people from Del Norte County were at that meeting, none of them county officials.

After that meeting all references to the Tolowa Dunes project seemed to disappear and Tolowa Dunes State Park was a reality. I would also like to ask Steve Horowitz, a top state park official, what happened at an important meeting that I attended with many grange folks and others at the Fort Dick Grange.

My recollection was a reaction by many there to state parks wanting to close Kellogg Beach to many of the traditional uses and accesses. Folks were not happy with Horowitz’s responses and he turned to me to see if the county might mind bringing in a neutral facilitator to see if some agreement might be reached. I told Steve that I would ask Jeannine Galatioto, our CAO for funding. She approved this request and I contacted Horowitz’s office. I really felt that this might be a way to help resolve some of the issues and was looking forward to take part in further discussions with state parks and our Del Norte County folks.

Guess what? Less than a week later releases came out in The Triplicate that certain restrictions were being proposed for Kellogg Beach and a scoping session, “not a public hearing,” was to be held that Friday afternoon at the Elk Valley Rancheria conference center. I felt like I was stabbed in the back as the county representative to this process and that the citizens of Del Norte County were deceived again on these types of matters.

How long are we as rural Americans going to put up with this take-it-or-leave-it attitude by these figureheads that think they know what’s best for us? May I also thank supervisors Hemmingsen, McNamer, Finigan and Sullivan for representing us well in these matters.

Chuck Blackburn is a Big Flat resident and a former member of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors.

 

 

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