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Coastal Voices: Harbor renaissance begins

Outstanding! The Triplicate newspaper team should be extremely proud of its Saturday edition and the commitment to photojournalism.  Over time this will prove to be an important part of our local heritage.

As mayor, along with our City Council, I'm honored to have shared in the in-person rapid North Coast and local representatives response to our tsunami event/local marine, harbor devastation from the numerous surges.

We were privileged to have the presence of our Congressman Mike Thompson, a representative from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s office, state Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, state Sen. Doug LaMalfa, along with representatives from the Governor’s Office, Cal-EMA, Fish and Game, Coast Guard, Del Norte Count Board of Supervisors, the Crescent City City Council, local Police Department, fire departments and Sheriff’s Office, Office of Emergency Services, et al. Collectively, this was a show of solidarity for the immediate emergency and very real local losses.

On Saturday, the renaissance of the Crescent City Harbor began!  Unfortunately, our rebirth will likely be more complex, painful and time-consuming than it should be. We were an economically challenged and fragile community before our most recent natural disaster hit us on Friday.

Our Crescent City Harbor has been completely destroyed. At this time of urgent local distress to our fishing community, which represents the “bread basket” of our North Coast, the City of Crescent City, Del Norte County and the Crescent City Harbor District stand unified to best represent our local fishing and fish-processing community. Good will comes out of bad. Our regional community is inter-related. If the Harbor District sneezes, the city coughs and the county shivers.  As a community, we’re all in this together!

I also need to salute our local citizens for their cooperation, preparedness and following of instructions. Those operating the command center at the Office of Emergency Services. The leadership, planning, communication and execution was outstanding.  Our Interim City Manager Jeannine Galatioto kept me informed every hour or two. And local KPOD / KCRE radio and channel 4 TV kept our community informed throughout the ordeal.

Additionally, the Del Norte Unified School District, participated with the emergency transportation support team along with our Redwood Coast Transit Team, with everyone working in concert.  Given the enormity and unknown variables, I think our local community did an outstanding job —all things considered. Thank you for everyone’s participation.

So now after the crush of local, regional, state and national news media has come, seen and left, as we collectively embark on this local civic recovery and rebuilding effort, the single biggest challenge is to cut through the bureaucratic “red tape.”

On behalf of our city and my City Council colleagues, I pledge our city staff and resources, as possible and available, to assist in this critical situation. This is a extraordinary time requiring extraordinary responses. It cannot be businesses as usual! Our crisis demands immediate attention.

The facts: Most, if not all, of the boats lost in the inner Harbor had no insurance; the Harbor District’s insurance doesn't cover tsunami damage; our fishing community’s bills go on, but its sources of making a living are gone. This is not an abstract notion, these are real people that have been forced to the edge, a profession of hard-working, long dangerous hours of physical demands, trying to eek out a living in treacherous weather conditions in the most challenging of economic times, and now this natural devastation.

People do make the difference.  It’s time for our North Coast regional community to come together for our broken harbor and much deserving local fishing community.

Thoreau said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”

Myself, the City Council and our city staff look forward to working together with you as we recover, rebuild and move Crescent City forward.

Charles Slert is mayor Crescent City.

 

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