Okay, it’s true. The series of four “fact check” stories that the Triplicate has published in recent days told you a lot more about what county supervisors can’t do than what they can do.
Maybe we should have called them reality checks, but the truth certainly provides useful context as voters listen to candidates say what they’re going to do or what they have done or what their opponents should have done.
• The county government spends about $98 million annually, but its discretionary spending amounts to about $250,000.
• If they convinced enough city leaders to go along, county supervisors could dissolve the Solid Waste Authority, but the county would be taking on debt as a result, not getting rid of it.
• Give tax breaks to businesses willing to create more jobs here? Tough to legally do at the county level, plus see the prior note about the lack of budgetary wiggle room.
• Get government out of the way? Also tough to do when we don’t control state and federal laws, and so many of our citizens are on public payrolls or public assistance.
So does it matter who wins Tuesday? Of course it does. Our supervisors have big roles in representing Del Norte to the rest of the world — public and private sectors. Just as importantly, they have the opportunity to inspire and lead those of us who happen to live here.
Try this for another, less daunting, dose of reality: Unlike many sparsely populated areas around the country, Del Norte is guaranteed a future that will include an eventual influx of new residents and new investment because of its unparalleled natural setting amid protected groves of old-growth redwoods and a stunning coastline.
Americans will continue to spread out to the most desirable places in the country. Most communities can’t be certain they offer one of those places, but ours can.
We need local leaders who recognize that fact and are willing to tailor their approaches to our circumstances, some of which are unique. Our potential will eventually be realized, but will it be maximized?
None of this is easy, and you shouldn’t believe anyone who tells you it is. Consider that your final fact check, and good luck with your decision.
— Del Norte Triplicate