Jerry Brown has failed Del Norte County in its time of need — twice.
First the governor didn’t bother to pay a visit to our harbor after it was devastated by March 11 tsunami surges. Our congressman, state senator and assemblyman were all here the next day.
The next day — come to think of it, that’s when Brown’s father, Gov. Edmund G. Brown, made it up to Crescent City after the catastrophic tsunami of 1964. Back then, apparently, the maps in Sacramento still showed Del Norte as being part of the Golden State.
Maybe it skips a generation.
The absence of any personal touch on Brown’s part seemed like the least of our concerns back in March. He did include Del Norte in an emergency declaration, and the CalEMA’s acting director was here, saying he represented the governor’s office.
The significance of Brown’s indifference to Del Norte’s plight didn’t really hit home until Tuesday. He vetoed a bill — approved unanimously by legislators who rarely do anything unanimously these days — that called for the state to cover the harbor’s share of costs for tsunami repairs.
“This measure would cost the state over $1 million,” stated the veto message. “In addition, if I sign this measure, other counties that sustain similar damages would likely request the same relief — a precedent that the state cannot afford.”
Right, governor. The next time a tsunami wipes out all the docks in a California harbor, there’d be that pesky precedent tying your hands.
Meanwhile, dungeness crab season is fast approaching. Harbor officials are scrambling to provide as many temporary docks and moorings as possible for the local fleet and vessels from elsewhere that annually descend on Crescent City. The harbor already was financially strapped because the money coming from the federal and state governments for $30 million-plus in ongoing tsunami repairs doesn’t arrive as quickly as the bills do.
The task just got more difficult.
We all know the state government is in dire financial straits. But frankly, some of Brown’s austerity moves seem more symbolic than efficient. Damaging local economies by closing 70 state parks comes to mind.
Assembly Bill 1429 wasn’t approved 78-0 in the House and 40-0 in the Senate because legislators felt moved to clasp hands in bipartisan charity for poor little Crescent City. Our harbor frequently tops the North Coast in the value of commercial seafood unloaded, often twice as much Fort Bragg and three times as much as Bodega Bay.
Keeping this enterprise afloat is in the best interests of the state’s economy.
The governor’s failure to grasp that fact is a dereliction of duty.
— Del Norte Triplicate