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Coastal Voices: Start sacrifices at the top

Recently The Daily Triplicate reported city and School Board budgets that will cut positions or pay, respectively.

Currently both the Del Norte County Employees Association and the Sheriff’s Employee Association are in negotiations with Del Norte County about proposed cuts to employer contributions to employee retirement, as well as all other terms of our contracts.

This week, County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina told all of the county employees that employee concessions were necessary to balance the budget, and that he was unable to reach an agreement with the associations, implying an impasse in negotiations.


Coastal Voices: Life, death, celebration

It is the second Saturday in June. Ron Phillips has just struck his chuck wagon iron, announcing  the opening of the 2011 Farmer's Market.  Old friends and acquaintances set up their spaces, dispensing everything from jewelry, pastries, children’s toys and plants to farm goods and civic organization charity fundraising.

As billed, it’s a market, but also much more. Like baseball, it mirrors life itself, coming in the spring and departing with the onset of winter. It is not lost on you that the assorted wares and offerings are home-grown and hand-made. Its existence, a testament to a thing called community.

Tuesday morning last week, our community was torn with the news of 14-year-old Cecelia Mortensen and her mother’s shootings.  A beautiful and loving child to the people that knew her and saw her daily running to the bus or playing with neighborhood  pets, here in her new home of Crescent City. Until a crazed man followed her to our town and took her life.


Coastal Voices: Praise for Crescent City

I would like to thank Del Norte County residents for superior help recently.

Having been raised in Crescent City (a 1999 Del Norte High School graduate), I developed a deep love and respect for the natural beauty of the area. When life gets hectic I enjoy taking a trip up to Crescent City to spend time with friends and family, relax and find refreshment in the majestic beauty of the redwood forests.

I spent the weekend of June 10-12 on vacation, camping at Florence Keller Park. I came up from Sacramento hoping for a relaxing weekend in the trees and playing on the beach. Unfortunately that wasn’t how the weekend unfolded.

On Saturday, I left my campsite and headed to the Point St. George area for some tide-pooling fun. When I returned to the park that evening, the camp host met me at my car to inform me that my campsite had been vandalized.


Our View: A DEADLY INJUSTICE

Forgive Del Norte County residents if we feel the scales of justice are tipping dangerously in favor of the accused.

It was only four weeks ago that a Smith River man with a history of domestic violence was in essence given a 68-day sentence for involuntary manslaughter in the death of his mother, courtesy of the state Attorney General’s Office and a local judge.

Then came last week’s carnage in Crescent City, which didn’t have to happen.

Even before Jerry Wayne Steele was arrested for the repeated sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl, he had held a box-cutter to her throat in an attempt to threaten her into silence, according to Santa Clara County court documents. She courageously told the truth anyway.


Coastal Voices: Another anti-cannabis view

In his June 4 Coastal Voices piece (“The case for cannabis”), Robert DeRego of City Collective critiqued  Roger Gitlin’s “Say No To Marijuana” Coastal Voices article (May 31). I’m afraid DeRego fails to make his case in a number of areas.

His first failure is in attempting to connect the Tea Party to his liberal drug views. While not  speaking for the Tea Party movement, I know enough about both subjects to know they are not compatible. Tea Party members  hold disparate views  on a  variety of topics, but the legalization  of drugs is decidedly not one of them.


Coastal Voices: Harbormaster gives update

Mark Twain once said, “Don’t tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly don’t tell them where they know the fish.”

Crescent City is a place where the people know the fish. Since the March tsunami, a lot of fish stories have been told and retold here, some of them factual, some partly factual, and some based on no facts at all.

Right now, the harbor is the topic of many of these fish stories. I want to end the speculation by explaining the harbor’s goals for the reconstruction of the inner boat basin, and based on the best information we have now, presenting the most likely time frame for reaching significant milestones.


Our View: Departure Means Challenge

Interminable discussions about how to reduce spending in the face of looming state budget cuts.

Controversy and angst at School Board meetings over the relocation of a teen health clinic closer to the high school.

Dueling newspaper advertisements in which rival factions trade charges about the costs of compensation for various employees.

Finally, to the credit of both sides, a tentative agreement between the teachers union and district administrators on a pay cut that should prevent layoffs and another expansion of classroom sizes.

And then, the resignation of Superintendent Jan Moorehouse.


Costal Voices: City police: just the facts

For several years now, I have chosen to remain silent when confronted with untruths and misinformation as they pertain to my husband, Police Chief Douglas Plack, or the Crescent City Police Department, choosing instead to assume that the truth would ultimately prevail.

Regrettably, this has rarely been the case.

After reading Richard Miles’ June 3 Coastal Voices piece, “Thoughts on city budget,”unfortunately I feel I can no longer simply remain silent and hope the public learns the truth — the time has come, at least with regard to the issues raised by Mr. Miles — to set the record straight.


Coastal Voices: The cost of not using Kelly

In response to Rick Toreson’s June 2 letter, “Harbor Commission failed in hiring attorney Fred Kelly,” Mr. Toreson must be jumping for joy to learn that Mr. Kelly will not be accepting employment from either the harbor or the airport commissioners.

While Mr Toreson and the staffs at both the harbor and the airport may see this as a victory of sorts and a possible saving to both commissions of $10,000 or more, they may wish to reserve their joy until both projects are completed and the actual costs to the community are fully tallied.

This is not to say that both Harbormaster Richard Young and Airport Manager Jim Bernard and their respective staffs are not capable of seeing to the remaking of the harbor and the airport all the way to their completions. What is of major concern is the length of time it very likely is going to entail and the added losses that the county as a whole will sustain while both projects are completed.


Coastal Voices: Can we better honor veterans?

I was impressed with the Brookings Memorial Day observance reported in the Curry Coastal Pilot newspaper June 1. It highlighted the various activities in the program, bringing honor to our past and present veterans.

It was held on the boardwalk in the harbor and hosted by VFW Post 966, where Post Commander Rick Bremmer reminded the hundreds of Brookings-Harbor residents: “What we have as a nation today is born in part to what they gave yesterday, and what they are giving today and tomorrow.”

The article described several speaker topics, including an address by the producer of war film “Tora, Tora, Tora,” and also the presence of two Oregon National Guard planes flying over the site. A bugler played “Taps,” and the program ended when a lone bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.”

These words appeal to the soul of our Americanism, especially in my family because we lost our Oregon National Guard Capt. Bruno de Solenni, Sept. 20, 2008, in Afghanistan.


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