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Coastal Voices: Different sort of volunteer

Del Norte County has been abuzz with activity this spring. From the Economic Summit focused on education to the creation of several new community gardens, Del Norte has been infused with a different kind of energy; an energy of discussion, listening, and change.

Just this past Saturday at the Wellness Center, 60 volunteers gathered to construct 50 garden beds as the first phase of expansion of the Wellness Center Campus. It was a wonderful and inspiring event that demonstrated how capable our community is. Through collaborative efforts, planning and dedication to a vision, our county is one step closer to becoming healthier and happier.

Our View: One we can't lose

From its trailhead beside U.S. Highway 101, Damnation Creek Trail lures visitors into the instant gratification of old-growth giants, bedecked with wild rhododendrons in late spring. The ambitious can continue on to a 1,000-foot descent to the sea, the redwoods stubbornly giving way to Sitka spruce, Douglas fir and the westward expanse of blue.

Before the plunge, visitors can veer north along the Last Chance Section of the California Coastal Trail, glimpsing traces of the original Redwood Highway that opened the far North Coast to the automobiles of the 1920s. Or they can turn south and cross the highway to begin the DeMartin Section of the Coastal Trail that climbs to a curvaceous stretch of old-growth redwoods as scenic as any to be found.

Coastal Voices: Coach thanks community

As the head football coach at Del Norte High School, I’m very excited about the opportunity to be associated with our community, its coaches and staff as well as our fine student athletes.

The Del Norte football program has established a strong winning tradition over the years. We are very proud of the accomplishments of our teams and athletes and look forward to the opportunity to continue to build and grow on its foundation that has been set by many that have come before us.  The entire staff takes great pride in its role as part of the educational process provided by the Del Norte Unified School District.

As we continue the pride and tradition, we strive for our football program to be respected as one of the best in the state. Athletics has a tremendous opportunity to affect the lives of our students in a positive manner. It is our obligation to provide our student athletes with a program that leads to success in the future. The time and commitment it takes to grow this program is a true tribute to the athletes, coaches, teachers, families and businesses that make up our great community.

Coastal Voices: Suggestions for LaMalfa on budget

The following letter could not be e-mailed to State Sen. Doug LaMalfa because it exceeded the character count allowed at his website:

Senator LaMalfa,

Unfortunately I could not attend your meeting in Crescent City two weeks ago but I did read the account of the gathering in the Daily Triplicate two days later.

According to that report, you asked for voters to voice their thoughts on how to balance the state budget and end our fiscal free-fall and, when questioned, you stated your opposition to letting the voters decide on whether to extend the current tax rates due to expire in July.

Coastal Voices: Del Norte tourism website is out there

I want to thank Bob Douglas for his May 5 letter to the editor where he advocates for one Internet page that is “frequently updated showing local events, weather, local motels and camping, fishing ocean, river and lake reports.”

Many others have expressed the same interest, that’s why the Crescent City/Del Norte County Visitors Bureau established and maintains the Internet site: exploredelnorte.com.

Here you will find a nine-minute video of a day of salmon fishing on our rivers, along with many other videos that show off our area, plus a listing of dozens of things to do in the county.

Coastal Voices: If we treat kids like crops, then we’ll pay for schools

I serve on the local School Board.  At one of our recent meetings, it seemed like 150 young people attended, all asking the board to spare their particular program, whether it was music or art or AVID or athletics. All good programs, and nothing anyone in the district or on the board wants to cut.  

As the kids were talking I found myself thinking of the Facebook revolutions which brought down dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. My thought was that if young people were able to bring down two dictators in the Middle East, why couldn’t we bring some Facebook pressure to bear on a few Republican legislators (two in the House, two in the Senate) to get them to vote to allow Californians to vote to extend some revenue sources we are already paying? 

So I explained to the kids that while $29 billion is a lot of money, it’s only 1.5 percent of California’s GDP.  Since the governor was proposing to split the solution between cuts and revenue, that would really mean just three-quarters of 1 percent of GDP. That’s less than a penny on the dollar to keep schools going. How hard could it be to persuade a few Republicans that kids and schools are worth it?

Coastal Voices: Taxing is not the answer

Jackie Cochran admitted in her April 22 letter to the editor (“Voters should have the right to vote if they want a tax hike”) that she was not at state Sen. Doug LaMalfa’s town hall meeting. I have to wonder if Glen Brunner, author of the Tuesday Coastal Voices piece, “Thwarting our right to vote,” was. He didn’t say so, and he seemed to be unaware of what the senator said.

The people of California have voted many times not to be taxed, but too many in Sacramento think it’s the easy answer. Look around you. People in this county, like many more in the state, cannot afford to keep up the tax-and-spend mentality of the Democrats. They cannot afford the high cost of gasoline, with a high state tax, plus one of the highest auto registration fees, the high cost of commodities, thanks to gasoline, etc. If they can find a job in this county, they cannot afford the gas to get to work! It is truly a vicious circle.

Coastal Voices: An update on Measure A

In 2008, Del Norte County voters approved the Measure A school bond initiative.  The school board immediately established a Citizen’s Oversight Committee to simply serve as the eyes and ears of the public to assure that taxes collected for school bonds are spent carefully and appropriately. 

Since January 2009, the first members selected by the school board from an applicant pool of 30 have served on the COC and recently started their final two-year term. In December 2010, the school board voted to increase the size of the COC to 13, appointing four new members in February 2011. 

Five COC members provide representation for specific groups as required by law. I serve as a parent on the Bess Maxwell School Site Council to satisfy the requirement of including a parent who serves on a School Site Council.


Coastal Voices: Thwarting our right to vote

The Daily Triplicate’s April 20 edition was headlined “LaMalfa: ‘What should I do?’” as our state senator’s response to the state budget deficit crisis.

Sen. LaMalfa first dismissed Gov. Jerry Brown's request to put this critical matter before the California voters by saying the public doesn’t need to vote again on such an issue because Proposition 21 was already defeated by California voters last year.

Does the senator seriously equate a vote on raising some vehicle license fees to pay for state park operations a few million dollars to voting on the state budget crisis amounting to more than $26 billion?

Coastal Voices: Over-government everywhere

Do you wonder why California is broke? It’s not you and I who are running the state into the ditch. It’s the politicians and their out-of-control spending. All the major political offices, including the governor’s office, are held by the Democrats. Almost two-thirds of both the Assembly and Senate are held by the Democratic Party.

I did a little research and was astounded to learn there are over 500 California state agencies overseeing every aspect of our lives.  I painstakingly counted 571 different agencies, each with countless employees, all who earn a more than fair wage and enjoy health and pension benefits that you and I would not find in the private sector.

Last weekend, I traveled across the border to Oregon to buy some plants from a nursery I recently learned about near Brookings, about five miles north of the state line. I purchased about $250 worth of plants, paid zero sales tax in Oregon, and returned toward home.

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