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Updated 1:49pm - Aug 20, 2014

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Give us our due, until we get out

He was absolutely correct, and more than a little ironic.

As Del Norte County Supervisor Roger Gitlin was warming up the audience at a Tea Party Patriots meeting to talk about the idea of joining the movement to break away from California and form the new state of Jefferson, he offered up a little geography lesson.

San Francisco, he said, “defines itself as Northern California. San Francisco is not Northern California. San Francisco is central California … we are from Northern California.”

That, he said to applause, is the terminology we should use “from this point on.”

Sign me up. I’ve been changing Associated Press references from “Northern California” to “central California” for years. The news organization even refers to some places slightly south of the Bay Area as “Northern California.”

It’s all part of a mind-set shared by pretty much the entire planet. California consists of two spheres of influence: Los Angeles and San Francisco. Never mind that half the state, geographically, is north of the Bay Area.

Frankly, it’s a viewpoint that marginalizes the true Northern California. Most folks venturing up from the Bay Area are probably headed for the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma. If they’re ambitious, they might trek to Mendocino’s Lost Coast. The truly adventurous may even make it all the way to Humboldt. That’s the absolute edge of the abyss, right?


Coastal Voices: Obama treated like king, not president

We are $17 trillion in debt.

It no longer matters how much of that debt was “inherited.” This president has managed to raise it almost $7 trillion in 5 years!

Regarding his Oct. 17 letter to the editor (“Congress puts own goals ahead of nation’s welfare”), I don’t know how old Craig Johnson is, or where he went to school, but I was taught all about the U.S. Constitution, the whys and wherefores of the writers.

I was taught how the three branches of our government, legislative, executive, and judicial work, and it does not work when you elevate the executive one-third to some level just short of majesty.  The legislative one-third has two sections, the House and the Senate.

The House, not the Senate and especially not the executive branch, is responsible for the “purse strings.” It passes the bills, to pay the bills, and forwards them to the Senate, where they are supposed to be debated, amended if deemed necessary, and sent back to the House for further consideration, working with the Senate for the good of the country.  Or if the Senate agrees, sent to the president for his signature or veto.

Harry Reed has “tabled” almost every bill recently sent to the Senate for discussion. Refusing to even let the Senate read them, much less discuss them. Bills were sent to fund everything necessary for the common good, before they were shut down by the president.

Just as with sequestering, he or his minions decided where to hurt the public the most. Whose idea was it to deny WWII vets access to their own monument? The National Mall is usually wide open 24/7. Whose idea was it to allow an  alien amnesty rally, with its stage, speakers, and music on the same grounds that were denied to the vets?


Letters to the Editor Oct. 19, 2013

Council should look at its pay, instead of water rate 

Interesting Coastal Voices piece on Oct. 5 by Ron Gastineau, “Let’s get real: Water system is in jeopardy,” regarding a water rates increase.

Mr. Gastineau, if you and members of the City Council are so worried about a lack of money for your purposes, how come the City Council gave itself a pay increase?

Gracie Cooper, Crescent City

Editor’s note: City Council  members’ last raise came in January 2009, when it increased from $434.15 per month to $610.92.

Lack of leadership is the reason for water rate hike

I read in the paper about how the city is whining about how much they need the money and need to raise the water rates. This is a familiar refrain.

Remember when they needed to improve the sewer? They had to do it because our sewer was so old and in disrepair that we were getting fined. So they built a new sewer treatment plant instead of improving the old one. They said we needed to pay more on our rates and we do, but now I’m being told that they need even more money for the sewer on top of more for the water.


Rerouting highway may be only choice

Walk the trail south toward Enderts Beach from the overlook and you’ll see evidence of the old Redwood Highway built in the 1920s as close to the continent’s edge as engineers could manage.

The old path is marred by many slides, a reminder that we human beings learned from our mistake and constructed a new stretch of highway farther inland in the 1930s.

A few miles to the south rises another section of U.S. Highway 101 built too close to the edge. Caltrans has spent $29 million since 1997 alone trying to prevent Last Chance Grade from sliding into the sea. In a few days the latest phase of the monumental maintenance project is scheduled to end after nearly a year. Two-lane traffic will resume until the summer of 2016, when work crews will begin another round of buffing up the bluff.

Unless part of it — or all of it — slides away sooner.

Keeping Last Chance Grade passable is expensive. But it would be far more costly to build an inland bypass, in dollars and possibly the loss of old-growth redwoods, depending on the route chosen.

Gradually, however, officials seem to be coming to grips with the most expensive proposition of all. If Last Chance Grade ultimately collapses, the economic and human costs of losing the ability to drive between northern and southern Del Norte County would be staggering.

If we wait for that to happen — and experts seem to agree it eventually will — we’d still have to build an inland bypass. Meanwhile, Klamath-area residents would be cut off from their jobs and schools in Crescent City. The vital trade and tourism that the coast highway brings to Del Norte would be snuffed out as passing-through drivers detour to Interstate 5.


Back in '47, there was only 1 coach

In 1947, Del Norte High School was in its second year of returning to 11-man football after the end of WWII.

Phil Crawford was brought in from Southwest Missouri State College to head the program. Phil was taking over for Clarence Kruger, who was responsible for restarting the 11-man program. Coach Kruger was only here for one year, replacing Hall of Fame coach Ed Fraser, who had led the Warriors in all sports for 20 years.

When Coach Crawford took over he inherited a very inexperienced bunch of football players. It is interesting to note that he was the only coach, no assistants — that had to be a very challenging experience. That may be why he only stayed one year.

The Warriors had a five-game schedule, which were all league contests. The football league at that time consisted of Del Norte, Arcata, Eureka, Fortuna, Hoopa and Ferndale.

The Warriors were able to defeat Ferndale on the local gridiron for their only win, 14-0. Eureka was scheduled to play here but the Warriors forfeited the game so Del Norte only played four games. This was  some change from the 10-game schedule it plays now.

The Warrior squad consisted of 28 players, two of which I got to have as teammates when I became a Warrior: Leslie Horn and Leland Fike.


Church Notebook: Bethel Christian welcomes back senior pastors

 It looks like it’s actually going to make it!  I was doubtful at first, but that gloxinia now has at least three buds and apparently will bloom soon.

Different things in our lives can be like that, too. We make wonderful plans for our lives, and sure enough, something comes along and disrupts them. Sometimes, it really turns things upside down.

My plans, early on, were to become a doctor. I just needed to be accepted for premed, and win that scholarship. Got the college acceptance — but my best friend won the scholarship.

I became a wife and mother of six instead — and went to nursing school when No. 6 went to kindergarten.

So I still ended up caring for people, just in a different capacity. One never knows — and now I volunteer at the hospital, and write this column. You just never can be sure how it will all shake out!

But through all those changes, one thing was the same — my faith. Oh, at times it was stretched pretty thin, until I realized that I had to really hang onto it good and tight. Then, no matter how frustrating things can get, it still goes better!

• Bethel Christian Center will welcome back senior pastors Santos and Alice from Las Vegas for a special day of ministry Sunday.


California Focus: New law could threaten vote-counting reliability

Suddenly this fall, a potential threat has emerged to the vote-counting reliability Californians have enjoyed for the last six years.

This comes from a new law just signed without hoopla by Gov. Jerry Brown, who listed it among 30 signings and five vetoes in a press release.

Here’s the possible threat: This measure will allow the California secretary of state to approve new electronic voting systems that have received no certification at all for use in actual elections. It also ends a long-standing requirement that all electronic voting systems be certified at the federal level before they’re used here and allows counties to develop their own voting systems.

This bill cried out for a veto from Brown, considering the problems encountered by electronic voting systems during much of the last decade. Comprehensive testing demonstrated that many could be hacked, with the possibility that programming might be inserted so that – for one example – when a voter touched a screen favoring one candidate, the vote actually went to someone else.

No one ever proved that such hacking occurred in a real election, but the machines’ hardware and software could make this kind of cheating virtually undetectable. Some Democrats have long believed cheating of that kind occurred in Ohio in 2004. They note that the head of a firm called Diebold Election Systems co-chaired the Ohio campaign of Republican President George W. Bush and promised he would never allow 2004 Democratic challenger John Kerry to take that state.


Letters to the Editor Oct. 17, 2013

Newspaper's priorities are astoundingly off-base

Again I’m astounded by the lack of good taste this newspaper has when reporting what’s newsworthy, regarding the Oct. 8 front page. 

First of all you’ve given top billing to some inmate who no doubt in my opinion deserves to be where he belongs (“The media and the SHU”).

Second, you’ve got three photographs, two of which depict an inmate in a well-deserved custodial type environment.

And thirdly, you’ve given a CR professor a small portion of the front page, which appears to be a horrific attack by a shark, second billing to some felon who in my opinion deserves to be where he is despite his obvious “please feel sorry for me” look for the Triplicate’s camera.

Thanks, Triplicate, for putting an inmate on the priority pedestal first, instead of a obvious law-abiding citizen whose tax dollars feed, cloth and house this (for the lack of a better word) person in our state penitentiary system.

Frank Villarreal, Cape Coral, Fla. 

Reporting on sex charges insensitive to the children

The Triplicate printed an article Oct. 10, “CC man faces sex crimes charges,” divulging details of the charges placed against a local man for child abuse.


Letters to the Editor Oct. 15, 2013

City must cut spending before seeking rate hike

I have to respond to the Sept. 28 Triplicate editorial, “Protest aside, what about our water?” How arrogant to try and make this protest about people not wanting to improve their water system.

When I read that people might be willing to pay more if blah, blah, blah, it made me mad. This is not about willingness, it’s about ability. What part of “can’t afford it” do you not get?

These people you think have no willingness already can’t make it month to month. It’s nice for you that these rate increases are not a concern, but in the area your paper serves, you are in the minority.

The Triplicate itself is an example of making the necessary changes to survive in this depressed economy. It made its paper smaller. It decreased publication from five days to three days. It cut back on its expenses. If it hadn’t, perhaps it would have had to close its doors.

Our city continues on its same path no matter the circumstances, like it’s 1993. It continues to raise salaries and pay the city attorney an annual increase. It’s paying its interim finance director $7,322 a month, plus a housing allowance of up to $2,000 per month. Champagne tastes and beer budget.


Letters to the Editor Oct. 12, 2013

Scare tactics on water rate hike don’t add up

I have read with interest the recent and near back-to-back Coastal Voices contributions of two of the Crescent City Council members touting the Council’s decision to raise water rates.

Councilman Holley’s spiel primarily focuses on the “greying” of the system, which was constructed in the 1950s. The system includes a tank/tower at Wonder Stump Road, which is in need of “beefing up” to withstand earthquakes. I suppose it is possible by computer search to tally the number of quakes it has withstood to date. I would guess they are not a few.

One wonders why it suddenly is found to be in need of retrofitting. Of course everyone knows the Big One is overdue and retrofitting is not a bad idea in and of itself, but the timing is questionable. Why now, with the American economy in shambles, does Crescent City suddenly feel the urge to raise rates so we can beef up a water tower?

Of course, there is the city water fund that is perennially losing money in the hundreds of thousands annually. According to Interim Director of Finance Susan Mayer, the fund experienced an operating deficit last year of $334,000 and during the previous three years it has been losing between $300,000 and $500,000 annually.

Of course the reason expressed for the deficit is that the city has been dipping into its reserves to pay its bills. The only statement on the website’s report in the matter of the deficit is that rates have not been increased.

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