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Letters to the Editor, April 30, 2016

No quick fix for tackling our infrastructure needs

To tackle infrastructure needs facing our community requires more than simple rhetoric or quick sound bites.

Major projects that provide for our economic vitality and community well-being and safety take years and require vision, persistence, reason and tenacity to accomplish. It also requires courage to stay the course against bureaucratic regulations, naysayers and those impatient with the process.

Letters to the Editor, April 28, 2016

Murray listens to constituency, works with political players

I wholeheartedly endorse Kathryn Murray for District 1 supervisor.

Over my 20 years in Del Norte I have seen her integrity and sincerity demonstrated numerous times through her listening to her constituency on important issues, her willingness to work towards mutual solutions toward critical problems and her general concern for her community.

In fact, when state Sen. Mike McGuire or Congressman Jared Huffman want to meet with people in general or local government officials, they or their staff reach out to Kathryn to help set things up for those meetings. The same is true with Assemblyman Jim Wood. Either he or his staff will call Kathryn to get things started for those important meetings.

Coastal Voices: 199 needs guardrails, not trucks

Once again we read about another car in the river, a fatality along the Highway 199 Smith River Canyon, just months after two men were killed as their car went off the highway and submerged in our wild river.

According to data from Caltrans, in the 10-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2003, there were 13 injury collisions with 18 injured parties at this same site, between mile post marker 10.3 and 10.6, most in passenger vehicles.

This latest accident adds another car in the river at this site where at least two other vehicles have been immersed before. I find it hard to believe there isn’t a complete guardrail system along this long but fast curve. The middle of this gentle curve has a guardrail, but both ends do not. Obviously this creates a dangerous situation.

Letters to the Editor, April 26, 2016

Consistent approval from constituents is a good thing

Let’s be clear.

It is the voters of District 5 who have elected David Finigan as their Supervisor for five terms.

Job approval earns votes.

Letters to the Editor, April 23, 2016

Union complaints about job performance, not homelessness

The union issued a rebuttal to the county supervisors and county administrative officer to the allegations made on April 18 and reported in the paper on April 19.

The union conducted two meetings open to all DHHS employees regardless of union membership. Since the issues were only related to the entire DHHS department, the union considered the meetings and subsequent action (petition) taken as a legal work-site action. All represented employees were able to attend the meetings and sign the petition if they wanted to.

Labor law is clear that as the recognized union representative for the miscellaneous/supervisory/professional employees of Del Norte County, it is our legal responsibility to exercise due diligence and fair representation of all represented employees regardless of union membership. Work site actions are regulated to issues concerning a particular work site, aka department and its impacted employees.

Coastal Voices: Pierson just the start of needed change in DHHS

Tuesday’s Del Norte Triplicate continued its reporting on the issue of Barbara Pierson and the labor relation issues surrounding her short tenure with the Department Of Health and Human Services. On an initial reading of the various articles, it is easy to misconstrue this is nothing more than a labor relations issue, “so why should I care?”

Something greater is at stake here than labor relation issues. The issue is changing the culture of the DHHS. I have been meeting with the some of the supervisors to share in a personal way an outsider’s perspective on our experience in dealing with the Department of Health and Human Services. I have done so with the intent to advocate the critical need for wholesale change in the culture of the DHHS.

I believe change was the intent of the Del Norte County Supervisors based on their appointment of Pierson as the director. The supervisors did not appoint anyone from within the ranks of the existing staff at DHHS. The possible reason for their choice: there was a need for a different perspective and approach to the overall administration of DHHS.

Letters to the Editor, April 21, 2016

Consider local health care when picking supervisors

To the thousands of local residents who signed the petition opposing Sutter Health’s plan to transfer ownership of Sutter Coast Hospital out of our county, congratulations. Your efforts made us the only community in California to stop Sutter Health from taking ownership of our locally owned hospital.

I also congratulate everyone who fought Sutter’s effort to downsize Sutter Coast to Critical Access status and to triple charges to Medicare patients. Last week, Sutter Coast CEO Mitch Hanna revealed that the local hospital board voted to withdraw Sutter Coast’s Critical Access application. If Sutter decides to re-apply for Critical Access, our community is aware of the impact and will be watching.

Coastal Voices: Trash stored in residential areas a threat to neighbors

About two years ago, I wrote a column about litter and discards in our open lands and forests. I would now like to write about the serious environmental hazards associated with careless storage in residential neighborhoods.

You may be aware that some of your neighbors may have serious safety and environmental hazards right in their own backyards. Supervisor Roger Gitlin sponsors a litter cleanup program, “Take A Bite Out Of Blight.” My wife and I have volunteered on several occasions with other good citizens to clean up abandoned homeless camps, vacant lots, and residential homes. I would say the word “disgusting” does not begin to describe the discarded material and litter we have collected.

My earlier column spoke of discarded furniture, trash, oils, used diapers, copper wire, appliances, and bottles of stored urine (for meth recycling) in our open lands. Our forests, treasured wildlife, water supplies, recreational users, and visitors are in peril with these environmental and safety threats. As with the gentleman who wrote recently in another Coastal Voices about the Pacific Shores mess, I wrote letters of concern to federal, state, and local officials, and received scant response.

Letters to the Editor, April 19, 2016

McClure gives effort, not grand-stand tactics

During her lifetime of service to this community as a teacher, a union leader and now as a county supervisor, Martha McClure has shown herself to be a person who listens to both sides and works hard to find the best solutions for all of us.

Working on behalf of homeless veterans, Martha recently solved a long-standing problem that prevented our vets from using housing vouchers in our county. Thanks to Martha, these folks no longer have to move out of the county to get housing assistance. This is not something that was solved by slogans or grand-stand tactics but by her efforts and extensive experience in building partnerships with others.

Coastal Voices: Gitlin takes out the trash, leads fight for Last Chance

We’d like to thank Del Norte County District 1 Supervisor Roger Gitlin for his immediate response to our request that the trash on U.S. 101 North be removed ASAP.

 Last summer, we had watched litter accumulate through the entire tourist season. Both sides of the freeway and the median were just covered. It seriously looked like a third world country. Right in the middle of it was an ‘Adopt a Highway’ sign that read “Highway maintained by Redwood National Park employees.”

I called RNP several times but to no avail. Then, I called Roger Gitlin as I had seen him and a group of volunteers picking up litter in the area from the breakwall and B Street pier to the harbor beaches. I also saw the trashed area from the Washington St. off ramp to the Wal Mart parking lot flushed out and cleaned up.

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