Help those in need achieve; don't focus on growth theories
With two beautiful rivers, an ocean, the biggest West Coast lagoon south of Alaska, seastack decorated beaches and7,000-foot mountains that have 17 of the 24 conifers existing in the world, it is probably not true, andquot;We're all in agreement that our local must be dramatically improvedandquot; (andquot;Improving our local economy: A first step we must take,andquot; Feb. 21). Any leaders, good or bad, could capitalize on these assets, if the desire was there.
Del Norte Countysuffers from three things:
?We mostly like Del Norte County and Crescent City the way it is. Yes, we would all make small improvements here and there, but poll your readers and ask them if they would double our population. Ask if they want two more prisons or a submarine base. I might go for the later, but I doubt most would.
?Secondly, our local leaders do not like the people who actually live here. The Daily Triplicate's own comment shows it values less those who live here on their andquot;transfer payments.andquot; The city drove out many residents from our shoreline RV park because they wanted better high-end people in high-end motorhomes living there. The secret leaders of the city absolutely hate the idea of feeding hungry people for free. Yet, The Daily Triplicate points out that many of our residents live below the poverty level.
?The third thing is an absolute unwillingness to accept what Del Norte County has actually become: a bedroom community. By any measure, we had and have some of the best housing rates in the state, whether renting or buying. We always have had to leave the area to make large amounts of money. Nobody here is rich by San Francisco standards. Yet some have trained locally and then sold their services to the big cities, and some have come back. Some of the people cited in the editorial have done this. I for my part live here mostly but work in Medford, Ore.
The economy is the wrong place to focus our efforts. We need to reconnect with the fact that we like living in Crescent City and Del Norte County.We need to stop looking for gurus and economic rainmakers and start helping our actual neighbors that are right here, right now. Tell them you want to learn to drive a longhaul truck, make big money, provide heath insurance for your spouse and family and homebase in Crescent City. If you do,they will teach you to drive in Troutdale, Ore., at almost no cost to you. I actually told a homeless man behind Safeway about this, and he road his bike to Sparks, Nev., and went to work. I saw him in his truck about 6 months later.
In addition, do not promote some esoteric non-existent economy. Focus on actual people doing actual things. Provide seed money and scholarships for things like wooden boat building. Send somebody to the Chief School at the University of Las Vegas, Nev. Subsidize the liability insurance for tourist activities like sea-kayaking or open ocean waterskiing. Even if we havea 7 percent unemployment rate, why not just focus on that 7 percent? What would they like to do and how much would it cost to help them do it?
Most importantly, stop trying to be San Francisco. We do not have food as good as theirs, but they do not have our rivers.
James R. Barrett Jr.