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.
Keep in mind that the harbor has made little progress toward the
physical replacement of the damage sustained in 2006 and the new airport
terminal was scheduled to open this year. In both cases the same
players that are not open Mr. Kelly's assistance were in place during
this entire time.
Mr. Toreson points to the fact that state and federal representatives
are all on board and government agencies are poised to push these
projects forward. Yet recent meetings of both commissions and reportage
in the newspaper seem to imply otherwise. Nearly every report by both
staffs seem to be consistently prefaced by the words, "We are waiting
The harbor dredging is scheduled for October only if the proper
permitting process goes without any issues. Then there is the
transportation and installation of temporary moorings, and on and on.
There doesn't appear to be any firm date for a new terminal or
progress toward expanded landing strips. It is crystal clear to all
parties involved that both the harbor and the airport projects are very
important to the entire county. Any delay, no matter how small, affects
revenue to both the airport and the harbor, and in a very large way the
economy of the whole area.
In addition, as time passes the costs of both projects will, because
of basic inflation and new regulations, increase as well.
The questions Mr. Toreson, Mr. Young, and Mr. Bernard should be
asking themselves is, how long are we going to have to wait to complete
More importantly, how many commercial fishing seasons, crab seasons
and summer tourist seasons are going to be lost with this go-it-alone
attitude? Will these losses be less than the $20,000 to $30,000 to be
paid for Mr. Kelly's services?
The people in this county are going to be wondering as well. It
certainly appears that this community is poised to suffer further
disappointment at the hands of, not the Harbor Commission for its
decision, but from the unelected staff at the harbor and the airport as
well. I think that those decisions are going to be a much more expensive
Samuel Strait is a Crescent City resident.