Del Norte Triplicate Readers

Privatizing authority is of questionable legality

At the joint supervisors/City Council meeting on May 21, county Supervisor Roger Gitlin stated publicly that he had received a confidential memo from legal counsel regarding the possible legal implications of privatizing the Solid Waste Authority due to a Costa Mesa case.

As a layperson, the case seems quite simple. The Costa Mesa City Council attempted to privatize many services to allegedly save money. The employees' union filed a lawsuit stating that according to California Government Code, a city is prohibited from privatizing city services that are not considered special such as legal, financial or engineering services.

The court ruled in favor of the employees' union. It reached the California Supreme Court in November and the decision is now case law. This means that it serves as legal precedent (binding or persuasive) for any future cases in which a California general city attempts to privatize non-specialized city services.

The cost to Costa Mesa was great. The City Council spent $700,00 in legal fees and was forced to withdraw all pink slips. The court prohibited the layoffs from going forward until the case was resolved. Unfortunately, a maintenance worker, Huy Pham ended his life by jumping off the City Hall building after receiving his layoff notice.

When the majority of Del Norte citizens are expressing satisfaction and support for the services provided by the Solid Waste Authority, when the Triplicate has provided the figures showing that we pay less per unit weight than Curry County and when employees have desperately expressed the stress they and their families are experiencing with this unending game over their livelihood, why are supervisors Gitlin and Michael Sullivan spending time looking into privatization when the entire legality of doing so is highly questionable?

I do not believe that Del Norte citizens want to spend the legal costs to be the first county/city in which this Costa Mesa precedent may be applied? Let's stop traumatizing our citizens and put this issue to rest.

Genevieve Bannie, Crescent City

Stranger says town seems kind of trashy

Recently I visited one of the local hospitals and while waiting to been seen by the doctor had a conversation with one of the nurses. I noticed he had a slight accent and asked where he was from. He said Texas he said that he and his wife were traveling nurses, and we talked about how this works, he asked where I was from and I told him that I moved here from a little town in California named Crescent City.

He said wow, that they were given a choice of where they would be at and that Crescent City and Medford were their choices. He said that the pay there was decent, but they wanted to work the same shift and that the hospital there could not assure them they could, so they decided on Medford.

We then talked more about Crescent City and how long I had lived there. He then said that on the way here they went through Crescent City, they loved the coastal sights and a few other things. Then he said, I don't want to seem rude or mean, but as they drove through the town it seemed trashy.

I read in the paper about the Board of Supervisors trying to work on this now, and I just wanted to put out there what one person said, and a complete stranger, about Crescent City.

Gloria Lopez, Medford, Ore.

Is there nothing we can do to help homeless?

Recently when arriving to work early in the morning on an unseasonably cold rainy day in May, I caught sight of an older man (Viet Nam veteran-era) sitting crouched, cold and obviously wet and shivering from a night spent out in the elements.

At first I thought he may ask me for money. When he didn't, I wondered if he would like a hot cup of coffee. So I asked, "How do you like your coffee?" "Just black."

When I handed him the cup, his fingers were wet and frozen with cold. I said "I'm sorry you have to sit out here in the cold."

Again I ask the community: Is there nothing we can do to help folks get back on their feet? There is a big building right accross from the courthouse that has been deteriorating for at least the last 11 years that I've lived here (talk about our blight!). Why couldn't that be a "hot and a cot" for people who need an address to get a job and mend their lives again.

Why can't that also be the site if the "Point of Honor" veterans memorial? For how much more honorable is it to actually help vets get back on their feet in their present, rather than to just remember their sacrifices of the past?

The past is always a reflection of the present, and they need more than a stone-inscribed wall and some fluttering flags. That nice big building could be a safe home for people to rebuild their lives instead of for rats, racoons and pigeons.

It would be great PR for Home Depot, and local roofers and contractors, to refurbish it, it would create more county jobs to run it, and it would provide dignified work to restore an eyesore.

Then instead of weeds on the corner of Washington and Northcrest perhaps I would see flowers grow. And perhaps instead of people standing on the corners with signs begging for money, you would see cleanup crews pulling the weeds and hanging baskets of flowers on our lamp posts. Perhaps the tourists would stay and play a little longer if our town was a little prettier.

Velma Rinehart, Crescent City

For-profit trash disposalwouldn't save us money

As a resident of Del Norte County, I am perplexed by some members of the Board of Supervisors wanting to dissolve the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority.

As someone who does not make much money, it's the only place I can afford to dispose of my trash, brush and other household items.

At this point in time the transfer station's rates are being regulated by the non-profit Waste Authority. If it were to become a 100 percent privatized "for-profit" business, the rates, which would be unregulated, would surely increase.

Three county supervisors said the rates would decrease if it became privatized. Please explain to me how this is possible. For-profit means for-profit, that's the bottom line. This would make it very difficult for many residents to afford to dispose of their trash.

I also feel that it may cause more illegal dumping around the county.

The authority and transfer station staff do an amazing job and I feel that dissolving the authority would ruin one of the few things that actually works well in this county.

I don't even understand why dissolving the authority is even an issue to begin with.

Something smells fishy to me. It if ain't broke, don't fix it!

Mary Beth Sampson, Crescent City

Gitlin needs to make good on J St. promise

I sent this letter to Supervisor Roger Gitlin:

"When you came to my door asking for my vote, you stated that when you were elected, you would see to it that J Street was a safe place to live.

"You were elected. J Street is not a safe place to live. Instead of messing up things that don't need to be fixed, get busy on your promise for our neighborhood.

Sharon McKinney, Crescent City