I have often made the mistake of making a decision after hearing only one side of an argument. When I discovered all of the facts I got a different perspective that presented the problem in a different light. Making that mistake as an individual is one thing. Making it as a member of a public body that spends taxpayer dollars is another matter.
Last week the School Board voted unanimously to oppose Measure A on the ballot, which is the one regarding the public sentiment regarding the state of Jefferson.
When I looked at the School Board agenda I noticed that the side represented by "Keep It California" was the only side that was represented. Where was the other side that is represented by those on the yes side of Measure A? Were they even asked to present their arguments? No one knows. Schools Superintendent Don Olson has not returned my calls.
Now I don't have a horse in this race, but I believe that the School Board should not have acted until both sides had a chance to present their arguments. Did the School Board have all the facts? I doubt it if they only heard one side. After all, one would think that they would want to be fair to both sides before they make a decision. One School Board member, Lori Cowan, told me that they didn't have to hear the other side because she had already made up her mind. Another board member, School Board President Don McArthur, had already signed on to the No side argument on the ballot along with Superintendent Olson, so it would seem that the fix was in all along.
Was this ever designed to be a fair process from the very beginning? I doubt it. I hope this is not the way the entire School Board arrives at decisions.
Recently the state of Oregon did the unthinkable. It jettisoned Cover Oregon, Oregon's version of Obamacare. After receiving $300 million for the website and finding out that not a single person was able to get coverage, they finally just gave up, but that's not the real story.
The real story is that one member of the Oregon Legislature has been constantly calling for the plagued health insurance exchange website to be shut down and for Oregon to return to the prior system of available health care. Who is that person? His name is Jason Conger, and he is running for the U.S. Senate for Oregon.
Jason Conger is one of Del Norte's own. He grew up right here, graduated from Sunset High School, got his degree from Humboldt State University, worked with me for former Congressman Frank Riggs, graduated from Harvard Law School and is now a member of the Oregon Legislature.
If he is successful in his quest for a U.S. Senate seat he will be very familiar with our local issues and certainly be a force for all rural areas. In fact he was here just last month attending the St. Patrick's Dinner for St. Joseph's Church. Unlike other politicians, he won't have to ask for directions to get to Del Norte County.
In the last edition of "Did You Know" I issued a challenge to all of those Senate and Assembly candidates who seek to represent us. I asked them to answer yes or no to the following four questions:Will you sponsor legislation that would repeal the illegal fire tax? Yes, or no. Will you sponsor legislation that mandates that the economic impact studies going on for Last Chance Grade be put on the fast track to be completed by June of next year? Yes, or no. Will you dedicate a field representative from your office to be assigned to work exclusively on Del Norte County issues? Yes, or no. If the issue concerning the vote on the "State of Jefferson" passes in Del Norte County, would you vote to let our county leave the state of California and form its own state? Yes or no.
One candidate chose to respond. The candidate is Matt Heath. He is running for a seat on the California Assembly to represent us and he responded yes to all four questions including reasons behind each of those answers. You might want to keep that in mind when you cast your ballot.
Bob Berkowitz is a Crescent City resident and president of LifeStyles Research Co.