Today's Topic: Economic Development: Readers discuss how we should grow our economy

March 09, 2007 12:00 am

To attract tourists,

create local ‘theme'

There has been a lot of talk as to how to bring tourists to Del Norte County ("Consultant hears locals' concerns," Feb. 28). One thing my husband and I have often discussed is it would be great if Crescent City had a "theme." By a "theme," I mean a style or architecture for the buildings. Carmel is famous for its upscale shops in picturesque European looking cottage type buildings that look as though they came from a Thomas Kincade painting.

Geographically, there are similarities to Crescent City and the Monterey Bay area. Both are bays, and isn't it interesting that both also have a Pebble Beach Drive right along the ocean? The only difference is, the one in Crescent City is much more beautiful and doesn't cost anything to see. If you have ever seen Pacific Grove (in Monterey Bay), you would know that it looks very much like the area here at Pebble Beach Drive, as far as the ocean scenery goes.

Monterey has a wharf with all kinds of interesting tourist shops and some terrific restaurants. Monterey, like Crescent City, no longer subsists on its' once famous livelihood of canning fish. That dried up. Now there are shops, really good restaurants in those canneries and a well-known aquarium. Crescent City may not have had canneries like Monterey, but its fishing and timber has dried up, and she needs to reinvent herself.

Levenworth, Wash., is another town that has a "theme": Bavarian. Some years ago, the town was dying on the vine. The folks got together to try to decide what to do. They decided to make Levenworth look like a little Bavarian town. It worked. They now have all kinds of tourists. As far as I know, that's all they've got there. It's unique. It's beautiful.

Then, of course, there is Solvang, which has a Scandinavian theme. People go there for its uniqueness.

Another idea that I've wondered about is a quality dog show. We seem to have success with the car show in the park. Why not a dog show? We came from Santa Cruz, and every year in the summer, they had a really nice dog show in one of their parks. People came from all over. It was 2-3 days long and quite large. Make it worth the people's while to come from far away by making it quality in judges, conditions, and awards. If we can draw people from Washington, Oregon, Arizona and all over for a car show, why not a dog show?

Toni Jaeger

Crescent City

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Del Norte County not ideal spot for attracting tourists

Thank you for the articles about our economic plight, for inviting public comment and for a good column from Thomas Barnes ("Future is in our hands," Feb. 27). Here's my view: The outlook is there's not much prospect of good "jobs" here. Remoteness, rugged climate and sparse population make this a wonderful place to live, but we can't support a local economy except an economy like timber and fishing (and more recently, prisons), that doesn't have to haul in materials. Bringing in industry or commerce would crowd in more people, making our area like the places we left for here.

In our depletion economy, people built mainly for utility, not style ... ugly, but OK until the resources ran out and people moved. But when the good pay from timber ended, the people stayed instead of leaving to find other jobs. They hoped tourists from the Redwood parks would make up for the lost timber income, but that didn't happen. With nothing else to fall back on, they were poor. So the community concentrated on making poverty more comfortable – so successfully that more poor people came. We ended up with an even lower per capita income, though some people make a good living from poverty.

In desperation, some look to "tourism" for salvation, even though a recent Triplicate article showed our service workers in hotel and food service fields are on the lowest rung of our pay scale ("Del Norte wage game," Feb. 17). The handout of public funds the owners got for promotions will not make the workers prosperous; they still get the same low hotel and service food wages.

Expecting "tourism" to save us is not realistic. We lack many tourist amenities ... and the town looks and acts so trashy and "poor," that visitors "put the pedal to the metal" to go through Crescent City and stop somewhere else to stay. We can improve all that, but we also lack good transportation, access, and weather, which we can't change. Something else usually taken for granted, (because all successful tourist destination have them), is absolutely vital, but we don't have it: a convenient or "captive" population "hub" to draw from.

That does not mean we don't have any future. This is a wonderful place and without emphasizing "tourism" we will always have some "tourists." Be we need some other way for most of us to prosper.

One thing we should do is create attractive housing (not just "clean up for the tourists") for retirees to live in all year. They will create demand, both for the houses and for quality goods and services, and open opportunities for commercial growth to satisfy that demand. The effect will be like having another prison, without its drawbacks.

It works for Brookings. Why don't we try it?

John M. Burlake

Crescent City

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Eco-tourism only will create poor-paying jobs in county

I would hope that the Friends of Del Norte would attend the economic meeting that the Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Chamber is going to have this month.

Some community members want us to believe that having events like the Aleutian Goose Festival will create more jobs for our low-income people. Yes, maid jobs in our local hotels.

Creating phase two of Pelican Bay State Prison would create more jobs than any one visitor to this area could possibly make. We need to stop believing the myth some people have created for us that the Redwoods and the mountains and the Pacific Ocean are all we need.

Thomas Barnes ("Future is in our hands," Feb. 27) was right about one thing: Expanding the prison would create more jobs. Until the silent majority wakes up and speaks up, we will keep hearing the voices of those who are only a small group of tree huggers.

Richard Miles

Crescent City

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Past shows benefits

of expanding Pelican Bay

Regarding "Bigger prison wouldn't truly help Del Norte's economy" (March 1) I would like to clarify some of the points raised.

The clearing and burning of the timber near Whaleview that the letter writer refers to was done by the developer and owner of the six acres in question, not me. Yes, I do own 27 acres adjacent to Whaleview that remains undeveloped and is covered by second growth timber. I was instrumental along with several tenants in Whaleview in stopping the burning.

I stand by my comments regarding the prison expansion and the benefit to the local economy. One only has to have been a resident of Del Norte county and Crescent City prior to 1986 to see the benefits brought about by the building of Pelican Bay. Prior to Pelican Bay, Crescent City and the local economy were in a downward spiral. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see the obvious benefits that a prison expansion would bring.

Like I said before, there are three kinds of people: those that make it happen, those that watch it happen and those that wonder what happened.

Thomas A. Barnes

TAB and Associates

Crescent City

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Infrastructure can't support more population in area

Recently, heavy rains caused wastewater to back up and enter some of the businesses in town. It's not the first time this has happened. If the treatment plant can't handle our waste now, what are we going to do when these new housing developments are up and running? We all know about the development happening behind Ace Hardware, but did you know that the planning commission approved an 81-unit "affordable" rental apartment complex just behind and to the east of Wal-Mart, in what is now a wooded area? I'm sure the two above developments will not be the only ones that would use city sewer.

How much more can our sewer plant handle before things start to back up all the time?

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why this county wants to bring in more people when there are not enough jobs or doctors for the ones that are here now. It's like putting the cart before the horse. That 81-unit complex will butt up to my neighbor's property. There are survey markers on her fence line right now. She has two horses and has had horses for many years. If these apartments are built, they will be basically in her back yard.

Am I the only one that sees trouble down the line? Some of us bought property in our area many years ago because it was out of town and out of the way of housing developments.

JoAnn Mohr

Crescent City

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To grow, city needs to change attitude toward businesses

Concerning "Brookings loss could be our gain," (March 6), let's have a reality check – it ain't going to happen ever!

However, over an early morning cup of coffee at a local eatery, this editorial brought forth a lively discussion that highlighted the differences between Brookings and Crescent City.

To distill the argument: In Crescent City, the owners of the restaurants and stores (not to mention anyone who owns property) that employ people are the bad guys. You see, all they care about is running the poor people out of town and catering to tourists. Meanwhile, Brookings (my argument) has a firmer grip on reality in that they recognize it's the owner of the store that has jobs to offer and the landlord who offers a place to live. Bad guys? I don't think so.

Maybe neither community is fundamentally going to change in my lifetime, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed we adopt the Brookings' model.

Jim Snow

Crescent City