Editor's Note: Memories rise with the water

By Richard Wiens, The Triplicate April 02, 2012 07:24 pm

The rainy season and the political season have converged in Del Norte.

Just as we raise the curtain on the campaigns for three seats on the Board of Supervisors, the flooding advisories remind us that some things are even less predictable than Del Norte politics.

High water and the quest for votes. Both evoke memories.

I’d only been at the Triplicate a few months when I moderated my first campaign forum four years ago. It was held in the conference room at a local motel, a fine facility that unfortunately was a little small for the turnout. It got hot in there, and the political jousting was only partially responsible.

We’ve used roomier facilities for subsequent forums, usually Mary Peacock Elementary School. That’s where we’ll be on Tuesday, May 1, at 6:30 p.m. The same three incumbents from that forum four years ago face a total of four challengers.

What are the issues at play this campaign season? That’s partially for the candidates to decide, and partially up to the electorate. If you’ve got suggestions for questions that should be put to the incumbents and their challengers, email them to me at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it They’ll be considered for inclusion in the forum and for other campaign coverage in the coming weeks.

One of the supervisor races has three candidates and unless someone garners more than 50 percent of the votes cast, the top two will advance to a run-off in November, enlarging a ballot that will also include hopefuls for City Council, the Harbor Commission and the School Board.

Speaking of a run-off …

Friday’s spillages along the Smith and Klamath rivers no doubt have long-time Del Norters remembering this area’s catastrophic flooding back in December 1964.

I was a 7-year-old living 300 miles to the north, but this was a regional disaster and I shared the experience. I got up one morning shortly before Christmas to find my parents nervously eying the lake out back where our field was supposed to be. “Just surface water,” they assured me.

I didn’t know what that meant, which didn’t really matter since they were wrong. Soon a fire truck was rolling up our street, and an amplified voice said our neighborhood had 15 minutes to evacuate.

In a frenzy, my older siblings were awakened and we all got what we could off the floors. Christmas presents were tossed from under the tree onto a couch. Perhaps to keep me out of the way, Mom actually had me spend a few precious seconds tucking in the edges of bedspreads.

We got out and the Willamette River got in. The holidays were spent on higher ground at my grandmother’s house. Our floors and rugs were ruined, but at least those Christmas presents and bedspreads stayed dry.

Water and politics. Sometimes there’s no escaping them.