I’m grateful to Lori Cowan for running and defeating Martha McClure in the primary. I supported her run for office based on certain campaign promises and indications that there would be a new voice on the board of supervisors that would break the mold for much of what has transpired in this town over the last decade or two.
Now as president of the local taxpayers association, our board of directors discussed whether or not to support the recall against Lori Cowan. As you may remember, our most recent successful campaign was defeating the 20 percent sewer rate increase at the November ballot box. We also stand behind a man we believe is innocent and wrongly convicted of rape because he got a poor defense.
So, you can see that not only do we tackle popular issues (57 percent against 20 percent sewer rate increase), but unpopular issues as in the Ranger verdict because we have enough evidence that was never presented to the jury that the man is innocent.
As to the price tag on the recall of Cowan let’s go over detail by detail what that’s about prefacing this by saying some of these points are my personal opinions and some the majority vote of the Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayers Association.
1. The price tag. I was quoted $30,000-$40,000 for the recall. Normally, we would wait for an election and piggy-back onto it rather than create an expense to the taxpayer unless we thought that the price of keeping Cowan in office would wind up costing more than recalling her.
2. The vote for chairman of board of supervisors. Yes, I was personally surprised that Cowan nominated and voted for Chris Howard for chairman of the board of supervisors after promising supporters she would be behind (Roger) Gitlin. I’ve learned to verify information with at least three reliable sources. I found out that some of the people who signed her nomination paperwork now had ruffled feathers over that. Some of them then signed both the Notice of Intent to Initiate Recall (published in your paper under legal notices) as well as the Petition For Recall. Others wished to remain anonymous because they know how retaliation in this town can affect their business.
3. The Last Chance Grade fiasco. Another disappointment when I was led to believe she would jump on board with Gitlin and (Bob) Berkowitz to ram through an alternative route. Before the election she was all about their five year plan. Just days after the June primary she was all about it can’t be done in five years. This was the first flip flop.
4. The importance of children. After volunteering for the Point in Time (counting the homeless), I ran over to Cowan’s office in the Flynn Building and had a long conversation with her about what she stood for.
(a) I came away thinking that one of the most important things in her life centered around children.
(b) That idea that children were important to Cowan got destroyed in my mind when she acted so unprofessionally during the April 25 board of supervisors meeting during Judy Ranger’s three minute public comment of the Orwellian nightmare she’s lived through over the last four years. Cowan scoffed and rolled her eyes. This was the second flip-flop.
5. Trip to Japan. Then, “ Let’s have the taxpayers pay for my trip to Japan.” No siree Bob, thank you very much. Pay for your own trip. This smacks of being self-serving.
6. Trip to Washington D.C. Next, her motion to have her go as an alternate to Washington D.C. which turned out was a Brown Act violation that had to be cured and corrected in the next board of supervisors meeting.
7. Solid Waste and garbage rates. I’m very much in favor of dismantling the solid waste authority and asked Cowan her thoughts back in January. Her response on Jan. 31 was, “until I get all the information from attending meetings I can’t comment.” While our taxpayers group would like to see lower garbage rates because we have some of the highest tipping fees in the entire state, the most recent video of her voting on solid waste matters was to increase garbage rates recently. Clearly she knew enough to rubberstamp the increase, but not enough to get back to me.
The Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayers Association did not get involved in the recall matter until well after the notice was served upon her. Then and only then after the Petition For Recall was approved by the county clerk on June 8 did the taxpayers association take a vote and endorse the recall.
Bottom line, the consensus is that Cowan is not a person of her word. She’ll tell you one thing to your face and when a better opportunity presents itself, she’ll flip flop, do an about face and after that, no amount of assurances mean a thing.
In my opinion, it’s not that I think she lost her moral compass, rather I don’t believe she ever had one instead choosing to play the opportunities presented to her much like her convicted child molesting friend, Chris Renner.
Self-serving, flip-flopping, unethical leader. We don’t need any more like that. If anything, she should resign and save us all a lot of time and money.
Donna Westfall lives in Crescent City.