Del Norte County Supervisor Roger Gitlin has asked the Crescent City Council to consider allocating $1,000 to help fund a crew from Pelican Bay State Prison to clean up the grassy center median between the lanes of U.S. 101 north of Crescent City.
However, that may not be feasible anytime soon, according to one council member.
Gitlin said during a discussion on the county budget at the Aug. 28 Board of Supervisors’ meeting, $1,000 was committed to reimplement the CDCR Level 1 work program.
Gitlin said that when brought up to the CDCR advisory Board, as he is the county representative, he heard support of re-implementing the program.
“The only obstacle is funding,” Gitlin said, noting that money could be used to assist Caltrans in cleaning up litter in “the portal to Crescent City.” He said Caltrans welcomes the assistance but state law prevents community groups like Take a Bite Out Of Blight from working in the median.
Calling it a community beautification, Gitlin asked the council to put the request on its next agenda.
Council member and PBSP employee Darrin Short spoke for PBSP Warden Jim Robertson at the end of the meeting, saying Robertson was unaware he was supposed to appear before the council. Short explained that getting a work crew from the prison is not an easy process and may not be within the warden’s authority.
“I need to tell you and the City of Crescent City that there is currently not a community work crew working in the state of California that is not fully reimbursed for the cost of the officer that is managing the crew,” he said.
Short said he appreciates Gitlin’s effort and purpose, and prison officials are working toward re-implementing the program.
“Some people think (the warden) has the ability to just grant that position of an officer to supervise these work crews,” Short said. “He does not have that authority. He is given that authority by the Department of Finance and the state, so it is illegal for him to create a position that he has not been authorized to create.”
Saying the financing and reimbursement process is also cumbersome, Short said, “It does not look hopeful.”
Short said prison officials still want to help the community, but do not have the same control of their own finances as they once did.
Mayor Blake Inscore said the city will continue to discuss the possibility with the prison, as well as securing the services of Alder Camp.
The council also approved an agreement with PlanWest Partners Inc. to complete a 10-year financial master plan for Crescent City Fire and Rescue at a cost of $29,500. Also approved were the placement of Del Norte High School banners on street light poles, and submittal of a Community Development Block grant application for $5 million to fund the Storm Drain Project, the rape Crisis Center public services, Code Enforcement, planning and technical assistance and for general grant administration costs.
The council also recognized and thanked resident Chris Hughey for his voluntary work to clean, weed and restore parts of the city and encouraged other community members to help. Call City Hall at 707-464-7482 to volunteer or for more information.