Darrin Short is steeped in Del Norte County through and through. Born and raised here, he has devoted his time to serving the county including spending three years on the Crescent City council, 30 years as a volunteer firefighter and now running for the County Board of Supervisors District 1 seat.
Why is he running? This is his home, where he and his wife grew up, where they made memories as high school sweethearts, and where they raised their six children. He has watched the county change, the mills leave and Last Chance Grade slowly slide toward the ocean, and he cares about shaping his home’s future.
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to tell Sacramento the effects that they’re having on our community — that we get lost in the shuffle down in Sacramento, that they pass laws that completely don’t apply to rural communities,” Short said.
Through sitting on the city council, he learned the inner workings of local government and grew passionate about local issues.
“It’s just something that I think that I’ve just kind of been driven to do. Just finding another way to serve the community,” Short said.
A few of the issues he is passionate about include: law enforcement officer’s salaries, homelessness, and Last Chance Grade.
When Short served on the city council, the council worked to increase pay for law enforcement officers. Since a similar need has arisen in the sheriff’s department, he wants to try a similar strategy for increasing their pay.
“As a volunteer firefighter, I’ve kind of got my fingers in the public safety realm, and I believe that’s the primary job of the government is to provide for public safety,” he said.
“Hopefully we can… create a resilient workforce in our sheriff’s department. I’ve got first-hand knowledge in our emergency medical and our emergency fire response, so keeping an eye on that and making sure it’s the best for our community — I can do that.”
Along the lines of safety is working on a Last Chance Grade solution. Last Chance Grade is a landslide that stretches three miles long on U.S. Highway 101 between Klamath and Crescent City. For 30-some years, Last Chance Grade has been sliding toward the ocean.
“The road has literally slid out of the right of way that we were originally given to make the road… and we just keep chasing it down the hill,” he said. “I can remember how it looked a whole lot different than it does now.”
Now finally the county has funds for a solution, and Short feels it is more important than ever to make a push for a solution.
“Our city and county leaders have worked hard and got that ball rolling, but we need to stay engaged,” he said. “We have to continue that and just keep that momentum so we can get that project done or before ahead of schedule.”
Finally, he wants to implement a temporary housing program for homeless individuals based on a program in Medford, Ore. The program, called Hope Village, is run by a non-profit and allows people affordable rent in a clean environment.
“They’ve been so successful that now Grants Pass is getting one in 2020,” Short said. “So I hope to move toward getting that done.”
The California primary is March 3.