Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

The Del Norte County Library has stepped up to provide immediate help and support of local homeless people by applying for funding to create a resource center in the library they already frequent.

Tuesday, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to send a letter of support for a STEER (Stewards Toward Equal Education Resources) grant application by the library to assist local homeless people. The letter was sent to the California State Library Grant Committee, saying it will contribute to the community goal of ending homelessness in Del Norte County.

Library Trustee Lupe Gutierrez explained the library’s staff came up with an idea to help local homeless people who frequent the library. She said the idea is to gather all related community resources on the library’s website and in a printable version.

“What I see that keeps happening is those resources change regularly and who holds that information seems to change as well, so we thought the library would be a really good place to keep it,” she said.

Gutierrez spoke of, saying the library would like to come up with a similar format, to help people learn personally and professionally, through videos and other information.

“We’re trying to get our homeless people to bring up their social, economic status and we’re trying to give them a place where they can do this,” she said.

She said the library will be hiring an architect to help design a self-help resource center there. Gutierrez said the library plans to bring in expert lecturers to address homeless issues and empathy training. She encouraged the board to attend. Gutierrez said the School District will provide the space.

“We are currently faced, like many communities, with the issue of homelessness and those on the verge of homelessness,” the board’s letter of support reads. “We are working in partnership with the City Council of Crescent City and other agencies to develop goals and strategies to reduce homelessness. We are fortunate to have library representation on the short term solution committee to share their experience and ideas regarding the homeless situation.”

Increased elk tags

Among other board letters discussed was an updated comment letter to the State Fish and Game Commission regarding elk tag quotas for the Northwestern Hunting Zone.

Supervisor Chris Howard noted the board, at its last meeting, approved a letter asking the state commission and Department of Fish and Wildlife to move forward with a 60-tag increase on elk for the northwest hunt zone. He said some data regarding the reasons for the increase was not released to the public at the time.

“To not conflict with the department’s recommendation in that document, we felt it was prudent to bring this back before the board instead of potentially upsetting the entire elk season here in Del Norte County, to see if the board would consider the allocation and go with the department’s preferred alternative, which was to only increase by 20 tags for 2019,” Howard said.

Friends of Del Norte Vice President Eileen Cooper called the increase aggressive, saying the tag limit has gone up yearly since 2013. She said the increase would be premature without understanding the long-term effects of increased hunting allowances.

Cooper said she did not feel constituents who care about the herds were being acknowledged.

Howard said the increase would not be aggressive and was necessary to keep up with increasing populations. He said since researchers have traditionally counted elk only in specified areas, population estimates have been conservative.

Howard added that tags have typically been allocated to areas where population increases are noted.

Cannabis bill

The board voted to send a letter to Assemblyman Jim Wood opposing AB 1356, which proposes a land use standard based on a ballot measure to sanction the adult use of cannabis.

Hemmingsen said the bill seemed an attempt to take away local control and tie the legislation to the number of liquor licenses in the county.

“We’ve been working on our ordinances to define where we would like dispensaries and the like, and this undermines the whole thing,” Hemmingsen said.

Local cannabis retailer Robert Derego said while the bill would likely have no effect on Del Norte, other small towns and counties without ordinances may not have access to the cannabis products they voted to legalize.

The letter noted the county has worked to create policies to control siting of retail and recreational cannabis.

“We are disappointed that any legislator would propose a land-use based on the results of a statewide ballot measure that’s primary purpose was to sanction the adult use of cannabis,” the letter reads, noting the Legislature created the regulatory framework for medical cannabis a year before Prop 64 was enacted.

“Current public policy allows for citizens to referendum any action taken locally,” the letter states. “We believe this public policy allows each entity to form a standard that best serves its communities locally, and not a one-size-fits-all statewide standard.”

The letter said the proposed legislation would erode local decision-making and exclude local government and the public in creating land use regulation.

The bill was opposed on a unanimous vote to send the letter of opposition to Wood.