The current recall is not about cannabis, any hidden agenda by the proponents, nor is it frivolous or the desire for a past supervisor to once again run for office. It is quite simply fulfilling a stance by none other than Roger Gitlin and Bob Berkowitz.
Prior to the last election, they both did the unprecedented and unthinkable. They used time at the dais to report out as acting supervisors to advocate for others to run against their fellow supervisors who were up for election (Supervisors Gerry Hemmingsen and Chris Howard). Berkowitz and Gitlin openly encouraged and advocated for new supervisors they “could work with.” They followed up their campaign against fellow supervisors by significantly funding the campaigns of those running against them. Well, the community spoke loudly by rejecting their advocacy and support for replacements; instead voting to retain those current supervisors. They are now left with the current board that by their own admission they cannot work with. By their own statements, they do not have the ability, desire nor capacity to work with their fellow supervisors. Already, they choose to no longer participate in board committees. While a multitude of constituents have their own personal recall reasons based in dissatisfaction, this abdication of duty is alone sufficient. Hence a recall.
Filling in the blanks … while that alone should be sufficient, there is more. In replying to media, Gitlin and Berkowitz don’t think it is warranted, have done nothing and offer their performances as worthy of praise. The code enforcement/blight ordinance was enacted and funded through the budget before Gitlin and Berkowitz came on the scene.
Last Chance Grade relocation plan had unanimous support of stakeholders, environmentalists and elected officials prior to their involvement. There was no quick fix plan from them as promised; rather, they slowed the process by insulting local federal representatives and sowing distrust among partners by trying to eliminate the mandated environmental studies and only do them administratively.
They both opposed development at the airport citing the need for an unfunded runway extension to attain jet traffic; Gitlin advocated for a non-TSA small prop airline and Berkowitz wanted the BCRAA board disbanded. That BCRAA board brought us the new jet air traffic and soon completion of the new terminal.
New physicians and medical services in our community are the result of successes by the hospital board and Del Norte Health Care District Board, not them.
And they had zero influence on bringing us additional funding for roads and schools as boasted.
They are quick to claim others’ successes as their accomplishments but have really done nothing; nothing to address homelessness, mental health, affordable housing or economic growth. The simple reason is because that would mean they would have to work with others, and admittedly they do not know how.
Their bond is so tight that Berkowitz, in writing, is willing to extort an apology from Jesse Davis to Gitlin in return for his vote on positions brought forward by the board’s own cannabis working group.
And rumors … there was an opinion posted by a self-proclaimed journalist that the reason for the recall was because I did not want to wait until 2020 to run for office again. As usual, not close to the truth.
I served this community very well for 20 years and will not be running again, recall or not. My tenure was marked by inclusion, partnerships, infrastructure growth and communication. It is a record that is completely verifiable and of which I am very proud.
I could not have realized the growth and successes had I not been able to work together with my various fellow board members, community partners and state and federal representatives. That was our job.
I would suggest that we honor Gitlin and Berkowitz’s dilemma, of not being able to work with other board members, and ask them to please do the right thing and step down. Resign.
Short of that I will be casting my vote for a new community-minded representative with a proven capacity to work together for our community. We are too good of a community to not. We deserve better.
David Finigan is a former Del Norte County supervisor.