This November, we as citizens have the opportunity to voice our opinions at the voting booth or by mail-in vote. It is very important that we educate ourselves and understand the consequences of our decisions.
Del Norte County is unique and has many needs that are quite different than the rest of California. I have consistently championed the idea that “What is best for California is not necessarily good for Del Norte County.” When you voted me into office, you voted for a person who makes decisions that put the needs of our county, city, residents and schools first. The needs of the overall community must be our highest priority. This requires a supervisor to be non-partisan, open-minded and not afraid to cross the lines of party politics, self-interest or personal ideology.
On Nov. 6, the local ballot includes two very important and significant pieces of legislation; statewide Proposition 6, the repeal of taxes and fees that are currently dedicated to repairing our roads and other transportation infrastructure; and local Measure B, a tax on the gross receipts of non-medicinal retail, manufacturing, outdoor cultivation and indoor cultivation of cannabis.
Proposition 6 is a controversial issue. People are upset and rightly so. I get that. However, if approved it will eliminate existing funding of over $1 million, which is dedicated specifically to the Del Norte County Road Division for road improvement projects. These funds cannot be used for any other uses. We have been paying the taxes and fees for a year and the return to Del Norte County is significant and will continue to be a source of funding that you will experience when you drive the roads of Del Norte County.
This is not a partisan issue. This is simply a way to fund much needed improvements that will go away without the funding, resulting in roads and bridges that jeopardize public safety. This does not include the losses to the transportation department, the City of Crescent City, Redwood Coast Transit Authority or CalTrans.
For CalTrans that means loss of funds to move forward on Last Chance Grade. I am not willing to vote for those losses.
Measure B is legislation that would allow the taxation of legal medical and recreational cannabis. Simply put, it would produce funding for the enforcement of state and local laws that now permit the use, cultivation and manufacturing of cannabis and cannabis related products. It will also be a vehicle for our tax collector to go after unregulated grows. People who are not involved in the cannabis industry or purchase of products will not be subject to the tax.
Cannabis is now legal in California, it’s not going away if you vote no, and it must be regulated. This measure would provide funding paid for by the cannabis industry and cannabis users to enforce laws and deal with the impacts on residents and visitors.
For me, I choose to vote for what is best for Del Norte County and not a political party. I urge you to research all of the candidates, propositions and measures. Make sure the needs of our community are put first. I’m not afraid to cross party lines to do what is right for our county and you shouldn’t be either.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other... Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer...” — John F. Kennedy
Lori Cowan is a Del Norte County Supervisor.