The Del Norte County Republican Party (DNCRP) held an endorsement meeting this week to officially support candidates for election to the County Board of Supervisors. Endorsements went to Roger Gitlin (District 1), Lori Cowan (District 2), and Bob Berkowitz (District 5).
Each candidate made a presentation to the Party’s full Central Committee as the final step in a rigorous application process. The Central Committee agreed that these proven community leaders are best qualified to make a real difference as Del Norte County strives toward a better future with respect to private property rights, air and land transportation, law and order, beautification, public health issues, privatization of public services where warranted, and development of strong cohesive families and communities. Questions addressed by candidates centered on critical issues related to Last Chance Grade, the County’s roadway system in general, Sutter Coast Hospital, Crescent City Airport, Unified School District, the need for a stepped up blight removal process, the worsening vagrancy problem and associated implications, and especially the county’s declining economic condition. As each candidate proposed solutions, it became clear that all three are deeply committed to developing a new countywide vision, and each is capable of leading institutional changes to achieve that vision. Of most significance and as a fresh team, they could weave the necessary changes together in a coordinated strategy that promotes definitive action by the Board of Supervisors. All three presented varied experience levels, new ideas, and common sense answers to the DNCRP.
With the rising potential for geographic isolation from California weighing on the minds of most Del Norte County residents and business owners, Supervisor Roger Gitlin’s leadership concerning a desperately needed route around Last Chance Grade has been pivotal. His noteworthy leadership when dealing with various blight issues throughout the county showed what is possible when a County Supervisor is willing to “take the bull by the horns.” It was apparent to the Central Committee that Lori Cowan’s and Bob Berkowitz’ prior service on the Unified School District’s Board would complement a performance-based initiative undertaken by the Masonic Lodge three years ago to improve the quality of primary and secondary education in Del Norte County. Lori and Bob also bring significant experience to the table in terms of real estate law, business marketing, and information technology.
Supervisors McClure and Finigan have sat on the Board of Supervisors for nearly 20 years apiece. The alarm bells are ringing countywide. In the absence of term limits, the time has come to replace the incumbent Supervisors in Districts 2 and 5, who have brought Del Norte County from a prosperous era when the Del Norte Economic Development Corporation earned California’s top recognition from Governor Schwarzenegger in 2004 for “economic development programs.” Here we are in 2016, some 12 years later, literally suffering from the increasingly disadvantaged economic, health care, air transportation, vagrancy, educational, and crime and drug-related conditions we see around us today. We don’t need to hear the same old rhetoric from day to day as our quality of life steadily declines. With Chairman Gerry Hemmingsen’s astute leadership at the helm of the Board of Supervisors, an increasingly effective Supervisor Chris Howard in District 3, Supervisor Roger Gitlin returning in District 1, and Supervisors Cowan and Berkowitz joining them in Districts 2 and 5 for at least 4 years, imagine what this County government might accomplish for the first time since 2004. Imagine what it would be like for all five Supervisors to sing from the same page of music for a change. It’s truly an exciting thought.