Mini Vacay at the Beach While Local Elections Drag On

Toby – handsome boy

I took Toby, the sweet abandoned border-collie mix, to his forever home last Monday. We drove to Canby, OR – just outside Portland – to meet his new mommy. Sandra has a beautiful 17 acre farm where she grows veggies that she gives away. Her home is cozy and lovely and Toby knew he belonged before we were through the front door.

I spent a little while with them, going outside to get his vet paperwork and some chewies. He didn’t try to follow me – good sign. Happy sad tears as I drove away. One down, one to go.

Tuesday morning I headed back down I-5, knowing the Siskiyou Pass would be snowy and figured I would hang out in Ashland or Medford until Wednesday morning. Then I remembered how close the coast is to I-5 in OR. Staying north of the storm, I drove over to Reedsport and stayed in Florence, walking the beach at Dunes National Rec Area. Magical.

Even more magical was an announcement made at the Tehama County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning. October was an overwhelming month for Animal Services – overfull shelter and tons of animals being fostered. But an anonymous donor stepped up and paid for the spays, neuters, and adoption fees for every dog at the shelter. The generous person ponied up $1800 so every critter could be adopted at no cost. If you’re thinking about getting a new family member, you can get started for free. Thank you, donor, whoever you are. You rock.

Speaking of announcements, the Tehama County Sheriff’s Department dropped a bombshell last Monday. In a press release, TCSO revealed that, beginning Nov. 20, day-time patrols would be suspended due to – you guessed it – staffing shortages. We’ve seen a lot of services cut by the department over the past couple years. Dispatch partly taken over by RBPD, only two patrol vehicles in use overnight, lobby closed to the public one day a week, 41 inmates released from the jail because there weren’t enough personnel to babysit. It’s a chocolate mess.

Now they are suspending day patrols. How nice that they have given all the criminals a 2-week notice to get their game plans ready. Porch Pirate Superbowl – just in time for the holidays. Fill a couple Amazon boxes with dog poop and leave them outside. You can probably pick up some freshies at the shelter.

As any regular reader of this column knows, I am a big supporter of TCSO. They have been treated shoddily by the supes for years. There are many reasons for this – most of them related to butt-hurtedness and cronyism. This announcement took everyone by surprise.

The timing was weird. The press release went out Monday. Tuesday’s supes agenda had already been posted and there was an item on it about implementing the comp study salaries the exact same day as the day patrols would cease – Nov. 20. Coincidence?

Even weirder was that nobody mentioned it during the meeting. I was listening on the phone and nobody spoke about it during Public Comments. I figured Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston would mention it during Department Reports. Nope. Normally when TCSO makes a change like this somebody shows up to rightly blame the board.

All these years of staffing shortages because of low pay and now it’s hard to find anyone to work any job at any salary. And the patrols stop the same day as a department wide raise? Sure, it’ll take awhile to rewrite and post all the positions being flown with the new salaries and there’s no guarantee any qualified applicants will surface, but still.

CHP and TCSO have already met to talk about what they’re going to do. The supes scheduled a special meeting for closed session Thursday, one assumes they discussed options and solutions.

This is all just my personal observation and we should have more concrete information soon, but the problem in Tehama County is that we’re dead broke. Lack of funding is the cause of most of our troubles. (That and backasswards thinking, but I digress.) How will we sustain these salaries? Chairwoman of the board Candy Carlson has been demanding we stop spending more than we make for the entire 5 years I have been attending. Crickets.

As you probably know, most of the county’s revenue comes from property taxes. Approximately 40% of Tehama land is under Williamson Act protection, meaning the landowners (farmers) pay greatly reduced property taxes in order to subsidize farming. The state used to pay subvention funds to the counties to partially make up for it, but that stopped over 10 years ago. We have been out around $1 million every year since 2009. It adds up. Shout out to Supervisor Bob Williams for relentlessly trying to get that funding back for us. Credit where it’s due, even if he has been unsuccessful. I remember the late great George Russell talking about the effect the Williamson Act would have on our future years ago. Right again, George.

This is not the farmers’ fault. If we want our county to remain rural and ag-centric, we need to subsidize this industry/way of life. And we shouldn’t have to decide between that and public safety. Of course, lack of water may decide for us anyway.

Also at the supes meeting, Auditor/Controller LeRoy “The King” Anderson gave his report on Q1 of Fiscal Year 2022/23. There were three math mistakes. On a Financial Report. Maybe one of the beads fell off his abacus.

LeRoy Anderson – Tehama County Auditor-Controller

Election Official Jennifer Vise posted the Fourth Unofficial Report of Tuesday’s election results Friday morning. Incumbent Daniele Eyestone was tied with tireless gaslighter Cody Strock for the third seat on the Red Bluff City Council. 779 votes each. Still think your vote doesn’t count? By Monday afternoon Cody was leading by 6 votes. Strock’s residency is in question, however. The occupants of the address on his candidate’s paperwork were evicted during the campaign. Rut-roh.

There are still ballots left to count, but if Cody holds his margin he will win. This would be disastrous for the City of Red Bluff, but the meetings will get a lot funnier. But there’s hope. There’s always hope. Just ask Toby.

If you appreciate journalist Liz Merry’s reporting and commentary, please consider contributing to A News Cafe. Thank you!

Liz Merry

Liz Merry was born in Brooklyn, raised in the Bronx, then transplanted to the Jersey Shore. She moved to Chico in 1984 and married her comedy partner, Aaron Standish, in 1990. They have lived in Manton since 1994.

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