Tuesday, June 19, 2007


On Wednesday June 6, Vice Mayor Tom Wiknich suggested at a City Council Meeting that The City of Ridgecrest should investigate the possibility of seceding from Kern County and joining Inyo County.

Boy Howdy, you should hear the fur flying around town these days. Based on letters to the editor of the Daily Independent you would think that Vice Mayor Wiknich suggested that we all give up eating beef and start eating babies. Anyone who can get their name in the paper is letting us all know what a dumb idea this is.

"The Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors believes that the concept of realigning Kern County boundaries has no serious support or interest in our community. We further believe that the City's pursuit of the subject is a waste of resources and that the idea is ill conceived."

Janis Bottorff, President, Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce

"I see no sense in Ridgecrest leaving Kern County. Secession didn't work in the 1860's. It is unlikely that it will now."

Name omitted by me to protect the ignorant.

“The gut feeling on my part is the move to Inyo County, which for many reasons has been misstated, is not practical in any way, shape or form, for this debate to be relevant and get some of the attention we want it to get, we got to get that off the table...we make a statement that we're not looking to secede.”

Mayor Chip Holloway

Honorary Mayor Howard Auld said secession was “ridiculous” and “makes no sense.”

“I don't think it's a good business decision and I don't think it's a good political decision either,” said First District Supervisor Jon McQuiston

Secession talk must end now - Daily Independent editorial headline

From all these comments and many more it would seem that the secession idea will be shot down before it is even launched. So why was it even suggested? The one thing that all these folks seem to have missed is that Vice mayor Wiknich didn't propose that Ridgecrest secede from Kern County. What he proposed was that city council do some fact finding about how much tax money Ridgecrest sends to Bakersfield and what do we get back in return. Then weigh the services we get from Kern County and what we might expect to get from Inyo County. Vice Mayor Wiknich is looking for information. Unfortunately he asked for that information in such a manner that most folks just started jumping to conclusions and spewing opinions.

The only person posting a comment in the paper that seems to get what is going on was Nathan Ahle the Managing Editor:

To me, the most important part of the issue isn’t whether or not Ridgecrest should leave Kern County or become part of Inyo County. The primary issue is how much Ridgecrest receives in county services in relation to what it pays in property taxes.

It concerns me that we don’t seem to know what we receive, or even what we pay. It’s hard to consider voting for another tax increase, no matter how needed it is, when we don’t even know what happens to the tax money we’re already paying. The most important thing that comes out of this has to be the information we’ll receive by examining secession.

I don't know for sure but I suspect that Vice Mayor Wiknich will agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Ahle. This started out as a request to get information and is turning into a crucification.

I applaud Vice Mayor Wiknich for asking the questions he is asking and Mr Ahle for paying attention and not jumping to conclusions.

For me, I'm not going to worry about it. Most of the folks that I have talked to feel the same way. Its a non-issue. It is going to take some time to get all the information that the Vice Mayor wants to collect. I think that once he does he will see that secession is probably not a good idea and the whole issue will just pass quietly away. But in the unlikely case that we find out that Ridgecrest is not getting a fair shake from Kern County I suspect that things will get pretty lively around here, right quick.


Goat said...

Sounds like you desert folks just needed something to do. I love that area and used to do alot camping on the East side and did alot of climbing in the OHV area just south east of Ridgecrest when I lived in LA. How about a cross link to a fellow Californian?

C.Ratliff said...

I agree that the questions should be asked about what's happening to our tax dollars. I also think it's a shame that this question is getting lost in the hoopla of the secession hype. Wiknich asked a good question, and one which might have some telling answers. Great post!