Thursday, August 02, 2007

More Secession News

The front page of this mornings paper announces that our illustrious City Council has definitely taken any talk of secession from Kern County off the table.

There is a large contingent of Ridgecrest residents who don't think it should have been on the table in the first place. I received an e-mail the other day from Eric Kauffman a DJ at KQIZ radio station. At first I was just scanning the e-mail thinking that Eric was just another voice who was yelling at everyone to stop talking about things that might upset folks. But then I realized that Eric has a really good point. Eric has given me permission to post his e-mail.

I haven’t been able to read your blog in a while, but we do have a link to it on our web site, KZIQ.COM. I am on the Chamber Board and of course was one of the speakers at Council public comment. I just wanted to make sure that you understood the biggest point that everyone is missing here. It’s not about getting numbers….we’re all for that. It’s not so much about secession, although that was the equivalent of hitting an unaware person with a baseball bat. This is about what we have done to our relationship with the County of Kern. Jon McQuiston has led a pretty charmed life in getting the other Supervisors to vote the IWV’s way on many extra funding issues. Now valuable CDBG (block grants) money is at risk. This money will, a lot of times, go to the Hospital, The Women’s Center, and IWV United Way agencies. There is also a need to extend our deal on the County owned softball fields near Jackson Park, that the city needs a 25 year minimum agreement in order to get state and federal grants. It the County’s presentation it was noted that the market lease value on the fields was $800k a year. Even at half that, it’s more than the city could afford. Our price for many years and up to now has been nothing.

See the problem? We are calling them jerks AND asking them for favors. Politically (and isn’t everything these days?) it is suicide. I have an ongoing problem with the entire council that, not only do they not want to recognize it and fix it, they want to continue to pour gasoline on the fire. Currently the General Plan Advisory Committee (of which I am a member) is tasked with creating a vision for Ridgecrest for the next 20-30 years. Certainly annexation of land outside the city limits is essential to that vision. Our current deal with the County stinks and Supervisor McQuiston had been trying to get the County to re-negotiate that. How can we expect to be treated fairly in those negotiations when our council is acting recklessly like this? The re-negotiation process was already in motion before this started and now has stopped.

The only thing I want (I won’t speak for the Chamber Board here) is for cooler heads to prevail and start working in earnest with the County to get us back on track.

In case you didn't read that with the same eyes I did, Eric's main point is "We are calling them jerks AND asking them for favors." I don't know about you, but I tend to not be very cooperative with folks who expect me to help them out, but ask for that help by threatening me.

So I hope that the city keeps working on understanding fully our relationship with Kern County. I just hope they do so in a calmer, more cooperative manner.

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