Hamburg’s Empty Possibilities

by Mark Scaramella, February 19, 2012

Back in May of 2010, not long after Supervisor Dan Hamburg first declared his intention of running for Supervisor, Hamburg supporter Michael Laybourne of Hopland wrote to us to explain why Hamburg should be elected. Mr. Laybourne wrote as if he had spoken to Hamburg and supported Hamburg because he agreed with certain aspects of Hamburg’s position on County matters.

• “Hamburg is right to suggest cutting salaries of those over $68,000 and then take a look at shortened workweek so that employees still have a job.” An interesting threshold, $68,000 being the Supervisors’ salary at the time. Hamburg has never expressed support for the shortened workweek the employees voted in favor of in the early phases of contract negotiations. Instead, when crunch time arrived, Hamburg voted to impose a 12.5% pay cut on all SEIU members, a higher pay cut than any other bargaining unit in the County (since reduced to a 10% pay cut without comment from Hamburg). Hamburg also defended keeping the Board salary at $68k per year saying that it "devalued" the position to compare a Supervisors job to a mid-level employee — after voting to impose a 10% cut on everyone else.

• “[Hamburg] agrees with Mark Scaramella, as I do, that the Supervisors are not getting timely information to make decisions. A system of information follow-up needs to be put in place. No other candidate has mentioned this that I have heard.” Nor has Hamburg since being elected.

• “Increasing the preference for any county government contracts to be local is a clear idea to use.” The County's current local preference credit on County contracts is 5%. In a campaign debate in Fort Bragg, Hamburg suggested raising it to 10%. Not a peep about this from Hamburg since he was elected.

• “Hamburg also understands that our county needs broadband for anyone to do business.” Hamburg has been involved with Mendoccino’s “Broadband Alliance.” But so far, nothing has been accomplished, and no County action has been proposed.

• “Hamburg has also been a strong supporter of the coastal economy, supporting the workers that make a living from the ocean. Once again, he is supporting people’s jobs, not theories devised by the state and feds. ‘We must protect our local crab, urchin and seaweed businesses and all intact fisheries from over-regulation’.” No proposals from Hamburg about “coastal jobs” since being elected. Nothing about urchins or crab fisheries which are the purview of the state and the feds. Although some people collect and sell seaweed,  "seaweed jobs" don't exist.

• “Illegal water diversions should not be tolerated. [Hamburg] supports law enforcement and environmental health efforts to prosecute anyone diverting or polluting water. There doesn’t seem to be a system in place to monitor diversions.” And there still isn’t. And Hamburg hasn’t proposed one. And no one has been charged with or prosecuted for “illegal water diversion.”

Mr. Laybourne added: “Disclosure: I am on the Hamburg steering committee.”

“Adding all this up,” Laybourne concluded, “I believe Hamburg will make a solid Supervisor as he recognizes the immediate county budget problems and has some fresh ideas for helping the problems even though the Ukiah Daily Journal seemed to say no thanks. Beyond that, he sees possibilities in how to rebuild our economy and even if it all doesn’t happen, it is the right direction.” “Possibilities”? Combine that with “hope” and you still can't buy a cup of coffee.

“Even if it all doesn't happen, it is the right direction." What about if none of it is even proposed?


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