On Tuesday November 21st, both Commissioners Switzer and Hukill outvoted Commissioner Linthicum to extend the KBRA for two more years.
What is curious is that only a few months prior these same two commissioners, who knew their terms would be up at the end of the year, decided to extend county employee contracts only one year instead of the normal two, three and five years. The reasoning was that since Switzer and Hukill were soon to be leaving, it didn't make sense for the outgoing commissioners to saddle Mallams and Bellet (the new commissioners) with these types of decisions. So by extending the contracts just for a year, Mallams and Bellet would be able to negotiate with the unions for the length of their first terms.
One wonders if something that important, county employee contracts, can be put off for one year so the new commissioners can be directly involved, why was it okay to extend the KBRA for another two years giving the new commissioners no say in the matter? Why didn't they just table the extension, as Commissioner LInthicum motioned, in order to allow Mallams and Bellet a say in the matter?
The main reason both commissioners wanted the KBRA to go forward was because they said they saw no other alternatives. This is laziness at best and malpractice at worst. There are several alternatives to the KBRA but none of these alternatives are allowed into the arena. They are kept outside and called names: radical, stupid, won't work, bigoted, you name it. There are plenty of ways to ensure farmers have enough water each year and to ensure that fish populations don't go extinct. But again, these ideas aren't allowed into the discussion. Only the secretly written, created behind closed doors, sacred KBRA is allowed for consideration.
Switzer also claimed his vote was to ensure that the commissioners "stayed at the table." Really?! This man must be kidding if not senile. So now the new rule is if you disagree with something, you aren't allowed at the table? What school of thought is this? Pure idiocy.
The Majority is Against KBRA
One can look at all sorts of data which shows the KBRA is not the majority opinion in Klamath County. There is the 2009 telephone poll conducted at the direction of State Representative Girrard and Senator Whitsett and the 3:1 ratio of opinions opposing the KBRA at the October 2011 meeting hosted by the U.S. Department of Interior.
One could further argue that this specific issue, the KBRA, is the very reason that three commissioners (Elliott, Switzer and Hukill) are soon to be former County Commissioners — they were for the KBRA, when the majority of Klamath is against it. And yet, one of Switzer's and Hukill's last important decisions will be to rule against the will of the people for who they supposedly serve.
Either they didn't learn their lesson during the primary campaigns when they lost to Mallams and Bellet (who both are strongly opposed to the KBRA), or are just stubborn, thinking they know best.
Indeed, foolish to the end.