State’s reason for killing project makes no sense

Feather Publishing

Citizens of Plumas County once again fell victim to bureaucratic nonsense last week. The state pulled the plug on a plan that would have improved public safety and saved taxpayers millions of dollars.

On Friday afternoon, Feather Publishing was putting the final touches on a story about the progress of a groundbreaking collaboration. It was an update for our readers about the proposal to combine the local sheriff’s office, California Highway Patrol facility and jail under one roof.

It was a popular plan that made so much sense on so many levels that we couldn’t find a comment from anyone who disagreed with it.

We were writing one of those rare “feel-good” stories about the state and county working together to solve a bunch of problems — and save millions of dollars — with one solution. Our story included thought-provoking quotes from the sheriff, who met with Feather Publishing days earlier to offer more details about the plan.

The story included a strong endorsement from Sen. Gaines and our county supervisors. All we were waiting for was a quote from the CHP.

Local CHP Commander Lt. Joe Edwards was obviously supportive of the plan. After all, he brainstormed the idea with Sheriff Greg Hagwood a few months ago. But Edwards said it would be more appropriate for his boss to comment for the article.

So we waited for the official CHP response. We expected to just add the CHP commissioner’s words of support to the story, write the “Joint Facility Plan Moving Forward” headline and send it to the press.

At 12:21 p.m. our managing editor got an email from the CHP’s communications director. In short, the email read: Thanks, but no thanks.

The only statement in the email that even closely resembled a reason for the CHP’s decision to kill the plan was that “a considerable amount of time and money have been invested, a site has already been selected.”

What? That was the reason?

We were stunned. The sheriff was stunned. Everyone was stunned.

The CHP’s reasoning for backing out of the deal simply doesn’t make sense. Time and money invested in a site that is already selected?

There is no way that the time and money already spent will compare to the time and taxpayers’ money that will be spent to build three separate facilities. Not to mention the millions that will be spent in the years to come maintaining them.

When asked to name the site of the new CHP facility, the state declined. The reason offered was that negotiations were still going on.

So, it is not even a done deal?

Unless there is more to this story that the CHP commissioner isn’t telling us, the state should scrap its independent plan for a new CHP office today.

If it truly wants to provide Plumas County communities with a higher level of service, reduce operating expenses, forge better local working relationships and save taxpayers’ money, the state should trash its plan in favor of collaboration.

It will be an injustice if our sheriff’s and local CHP commander’s innovative and groundbreaking idea dies just because the state’s bureaucratic assembly line is already in motion.

If the CHP commissioner’s office thinks we are buying its excuse about time and money already spent, it better think again. It has to come up with something better than that.

There has to be a better reason. And the citizens of Plumas County deserve to hear what it is.

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