Was it the streets of Eureka?
Was it the absolute clusterf*** over at the Mental Health Branch?
Was it all the creepy comments about her looks in the LoCO Thunderdome? (We swear it wasn’t us!)
We’re guessing that, mostly, it’s the really shitty legacy that Phillip Crandall has left behind him – and the fact that it would have been nearly impossible (thanks, AFSCME!) for Kristin Brinks to rid the top-heavy, mismanaged, and inefficient department that is the DHHS of all the shitty administrators and lackadaisical workers that plague it.
Whatever it was that chased Kristin Brinks away, one thing is absolutely certain: we shouldn’t be surprised. It’s not an easy or necessarily desirable sort of job to jump right into with – what we are guessing – is relatively little experience manning the helm of a sinking ship.
Sure, she worked for the El Dorado County government (and still does, we suppose – any bets she got a nice fat raise for staying?). But that doesn’t mean she was prepared for what awaited her at the DHHS. With all respect to Ms. Brinks, it seemed to us from the start that she must have been the only person crazy enough to consider taking the job.
Which is a total shame. Because even if it was a gargantuan task, we were very much looking forward to seeing what her “fiscally responsible” approach (per the County’s original press release announcing her appointment as Director) to serving the Humboldt community was going to be.
Which is why we buckled down and did some homework to help her out.
As we mentioned before, reducing budget obligations via getting rid of incompetent administrators and employees, or lowering their salaries, is essentially a no-go. Not gonna happen, folks.
So we did some digging into what other areas she could potentially trim some fat from. And, wouldn’t you know it, the CPRA that we submitted to the DHHS came back with some very interesting results.
Today, we’ll start with real estate, or more precisely, commercial real estate rental. That’s right, we’re talking about the rates that Humboldt’s DHHS pays for the buildings they operate out of.
We just got the CPRA documents, so we’ll update you fully later, but here are some specific buildings that jumped out at us immediately:
- Public Health Office Space, 550 I Street, Eureka: 2630 sq. ft. @ $4,144.32 ($1.58/sq. ft.)
- Social Services, 445 W. Washington Street, Eureka: 3,960 sq. ft. @ @6,406 ($1.62/sq. ft.) (We feel compelled to note that that is some shitty space!)
- HHS Admin Offices, 507 F Street, Eureka: 25,132 sq. ft. @ $54,479.54 ($2.17/sq. ft.) (THC note: WTF?)
And our personal favorite, for reasons to be made clear momentarily:
- Wellness Center, 908 7th Street, Eureka: 11.550 sq. ft. @$24,610.60 ($2.13/sq. ft.)
Now, the point is this: the County of Humboldt is hemorrhaging a ridiculous amount of money in the rent it is paying, and in this case, specifically the DHHS. Granted, there are a few of the spaces that DHHS rents that are a little closer to $1/sq. ft. – but from what we can tell, even that is a higher than the norm in Humboldt County.
Heck, there are some major cities in the U.S. which have lower commercial rental rate averages than . We’re talking Atlanta and Dallas, to name just two of them. So why in the world does the County of Humboldt feel the need to bend over any time a landlord makes high rate demands? Are they just stupid, or do they enjoy getting screwed?
In any case, let’s get back to the Wellness Center, and why we think it contributed so greatly to Ms. Brinks’ reconsideration of the DHHS director job. As we mentioned, the Wellness center costs a whopping $2.13/sq. ft. a month, for an annual total of just under $300,000. She was probably further discouraged that the Wellness Center has two more years left of the original 10-year lease, and that there are two 5-year options to extend the lease remaining. Any bets on whether the County will just blindly pony up and continue to pay such exorbitant amounts?
Lastly, as Brinks was thinking about how she was going to have to watch as the County squandered her budget, and how she was going to take the blame for all the bullshit financial obligations she’d been saddled with, THC strongly believes she went to Google Earth to find out exactly what P.O.S. building the DHHS was paying so much for.
And what she saw was this:
But wait….what’s that? Let’s enhance the image.
Gadzooks! Kristin must have realized that the DHHS services are being overrun by homeless nazis! Thanks a lot, Google, for putting such a stellar advertisement for the “beautiful” streets of Eureka out there for all to see.
And there you have it, folks. Ain’t nobody that’s capable of fixing the DHHS debacle going to take the job while they have to contend with that.