Business on the Edge

If you want to get PAID, it helps to have friends on the board

In the meantime, nobody is in charge of keeping those canals flowing. And the district's work crew doesn't have the equipment to do it anyway — which brings us back to that backhoe.

The district paid $15,000 for the tractor last year at the urging of Supervisor Adams. Guess what? Adams admits he's a close friend of Doug Holt, the man who sold it to the district. Holt has done work on Adams' property, and the two men also attend the same church, First Baptist at Hillsboro, where they must teach a skewed view of the concept of Christian charity.

Holt's backhoe has been an utter disaster. Before the district even took possession of it, the transmission broke down, and taxpayers paid at least $1,500 to fix it.

I asked Adams if he arranged this sorry deal.

"That depends on what you mean by arranged," he said in Clintonian fashion.

Shortly after the district received the backhoe, it broke down again. Hillier says the official estimates for repairs are about $7,000.

"It's a lemon," Hillier says. "I've never seen a bigger piece of junk. It even had bald tires, and the battery didn't work." Almost as dysfunctional as the taxing district itself.

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