Opinion, Analysis, Discussion

Transparency protects the right to know

July 23, 2014 — 

I have a great deal of respect for the members of any school board. They are paid very little and have a huge responsibility to the schools and members of the community. However, it is important to remember that they are in their positions to act in the best interest of the children and, by way of that, oversee the tax dollars of the parents and citizens that elected them to office.

I’ve been attending meetings of the Nevada County Board of Education (NCBE) for a few months now and can attest to the fact that there are only two NCBE board members of the five that consistently act in the best interests of the children and the taxpayers: Marianne Slade-Troutman and Jack Meeks. The other three seem to be more willing to support a less transparent way of conducting county business.

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Where’s the public campaign on the drought?

August 1, 2014 — 

Where’s the public campaign on the drought?

Is California experiencing a drought? The landscape is green and well-manicured along Douglas Blvd. between I-80 and Sierra College Blvd. in Roseville. Properties lining old Hwy. 40 from Roseville to Auburn display beautiful lawns, too. I guess California isn’t in a drought.

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Hemig: Are you a good ol’ boy?

August 1, 2014 — 

“It’s time to end the reign of the good old boy/girl network.” — Jim Firth

This quote ran July 15 in The Union in a story about candidates Jim Firth and Jerri Glover putting their names on the November ballot for Grass Valley City Council.

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An estimate of economic impact by the proposed Nevada County Outdoor Events Ordinance

August 1, 2014 — 

This data was acquired by telephone survey of a majority of local businesses engaged in all aspects of making weddings happen in western Nevada County. Wedding planners were our primary outreach target, due to the fact that these businesses have the best view of the scope and severity of the economic impact by the proposed Nevada County Outdoor Events Ordinance.

We also sought and found supporting data and information from recognized national business groups and from academic sources of economic expertise, to be cited below. This supporting data allowed us to revise our original estimate upwards, quite substantially.

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It takes a village idiot

August 1, 2014 — 

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Obama’s achievements overlooked

July 31, 2014 — 

So many Americans seem to be disappointed with President Obama.

The president should be judged by his achievements, not by the unrealistic fantasies held in 2008; and by that standard, Obama’s presidency is a major success.

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Firefighters’ quick response averted disaster

July 31, 2014 — 

I’m writing this to express appreciation for the fire department. On two occasions I’ve had the opportunity to observe the fire department in action.

On both occasions their amazingly fast, efficient, and effective action stopped fires that could easily have become major blazes.

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Road access an issue when it comes to outdoor events

July 31, 2014 — 

There is one aspect of the Outdoor Events Ordinance that few seem to be aware of, and that is road access.

In my neighborhood, there are 66 roads. Three of them are paved, public, collector-roads maintained by the county. The remaining 63 are private, local roads.

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Goodman: A venerable Jewish voice for peace

July 31, 2014 — 

The Israeli assault on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip has entered its fourth week. This military attack, waged by land, sea and air, has been going on longer than the devastating assault in 2008/2009, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.

The death toll in this current attack is at least 1,300, overwhelmingly civilians.

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York: After Arizona fiasco, back to the future for death penalty?

July 31, 2014 — 

The surreal national debate over the death penalty reached a climax of sorts July 23 in a prison execution chamber in Florence, Arizona.

Double murderer Joseph Wood was put to death by lethal injection shortly after his lawyers went to the Supreme Court raising questions about the drugs that would be used to kill him.

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Grand jury coverage comes off as biased

July 29, 2014 — 

The front page news stories in The Union often times come off as biased. The July 19 article entitled “Grand jury’s homeless growth claim off the mark?” was hardly written in the style of a news article.

What happened to the who, what, when, where, why and how of reporting? The lead paragraph — “There were fewer homeless people recorded in Nevada County in 2013 than there were in 2009 — but don’t tell that to the Nevada County Civil Grand Jury.” This derisive tone smacks of bias and an article meant to malign the grand jury. The article went on to give some homeless population estimates (that is all they are as it is difficult to accurately count the homeless in a rural community) and some not-so-subtle criticism of the grand jury. The writer saved pertinent facts for the end (on page 8) — Hospitality House and Sierra Roots spokespeople as well as area homeless people agree with the Grand Jury’s conclusions about the growing numbers. How many readers turned to page eight?

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NIMBY approach unfair to those in need

July 29, 2014 — 

I believe we must still be living in the 19th century. The efforts of Grass Valley resident Trishele Swasey and Monica L ‘Etoile to block housing for the mentally ill shows a complete lack of knowledge both about mental illnesses and the incredible efforts of our Behavioral Health Director, Michael Heggarty, and many others that do. They understand the desperation of their clients when they often have to end up on the streets (which I suspect is even more repugnant to you) because they are not getting needed help.

These people do not choose their illness, nor can they just use willpower to overcome it. The vast majorities are not a danger to others, but may be to themselves. Many are veterans who have not received needed services from the VA. I am proud of our county for stepping up to the plate and developing innovative pilots, on a small scale to address this problem. As Mr. Heggarty has stated, the screening of potential residents will be very thorough. Our hospital is also working in tandem with them to provide special emergency services.

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LOP: Association does not discriminate against anyone, including veterans

July 29, 2014 — 

LOP: Association does not discriminate against anyone, including veterans

Lake of the Pines Association hereby provides this statement in defense of the accusations by Dennis Kocher that Lake of the Pines Association is discriminating against him because he is a United States veteran.

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Illegal immigrants need to do the right thing

July 29, 2014 — 

It appears the federal government operatives knew back in January of this year that a flood of illegal immigrant children would be crossing over the border later. Now it is later and here we go.

Exploiting a loophole in some 2002 law that says illegal immigrant children from non-contiguous countries must be held rather than sent back with 48 hours (plus Obama’s Executive Order on kids of illegal residents).

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State splitters secede from reality

July 29, 2014 — 

Some Northern California county supervisors have voted in favor of seceding from California and forming a State of Jefferson. In Nevada County, a small group of people want our county to join this secession movement. These secessionist state splitters have seceded from reality. They are living in a fantasy world and wasting their time.

Here’s what the Constitution says about state splitting.

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Destroying morality of society, destroys it completely

July 29, 2014 — 

Your article “Multitudes attend SF Gay Rights Parade” triggered memories as I grew up in San Francisco and saw the beginning of the “gay and lesbian” community.

My feelings at that time were that these people lived a different lifestyle than I did.

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Many Americans uninformed on Israeli/Palestinian conflict

July 29, 2014 — 

I wake up every morning feeling heartbroken and sick as I watch the news reports of how many more Palestinians (mostly civilians, many children) have been killed by Israeli bombs and guided missiles.

The numbers are now over 1,000 killed, thousands wounded and thousands more made homeless.

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Building furniture is a hobby, not a business

July 29, 2014 — 

I’m a disabled Vietnam veteran who resides at Lake of the Pines and builds furniture as a hobby and donates it to friends, family and the men and women at Beale Air Force Base.

I’ve donated over 50 pieces of furniture to Beale, as well as the Women of Worth and many other organizations. I do this as a hobby and not a business.

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There is plenty we don’t know about the drought

July 29, 2014 — 

We know a fair amount about the drought that has now afflicted California for about three years: It has been the driest period since record-keeping began in the 19th Century.

If their wells are deep enough, farmers can still pretty much pump all the ground water they like, while homeowners can be fined up to $500 for watering down a walkway.

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It Takes a Village Idiot

July 29, 2014 — 

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Electronic poll books a valuable addition to elections process

July 28, 2014 — 

During the June 3 Statewide Direct Primary Election, under my direction, the Nevada County Elections Office launched an exploratory pilot to experience the potential benefits of electronic poll books in polling locations across Nevada County.

These electronic poll books, or e-poll books, replace our paper roster system with efficient touch-screen tablets uploaded with a comprehensive electronic roster of the county’s registered voters.

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Officials lead from behind in Bridgeport rescue effort

July 28, 2014 — 

The Bridgeport Covered Bridge, a National Historic Site since 1971 and an icon of our local tourist industry, is still fenced off from visitors almost three years after it was deemed unsafe for pedestrians.

It could be another four years before anybody walks on the bridge again. That assumes a bad winter — the kind most Californians are praying for — doesn’t wash it away before then.

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Commercial events in neighborhoods: Another view

July 26, 2014 — 

In an editorial appearing in these pages on July 19, The Union editorial board cautioned the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to “tread lightly” on the proposed outdoor event ordinance.

The central premise of the editorial was based on the tacit assumption that a multi-million dollar wedding industry otherwise could suffer “devastating” affects and consequently have a profound effect on the county’s economy in general. Unfortunately, the editorial not only failed to make a clear distinction between legal and illegal wedding venues, but more important, it failed to recognize the larger universe that encompasses the responsibilities of the Board of Supervisors. It might be helpful to consider that perspective.

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County’s outdoor event ordinance fatally flawed

July 26, 2014 — 

County residents have a right to expect fair treatment and transparency from governmental officials.

The county from the outset has lacked transparency and inclusiveness in its proposal to limit outdoor events.

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Consider who we are voting for and what they support

July 26, 2014 — 

The new slavery or hegemony is defined as the authority or control by one political group over society or one nation over others. With the passing of the Fourth of July weekend, it seems appropriate to consider whether slavery has ever disappeared. Although it is not why we celebrate the Fourth, but a relevant question to be pondered.

Some will say that it is confined to the descendants of black slaves; others will contend that the influx of illegal aliens defines the new slavery. My contention is that we are all suffering from the new slavery. Whether it be lack of jobs or lack of benefits in the few remaining low paying jobs, our families are paying the price. We have been more or less forced to take unemployment, food stamps and various other government hand-outs. So, we are now the slaves of the government, and it has turned into a multi-generational problem.

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Now it’s Grass Valley’s turn for a bag ban

July 26, 2014 — 

I congratulate Nevada City on their recent adoption of a bag ban, and I encourage Grass Valley to follow their lead.

Nevada City’s ordinance bans plastic bags in all stores, and requires a 10 cent fee for paper bags in grocery stores; unfortunately, Grass Valley’s ordinance under consideration does not include a fee on paper bags. This would be a bad decision for many reasons. Both cities are the primary commercial districts for Nevada County and it’s logical for them to have the same ordinance as it avoids confused costumers and upset store owners. Also, local grocery stores welcome the fee because paper bags cost more than plastic, and could easily make a dent in their income.

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The Republican party of the past

July 26, 2014 — 

Apparently the Nevada County Republican Party has passed a “resolution” against the marijuana ordinance Measure S.

Deborah Wilder, speaking for the NCRP, states that: “These plants put out extremely strong odors, the growers typically use extra strong fertilizers and frequently place poisons on or near the plants, killing wildlife and contaminating soil and ground water.”

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It Takes a Village Idiot

July 26, 2014 — 

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Hemig: Grass Valley crime stats improving, but still work to do

July 25, 2014 — 

I have been rather direct regarding my opinion of the crime and drug coverage in The Union.

In my column on April 3, I explained that The Union has a responsibility to report the happenings of this community. We need to reflect the good and the bad that affects our lives in Nevada County.

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Square dancing is good for your health

July 25, 2014 — 

Looking for a fun way to exercise? Want to meet new friends? How about some laughter in your life?

Did your doctor tell you to be more active? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then square dance is the answer.

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