Opinion Columns

Lift regulations and economy will boom

October 2, 2014 — 

How is it that one can move to Germany, Spain, Italy, or France, and never become a German, Spaniard, Italian, or Frenchmen? Yet anyone immigrating to America, irrespective of origin, can become an American.

The answer is blood and soil in the first instance, and in the second, embracing ideals.

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Become a new warrior for peace

October 2, 2014 — 

I am reeling from President Obama’s recent announcement that the U.S. will renew air strikes in Northern Iraq, and now Syria in our never ending goal of eradicating “evil” throughout the world.

I am in shock that we return to war yet again.

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Shhhh. Wait. Listen!

October 1, 2014 — 

I am sitting on a volcanic rock outcrop on our property atop Harmony Ridge within view of downtown Nevada City. I am 10 years old. My arm is around my cocker-springer spaniel, Snuffy. She’s “pointing” north into an empty sky. She is unusually tense.

I follow her gaze and see nothing. A few minutes later I hear from the direction of the “point” an unfamiliar sound. It is a faint, low garbled noise, really. Then it’s gone. Seconds later it returns.

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Consolidated fire board ‘out of control’

October 1, 2014 — 

As a homeowner in the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, I am appalled by their recent actions regarding the appointment of two fire chiefs, after discussions regarding sharing a fire chief with other agencies within the county to better serve all of the residents.

The NCCFD board chair and directors need to explain how the cash-strapped and mismanaged district plans to maintain two fire chiefs, a finance manager and fill the positions of the two employees promoted to chief and deputy chief without disrupting service or going bankrupt.

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The Center for the Arts: Your membership benefits your community

October 1, 2014 — 

The Center for the Arts is the gathering place where our community can express themselves through arts and cultural experiences. We’ve become most well-known for consistently bringing a diverse array of headlining, quality entertainment to our rural community. Although this may be the most recognized aspect of what we do, it is by no means all we do.

With your membership support, The Center has the means to continue the variety of programs that contribute to our economy and make Nevada County a thriving place to call home. Local artists, businesses, youth, out-of-town visitors and other nonprofit organizations benefit from the programs your membership helps to support.

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Indict Big Pharma, not Bigelsen

September 30, 2014 — 

Dr. Harvey Bigelsen is an important pioneer of nutritional medicine that I cite several times in my book “Indicted! Nutritional Healing vs. The Pharmaceutical Suppression of Symptoms.”

He resurrected Dr. Antoine Bechamp’s 19th century work on the origin of disease and further expounded it. Dr. Bechamp was a Professor of Medicine on the Medical Faculty at the University of Montpellier in France (1816-1908). He redefined and revolutionized the concept of disease.

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Lang: The end of frontier medicine in California

September 30, 2014 — 

Thirty-eight years ago, a young nurse practitioner, who was a veteran of the Air Force and the Army, moved his family from Denver to Downieville, Calif., the Sierra County seat, to volunteer for the National Health Service Corps.

The village was founded during the Gold Rush — in 1851, its population peaked at 5,000 — but by the time we arrived, there were only about 500 residents in Downieville and 1,200 in the immediate surrounding area.

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Our students deserve the best public schools

September 29, 2014 — 

As the daughter of teachers, I know the importance of a strong education to the success of children in today’s economy. My parents instilled that value in me from a young age. Their dedication to teaching taught me that education is the key that unlocks opportunity for all, and that great schools and great teachers can change lives.

I am running for Congress to ensure that all children have access to the best schools. Whether they live in cities or on farms, whether they are wealthy or their families are on food stamps, every child deserves the same educational opportunity.

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I am Jim Firth — get to know me

September 26, 2014 — 

Last month a local business owner submitted an Other Voices piece attempting to define who I am. The author never met me, never spoke to me on the phone, and never spoke to the people he was offering to you as proof of guilt by association.

As I noted on these pages previously, it’s no wonder so many people are turned off by elections when there’s so much negativity and innuendo spread around during campaigns at every level.

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From an environmental perspective, Measure S makes no sense

September 27, 2014 — 

I know that many readers think there’s already been more than enough discussion on Measure S, but I feel compelled to talk about an area of the debate that isn’t getting the focus it should. That is the potentially devastating impact Measure S could have on our local environment.

If Measure S is passed, it will allow cultivators to significantly increase the amount of land used to cultivate pot. Marijuana is a tropical plant but the ecology of Nevada County is most definitely not tropical.

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September is Adult Literacy Awareness Month

September 26, 2014 — 

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors, and the councils of City of Grass Valley, City of Nevada City, and Town of Truckee have all issued resolutions designating September 2014 as “Adult Literacy Awareness Month.”

Similar actions, and events of celebration and recognition, are being taken by cities, counties, state officials and libraries all over California.

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Hemig: Can a newspaper subscription actually save you money?

September 25, 2014 — 

I was 13 years old when I started delivering the San Jose Mercury News.

I remember the giant Sunday paper and how my bike was so heavy I could barely pedal up the hills near my parents’ house.

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The Bitney philosophy

September 25, 2014 — 

Bitney College Prep is a small charter high school with a colorful history. And if you’ve ever seen the murals that adorn Bitney’s walls, you would know that I mean “colorful” in a very literal sense.

We opened on Bitney Springs Road in 1999 when charter schools were a new idea. Parents, frustrated with the mass-market system of large public institutions, sought a different environment for their students — a smaller, more intimate setting where students would know their teachers, and, more importantly, where teachers would be able to know their students.

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Dollar General building a blight on our community

September 24, 2014 — 

The Dollar General Barn going up in the Glenbrook Basin across the street from Save Mart is monstrous.

I live in the “Basin.” I’ve never thought, “What we need here to spruce up this place is a giant corrugated steel barn.” Everyone I’ve talked to about this hideous building thinks it’s a blight on our community. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to find out how this barn design could be approved. After considerable research, I’ve concluded that we’ve had a total failure of the system that’s supposed to protect us from new ugly buildings.

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Carrtoon: Sept. 24, 2014

September 24, 2014 — 

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Special interest folks want it their way

September 23, 2014 — 

When we talk among ourselves it appears the “pursuit of happiness” lines have been blurred.

Some folks say that “we” as a country have peaked. I don’t believe for a moment that statement is true. Instead, those people who think those thoughts may have peaked, but our nation by far is the strongest nation in the world and will continue to be so.

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Get involved in your child’s education

September 23, 2014 — 

Back in August of 2010 the California State Board of Education first adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and immediately began the process of their implementation for all California schools. CCSS is a set of standards for the English Language Arts and mathematics curriculum based on the best practices of schools and organizations around the world.

Over these past few years many individuals and organizations have stepped forward with deep concern around this decision, and in some cases efforts have been made to have this decision reversed.

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An inhospitable atmosphere

September 21, 2014 — 

My husband and I were running errands at the shopping center in Brunswick. We planned our strategy to shop separate stores and we’d meet at the bench near Ben Franklin. He discovered that there are no benches to sit on.

Then I remembered having learned in a letter to the editor in The Union written by a woman who explained that she found out the benches were removed because of complaints that homeless people sat on them.

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Seelmeyer: Oh, the memories of my days with The Union

September 20, 2014 — 

That time I was listening to an avowed Marxist — at the time, possibly the last remaining Marxist on the face of the earth — as he joyfully explained to me the intricacies of the Nevada Union football team’s offense.

All those letters to the editor we got after that guy suggested that senior citizens shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

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Ackerman: The whole point to ‘the daily miracle’ is to ‘give a damn’

September 20, 2014 — 

There’s a newspaper in Nevada that boasts it is, “The Only Paper That Gives A Damn About Yerington.”

Try as I might, I couldn’t find anyone to refute that. There wasn’t a single other paper that really gave a damn about Yerington and … believe me … I checked with most all of them during my stay in the Silver State newspaper business.

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Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

September 20, 2014 — 

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Hemig: You are invited to our party!

September 19, 2014 — 

The Union turns 150 this year! 

To celebrate, we are holding a big 150th anniversary open house party next Thursday, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at The Union.

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Crabb: It takes a village idiot

September 19, 2014 — 

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Former chief chooses to ‘shoots the messenger’

September 18, 2014 — 

The most vital characteristic that a journalist must possess, whether he or she be reporting on a local, national or global level is the ability to speak truth to power. As any journalist will tell you, when you dare to confront the powerful with their inadequacies they will most often resort to casting aspersions on the speaker — the tried and true “shoot the messenger” technique.

While the tactic is all too common in this business what is striking about former Penn Valley Chief Gene Vander Plaats’ latest attempt (“In fact, all is well in Penn Valley Fire Protection District” The Union, Sept. 17) to employ this strategy is how riddled it is with utter falsehood.

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Carrtoon: Sept. 18, 2014

September 18, 2014 — 

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Hemig: Breakfast with the publisher

September 17, 2014 — 

Want a good breakfast? Want to learn more about your local newspaper? Have a burning question you’ve wanted to ask The Union’s publisher?

Do you have an opinion about the paper, or a specific article? Would you like to support Nevada Union’s High School culinary program?

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In fact, all is well in Penn Valley Fire Protection District

September 17, 2014 — 

On Oct. 3, 2013, The Union published an article written by staff writer Matthew Renda regarding the Penn Valley Fire District chief and the board of directors. The bold headline presented on the front page, above the fold was titled “Residents castigate Penn Valley chief, board.”

The article, in the first paragraph, stated “All is not well in the Penn Valley Fire Protection District.” Included in the article were several quotes and accusations made by a resident of the district, Bill Gassaway, described as “a former volunteer with the district.” Renda attended the Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 1, 2013 and witnessed the comments made by Mr. Gassaway. Mr. Renda made contact with me after the meeting and asked for a response to the accusations. I did attempt to provide accurate information and gave Mr. Renda the names and contact information for several people who had direct knowledge of the topics of discussion. It would have been easy for the reporter to obtain the facts on each of the charges Mr. Gassaway made by simply asking the right people the right questions. Mr. Renda apparently chose not to hear facts but to go with Mr. Gassaway’s comments.

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Liberal Nat Hentoff lays the “I” word on Obama

September 15, 2014 — 

It is just over one year since Nat Hentoff, long a mainstay of the super-liberal Village Voice, in addition to a PBS fixture and revered doyen of what might be called the coherent Left — and, more recently, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute — mooted the idea of impeaching the current president (“Bringing civics classes back to schools: Obama impeachment?” The Jewish World Review, May 29, 2013)

The problem, as Hentoff sees it, is Obama’s blatant disregard for the Constitution. In his JWR piece, Hentoff urges all of us, conservative and liberal alike, to please, for the love of Pete, sit up and pay attention. There is deeply troubling stuff being done on this president’s watch, possibly even on his orders, says this long-time icon of the Left. Stuff that matters.

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We’re Americans. Aren’t we smarter than that?

September 14, 2014 — 

Growing up in the ’50s, our economy was in full gear and life was good, but my parents remembered the hard times of their youth and taught us the importance of not wasting resources.

Now we consume without thought, sucking natural resources from our environment until Mother Nature screams that there isn’t enough to sustain all. So what do we do? The only thing that an animal as arrogant and shortsighted as a human would do. Don’t fix the problem, just put a pink flowered band-aid on it. That looks better, go home and don’t worry your little head, because all is OK for now.

Recent letters to the editor and an opinion piece in The Union are prime examples of this mentality. They suggest that because climate change is causing our environment to become drier, which I believe, we must build more dams and reservoirs to stop wasting precipitation by allowing it to flow downstream to the ocean.

Enlarging current storage and creating new is not the solution, it is the Band-Aid and wasteful. On the other hand, water flowing down our streams and rivers is not wasted. It is an important part of our natural environment, which we as humans need in order to survive as a species.

Many humans find it impossible to comprehend that we are animals just like the yellow-legged frog or the salmon. We may be the top of an extremely complex pyramid of life, but the lower blocks support the top, not the other way around. Remove too many lower blocks and Humpty Dumpty will come tumbling down and break his crown. We don’t need new and improved ways of sucking resources from our environment, but an enlightening shift in our understanding of how humans fit into nature, which we have forgotten.

Our climate is changing and many areas of our country beyond California are also experiencing prolonged drought conditions. The California Central Valley is sinking due to ground water depletion and the San Joaquin River is dry for many miles, in some areas actually flowing backwards due to pumping, yet numerous new wells are being drilled even deeper to suck even more water out. We’re Americans. Aren’t we smarter than that?

Ground water is being depleted and low snow levels are inadequate to meet the levels of extraction from the major rivers such as the Colorado. The bottom of Lake Mead is moving upward due to silt accumulation while the top is heading down due to evaporation and excessive water removal. So what does Las Vegas, which uses 70 percent of its water for irrigating its 60 plus golf courses and a lot of residential lawns, do? Dig new tunnels to access the water at a lower level. We’re Americans. Aren’t we smarter than that?

Our farmers, back bone of our nation that they are, have been pumping water from the Ogallala Aquifer under the Great Plains from Texas to North Dakota since its discovery in the dust bowl years. The Ogallala Aquifer is not bottomless and some areas in Texas and Oklahoma has already been depleted. We’re Americans. Aren’t we smarter than that?

Our planet is bombarded with solar energy every day. Solar electric continues to mature and new technology promises higher output with lower cost and environmental impact. The home use of solar energy to heat water and produce electricity can reduce a home’s outside energy costs to nearly zero, pays for itself in a short period of time and would eliminate the need for new power plants, yet so few seem willing to do what makes common as well as financial sense. We’re Americans. Aren’t we smarter than that?

We Americans are intelligent and have developed technology that allows us to do some pretty amazing things. Doesn’t it make sense to correct the problem using our intelligence and technology working with Mother Nature rather than against? The United States is No. 1 in the world for energy waste. Fully 58 percent of the energy produced in this country is wasted. This is inexcusable, but correctable and in many cases, the correction soon pays for itself in reduced energy costs.

We are Americans, we have the smarts and the technology to solve our growing need for diminishing resources. The same old Band-Aids and shortsighted reactions will not increase resources, only prolong the inevitable. Mature forward thinking is needed to use the resources we have in a sustainable fashion.

We are Americans and we have the “can do,” if we want to.

Robert Wolaver lives in Grass Valley.

Are you a fed up Californian with lots of questions?

September 13, 2014 — 

Well, I, and many thousands of others, especially small business owners, are fed up and we’re asking many questions!

Why do we have such oppressive energy mandates? Why are so many individuals and businesses leaving California (5 percent in 2013 alone)? Why are many cattle ranchers’ hands tied to do what is necessary to keep predators (coyotes from the northern states that have protected status in California) from killing their livestock — their livelihood? Why have our legislators not fought for farmers in the Central Valley to get water to their crops so they and their family’s business could survive, rather than protect a fish? Why is it an either or situation in the first place? Is it really about the fish ... or just more partisan politics on the backs of “we the people?”

Why are Californians constantly being presented with a new tax or fee? What about the illegal fire “fee” that is being collected by the State Franchise Tax Board? Where does it really go? Do you realize how much money has been collected in these fees? Do you think the residents in Los Angeles County or any other massively populated relatively unaffected county give a hoot about people in the counties directly affected in the more rural areas? Don’t you also question the tire fee, diesel fuel tax, water rights fee, alcoholic beverage tax, cigarette tax, and ... now the legislators are even proposing a miles driven fee?

Do you know that California is the fourth-highest taxed state and has the highest deficit as a state in the nation? Do you know that California has the highest rate for personal income tax, sales tax (8.5 percent), and gasoline tax (53 cents/gallon) in the nation? Do you know that even with Prop. 13 California ranks 10th highest in property tax in the nation? Do you know that there are 3 million undocumented people living in California and 32 percent of the state budget is devoted to social services that help serve these people? Do you want to shoulder this burden which only increases every year?

Do you know that the northern third of California has only three Senate seats out of 40 in the whole state? And only three seats in the Assembly out of 80 for the whole state? When was the last time Northern California has truly been represented by our two U.S. senators? Do you agree with the gun and ammunition laws, air quality laws, high speed rail, transgender bathroom law, tuition for illegals, driver licenses for illegals, and Proposition 30 for upper income taxation legislation that have been passed? And, do you know that California’s legislators are the highest paid in the nation? Why?

Don’t you just have tons more questions? Here’s another question: Are you ready to do something about all of this? Wouldn’t you like to elect two U.S. Senators, a governor and state legislators who would really represent you? Wouldn’t you like the opportunity to be truly represented and not have to mostly always live with the result of others making choices for you that make your life more difficult? Wouldn’t you like to see businesses coming into your state rather than leaving because of a friendly business environment with common sense regulations? Wouldn’t you like to see property taxes be put to wise use? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to elect legislators and initiate laws that hold them accountable to we the people? Wouldn’t you like to see many of the 570 existing CA State Agencies and Bureaucracies eliminated? Wouldn’t you like to see Constitutionally based gun laws, and the restoration of the use of our natural resources and property rights? How about voter ID? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have local control over school curriculum and textbooks? How about no Agenda 21 policies shoved down our throats? What about a re-evaluation of the social services? What about the opportunity to have more equitable governance through more realistic choices for your life?

Wouldn’t you agree that making an effort to do something about changing this sad “state” of affairs is more desirable than just sitting around complaining about it?

Are you one who is fed up enough to do something? Are you fed up and bold enough to shove nay sayers out of the way, ignore their shouts and put downs, and take some action? If so, why not begin by checking out www.jeffersondeclaration.net and then emailing sojegarcia@gmail.com with additional questions and/or to get involved?

Claudia Taylor lives in Lake of the Pines

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