Opinion Columns

George Boardman: Nevada County's biggest cash crop can give tourism a boost

June 29, 2015 — 

The few business development people we have trying to attract better paying jobs to Nevada County like to brag about the “family friendly” environment we have here. To hear them tell it, we’re a refreshing change from the evils you find in our big cities.

That story may have to be revised if proposed television series “The High Country,” described as a send up of the pot growing culture right here in Nevada County, gets picked up by a network and — even worse — becomes a hit along the lines of “Weeds.”

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Marilyn Nyborg: A violent society breeds racism

June 27, 2015 — 

It’s interesting how people project their personal interests on the shooting in South Carolina. One senator points out it was an attack on Christians! Another reminds us the victims were mostly women. This kind of event which has become a frequent crisis is now being called terrorism!

Without any doubt this was a stunning act of racism.

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Manny Montes: The elephant in the room

June 27, 2015 — 

We can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. It has trampled the furniture and is now threatening to collapse the walls; the room will be no more.

The room is our America, the elephant is the Progressive movement. This movement is contrary to the founding principles of our nation, and more in line with the destructive principles of the French revolution of 1789.

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Fred Crowder: Issues with the ASPOA

June 27, 2015 — 

Regarding Don Jeffrey’s June 18 letter to the editor, “Board members are dedicated volunteers” regarding ASPOA.

Mr. Jeffrey, I see that you must be easily impressed and perhaps a bit misled regarding the ASPOA organization. A bit of information here:

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Jim Goetsch: The real 'American Exceptionalism'

June 26, 2015 — 

Once again we have a liberal in the editorial section of The Union (June 5) who has totally misunderstood the meaning of “American exceptionalism.”

Mr. Vogel quotes a recent statement by President Obama that our president is now a believer in “American exceptionalism with every fiber of my (his) being.” Since the president has stated earlier that “American exceptionalism” is no better than British or Greek exceptionalism, it’s apparent that neither Mr. Vogel nor the president has any idea of what is really meant by “American exceptionalism.”

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Byron York: Benghazi investigators ponder — Is Hilary lying, or the state department?

June 25, 2015 — 

Last March, when Hillary Clinton made her first public comments on the secret email system she maintained while secretary of state, she took care to say she had turned over everything to the State Department. “I ... provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related,” Clinton told reporters. “I believe I have met all of my responsibilities and ... the State Department will be able, over time, to release all of the records that were provided.”

The message was clear. Clinton had turned over everything, and the State Department would make it all public.

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Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan: 'The perpetrator has been arrested, but the killer is still at large'

June 25, 2015 — 

The massacre of nine African-American worshippers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., has sent shock waves through the nation and could well blow the roof off the Confederacy. Dylann Storm Roof is accused of methodically killing the congregants, reloading his Glock pistol at least twice. He let one victim live, according to a person who spoke with the survivor, so she could tell the world what happened. This brutal mass killing was blatantly racist, an overt act of terrorism.

Those murdered included the minister of the historic church, 41-year-old Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who also was an elected state senator in South Carolina and who was leading a Wednesday night Bible-study group. Roof actually sat in on the group for an hour before the massacre.

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Norm Sauer: Government vote overwhelms the people

June 24, 2015 — 

Wednesday, May 13, was the final day of voting in the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District fee election.

Sounds boring until you consider how bizarre it really is. The district seeks to impose a $12 per real property parcel fee in both counties. But not just property owners in those counties will cast ballots.

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There is a limit to our groundwater supply

June 24, 2015 — 

It doesn’t stare you in the face. If you stick your head in the sand, you may actually see it. I’m talking about groundwater. California uses more groundwater than any other state in the nation. In fact, over 65 percent of California’s drinking water is currently supplied from wells. This groundwater is used for public water supplies, farms, factories, towns and, of course, our homes.

During the beginning of the new millennia, groundwater extraction in California was estimated at 17 million acre-feet of water. It’s important to recognize that an acre-foot of water is the amount of water that covers one acre with one single foot of water. That’s 325,900 gallons for every acre-foot. Most of this water was for agricultural purposes but about 3.4 million acre-feet was for domestic and public water supplies. That is quite an impressive dependency on groundwater.

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Scott McFarland: The changing face of health care

June 23, 2015 — 

No longer are health care visits a brief encounter resulting in outcomes driven by the provider. Instead, the focus is on building relationships.

The nature of health care is changing — for the better.

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Jule Reaney: US must continue to back Israel

June 22, 2015 — 

Mr. Olsen, I am very pleased and greatly surprised that Israel doesn’t have to worry about their mere existence any longer (Other Voices, June 9). If our government is continuing to back Israel, only on a covert level, that is the wisest, most justified action I have heard in decades.

My response to your line of thinking is this, look at history. How many times have different countries or regimes sworn to “wipe them from the face of the earth” and tried to do so? That being the case, would it not make sense to among other things, develop one of the best trained armies and intel anywhere, where every citizen is expected to serve, and be at the ready on a moment’s notice? And expand their territory (or tried to take it back), depending on who you are listening to create a buffer zone against those who repeatedly have taken the initiative to destroy? Have you not seen the miles of tunnels dug by Palestinians from which they access and attack Israel? And yet, Israel has been “urged” to seek compromise with the enemy time and again. They’ve agreed to do so on very few occasions, knowing from experience what the outcome of compromise is; stepped up aggression from Palestine among many others.

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George Boardman: Nevada County better catch-up in the high-speed Internet race

June 22, 2015 — 

The hard work begins now that the Economic Resource Council has secured a $500,000 grant to create a digital media campus that will hopefully serve as a magnet for emerging and existing broadcast and video technology companies.

First, there is the politically sensitive decision of where to locate the campus. If it exists, I suggest a facility that straddles the Grass Valley/Nevada City line. Otherwise, compromise and stick it in a barn out in Big Oak Valley.

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Bill Struck: You let a New Yorker vilify our great nation?

June 20, 2015 — 

Sometimes I wonder, whose side The Union is on? Just to make myself clear: Why did the editor feel led to reach all the way to New York City to grab an article which does little but vilify our great and exceptional nation?

To start off, he makes a claim about Barack Obama that is so insanely false as to be laughable. I quote his West Point commencement address last year in which he said that, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” End of quote.

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Jim Firth: Let's increase voter turnout

June 20, 2015 — 

The November 2014 election produced one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent memory. Yes, it was an “off-year” election, and yes, in California many of the candidates seemed predetermined, and yes, the ‘Top-Two’ system now in place in California reduces the number of qualified choices. But we can do better.

The recently elected Secretary of State, Alex Padilla has some ideas to improve voter turnout and ease the registration process so more qualified voters may participate in their government.

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Gregg Littell: Technology is dumbing us down

June 19, 2015 — 

A recent “Carrtoon” in The Union shows rows of graduating students, in cap and gown, all staring at their “smartphones” (presumably while a noted speaker was trying to deliver words of wisdom).

This got me thinking about the people in my own sphere who are addicted to these “digital pacifiers” and whether we’re producing a new generation who are well entertained but poorly informed. If you add in the other devices, all the way up to your 70-inch HD TV, are we producing people who are a mile wide but only one foot deep?

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Byron York: For Hilary, a new Iraq war trap

June 18, 2015 — 

President Obama’s decision to send 450 more American troops to Iraq has put Hillary Clinton in a tough spot. What will she say about the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria?

The answer, beyond a few boilerplate remarks, is nothing. There is no topic more radioactive in the Clintonworld psyche than Iraq. Look for her to avoid taking any clear, decisive position, at least for now.

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Amy Goodman: The new battle of Seattle

June 18, 2015 — 

It has been more than 15 years since tear gas filled the streets of Seattle and tens of thousands of people protested the meeting of the World Trade Organization, or WTO. That week of protests in late 1999 became known as “The Battle of Seattle,” as the grass-roots organizers successfully blocked world leaders, government trade ministers and corporate executives from meeting to sign a global trade deal that many called deeply undemocratic, harming workers’ rights, the environment and indigenous people globally. A new Battle of Seattle has been raging in recent weeks, pitting a broad coalition of people against a multinational corporate behemoth, Shell Oil. Citizens and elected officials alike, concerned about Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, swarmed the waters around Seattle, trying to block the massive oil-drilling platform, Polar Pioneer, from leaving on its journey to the Arctic. As fossil-fuel corporations intensify their exploitation of the world’s oil, protesters, as well as the pope, are weighing in as never before about the catastrophic effects of climate change.

The Polar Pioneer arrived in Puget Sound in mid-May in preparation for its trip to the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic Ocean. Royal Dutch Shell has the vessel under contract from Transocean, the same company whose Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused the blowout and oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago. As the platform was tugged into the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5, the first wave of the “Mosquito Fleet” paddled out to block it. The protest flotilla is made up of “kayaktivists,” people in small kayaks that establish a blockade, much like the protesters in 1999 linked arms on the rainy streets of Seattle to block the delegates attempting to attend the WTO Ministerial Conference.

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Joe Hasenstab: Jailed and houseless as stewards of our forests?

June 17, 2015 — 

The number one natural hazard in Nevada County is wildland fire, so today’s question is how we can avoid a forest firestorm this summer and in future summers. Twenty-seven years ago, the 49er fire burned 33,706 acres (52 square miles) and destroyed 312 structures.

On May 18, The Union published: “Wildfire risks continue to affect home insurance … most of the major companies have exited our area due to wildfire risks.”

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Carrtoon: June 17, 2015

June 17, 2015 — 

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Wanda Way: Medicare turns 50

June 16, 2015 — 

In July of this year, Americans will celebrate 50 years of health care coverage by a social insurance program known at Medicare.

Enacted under Title VIII of the Social Security Act, Congress created this insurance for Americans beginning at age 65. Medicare also authorized coverage for Americans who became disabled.

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R.L. Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

June 16, 2015 — 

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Patricia Smith: ACLU defeats Big Brother

June 15, 2015 — 

The ACLU has defended whistleblower Edward Snowden against espionage charges after he leaked documents that revealed a massive phone surveillance operation run by the National Security Agency.

The documents exposed the U.S. government’s practice of spying on its citizens and even foreign heads of state. Some branded him a traitor, others saw him as a hero; but the Second Court of Appeals, New York, has vindicated him in their recent ruling.

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David Briceno: Would a State of Jefferson really increase freedoms?

June 13, 2015 — 

Man cannot give freedom; he can only take it away. Unconvinced? Ask any inmate serving a life sentence if it’s true. Odds are they’ll concur. Nowadays, Americans have to increasingly convince themselves that they’re free and happy when they compare/share their lot with others. The state of being “free” has become the No. 1 obsession for possessing happiness.

Unfortunately, in the real world the natural condition of man consists of meager freedoms or, seemingly, none at all. And increasingly, the end justifies the means. This well-worn logic harkens back centuries. “A” is in the way of “B,” so we must eliminate “A” to get “B.” Hundreds of wars have begun because of this ancient rationale. And its underlying motive of self-interest still remains the chief contributing factor in international/national conflicts.

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Jack Sanchez: We don't need any more dams

June 13, 2015 — 

Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert (1986) chronicles the stupidity of building dams on almost every river in the U.S., killing or severely impeding anadromous fish runs everywhere.

California is in the grips of a severe drought as we all know in spite of having almost all of its rivers dammed, none of which have helped to avert this drought nor create more water. The San Joaquin, one of California’s two great rivers, was killed by dams with all its fish in it. Now efforts are underway to attempt a restoration, so far not very successful efforts.

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Bill Boyl: Without consideration of race, is this even a story?

June 13, 2015 — 

A recent Facebook thank you went out from a grateful mother to a Virginia policeman who rendered roadside assistance to her son, when the boy had car trouble in the middle of the night while driving home from college. Tire fixed, the lad went on his way, the policeman back to patrolling.

The post went viral, as they say, a couple of weeks ago.

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R.L. Crabb: It takes a village idiot

June 13, 2015 — 

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Gary Brown: Nevada County no place to ride road bikes

June 12, 2015 — 

First let me clarify where I am coming from to write this article. I am a former bike rider and triathlete from North County San Diego, so I know something about bike riding.

When I retired and moved to Nevada City, I could see this was no place to ride a road bike, this is off-road mountain bike country. The roads are too narrow with too many blind curves. One must have a death wish to ride a road bike on these roads.

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Joe D'Andrea: A little brighter future for some

June 10, 2015 — 

It might come up in casual conversation or in talking with someone. The usual comment is something like, “Hey did you see that article in the paper, or did you hear that discussion on the radio?” Some passing comments ensue and we move on with our lives.

Sometimes these are topics we don’t want to talk about, would rather forget, pretend don’t exist, or this surely doesn’t happen much in this community.

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Holly Hermansen: Just the facts on a new state testing system

June 10, 2015 — 

This spring, students across California and Nevada County in grades three through eight and 11 completed the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) summative assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics.

This new computer-based test measures student knowledge of the new California State Standards.

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Carrtoon: June 10, 2015

June 10, 2015 — 

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