Opinion Columns

Ray Bryars: It's time to get serious about enforcing litter laws

February 12, 2016 — 

I have a couple of questions for Nevada County community leaders:

The first question is: What do you see at the side of our roads as you drive to work, visit friends, go shopping, etc.?

Learn more »

Manny Montes: Bernie or Hillary — an Obama third term

February 12, 2016 — 

An Obama third term, Bernie or Hillary, will mean our America will be taken further down the road to perdition.

The first an avowed socialist, the other a congenital liar. In either case, both present the smiley face of benevolence which is really the picture of Dorian Gray. They are of the progressive mind set as master potter, placing societal clay, the collective, on their potter’s wheel, and modeling it this way and that.

Learn more »

Eddie Garcia: State of Jefferson is based in reality

February 11, 2016 — 

In its recent editorial, “Our View: State of Jefferson proposition not based in reality,” The Union’s Editorial Board makes its opinion public. It thinks our efforts to create a new state are pointless.

I would like to wholeheartedly disagree with the board’s opinion.

Learn more »

Heather Burke: What the county isn't telling us about its cannabis initiative

February 9, 2016 — 

Only once in the conversation about local cannabis cultivation have we heard the county suggest “an overturn of the ban could lead to the formation of a committee that would search for alternatives to an outright prohibition on outdoor grows.” 

Not a word of this possibility was hinted at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Jan. 12, nor in the official numerous statements in the fallout over the poorly drafted language of the two enactments, nor even in the purported “intent” language the board ratified Tuesday.

Learn more »

Patrick Wagner: There are other options to 'statist' medicine

February 8, 2016 — 

Here’s a question. On an average day in America, what percentage of health care services are distributed in acute care hospitals compared to outpatient services?

Another question is about money. What percentage is spent on an average day in each of these settings (spent vs. squandered and stolen)?

Learn more »

An alternative alternate universe

February 7, 2016 — 

As I read George Rebane’s Other Voices column (Swan Song from an Alternate Universe, Jan. 16, 2016) I found a familiar, well-practiced response welling up in me. He spoke of President Obama and his supporters as inhabiting “an alternate universe” and then went on to list his damning criticisms of this President’s administration.

I began to scroll through my list of rebuttal points. I am a bit of a numbers junky and somewhat a victim of my training as a scientist — I may overvalue objectivity at times. I try to form my understanding of issues from the “raw data” up rather than starting with a preconceived model of how things “should” work.

Learn more »

Jeff Vogel: The most dangerous religion of all

February 5, 2016 — 

We live in an age of terrifying high-definition spectacles, with beheadings and massacres some of the horrors that fill us all with fear and dread — the tragic killings in Paris and San Bernardino the most recent horrors to confront us.

These gruesome spectacles have profound side effects on our perspective. They obscure the brutality and terror caused by our bombs and drones (such as our bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan) and they distract our attention from those predators who cause suffering on a far grander scale than any jihadists.

Learn more »

Robert Whiteaker: A tale of two gods

February 5, 2016 — 

Why does Jihad Joe want to kill me? I don’t think it’s personal, but if I were in the right place at the right time I could get killed by a Jihadist.

I have looked into this and it turns out that if he blows us both up he gets to go straight to a wonderful life in heaven, despite whatever sins he has committed, and I don’t. That’s a pretty good way to recruit terrorists: “Bomb yourself into Heaven now. Why wait and risk not getting there?”

Learn more »

Keep it California

February 5, 2016 — 

I want to thank The Union’s Editorial Board for starting to educate the public about the risks and realities of dividing California into two states, in their Jan. 30 editorial.

This article mentions that estimated budget for the 51st new state does not reflect the collection of corporate taxes. The last thing we would want to do is give big corporation more tax breaks. Remember, the devil is in the details — educate yourself before you vote.

Learn more »

Fleeing the Golden State

February 5, 2016 — 

Fifty years ago my family moved to California from the Midwest for better opportunities. At the time California had the best highways, the best schools, more space and a vibrant growing economy.

This fall, both my children moved out of California to other states. Why? For better opportunities.

Learn more »

Enjoy your waffles in peace

February 4, 2016 — 

I was recently watching “Judge Janine” on Fox News when a retired military officer was the guest. The issue was “gun control” and this officer made a very dumb statement. He wanted every citizen who could legally purchase a firearm to get a concealed carry permit and buy a gun. If you want more gun violence, there is your prescription! Imagine going into Walmart and every adult is armed, including grandma? What happens when grandma drops the gun from her purse, or the grandkids get at it. What happens if she loses it? This is all getting to be such utter nonsense. What about concealed carriers who drift into serious mental problems or drug addiction but never reveal that to law enforcement? My dad has dug bullets out of his house because the idiots target shooting nearby were oblivious to anything but their own fun. I’m a gun owner, and pride myself on safe and responsible use, but there are LOTS of gun owners who were legal enough to get one but aren’t responsible enough to own one. They’re the juvenile types that carry guns in their glove compartment and love to fire full clips just to listen to the sound. The idea that that kind of person could get a concealed carry permit and wear his gun while mingling in society is very disturbing. It might not be illegal, but it’s part of the reason that many police chiefs and sheriffs don’t want the public to conceal carry unless they have a justifiable reason and are well trained. Add to this concern the recent news that Texas has joined the states that allow “open carry” in general society, with varying restrictions. So you go into Waffle House and here’s some dude dressed in camo with a 10mm Glock strapped to his waist. You don’t know who he is, what his mind-set is, or what he’s about to do, or not do, especially if he’s alone and not talking. Is he having a bad day? Down on the world? Down on society? Do you think you might feel a bit uneasy as you sip your coffee? Businesses have the right to ban guns on their premises, but in a state like Texas that might upset a significant part of the customer base. So, do you keep the open carry crowd happy and lose the customers who refuse to be around it? As I said, I’m a gun owner and I support the Second Amendment, but the only time I will sit next to a gun toting stranger in Waffle House is if he’s wearing a uniform and badge. Even if the officer is having a bad day, I’m reasonably certain he isn’t going to open fire on the breakfast crowd. I don’t care if such a thing is rare, I don’t want to test it while I’m buttering my toast (imagine two strangers with guns and they get into an argument ... time to head for the exit). The juveniles (young and old) who want to play Wyatt Earp, just because they can, need to grow up. What kind of a warped intellect would even do such a thing? To make matters worse, in Texas they’re even allowing open carry in their 10 mental institutions! Employees and patients are barred from bringing in weapons but visitors can openly carry guns into a campus full of people suffering from severe psychiatric conditions. As Texas state representative Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) said, “It’s the responsibility of the operators of the facilities to ensure that the patients are not around dangerous weapons.” I think we should add the Texas legislature to their list of mental institutions. Fortunately, California doesn’t allow open carry. Folks, the Second Amendment isn’t going away, you’ll always have the right to own a vast array of firearms, and you can get a concealed carry permit if the law thinks you have a reasonable need to do so. Let’s leave it at that and not pay attention to the “they’re going to take all our guns away!” fringe. Ain’t going to happen. You might lose extreme capacity clips but so what? They’re not necessary for the shooting sports so leave them on the battlefield. If entities like colleges want to have more armed security, then hire more security personnel and perhaps train and equip some of the teachers, but absolutely don’t let all the kids bring guns to school! Please, let’s keep this rational. Now, go enjoy your waffles in peace.

Gregg Littell lives in Auburn.

Learn more »

Darrell Berkheimer: A major media failure is a plague on our political system

February 2, 2016 — 

The same nonsense occurs during every presidential election campaign, and our national news media are to blame for much of it.

The presidential candidates make wild claims about what they will do if elected, and the national news media fail to challenge those claims, turning the campaign into a nonsensical horse-race.

Learn more »

Norm Sauer: What $100 billion a year buys

February 1, 2016 — 

Leaders from 186 countries made an agreement at the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris in December, but it is not what President Obama wants us to believe or what others have called “monumental.”

Most Americans should be shocked to learn not only did our government pledge strong emissions cuts and ask for none in return, but it is using American tax dollars to “grease the wheels.” And, many Americans will be angered to learn the true objective of our environmental activists.

Learn more »

Terry McLaughlin: Cop lives matter, too

January 31, 2016 — 

In the wake of the Ferguson and Baltimore shooting incidents and the “Black Lives Matter” movement, 2015 was a tumultuous year for police around the country.

Homicide is the leading cause of death for young black men in this country, and about 90 percent of the perpetrators are also black. Yet we have seen protesters nationwide claiming that young black men are dying because cops are shooting them. Around 98 percent of black shooting deaths do not involve police. The protesters are pushing this false anti-cop narrative, which has been ratcheted up to levels not seen since the 1990s post-Rodney King era, and even the president is playing along with it.

Learn more »

Devon Minnema: Need for a coherent foreign policy

January 29, 2016 — 

After the attacks in Paris, one might have thought that the imperative for action of some type was strong enough to force our middling president to present a plan for dealing with ISIS, but that apparently wasn’t enough. The shooting that occurred in San Bernardino last week has been revealed as an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism and serves as yet another reminder that we need to put together a coherent foreign policy.

The more interesting element of these stories is that no one is really sure what our seemingly despondent president has in mind as a strategy. Or if he doesn’t have one and hopes to dump the problem on whoever gets elected next year. At this point, there are only two paths which we could take that would genuinely protect the safety of American citizens.

Learn more »

Rob Chrisman: Seriously, I am not a crank!

January 29, 2016 — 

There is much talk these days about how Americans seem to be deeply angry and fed up with the way things are run politically, especially by what is termed the “establishment”, be it Republican or Democrat.

The rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders is said to be emblematic of this malaise.

Learn more »

Chuck Starnes: Revelation facts always trump so-called scientific facts

January 28, 2016 — 

I am responding to Jim Firth’s Other Voices, “Education is the key” in The Union on Dec. 26. I agree with Jim that “education is the key,” but true education would never lead to many of the goals that Jim espouses so sincerely.

Every voter should Google “Democrat Disaster Cities” to learn the expected, tragic results of 45 to 50 years of Democratic rule. Both political parties have major problems. However, in a fallen world, an impartial comparison of cities and states with Democratic leadership with those lead by Republicans would leave Democrats without support.

Learn more »

Paul Hauck: Obama supporters out of touch? Think again

January 26, 2016 — 

Regarding the Jan. 12 letter to the editor, “Obama’s supporters out of touch,” if Ms. Crouch thinks that Republicans other than Donald Trump have hesitated to criticize this president, often in the most distasteful ways, then it is not Obama’s supporters who are “out of touch.”

I am certainly no Obama apologist, but let’s stay “in touch” with reality.

Learn more »

Lev El-Askari: Unraveling the Syrian refugee crisis

January 26, 2016 — 

We are all familiar with the image of the 3-year old Syrian migrant boy washed ashore in Turkey last year, which is now the symbol of the refugee crisis.

Millions of Syrians are risking their lives to escape the dual threats of the Assad regime and the Jihadists. There has been a debate in Europe and the U.S. about if we should accept Syrian refugees and how many.

Learn more »

Paula Orloff: Smart meters aren't smart

January 25, 2016 — 

An article in The Union titled, “Smart Meters Aptly Named” was written by a PG&E representative with a long title. I have serious reservations.

PG&E claim: Nearly 99 percent of our customers have upgraded to Smart Meters.

Learn more »

Margaret Joehnck: Keep It California advises not to sign State of Jefferson petitions

January 25, 2016 — 

Keep It California, a nonpartisan political organization formed to oppose the formation of a new state and to advocate for this area’s needs, urges you not to sign the State of Jefferson petitions.

Last week the Jefferson group submitted to the state legislature individual petitions and statements of support with unverified signatures that will never be validated as voters by the County Clerks or the Secretary of State. Nevada County and 14 other counties were misrepresented as joining this effort to create a new state. The submissions have no legal effect, and in fact, no action will be taken by the legislature as a result of them.

Learn more »

Jim Firth: Politics is a brutal business

January 24, 2016 — 

The Iowa and New Hampshire primary elections are just days away. The two major Democratic candidates for president, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are close in the polling and are differing on the issue of health care.

A “single-payer – Medicare for All” health care system in our country is what candidate Bernie Sanders wants to bring forward for our country. The Sanders campaign acknowledges that the vision of “Single-payer/ Medicare for All” will not happen on day one of a Sanders Presidency. The question then becomes, why not?

Learn more »

Teresa Baker: Kindness, kindred spirits and Nevada City

January 22, 2016 — 

I assumed that there would be very little in the way of diversity at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, and it lived up to my expectations.

What did take me by surprise, perhaps due to my perception of the area, was the friendly and inviting atmosphere. From the moment I entered festival headquarters, I was met with nothing but sincere welcomes and offers of assistance.

Learn more »

Donn Coenen: The time has come for a 51st state

January 22, 2016 — 

I have lived in Nevada County for 30 years and I love it here, but high taxes and unjust fees are forcing me out of business and maybe out of the state.

The last year and a half I have been working with the State of Jefferson movement. There are two questions that I’m most frequently asked. Why should we divide California and can we actually form our own state? I would like to answer the first question this way:

Learn more »

Elaine Sierra: Caring for women means honoring health-care choices

January 21, 2016 — 

The landmark Roe v. Wade decision was made on Jan. 22, 1973, 43 years ago. It is commonly recognized as the Supreme Court ruling that affirmed every woman’s Constitutional right to reproductive choice in the United States.

Yet, our state legislature concluded just last year that a new law was needed to provide additional safeguards for women to access timely pregnancy care and related healthcare information. The Reproductive FACT Act became that law.

Learn more »

Sheri Fogarty: Open letter to the Board of Supervisors

January 20, 2016 — 

My husband and I are both very dismayed at the recent decision by the Board of Supervisors to ban the outdoor growing of cannabis.

Part of why we moved to Nevada County was because of all the family farms and local agriculture. We buy most of our food locally, from our community farmers and it’s a part of the Nevada County heritage.

Learn more »

Ralph Hitchcock: Future of Central Valley underground water supply

January 19, 2016 — 

The recent article in The Union on damage in the Central Valley from subsidence as a result of pumping underground water was very good, but it dealt only with effects on the surface.

There are some other very important long-term consequences which are probably irreversible, such as a permanent and possible drastic reduction of the volume of water which the Central Valley aquifer can hold. To put this into perspective, Lake Mead, the largest fresh water reservoir in the nation contains 26 million acre-feet at capacity.

Learn more »

Ashley Neumann: How will SB277 effect our families and schools?

January 18, 2016 — 

The network of moms I share life with is an incredible group of multicultural, multigenerational women from almost every race, religion, occupation, lifestyle, sexuality and political persuasion.

After reading SB277 (www.leginfo.ca.gov), almost every one of us is against it. Most of these moms have fully vaccinated children, only a few have completely unvaccinated kids and some selectively vaccinated (under-vaccinated).

Learn more »

Les Nicholson: End 'gun-free zones'

January 17, 2016 — 

This is in response to Christine and William Newsom’s opinion piece: “It’s time to ‘come out’ — voice your opinion on gun control.”

President Obama, in his address on the Oregon Community College shooting, asserts that we are “collectively answerable.” As a responsibly armed American, I heartily agree — we are answerable for the disastrous failure of so-called “gun-free zones” to stop mass shootings.

Learn more »

Barbara Drew: Urban snob has change of heart

January 15, 2016 — 

OK, I admit it. I was one of those snobs living in San Francisco who thought my quality of life would take a nose dive when I moved to Nevada City. I never anticipated how delighted my husband and I would be with the people and events in this charming community. One of the first persons we met was Hindi Greenberg who introduced us to local theatre (like Off Broadstreet and Center for the Arts’ plays) and music (such as In Concert Sierra and Music in the Mountains). Being medical professionals, we were impressed by the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital as shown to us by Kimberly Parker and Gil Mathew. We were also impressed by Hospice of the Foothills as portrayed to us by Frank and Vida Santos.

In sharp contrast to the Bay Area with its stressed out commuter population, we kept meeting smiling, relaxed people who genuinely wanted to be of service. In fact, after we’d been here for a month I remarked to my husband, “I think the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) surreptitiously slips a tranquilizer drug into the drinking water!”

Learn more »
View 20 More Stories in Opinion Columns »
Back to Top