Opinion Columns

Evans Phelps: Vote No on Y — and lock your doors

May 24, 2016 — 

On a recent Sunday night, I was awakened in my house on North Pine Street in Nevada City by a man’s voice right near my bed. This was not someone I knew. A single woman’s worst nightmare.

I began to scream at him to get out and he kept saying that he lived here and this was his house. I dropped the phone trying to call 911, sprang out of bed, naked and crazy with fear and adrenaline. He grabbed me by the arms and I began to shove him back toward the stairwell, screaming for him to get out the whole time.

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Scott McFarland: Unfortunate situation could affect your health

May 23, 2016 — 

We believe the community should be aware of a situation with hundreds of our patients, which can affect other community members, their friends and families in the future.

We want to let the community know about a matter that is disrupting the ability of hundreds of seniors who are on Medicare managed care plans and other people with commercial managed care plans to continue to receiving their care at Western Sierra Medical Clinic.

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Anthony Rabak: A penny for your thoughts

May 22, 2016 — 

National Lucky Penny Day is celebrated each year on May 23 — today.

You know, those little coins, the smallest denomination in our currency, the penny? You ever feel like that coin? I mean, just existing but not necessarily thinking you are of any extraordinary worth — at least individually?

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Jeff Russell: A special birthday for Alfredo Nespral

May 20, 2016 — 

FREED’s Friendly Visitor program matches elderly, stay-at-home locals with volunteers. Earlier this year, Friendly Visitor Coordinator Maureen Gerecke made such a match between Alfredo Nespral of Penn Valley and me, Jeff Russell.

In just a few short months we became good friends. As I am relearning Spanish at Sierra College, we visit in both English and in Spanish.

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Mark Lyon: Vote for compassion, tolerance; No on Measure W

May 20, 2016 — 

I have never utilized cannabis and, unless the time should come when it might become a medical necessity, I cannot imagine my using cannabis in the future.

It is simply not a part of my lifestyle. Still, I will be voting “No” on Measure W.

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Gene Jovich: Money is what marijuana cultivation is about

May 20, 2016 — 

Recently I saw an article where a gentlemen called out the head of the pot growers’ front group the Americans for Safe Access (ASA) for the incredibly lax attitude toward facts.

Even more recently there was an article with a timeline of Nevada County’s evolution of pot regulations. If you read it at TheUnion.com it is incredibly rich with links to The Union’s stories that were written at the time of the significant milestones.

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Paula Orloff: Bernie and that 'dirty word'

May 19, 2016 — 

The “Commons” is a dirty word to some. Bernie Sanders likes that word and so do I.

The commons, or public spaces and services, have enhanced our lives. However, their quality and access may be limited due to the legalized power of a wealthy few. Here is a timely verse from an 18th century folk poem:

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Jonathan Collier: The truth about commercial cannabis

May 18, 2016 — 

It’s no secret that cannabis is being grown for cash in Nevada County, but what does that mean?

This subject has created a lot of confusion that needs to be cleared up.

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Sara Morrison: RSVP powered by 72k volunteer hours per year in Nevada County

May 17, 2016 — 

Seventy-thousand hours per year. That’s how much time senior volunteers, through the auspices of RSVP, give to the 60 Nevada County agencies with whom we partner. Nationally, 18.7 million older adults volunteer, giving three billion hours annually with an economic impact of $64 billion. Senior volunteers are valuable and valued contributors to their communities. No rocking chairs for them!

May is “Older Americans Month,” and what better way to acknowledge older Americans than to recognize all they do as volunteers for Nevada County. They can be found in our schools and libraries, in thrift shops run by nonprofits, in hospitals and clinics and public safety programs. You’ll find them volunteering with food banks, meal and firewood delivery to seniors, friendly visitor and telephone reassurance programs, organizations for children and families and our beautiful state parks.

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Bruce Rayner: On PG&E electrical rate increases

May 17, 2016 — 

In March, PG&E announced another rate increase for this year and their plan to change the way the bill some customers. The changeover has now been extended to May 31.

They are canceling some of their older and cheaper rate plans, meaning that some customers will be moved to a newer rate plan which may be more expensive. PG&E gives you an option to choose a different rate plan, but doesn’t clearly state all the facts that determine what will happen to your costs as a result. Further, some of your options to choose expire on May 30. So how can you know which rate plan to choose? From the information on their website, you really can’t.

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Gregg Littell: Totally free market would be a disastrous nightmare

May 15, 2016 — 

In response to Norm Sauer’s column, “A Beacon of Liberty,” he gives us the generic “conservatives equals good, liberals equals bad,” “We the People” scenario.

He even drags in North and South Korea, as if progressives might be unable to distinguish between the two. Only a fringe of the “left” wants communism, just as only a fringe of the right wants, as Grover Norquist said, “To shrink government down to where you could drown it in a bathtub” (the latter fringe is larger than the former).

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Paul Hoefler: In support of Measure W

May 13, 2016 — 

There are two issues regarding Measure “W” that compel me to support the ban on outdoor grows.

1. It is not clear that the argument used by the group opposed to measure “W” have a legitimate case for the need to grow outdoors. The example cited, the 8 year old boy with epileptic seizures, states that the boy needs the yield of outdoor plants to supply his requirement. After researching typical plant yield on the internet – using data published by pro-marijuana websites — the article states that growers can expect 1 gram of product for each watt of HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps. Using a very conservative approach, an indoor grow with 12 plants using the minimum 400 watt lamp can produce 4800 grams per plant for each growth cycle. A controlled indoor grow can have 3 to 4 growth cycles per year. Again using the minimum set up, a grower can expect 14,400 grams per year of product. This will provide 39 grams or 1.37 oz. per day.

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Robyn Caywood: Measure W potentially disastrous

May 13, 2016 — 

My family has a rich history in the alcohol and tobacco industries. My moonshiner grandparents opened one of the first legal bars in Appalachia Kentucky after Prohibition. Prohibition caused a thriving black market that my family benefitted from.

And, I grew up hearing stories of explosions in the woods, gunfights, and people getting poisoned from toxic materials used to build stills. Regulation of the industry has created obvious changes.

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Don Rogers: W as twisty as the roads

May 12, 2016 — 

In a word? Whirlwind.

Nuthin’ I didn’t expect. You know what first weeks at a new job are like.

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Peggy Redpath: What would passing Measure Y accomplish?

May 11, 2016 — 

You’ve probably opened your door recently to someone who supports Measure Y. It seeks to further restrict Ordinance 2015-12, passed in November, that regulates (Airbnb-type) hosted short-term rentals within the Nevada City limits.

Passed by the City as allowed under Election Code 9214, it may be replaced with another ordinance if its not working. If you allow Measure Y to pass, only another costly vote of the people could change any of its rules or restrictions.

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Regine Miller: Camptonville group seeks biomass-to-energy facility

May 10, 2016 — 

Camptonville Community Partnership is a small rural community-based nonprofit organization located in the town of Camptonville in the Yuba County foothills.

CCP’s mission is “Rural people working together for a safe, sustainable and healthy community.” The organization has conducted programs since 1995 that promote the health and well-being of children, families and community throughout the Yuba foothills.

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Ken Hale: Another reason why 'State of Jefferson' is a bad idea

May 8, 2016 — 

There has been a lot of published comments on the proposed State of Jefferson. Most of it, as far as I am concerned, creates a smoke screen that is difficult to see through. Here is my view on this issue.

Proponents of Jefferson have stated that the creation of the new state is about the lack of representation afforded citizens of the northern counties of California by elected Democratic representatives, that these counties do not have a voice, and are not represented in either Sacramento or Washington D.C.

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Karla Arens: Vote No on W; here's why

May 6, 2016 — 

In January of this year the governor signed into law the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), which regulates the medical marijuana industry.

It creates a regulatory framework for small, local farmers to become licensed, professional business owners who can offer legitimate, permanent employment opportunities, adds to tax revenues and provides environmental protection from damaging growing practices. Various state agencies will oversee this new industry including the Department of Food and Agriculture and Fish and Wildlife. The law also acknowledges the Compassionate Care Act of 1996 by allowing patients to grow a limited amount of medicine for their own use.

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Craig Marquard: Medical marijuana policies stuck in the past

May 6, 2016 — 

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect name of the author. The Union regrets the error and apologizes for any confusion caused.

Contrary to Don Bessee’s statement (The Union, March 16), Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) is not a “science-based” organization. SAM’s mission statement calls for a society where marijuana policies are aligned with the scientific understanding of “marijuana’s harms,” and the commercialization and normalization of marijuana are no more.

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Dan Miller, Hank Weston: Measure W — the rest of the story

May 6, 2016 — 

The increase in marijuana cultivation has now become a problem in every area of western Nevada County. For-profit growers engage in activities that negatively impact neighborhoods with increased traffic, odors and criminal activity.

We are no longer dealing with a few people growing marijuana for medical use, but a thriving black market that is a threat to our community.

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Elaine Meckler: Preferential treatment for women? No way!

May 5, 2016 — 

Women should not expect preferential treatment. We are equal to every other human being on the planet. We shouldn’t be treated differently.

This applies to all aspects of our lives. We should not give someone job preference just because we are women. We should not give someone an easier path to education just because we are women. We should not vote to elect a candidate just because she is a woman.

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Patricia Smith: Saving one of our own

May 4, 2016 — 

A well-attended forum, “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” was recently held to raise awareness about using CBD’s to treat a laundry list of conditions, including intractable childhood epilepsy. (CBD is short for cannabidiol, a component found in certain cannabis strains.)

Despite personal invitations from Forrest Hurd, not one of the sitting members of the Board of Supervisors showed up, nor did any of the Republican leadership that spoke out against this family for using their “unfortunate” child as a publicity tool. This was a perfect opportunity to meet the Hurds and to hear scientific evidence presented by Dr. Burnell Vasser, but the aforementioned chose to remain in the dark.

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Keith Davies: Medical marijuana issue not about medicine, a better community

May 4, 2016 — 

After considerable research and attending numerous meetings to inform myself better, I have come to the conclusion that our local medical marijuana issue is not about medicine or a better community, but about money and greed.

The pro-marijuana folks have done studies as well and have put together an impressive number of arguments as to why we should embrace their vision to allow western Nevada County to be overrun by open marijuana grows, transportation of this product on our roads and streets, medical marijuana dispensaries and a windfall of tax revenues. All of this to make our lives better here in western Nevada County, well I’m not buying it, and here is why:

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George Runner: Back-room deal on minimum wage a huge mistake

May 3, 2016 — 

Blink and you’ll miss it. Special interests have struck a back-room deal to raise California’s minimum wage to $15 per hour in just six years.

The deal was rushed through the Democrat-controlled Legislature — with little public input — and signed into law by the governor in less than a week.

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Pauli Halstead: We can't just rely on government to solve homelessness

May 1, 2016 — 

I would like to give a big thanks to The Union editorial board for taking the interest and time to research the issues regarding the permitted use of Streicher House.

This was definitely a complicated story to follow with many twists and turns in the process. At the heart of it is that cities and counties, as we have seen, can really mess up and prevent folks from using their property in the way it is legally permitted.

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Jeremy Gallus: Why being relevant is important for our small town

April 29, 2016 — 

We live in our world of change that’s been accelerated year over year.

Remember when flip phones were the technological flagship for cell phones? Now we’re able to watch VR (virtual reality) videos on our smart phones that have more computing power than the Apollo 11 spaceship.

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Jim Firth: The Tea/Jefferson party's over in Nevada County

April 28, 2016 — 

The State of Jefferson experiment in Northern California is over. There could be a vote in Lassen County that keeps the experiment on life support for a few weeks, but the United States Supreme Court unanimously voted for a total population formula to select representation in our democracy. Children, disabled, residents, unregistered voter citizens will be included in the formula to determine the population of representation. We are all in this together.

I do agree with my neighbors that the California State Government needs to provide assistance to Rural Counties. This will be accomplished by building bridges, not by building walls, as some people have suggested. The unwillingness of some elected representatives in Rural Counties, be they US Congressional, State Senatorial or Assembly District people will not result in the improvements needed in our Rural Counties. These minority representatives do not represent the interests of the majority of the greater California population.

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Kent Clark: Fixing our health care financing system

April 26, 2016 — 

One of the biggest problems facing our country in 2016 is the cost of health care. Last year, our nation’s health care bill flew past $3 trillion and is expected to reach $5 trillion in the next seven years.

Right now we have the most expensive health care in the industrialized world. Over 60 percent of all household bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to medical bills. That’s 600,000 American families (affecting 1.4 million people) who file for medical bankruptcy each year, and most of those have medical insurance.

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Susan McGuire: Just what is the IRS hiding?

April 25, 2016 — 

The Tea Party movement emerged in 2009 and by August 2013, the U.S. Inspector General’s office (IG) issued a report of its investigation of the IRS with many findings seconded by the IRS’s own Taxpayer Advocate.

The IG found that by 2010 the IRS had begun paying “unusual attention to [certain] 501(c) applications” for tax-exemption, “developed and used inappropriate criteria” to identify applicants with Tea Party, Patriots or 9/12 in their name and gave “heightened scrutiny” to organizations concerned with government spending/debt/taxes, lobbyists for making “America a better place to live” or criticizing how the country is run. The criteria and targeted organizations were collected on a spreadsheet, known as the BOLO listing, a “team of specialists” were assigned and targeted applicants “experienced significant delays and requests for unnecessary information.”

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Kate Laferriere: Interfaith Food Ministry's matching campaign helps feed families, fuel hope

April 24, 2016 — 

The Interfaith Food Ministry needs everyone to “match funds” in May.

Through this year’s “Matching Campaign,” community members have a wonderful opportunity to double the powerful impact on Nevada County families who are faced with financial challenges. IFM is blessed by six generous donors who are donating a total of $40,000, enough to fund the Interfaith Food Ministry’s mission for a little over two months!

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