Opinion Columns

Denise Cain: Consider adopting an older dog

March 27, 2015 — 

Many articles have been written about the wonder and beauty of the senior dog. So many find themselves in shelters, abandoned on the streets by people who did not live up to their end of the bargain.

Like marriage, “till death do us part” is the goal. We know this cannot be the result in 100 percent of adoptions, but it is the GOAL. Divorce, death, illness can interfere. Such is the case of Butch and Honeybear, who lost their loving parents of 11 years. No two dogs were more loved by their guardians, who died within two months of each other.

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Byron York: As tech giant calls for more foreign workers, Senate hears of displaced Americans

March 26, 2015 — 

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, believes passionately that the United States needs more skilled foreign workers. He has long advocated increasing the number of so-called H-1B visas, which allow those workers to come to the U.S. for several years and, in many cases, work for lower wages than current employees. Schmidt is frustrated that Congress hasn’t done as he and other tech moguls want.

“In the long list of stupid policies of the U.S. government, I think our attitude toward immigration has got to be near the top,” Schmidt said during a recent appearance at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “Everyone actually agrees that there should be more H-1B visas in order to create more tech, more science, more analytical jobs. Everyone agrees, in both parties.”

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Amy Goodman: The costs of war, the price of peace

March 26, 2015 — 

What price would you pay not to kill another human being? At what point would you commit the offenses allegedly perpetrated by Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was charged Wednesday with desertion and “misbehavior before an enemy.” Bowe Bergdahl was a private when he left his post in Afghanistan, under circumstances that are still unknown to the public, and was captured by the Taliban. They imprisoned him for five years, until he was released in a controversial prisoner swap negotiated by the Obama administration. Five Taliban members who were held for years at Guantanamo Bay were released to house arrest in Qatar in exchange for Bergdahl. He now faces a court-martial and potentially life in prison. Meanwhile, the architects of the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remain untried, while a new report asserts that up to 1.3 million people have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the first 10 years of the so-called war on terror.

The report is called “Body Count” and is published in the U.S. by Physicians for Social Responsibility. “It has been politically important to downplay Allied forces’ responsibility for the massive carnage and destruction in the region,” writes San Francisco doctor Robert M. Gould in the report’s foreword. He told me: “We need to take full responsibility for the true cost of war as we are preparing to continue our involvement in Afghanistan and deepen our involvement in Syria and Iraq. There’s great anger throughout the region about our involvement and the underplaying here of what the true costs are in terms of death and destruction.”

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John Carr: Carrtoon

March 25, 2015 — 

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Bob Altieri: LCAP is cornerstone of parent involvement in the education of their children

March 25, 2015 — 

We are in epic times of change in education with the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Under the new LCAP, parents, more than ever, need to be informed and get involved.

The LCAP, which is a critical part of the new local funding formula, requires stakeholder input, so schools must get information from parents regarding the programs, services and supports they want to see at their schools. This is a good thing.

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It takes a village idiot: March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015 — 

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Brian Brown: Zoning Ordinance — No Dollar Generals in rural Nevada County

March 23, 2015 — 

I am writing regarding the Dollar General stores being planned in Nevada County. An issue that I think has not received enough attention is the misapplication of Nevada County’s zoning ordinance.

The developers are claiming that they are building “convenience stores” in order to build in C1 zoning.

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R.L. Crabb: It takes a village idiot

March 21, 2015 — 

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Harrison Goldspiel: Are you ready to take the Scotch Broom Challenge?

March 21, 2015 — 

On Saturday, March 7, five AmeriCorps members from the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) took on the Scotch Broom Challenge at Hirschman’s Pond in honor of National AmeriCorps Week.

National AmeriCorps Week (March 9-13) highlights the inspirational community efforts of AmeriCorps members — past and present — around the country.

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Keith Davies: Funding chamber of commerce an investment, not an expense

March 21, 2015 — 

A recent opinion piece by Jim Firth made some valid points about the methodology of choosing new city council members when a vacancy occurs.

Unfortunately, Mr. Firth apparently wants to blame the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce for the city deciding to appoint someone rather than holding a special election.

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George Runner: Should green car drivers feel guilty?

March 21, 2015 — 

If you own a hybrid or electric vehicle, you probably feel pretty good about yourself. After all, you’ve made a socially responsible decision to help the environment, reduce your carbon footprint and improve air quality.

But you might feel a bit guilty, too. After all, you are in part responsible for the poor condition of our roads. Your car uses less gas per mile, so you pay less tax per mile too. Less tax means less transportation funding. Less funding mean worse roads — right?

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Hindi Greenberg: Musical theater scholarship tribute to loved Nevada County resident

March 20, 2015 — 

It’s so amazing how a wonderful outcome can result from a terrible tragedy.

On Oct. 16, 2014, Roberta Frank, a much-admired and loved Nevada County resident, died suddenly of natural causes at the youngish age of 72. After the shock of her unexpected demise, followed by a lovely memorial service several weeks later, there was discussion about establishing a meaningful tribute to memorialize Roberta’s contribution to the arts, particularly her beautiful voice and perfect pitch, her piano skills (she was rehearsal pianist for Music in the Mountains Chorale, Sierra Master Chorale, several local schools, and played for numerous theater productions), and her participation in musical theater.

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Byron York: A war of Obama's own making

March 19, 2015 — 

The White House and some Democrats are livid over congressional Republican attempts to circumvent President Obama’s authority to make a nuclear arms deal with Iran. They have a right to be angry — but not to be surprised.

There’s a war going on between the executive and legislative branches in which Obama has shown contempt for Congress’ constitutional powers, and now, in response, Congress is showing contempt for the president’s constitutional powers. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s what Obama has wrought.

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Amy Goodman: Flush the TPP

March 19, 2015 — 

President Barack Obama and the Republicans in Congress are united. Yes, that’s right. No, not on Obamacare, or on the budget, or on negotiations with Iran, or on equal pay for women. But on so-called free-trade agreements, which increase corporate power and reduce the power of people to govern themselves democratically, Obama and the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder. This has put the president at loggerheads with his strongest congressional allies, the progressive Democrats, who oppose the TPP, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the most far-reaching trade agreements in history. TPP will set rules governing more than 40 percent of the world’s economy. Obama has been negotiating in secret, and the Democrats are not happy.

The battle lines are being drawn over the TPP and TPA. If you are confused, well, that is exactly what many of the most powerful corporations in the U.S., and around the world, are counting on. Trade policy is arcane, complex and long the domain of economists and technocrats. But the real-world implications of these dry texts are profound. President Obama wants to pass the TPP, which is a broad trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries in the Pacific Rim: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. In order to expedite the process, President Obama is seeking the second acronym, TPA, or Trade Promotion Authority, also called “fast-track.” Fast-track gives the president authority to negotiate a trade deal, and to then present it to Congress for a yes-or-no vote, with no amendments allowed. A growing coalition is organizing to oppose TPP and the president’s request for fast-track. The outcome of this conflict will reverberate globally for generations to come.

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John Carr: Carrtoon

March 18, 2015 — 

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Diane Miessler: Step away from the Rototiller: No-till gardening, saving the planet

March 18, 2015 — 

“In the spring a young gardener’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of rototilling the vegetable garden,” to butcher a quote of Lord Tennyson’s. But wait! Consider this before you till:

I was once like you — I itched to till those nice grasses and weeds into my garden soil, to fluff it up and nourish the coming tomatoes.

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R.L. Crabb: It takes a village idiot

March 17, 2015 — 

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Virginia Moran: New Dollar Store another sign of government hypocrisy

March 16, 2015 — 

If you live in Nevada County long enough, you figure out that the problem with Nevada County is — Nevada County government.

It is particularly entertaining if you track hypocrisy. Lots to be had here.

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Steve Enos: Investigation initiated by my personal note to Lamphier

March 15, 2015 — 

I felt it improper to make a statement while former County Supervisor Terry Lamphier’s investigation was underway. I felt it improper to comment while Terry’s court case for multiple counts of “possession of matter depicting minor engaging in sexual conduct” is ongoing.

But Terry recently posted a comment on a local blog making a number of false, libelous, defaming comments about me and my initial involvement in this incident. So I feel it necessary and appropriate to now publicly respond.

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Bill Trzeciak: The fools and tools of civics

March 14, 2015 — 

Oligarchs win when we’re all too dismayed

With “political nonsense” to bother to vote.

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R.L. Crabb: It takes a village idiot

March 14, 2015 — 

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Ron Spiller: Recognition and a 'thank you' to Nevada Theatre commission

March 14, 2015 — 

The Union has given a lot of coverage to the new “annex” to the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City, for which all of us who have been involved are grateful. The impressions created, however, by these articles does not give ample recognition to the contributions made by the Nevada Theatre commission to the project.

Although this has been a collaborative venture by KVMR and the Theatre, it was initially made possible only because of the donation of the building lot behind the Nevada Theatre to the newly formed beneficial trust (which now owns the entire new structure, including the existing theater building). The deeding of the theatre to the trust was a major factor in legitimizing the joint venture between the two nonprofit corporations.

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Jim Firth: People should choose their representatives

March 14, 2015 — 

The Union’s opinion piece, “Council appointment fulfills civic duty, but leaves voters disenfranchised” on Feb. 28 concludes, “After all, our best recourse has always been, and always will be, to make our voices heard through our votes.”

The Grass Valley City Council selected Ben Aguilar as its fifth member on Feb. 24. Mr. Aguilar was “sworn in” on March 10. This unusual process of choosing a council member has a precedent; but it hasn’t provided Grass Valley citizens much opportunity to know how Mr. Aguilar will represent their interests.

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Norm Sauer: Get knowledge, be brave, be free

March 14, 2015 — 

“A primary object ... should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing ... than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?” — George Washington

In my recent article “Strong Government Versus Liberty,” I made the observation that the federal government’s absolute power was limited by our Constitution until progressive President Woodrow Wilson enhanced governmental power over the people, through administrative agencies then celebrated as the evasion of constitutional law and constitutional rights.

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Jamie Yokom: Girl Scouts get a powerful lesson in paying it forward

March 13, 2015 — 

I would like to share an experience our Girl Scouts learned here in Nevada County during their cookie sales. They learned a lot about “paying it forward and random acts of kindness.”

It touched their hearts, brought them to tears and they truly will never forget the beautiful, giving and strong people of Nevada County. Here is our diary of the events.

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Byron York: President Hillary Clinton would be secretive, too

March 12, 2015 — 

News that Hillary Clinton exclusively used a private email account to keep secret her communications as Secretary of State should surprise no one. She came to Washington more than 20 years ago determined to keep secrets, and she’s still at it.

In 1993, the newly inaugurated President Bill Clinton chose his wife to head his administration’s most important domestic initiative, health care reform. Hillary Clinton proceeded to create a task force that seemed more determined to keep secrets than to restructure health care.

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Amy Goodman: In Selma, memories of Bloody Sunday spur action today

March 12, 2015 — 

Fifty years have passed since Bloody Sunday, that seminal event in United States civil-rights history when African-Americans and their allies attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., demanding the right to vote. As soon as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, they were violently attacked by the Alabama State Police, beaten with nightsticks and electric cattle prods, set upon by police dogs and tear-gassed. They were chased off the bridge, all the way back to Selma’s Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, where the march began. News and images of the extreme and unprovoked police violence, in contrast to the conduct of the 600 marchers, who practiced disciplined nonviolence, spread across the globe. Within months, President Lyndon Johnson would sign the 1965 Voting Rights Act, responding to the pressure applied by a skillfully organized mass movement.

The march that would become known as Bloody Sunday was organized in response to a killing by the police of a young man. That history, and how it relates to today, was recounted last Sunday in historic Brown Chapel. The sanctuary was filled to capacity with civil-rights icons, Obama administration Cabinet secretaries and members of Congress.

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John Carr: Carrtoon

March 11, 2015 — 

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Benefits of being prepared: Raising boys into men

March 11, 2015 — 

Did you know that boys are much more likely to commit suicide than girls? And that this disparity is increasing?

In 1981, the male suicide rate was 1.9 times higher than the rate for females. But by 2012, male suicides had increased to four times that of the female suicide rate.

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Patrick Wagner: Treatment plan needed for ill health-care system

March 10, 2015 — 

When Einstein crushed the atom, we were interested in the energy released from it. So was Hitler. We beat Hitler to the punch. Einstein was a good man, and his discovery stopped a war. How foolish and destructive it was of demons in those days of World War II to try to kill the world, to conquer free people?

Look around. We are in the most amazing country on earth, simply because we’re free. Isn’t it appalling to be acting like spoiled brats, covetous and angry and frustrated and heartbroken? Why entertain war in such a wonderful and beautiful place to live, raise a family and grow old? Just look at what we are missing out on, simply because of “war within.”

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