Opinion Columns

Laura Gatten: Thanks to One-Stop I got the job

July 6, 2015 — 

As I look back on my experiences from the day I was laid off to the day I was hired, I feel grateful for all that I have learned and the people who patiently taught me how to approach looking for employment.

On the day I was laid off, I felt discouraged and depressed. Thoughts ran through my head like, “What’s wrong with me?” “Am I a loser or what?” and “How am I going to take care of my family?”

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Bill Drake: The Confederate flag and racism

July 4, 2015 — 

I was born in 1945 in Virginia and grew up during the Jim Crow era, when the law of the land kept blacks and other minorities in an inferior position. My family, which firmly believed in white supremacy, was proud of the Confederate flag, our Southern heritage, and our connection to slavery.

My mother’s paternal grandfather was Lt. Col. William Henry FitzGerald, a slave owner and Civil War hero who commanded Mississippi’s Tallahatchie Rifles under General Robert E. Lee. A statue in honor of him and his regiment can be found at the Tallahatchie County courthouse in Sumner. After the war, he helped create the Jim Crow era as a Mississippi state senator. My mother’s maternal grandfather also fought for the South. At least three generations of my mother’s ancestors on that side of her family were slave plantation owners.

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Louis Pearl: America still a land of opportunity

July 4, 2015 — 

As we approach the birthday of our country, I am saddened by those Americans who disparage America.

There is little doubt that we as Americans can always do more and better to make this country greater than it is. That being said, I feel it is time to acknowledge just how exceptional America really is. This in itself could be a subject of debate and volume.

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Bill Trzeciak: Democratic socialism is capitalism as if people mattered

July 4, 2015 — 

Bernie Sanders said “Socialism is a word that scares older people.” He’s right about that.

Most of us older people in America have been given a definition of socialism that clearly conjures up the worst of Soviet-style communist totalitarianism. We’ve lived through the Cold War and know what we’re talking about, by gum.

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Ralph Hitchcock: A different view of the Central Valley irrigation history

July 3, 2015 — 

California’s complex water supply and irrigation infrastructure has become an important topic of discussion during this drought. The history of how our agricultural prosperity came about is quite interesting, with unfairness and irony involved, as well as misplaced pride by those of us from old California families.

The agricultural development in the Central Valley provided the economic foundation for the state’s phenomenal urban and industrial growth from a 1930 population of 5.7 million to 39 million. I think it might be interesting for all post-World War II Californians to recognize that as recently as 1940, the state had just passed Texas into sixth place, but New York still had twice as many people; this combined with isolation from the East in both transportation and communications, limited California’s national influence significantly. The enormous post-World War II growth which would change California forever was still to come.

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Byron York: GOP searches for strategy to counter Obama winning streak

July 2, 2015 — 

Republicans have tried to pin the lame duck label on President Obama for quite a while now. But for a lame duck, Obama is doing pretty well.

He won on Obamacare. He won on gay marriage. He won on trade. His party was even able to leverage a horrendous crime — the killings in Charleston — to put Republicans on the defensive over the Confederate flag.

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Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan: 'What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?'

July 2, 2015 — 

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” asked Frederick Douglass of the crowd gathered at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, N.Y., on July 5, 1852. “I answer,” he continued, “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which lie is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham.”

Douglass escaped slavery in 1838 and became one of the most powerful and eloquent orators of the abolitionist movement. His Independence Day talk was organized by the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Sewing Society. Douglass extolled the virtues of the Founding Fathers, those who signed the Declaration of Independence. Then he brought the focus to the present, to 1852. He said:

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Getting Rx drugs off the street — doing more harm than good?

July 1, 2015 — 

Over the next few years, we’re going to hear a lot from the government, telling us what a great job they’re doing in curtailing prescription drug abuse.

It’s going to sound impressive.

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R.L. Crabb: It takes a village idiot

July 1, 2015 — 

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Charisse Lolli: About county's hearing on Dollar General

June 30, 2015 — 

Residents will find themselves once again in the county government chambers to oppose the construction of the Dollar General Store at Alta Sierra Wednesday.

This is the fifth Dollar General store that has been proposed within a 13-mile radius. Although previous notices have provided incorrect dates for submitting public response, opponents should know that their written responses can be received at the hearing. This hearing is for 1 p.m. Wendesday. If this is passed, it will allow the construction of a 9,100 square foot box store at the entrance of Alta Sierra Drive, larger than their average 7,300 square foot store.

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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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