Opinion Columns

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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Norton Lehner: Multiple choice on marijuana

April 22, 2016 — 

Remember multiple-choice tests? Here’s an easy one:

1. Which of the following are addictive poisons sold for human consumption?

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Bruce Puphal: Ready or not, here comes fire season

April 22, 2016 — 

California Wildfire season is just around the corner. Are you ready?

Many homes throughout California will be threatened this summer and fall, but whether or not your home will ignite is relatively easy to predict. Homes with effective defensible space can and do survive wildfires.

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Lloyd Mitchell: It's time to take the crime out of this crop

April 22, 2016 — 

Marijuana has been used for medicine and recreation for centuries. Its medicinal use in remedies dates back to the earliest developed cultures.

My wife and I tore down a “cousin jack” house in Nevada City. There were newspapers used for insulation, with articles boasting the same rhetoric attributed to the “government” today. The articles did what the American press frequently does; demonizes whatever the populous is supposed to fear, in this case, marijuana.

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Sen. Ted Gaines: California's high-speed fail

April 21, 2016 — 

If you thought the Bay Bridge construction fiasco would reign forever as California’s worst, most unsurpassable example of a government project running wildly over budget, you are in for a bitter surprise. High Speed Rail is on pace to be the grand champion money waster in California history and needs to be stopped before our citizens take an unprecedented fleecing.

As a reminder, the Bay Bridge was initially slated for a retrofit after its dramatic and tragic failure during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In 1995 the cost estimate stood at $250 million. By 1997 it was $1.3 billion. In 2001, $2.6 billion, and finally $6.5 billion at completion, but even that estimate doesn’t include interest costs, which could push the final cost to $13 billion.

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Dan Miller, Hank Weston: Our rationale for Measure W in Nevada County

April 21, 2016 — 

Keeping the public informed is of vital importance to the Board of Supervisors. Our goal is to be as clear as possible and to eliminate any confusion when the Board makes a decision or establishes policy. In this article, we will explain the reasoning that resulted in our creation of Measure W and placing it on the June ballot.

Measure W is strictly about controlling nuisance, environmental and public safety impacts from outdoor grows. It is not about whether marijuana has medicinal properties or who should have access to it.

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Dave Glubetich: What Donald Trump brings to the table

April 19, 2016 — 

Are you ready to cast your vote this June for Donald Trump? Do you want an America that knows how to win ... an America that protects its border and brings jobs back to America?

Those would be great accomplishments, however there is a major problem with that scenario. There will be unintended consequences.

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George Rebane: Nevada County's economic development – augmented or virtual?

April 18, 2016 — 

On April 7, the Economic Resource Council held its annual soiree on Nevada County’s economic development Executive Director Jon Gregory and his team put on a fine affair at the GV Veterans Center that continued with a VIP dinner at the Holiday Inn Express.

This year’s event, moderated by The Union’s publisher Jim Hemig, was a marked improvement over a similar affair in January of 2015.

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David Ryland: Centennial Reservoir Project a bad idea

April 17, 2016 — 

The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) has begun the steps to construct a 275-foot dam on the Bear River, just upstream of Combie Reservoir.

This impoundment will flood six miles of the river, including the picnic area and campground at Plum Tree Road in Placer County.

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Manny Montes: Genesis of socialism is that of communism, fascism

April 15, 2016 — 

Progressive “Democratic Socialists” decry the free-enterprise (capitalism) system citing rapacity and greed, exploitation of the worker, despoiling the environment, and cite the financial crash of 2008, and the S&L debacle as evidence of capitalism’s failure; further discussion on these deserves a column in and of itself.

Ignoring the well-documented histories of socialism and capitalism, progressives extol the virtues of socialism like a flock of Ostriches with delusions of soaring, believing they can create heaven on earth, promising prosperity, equality, and security, but inexorably delivering poverty, misery, and tyranny; everyone’s rags must match, and equal in his or her misery.

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Ray Oliver: Measure W a 'dangerous, costly precedent'

April 15, 2016 — 

Never before has a Nevada County Board of Supervisors initiated a ballot measure asking voters to approve provisions of a land use ordinance it had already adopted and put in force, and which would continue to be enforced whether the Measure passed or failed. After researching local ballot measures going back to 1976, and a search on ballotpedia going back to 1889, it can be stated as fact that Measure W is without precedent.

The ban on outdoor cannabis cultivation, the 12 plant indoor cultivation limit, the ban on commercial activities, are already codified in Urgency Ordinance 2405, adopted by the Supervisors on January 12th, this year. Our vote on Measure W, whether “Yes” or “No”, will have absolutely no effect on the continuing enforcement of the provisions of Urgency Ordinance 2405.

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Dianna Suarez: Is Placer County a sacrifice zone for a Nevada Irrigation District water grab?

April 14, 2016 — 

At a recent Colfax City Council meeting, Remleh Scherzinger, general manager of Nevada Irrigation District (NID, was asked, “What would it take to stop the Centennial Dam Project construction?”

Scherzinger replied, “Basically the discovery of a fatal flaw in the ground, and/or design of the dam.”

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Paul Sieving: Hitting on all eight

April 14, 2016 — 

I had the honor to be the representative of the Nevada City Chamber at the ERC 2016 Economic Development Summit at the Grass Valley Veteran’s Hall. I was also there recently to see the Robert Cray Band — and each was a singular event in its own right.

What they had in common was that it has been about 20 years since I have seen either RCB (Bakersfield 1997) or ERC (GV 2000) in such fine form.

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Christy Barron: Center for the Arts appreciates its volunteers

April 13, 2016 — 

Have you ever attended a concert, art gallery reception, or a free community event?

You arrive at a show; you’re ready to unwind and dance with your friends or quietly take in the sounds of your favorite musician or the sights of a particularly talented artist. Most of us never consider the work that goes into providing this experience for a patron attending a show or event.

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Loraine Webb-Asking for a reasonable ordinance

April 12, 2016 — 

There is a need for clarification as to outdoor cultivation of medical cannabis, and Forrest Hurd’s statement that the cannabis strain that can help his son, Silas, can only be grown in Nevada County.

This is my understanding.

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Mary Carol: It's all about the money; landowners, landlords beware

April 10, 2016 — 

“It’s all about the money,” Sheriff Keith Royal has stated while defending his ban on outdoor medical marijuana grows. Well, I agree. It is all about the money — money the Sheriff’s Office may generate through asset forfeitures and civil fines.

Buried in the current ordinance, but not yet used, is Section G-IV 5.12 Enforcement, A (3), that states the Enforcing Officer may “Issue administrative citations in accordance with Section L-II 5.23, et seq., of the Nevada County Land Use and Development Code.” That’s all it says.

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Leta Gibney: Donate to Hospitality House

April 8, 2016 — 

You can hear Joanna Robinson every Friday on Jerianne’s KVMR Morning Show.

She asks you, the community, to bring coffee, paper cups, razors, cough syrup, cough drops, socks and the like to Utah’s Place to help our homeless friends in need.

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Loralee Rae: 'I never thought this would happen to me'

April 8, 2016 — 

How can I be here, sitting in court, staring at the back of the head of the man who killed my husband? How dare he say he doesn’t remember shooting my husband in a fit of rage? I was there and I saw everything.

All we were trying to do was sell our car so we could buy a new one. This guy was crazy drunk when he showed up and became enraged when we wouldn’t let him take it for a test drive. Next thing you know he pulls out his gun and shoots him. I don’t understand how someone cannot remember shooting another human being!

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Paul Berger: Has the Nevada County Board of Supervisors abdicated its responsibility?

April 8, 2016 — 

I attended the Measure W forum at Peace Lutheran Church featuring Supervisor Dan Miller and California Growers Association chair Jonathan Collier.

Not knowing the details, I wanted to find out why the board would put on the ballot a punitive measure that totally bans outdoor marijuana cultivation and sets strict highly restrictive limits on indoor cultivation.

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Bob Williams: And you could have been there

April 7, 2016 — 

On Easter weekend, my wife, Sharon, and I attended three churches where the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ was told in three different ways.

Good Friday we attended the Bethel Church on Highway 49 along with many people from congregations all over Nevada County — also many pastors from various churches were in attendance. We sang hymns and listened to Pastor Gabe Barber from Abundant Life give his account of the Crucifixion and Resurrection with some personal humor. He delivered a great sermon that was understood by all.

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Bill Trzeciak: It won't be Rubio or Bush

April 5, 2016 — 

I was wrong; it won’t be Rubio or Bush. And the rhino clown has metastasized into something virulent and lethal to the body politic.

You know what rhinoceros I’m referring to, don’t you?

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Mike Craig: Teens welcome at the 'Hangout'

April 4, 2016 — 

As I write this letter, I find myself very happy that I’m able to grace the halls of the “Hangout” once again and begin another tournament for these young adults that I care so much about.

It’s been five years since Pat and Gary Novak opened the Grace Lutheran Hall to the youth of Nevada County. It’s been one heck of a journey for all of us. We’ve had a few rotten apples, but we’ve had many more success stories and very few had to be ‘kicked-out’ in the last five years. All in all we have the best, brightest and most creative youth the world has to offer and we love all of them without equivocation.

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Hezekiah Allen: California Growers Association eager to work collaboratively

April 3, 2016 — 

I am writing to share a bit of perspective on the local policy conversation about medical cannabis cultivation.

First, I want to commend The Union on giving voice to so many perspectives on this topic. This conversation is great and I appreciate everything that has been shared. All perspectives matter in this conversation and I have encouraged our membership to listen carefully.

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David Adams: Let's just call it 'Verizon County'

April 1, 2016 — 

Maybe we should re-name western Nevada County “Verizon County.” The large international corporation apparently considers our local government bodies an easy and compliant mark for their cell transmitters, antennas, and towers.

First there’s the fiasco with the Verizon tower in Penn Valley (which Lake Wildwood refused to allow on its grounds), regarding which our stubborn county supervisors have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars using the “club” of nonexistent zoning regs. Then recently the Grass Valley Planning Commission approved an 85-foot Verizon “monopine” tower by the heart of the Brunswick shopping area on Olympia Park Road. Apparently this can only be appealed to the City Council within 15 days, and hardly anyone heard about it. Apparently yet another Verizon tower is considered in the Idaho-Maryland area. Now (March 16) we read under a misleading headline about tree removal that the Nevada City Planning Commission is considering a proposal from Epic Wireless to install eight (why so many?) Verizon cellular antennas on the roof of Friar Tuck’s Restaurant in downtown Nevada City.

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James Butler: Ban on outdoor cultivation another example of tyranny

April 1, 2016 — 

For those who are on the “ban” bandwagon, are they, “who can’t handle the truth?” They rather believe 1930s lies of “marijuana its roots in hell” propaganda, fear tactics, used against the ignorant public — imprisoning millions of harmless people.

Marijuana is a natural plant that anyone can grow in your garden. Ever hear of Alice B. Tokelas cookies in the ’70s movie Alice’s Restaurant? It makes you smile and laugh a lot especially at the “establishment.”

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Terry McLaughlin: Measure W a step in the right direction

March 31, 2016 — 

On Feb. 19, the Sacramento Bee reported that the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California released an analysis that indicated violent crime rose faster during the first six months of 2015 in Sacramento than in any of the 25 largest US cities tracked in an annual FBI crime report.

This increase in crime is not unique to Sacramento — about three-quarters of California’s largest cities saw violent crime rates rise in 2015, after years of decline. All types of violent crime — murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — increased in Sacramento.

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Nancy Baker: Transgender Day of Visibility

March 30, 2016 — 

Today, March 31, marks the seventh International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV). The goal of the day is to celebrate life and transgender accomplishments while raising awareness of the discrimination that faces trans people on a daily basis.

Rachel Crandall started the Day of Visibility in Michigan back in 2009 in reaction to the often-negative portrayal of transgender people. The other annual event that people relate to transgender culture is the Day of Remembrance, where respect is shown for transgender people killed in the previous year. While this is absolutely vital, we needed something else, something that celebrates life and transgender cultural achievements, and that’s the Day of Visibility. TVoD has spread from a local Michigan event to something celebrated across the world, as trans people everywhere put a very human face on the struggle for transgender rights and acceptance.

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Sonia Delgadillo: Local businesses always step up

March 29, 2016 — 

When we moved to Nevada County over 16 years ago, one of the attractions was the small-town atmosphere and the community did not disappoint.

When our kids were little, they were recognized by the librarians where we would go for Story Time. The ushers at our church used to call my son “Curly.” Friends and neighbors bought plenty of Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout popcorn to help them earn their way to their badges. And in recent years, their elementary school teachers attended their high school performances.

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