Opinion Columns

Fran Cole: Outdoor Event Ordinance and the importance of thoughtful regulation

April 18, 2015 — 

Several important principles of good regulation appear to be missing in the saga of Nevada County’s Outdoor Event Ordinance.

The first principle is that governmental action through regulations, especially regulations affecting business and property rights, should be drafted narrowly enough to address the stated problems without spilling over and negatively impacting others. The ordinance swept up legitimate businesses into its net, because it was not precisely fine-tuned to target only the problem. What was never explained to the public was why the then-existing enforcement tools were inadequate, and that should have been the starting point for the discussion.

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Kathie Beckham: More questions than answers on Newmont passive water treatment

April 18, 2015 — 

As a longtime resident of Grass Valley, I too am concerned about this Newmont Mine Passive Water Treatment proposal.

At first I was really happy that they were going to clean up the water, but upon further research into the background of Newmont Mining I became concerned about a few things.

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It takes a village idiot

April 18, 2015 — 

R.L. Crabb

Cartoonist

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Elizabeth Appell: Which do we need more: bullet train or water?

April 18, 2015 — 

Why are we wasting our time and money, $98 billion, on a bullet train that will accommodate only a small portion of California residents when we desperately need water to accommodate all the people living and working in our beautiful state?

To help solve our water problems, why not consider scrapping this project, which is already costing billions and going nowhere, and concentrate on a water pipeline network from Washington, through Oregon, and ending in Northern California? This is a project worthy of completion and one that is long overdue. If you don’t think a pipeline is the answer than maybe you would consider building desalination plants up and down the coast of California. Either one of these solutions could solve our future issues with drought. It will not go away just because we wish it so.

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Manny Montes: Progressive campaign mantra is 'we know what's best'

April 17, 2015 — 

Beyond protecting individual rights, and providing for the national defense, our government inexorably becomes a usurping beast. Recall Lord Acton’s observation, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Our government beast feeds on an exclusive diet, power. Its hunger is never satiated. The beast forever cries, “feed me.” The inverse relationship between the beast’s growing power and the diminution of individual liberty is as certain as two plus two equals four. Progressives’ campaign mantra is, at bottom, give me more power; we know what’s best. They have successfully weaponized terms and phrases like “compassion,” “for the children,” “fair share” and “invest.” This last is a disingenuous way of saying “spend.” All financial indicators are flashing red, and the beast persists on wanting to spend more. Nancy Eubanks’ March 7 article calls for a litany of initiatives all of which are government directives, and calls for more spending. When is enough, enough? Never.

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Robert Ingram: Environmentalists blowing smoke

April 16, 2015 — 

Do environmentalists like Chad Hanson and his newest disciple, Christy Sherr, care about our environment? Obsessively so. Are they honest in their attempts to “save” the Sierra? Absolutely not.

Hanson, as high priest to the cause, deems all commercial logging of federal lands a crime against nature and will do or say anything to stop it. His latest humorous attempt, authored by Christy Sherr in The Union on April 1, borders on fantasy. Hanson and Sherr’s contention that a “Snag forest, or ‘complex early seral forest (CESF)’ created by high intensity fire (75 to 100 percent mortality) is the most ecologically diverse and wildlife rich forest habitat type in the Sierra Nevada.” Really? No, not really. Below are a few glaring gaps in their half-truths and faulty logic that just doesn’t pass the smoldering forest smell test.

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Reinette Senum: Nevada City's inaugural 'Spring Madness' a success

April 16, 2015 — 

Last week Nevada City successfully launched its first spring-cleaning called “Spring Madness Hits Nevada City.” The three-day event proved to be an empowering exercise in community.

The need for the citywide cleaning arose out of an ad hoc community group that includes Nevada City merchants, the Nevada City Police Department, the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and homeless and community advocates, including myself. The group has been meeting for over a year so as to address issues we see throughout Nevada City, such as vandalism, homelessness, and general activity on the streets.

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John Carr: Carrtoon

April 15, 2015 — 

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Linda McQueen: Excessive use of water by agriculture? Think again

April 15, 2015 — 

Last week the governor of California mandated an unprecedented reduction of 25 percent of water use due to our severe drought condition. Certain media — national and local — have focused and spun agriculture as an abuser of water without similar restrictions. I would like to take this opportunity to discuss California agriculture in a more complete perspective.

California GDP is over $2 trillion and represents the largest GDP of any state in the U.S. — even ranking eighth in the world. Agriculture is one of the vital elements of the state’s economy. California leads the nation in the production of fruit, vegetables, wine, nuts and dairy. It is true that direct production ag is only 2 percent of the California economy; but government, followed by health care and social assistance are the largest. Agriculture is a major contributor to the economy valued at $43 billion, plus more than $100 billion in related economic activities. Ag is not only important to California, but also to the U.S. Per CDFA, California ag sales exceeded twice the size of any other state’s agriculture industry.

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Jim Firth: When the well runs dry

April 15, 2015 — 

When my wife and I moved to Grass Valley six-plus years ago, we immediately began improvements on our property. Landscaping was part of the improvement package and along with a freshly planted front-scape, we chose to put a relatively small lawn (about 1,200 square feet) in the back area off the deck.

This work required removing rock, various pipes, moving the “red” dirt so prolific around here, and bringing in soil and sod.

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Steve Zager: Putting out the fire of trauma

April 14, 2015 — 

My friend John almost lost his life in a house fire in Grass Valley.

For the next few months he became unemployed, homeless, depressed and anxious. He had trouble sleeping.

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April 14, 2015 — 

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Fran Freedle: It's time for a fair tax

April 13, 2015 — 

Every April as we hunker down to struggle through the tax maze, enduring the misery of the hopelessly complicated tax code, I wish we had a simple and fair flat tax.

The Internal Revenue Code is 3.8 million words, over 11,000 single spaced typed pages and one of the most complicated in the world.

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Greg Goodknight: Common Cored indeed

April 11, 2015 — 

On May 30, 2014, in a letter, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” Linda Campbell landed low blows attacking my earlier piece, “It’s time to do the math” (5/20/2014).

I cited California Dept. of Education STAR, API and Similar Schools data to bring into focus the poor performance of too many Nevada County schools for the upcoming election.

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Paula Orloff: Why stop smart meters?

April 11, 2015 — 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) granted utility companies the right to roll out smart meters. Now state and U.S. Attorney Generals are conducting a criminal investigation of the former CPUC president for corruption, bribery and collusion with utility companies. The CPUC is supposed to protect the interests of consumers rather than the handsome profits of utility companies. New emails brought to light between the CPUC and utility companies reveal the extent of corruption and backroom dealing that resulted in the state’s smart meter program:

1. Smart meters have caused extensive overbilling. No less than the now-former CPUC president, Michael Peevey, complained to PG&E there was something “screwy” about his utility bill, which doubled when a smart meter was installed on his spacious 3,118-square-foot second home. I’m sure the utility adjusted his bill pronto, unlike overbilling complaints by many thousands of ordinary customers. Other emails show that on Aug. 31, 2010, PG&E’s Brian Cherry sent an email to Peevey, warning smart meters were overcharging. In April 2011, CPUC’s Aloke Gupta emailed staff about inflated billing from smart meters.

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R.L. Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

April 11, 2015 — 

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Amanda Shufelberger: High intensity wildfires devastating to forests, wildlife and people

April 10, 2015 — 

When I read the title, “Animals like their forests well done” in Christy Sherr’s Other Voices column on April 1, 2015, I was appalled.

I am a wildlife biologist who frequently works in the nearly 100,000 acres of the King Fire.

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Byron York: In emerging race, O'Malley new target of Clinton machine

April 9, 2015 — 

Recently, a representative from the Hillary Clinton camp delivered a message to Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor preparing to challenge Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

I have some good news and some bad news, the messenger said.

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Amy Goodman: Capital punishment — A dead policy walking

April 9, 2015 — 

A jury in Boston has returned a guilty verdict on all 30 counts against the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Now the jury must deliberate on the punishment, which could be either life in prison or death. Capital punishment is outlawed in Massachusetts, but Tsarnaev was tried in federal court, where the death penalty is allowed. The jury will have to decide whether he lives or dies. The case provides a new reason to take a hard look at capital punishment, and why this irreversible, highly problematic practice should be banned.

Anthony Ray Hinton is alive today, a free man. But just last week he was on death row in Alabama, where he spent 30 years. Hinton was the 152nd person in the United States to be exonerated from death row, where he spent three decades for a crime he did not commit. He was accused of killing two fast-food restaurant managers in 1985. There were no eyewitnesses, nor fingerprints. Prosecutors alleged that bullets found matched a revolver belonging to Hinton’s mother. Hinton had ineffective counsel, and no money to mount a credible defense or to hire a genuine expert witness to challenge the ballistics.

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Rich Kauffman: It happened on Good Friday

April 8, 2015 — 

It was Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865, and there was an uneasy calm outside, as the leaders of two previously opposing armies climbed the staircase of the courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia.

Lee’s Army of the Confederacy had laid down their remaining arms that day and there were no more shots being fired; no more lives being lost; because on that day, when one should have been celebrating Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, generals Lee and Grant climbed that courthouse staircase and signed the terms of surrender and the terrible Civil War was over.

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It takes a village idiot

April 7, 2015 — 

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Pauline Nevins: You say "tomayto and I say tomahto…"

April 6, 2015 — 

This is an open letter to Nigel Thrift, vice chancellor and president of the University of Warwick in England. Mr. Thrift was in Placer County recently providing details on a proposed 6,000-student Warwick University on 600 acres west of Roseville in Placer County. I hope he’s still in the area so he can read this.

Dear Vice Chancellor/President Thrift:

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George Boardman: Another test of our willingness to tolerate free — but hateful — speech

April 6, 2015 — 

We’ve been given another test to determine how much we truly cherish free speech, and the early returns suggest we have our reservations about this hallowed concept.

The test comes courtesy of Huntington Beach attorney Matt McLaughlin, who has put forth a ballot initiative called the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” authorizing the killing of gays and lesbians by “bullet to the head,” or “any other convenient method.”

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Chuck Frank: Study shatters claims marijuana is harmless

April 4, 2015 — 

With the magnitude of an unstoppable tidal wave destroying millions of homes and families, legal medical marijuana (i.e., cannabis) is presently saturating all of America and the rest of the world. Sedate the masses and then control them.

Recently, Professor Wayne Hall, from King’s College in London, who is also a drug advisor to the World Health Organization, built a compelling case with regard to the negative and adverse effects of cannabis. A major new review in the scientific journal “Addiction” explains the effects of cannabis use on mental and physical health.

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Cheryl Noble: NCTV gives thanks

April 4, 2015 — 

I would like to extend a huge thank you to the many volunteers, merchants, donors, board members, and a great stream team for making NCTV’s fundraising telethon a success on March 21, 2015.

Hosted by the talented Danny McCammon, the live streaming event was made possible by Jim Heck, Tom Prehn of Telestream, Eric Norrell of AJA Video Systems, Craig Burgess, and Dick Mentzer. Also thank you to Art and Landon in the county’s Information Center, and Gil Dominguez for working on our live TV connection.

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Melissa Kelley: Thank you, Nevada County for stepping up to support a family in need

April 4, 2015 — 

If you have ever read “Throwing Starfish” by Loren Eisley, this story is certainly that one starfish.

I have been moved to tears a number of times in the last two days by what has happened here in Nevada County amidst all the negative things we read about. I hope you will find this as touching as I did. We need good news …

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It takes a village idiot

April 4, 2015 — 

By R. L. Crabb

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Dale Sayles: One-Stop Business & Career Center a valuable resource

April 3, 2015 — 

I have been a client of One-Stop Business & Career Center over the last six years, both as a job seeker and as an employer advancing in the accounting field. The One-Stop staff has been essential to me as I have progressed through several employment situations.

When I was first unemployed, Jim Dunkel, Career Center advisor, provided insight on the daunting unemployment benefits process. The classes offered by One-Stop helped me to make a plan for job searching and had the added benefit of group support with like-minded people.

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Byron York: What did Bush do to fight Obamacare?

April 2, 2015 — 

For many conservatives, the fight against Obamacare has been the defining battle of President Obama’s years in the White House. For them, and probably a majority of the Republican base, fighting first against the passage of the Affordable Care Act and later pressing to repeal it have been so important because: A) they strongly oppose the substance of the law, and B) they see opposition to Obamacare as the best way to resist the president’s overall expansion of government.

That the struggle has so far been a losing one has not changed the fact that conservatives require their presidential candidates to have solid anti-Obamacare bona fides.

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Amy Goodman: Hate doesn't pay

April 2, 2015 — 

The date was Aug.7, 1930. The place: Marion, Indiana. Three young African-American men were lynched. The horror of the crime was captured by a local photographer. The image of two hanging, bloodied bodies is among the most iconic in the grim archive of documented lynchings in America. Most associate lynching with the Deep South, with the vestiges of slavery and the rise of Jim Crow. But this was in the North. Marion is in northern Indiana, halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, and about 150 miles from Chicago. But intolerance knows no borders.

In the photo, beneath the towering maple tree in Marion’s Courthouse Square, stands the white mob who lynched the men. Some are smiling for the camera. One man points at the hanging corpse of Abram “Abe” Smith, hanging next to Thomas Shipp. The third victim actually survived. James Cameron was the youngest of the three, and was beaten and dragged to the base of the tree, beneath his dead friends, and had a noose put around his neck. He was, for some reason, not killed. He went on to found four local NAACP chapters, as well as the America’s Black Holocaust Museum. He would also serve as Indiana’s director of civil liberties.

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