Opinion Columns

Hemig: First world problem?

July 10, 2014 — 

Last Thursday when I came back to the office after a meeting, the first words I heard were, “We have no Internet and no phone. Should we panic?”

As the publisher, it is my responsibility to make sure the staff can work and the paper gets out.

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Is there a patriotism gap?

July 10, 2014 — 

Despite prolonged economic troubles, deep political divisions, headaches abroad and a sense that the country is on the wrong track, the heartening news this summer is that a majority of people say they often feel proud to be an American.

A new Pew Research Center poll divides the public into seven political categories. There are “steadfast conservatives” who embrace social and small-government conservatism. “Business conservatives” who are more pro-Wall Street. “Young outsiders” who distrust both political parties but hold liberal positions on the environment and social issues. The “next generation left” who are mostly liberal but skeptical about government’s effectiveness. The “faith and family left” who favor an activist government but are somewhat socially conservative. The “hard-pressed skeptics” who are financially stressed, lean Democratic but distrust government. And finally, the “solid liberals” who take the liberal position on pretty much everything.

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Nomads of the digital age

July 10, 2014 — 

The freedom to communicate and to share has entered a new era. The power promised by this freedom, by the Internet, is immense, so much so that it frightens entrenched institutions. Governments, militaries, corporations, banks: They all stand to lose the control they exert over society when information they suppress runs free. Yet some of the most ardent advocates for the free Internet have become targets of these very institutions, forced to live on the run, in exile or, in some cases, in prison.

Julian Assange is perhaps one of the most recognized figures in the fight for transparency and open communication. He founded the website WikiLeaks in 2007 to provide a safe, secure means to leak electronic documents. In 2010, WikiLeaks released a shocking video taken from a U.S. military attack helicopter, in which at least 12 civilians are methodically machine-gunned to death in New Baghdad, a neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq. Two of those killed were Reuters journalists. Throughout the massacre, the Army radio transmissions are heard, a combination of grimly sterile orders to “engage” the victims and a string of mocking exchanges among the soldiers, belittling the victims and celebrating the slaughter.

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Hamilton: Small-town similarities surpass tale of two cities

July 9, 2014 — 

At first blush, my hometown and the community we’ve now called home for more than a decade didn’t seem to have all that much in common.

Grass Valley, for example, is nestled in the natural beauty of the Sierra foothills. Wabash, Ind., on the other hand, is surrounded by miles and miles — and miles — of corn and soybean fields that spread as far as the eye can see, all across the state of Indiana.

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Oversight or out of sight?

July 9, 2014 — 

The Nevada County Superintendent of Schools (NCSOS) office should receive remedial education on the topics of budget transparency, customer service and the Brown Act.

I had heard reports concerning failed attempts to perform oversight on the COE budget and asked to be provided with some documentation. The documents raised more red flags than May Day in Moscow — like the refusal to provide details on a county issued credit card. With the help of a lawyer, a formal records request was filed. Google how many abuses of government credit cards happen.

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Join the Yuba’s “Neighborhood Watch”

July 8, 2014 — 

What would you do if vandals dumped trash in your neighborhood, tagged your home with graffiti, partied on your lawn and left their broken beer bottles behind? What if they built a campfire on your lawn at the peak of fire season? Relieved themselves on your rose bushes or let their dog poop in your garden?

Would you throw up your hands and say nothing can be done? Or move out? No, you would organize with your neighbors as a “Neighborhood Watch” because you’d realize that the best way to protect your home is to unite as a community.

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Boardman: Believe it or not, the job of supervisor deserves a living wage

July 6, 2014 — 

Times are good in Nevada County, at least for the top dogs at the Rood Center.

The county board of supervisors has approved a $200 million budget for 2014-15, a 9-percent increase that includes pay raises for the county’s top earners. The increases, most of them for people already making six-figure salaries, range from 10.5 percent for county CEO Rich Haffey to 5 percent for District Attorney Cliff Newell. Most of the county’s other elected officials received 7.2-percent increases.

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Measure S, the sensible solution

July 6, 2014 — 

The story in the Union, (June 20), detailing the three-County raid on a property where they found explosives, guns and hard drugs hidden inside a marijuana garden only serves to highlight the vast difference between outlaw marijuana growers and medical marijuana cultivators. Not all marijuana is medicine.

Medical marijuana cultivators have been striving to comply with the county’s cultivation ordinance but find it nearly impossible to do. Many have been cited for a very small number of plants, but only the stories about the dangerous grow sites make the paper. Last season, 300 illegal grows were identified in our national forests, but only one was raided. Why? Because these growers are dangerous and require a larger task force to complete the abatement.

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Bullying victim needs help

July 5, 2014 — 

On Feb. 13, The Union (thankfully) printed my op-ed entitled ‘And the bully epidemic continues … ’

Since then, I’ve seen and heard some very disheartening things that only further remind me of just how bad things can be when sick people (young and old) do cruel things to others.

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Nation won’t survive without divine help

July 5, 2014 — 

While reading a report on a conference in Washington, D.C., which commemorated the events of April 30, 1789, and President George Washington, I had to compare his faith in God that strengthened his devotion to the new Republic with destructive policies of our current president who apparently prefers multiculturalism instead of Christianity.

The conference at the Capitol was titled, “Washington: A Man of Prayer, 2014” and was a tribute to the Founder of the Republic and to his virtues.

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Dr. Bigelsen’s story isn’t unique

July 5, 2014 — 

Dr. Harvey Bigelsen’s story is similar to what has happened to many good doctors, including our cousin.

Growing up, Barbara listened to her medical doctor father and my mother discuss alternative methods to treat physical ailments.

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It Takes a Village Idiot

July 5, 2014 — 

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Thomas Elias: Brown gets new chance to make over high court

July 5, 2014 — 

For more than a decade, while California has been among the most liberal of America’s “blue” states, its highest court has been dominated by leftovers from two of its more conservative governors.

That’s about to change, as two retirements will soon let Gov. Jerry Brown change the entire tone of the California Supreme Court, long a bastion of pro-business, anti-consumer decisions and sometimes a brake on movements toward same-sex marriage, loose regulation of marijuana and other social issues dear to activists on the left.

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IFM feeds and connects our community

July 3, 2014 — 

“Thank you. Now I can eat tonight.”

Those words stopped us in our tracks and made all the effort crystal clear.

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Homelessness: causes and solutions

July 3, 2014 — 

The recent grand jury report on panhandling missed an opportunity to address the root causes of homelessness in our community and to identify and address the human conditions that cause people to become so desperate that they turn to begging on the street. It also missed the opportunity to make recommendations that would provide long-lasting solutions to the problem.

Additionally, the grand jury report offers no proof that people identified as panhandlers/vagrants/transients are in fact homeless.

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Rodman to be benched?

July 2, 2014 — 

I excruciating and heartening to pick through current events. It is certainly gut-wrenching to imagine the fallout that may now well accrue from the latest misstep of our amateur in chief.

We are speaking here of the prisoner swap, of course, which is bound to engender the harvesting of loosely guarded Americans worldwide, possibly even before the five senior-management murderers Mr. Obama recently de-Gitmoed have time to make their way back to the office, meet all the new faces, learn where the coffee area is now and familiarize themselves with the new company policy on sexual harassment (same as the old, it turns out) and get back to work.

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How ‘reasonable’ is anti-Koch amendment?

July 2, 2014 — 

While much of Washington grapples with international crises, chronic economic troubles and upcoming midterm elections, Senate Democrats are steadily pushing forward with what they hope will become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The proposed amendment would give Congress authority to regulate every dollar raised, and every dollar spent, by every federal campaign and candidate in the country. It would give state legislatures the power to do the same with state races.

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Almedalen: a Swedish export the U.S. could use

July 2, 2014 — 

VISBY, Sweden — Sixty miles off the coast of Sweden, in the Baltic Sea, sits the island of Gotland. Every summer, for one week, tens of thousands flock here to participate in a unique public event known as Almedalen (pronounced ALL-meh-DAH-len). The name comes from a park in Gotland’s main town of Visby, where, in 1968, Sweden’s education minister at the time, Olof Palme, stood on the back of a flatbed truck and gave one of the rousing political speeches for which he was renowned.

Palme went on to become one of Sweden’s most transformative prime ministers up until his assassination on the streets of Stockholm in 1986. The speech that Palme gave in Visby planted the seed for what has grown into Almedalen, a vibrant, open, festive and freewheeling week of debate and dialogue, demonstration and dissent. A dose of this would no doubt benefit the ailing, gridlocked body politic in the United States.

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What’s with climate change, really?

July 2, 2014 — 

Most of us enjoy the fact that we are relatively self-reliant. As much as possible, we like being in control of our life.

We like knowing that, if we do the right things often enough, there is a greater likelihood that our life will be more enjoyable, more satisfying, more meaningful.

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Volunteer to teach Steps to Respect

July 2, 2014 — 

How important do you think it is for kids to treat adults and other kids with respect? What does it mean to treat others with respect? And how do kids learn this?

Most of us would say that it is extremely important. If kids are treating their peers with respect, they are not bullying them, and they are not sending mean, anonymous notes via the Internet.

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Cellphone tower — are we asking the right questions?

July 2, 2014 — 

Please stifle that yawn and read on. The Union’s article was not very clear as to who is alleging what in the cellphone tower controversy near Lake Wildwood.

Was the family denied a permit to build their home? Do they want to build their house next to the tower? Does the county want to take part or all of their land?

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Carrtoon: July 2, 2014

July 2, 2014 — 

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On health care, we’ve become an ‘ostrich nation’

July 1, 2014 — 

Having been a general surgeon in my earlier years who fell prey to the conquerors of the medical profession, I took it upon myself to right an evil wrong.

I started to write papers, and an author I am not. I was warned to write as if my audience was a group of eighth graders, so here goes.

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It Takes a Village Idiot

July 1, 2014 — 

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Thomas Elias: Early prison releases a political hazard, too

July 1, 2014 — 

From early in his career, Gov. Jerry Brown has had a proclivity for dismissing problems with wisecracks or aphorisms. As early as 1975, in the first term of his first go-‘round as California’s top official, he mocked university professors’ pleas for pay raises by saying they didn’t need more money, but could make do with “psychic rewards.”

He’s done the same thing lately as companies like Toyota and Occidental Petroleum announced they were moving headquarters and thousands of jobs out of state, noting that those firms and their jobs are just a tiny fraction of the California economy.

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Learn more about the ‘We the People Amendment’

June 29, 2014 — 

If there’s one thing that both Republicans and Democrats agree with these days it’s that big money has bought out our government, and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made it worse by saying a corporation is a person and money is speech.

Hence, now in the exercise of “free speech,” a corporation can give unlimited funds to campaigns and candidates. Yes, our democracy has been sold and is being sold daily to the highest corporate bidder. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, claimed there is an “Assault on the First Amendment” going on in Congress at this time. He refers to the proposal by Sen. Udall from New Mexico ( S.J.Res. 29) to amend the Constitution to give Congress and the states authority to regulate campaign funding.

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Boardman: What we have here are 3 failures to communicate

June 29, 2014 — 

The Nevada Joint Union High School District’s trustees are well known for their unwillingness to communicate with the public when major personnel changes are made, but who would suspect that they don’t even communicate with each other?

Trustee Wayne Klauer revealed at a recent board meeting that he was the anonymous citizen who complained to the county grand jury that fellow board members weren’t familiar with their own policies and that district personnel haven’t received mandated training in ethics, conflicts-of-interest and other areas.

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New approach needed for failed ‘war on drugs’

June 27, 2014 — 

How do we win the war on drugs? This question provides political platforms for individuals seeking office. The “war on drugs” is being waged from the inner-city to rural America.

Our community leaders hold meetings to discuss “drug problems” in the community. Public questionnaires list drugs as a major problem facing our families.

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What will the basic skills be with Common Core?

June 27, 2014 — 

As a retired elementary teacher with 36 years of experience in the classroom, I am very interested in Common Core. I understand it is a system where children of all grades will be tested in the basic skills. My problem is finding out what those basic skills are going to be.

Over the years, I have seen important skills introduced at lower and lower grade levels, but not mastered. If the children are not developmentally old enough to master these skills, the result is to teach 75 to 80 percent of the children that they are dumb. How sad it was to hear an 8-year-old tell me that he/she was dumb because he/she didn’t learn how to multiply in second grade. The worst part was that they had not been expected to learn the addition and subtraction facts in first and second grades. When multiplication is introduced in second grade, it spoils the idea of learning a grownup skill, the multiplication facts, in third grade when the facts can really be learned. One of the main problems is that the schools do not always provide the materials that are needed to teach these facts.

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‘Denying for Dollars’

June 27, 2014 — 

It’s all I can do to figure out why

They still loudly shout and continue to cry,

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