Opinion, Analysis, Discussion

Justin Augustine: Conserve, not log, burned forest habitat

April 25, 2015 — 

It was refreshing to see Christy Sherr’s article about the importance of high-intensity fire for wildlife. Educating the public about the beauty and ecological necessity of intensely burned areas is essential if our national forests are to receive the protection that they urgently need.

It was not surprising, though, to see the backlash from representatives of Sierra Pacific Industries (Amanda Shufelberger and Robert G. Ingram). The company has benefited financially from the Rim Fire via logging contracts with the Forest Service, and stands to gain even more if the King Fire area is opened up for logging. By demonizing intense fires, and ignoring the research about how important these burned areas are for wildlife, SPI hopes to continue the status quo that allows vital wildlife habitat to be decimated by logging.

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George Runner: The fire fee shell game: you lose!

April 25, 2015 — 

Democrats in the California Legislature seem to be facing the reality that the fire tax they passed with the Governor’s help in 2011 is unfair. Californians who live in rural areas rely on a range of public services from multiple levels of government to combat fires. These residents already pay taxes to fund essential fire services.

The original fire fee was a scheme Gov. Brown came up with after diverting about $90 million a year in fire prevention funds to help “balance” the state budget. Residents have gained nothing since this shell game passed. Not a dime of fire fee revenues can be used for actual fire suppression — trucks, planes or hoses. The funds can only be used for “prevention” efforts, which seem to be few and far between.

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Thomas Elias: Can automatic registration increase voter turnout?

April 25, 2015 — 

THOMAS ELIAS

California Focus

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Halli Ellis: Youth empowered

April 25, 2015 — 

Friday, April 17, began like all others, coffee in hand and running five minutes behind — but things quickly changed when I jumped into a van full of teens and headed to Chico State University in order to take part in the second annual Youth Empowered Conference.

I first heard about the conference through my sister, Ariel Ellis, who was on the planning committee for the event. As co-director of the nonprofit organization New Events & Opportunities (NEO), I knew many youth who would benefit from the conference and decided to see if students from Bitney College Prep High School, our new neighbors, would also like to attend. The director at the school, Russell Jones, graciously offered to drive everyone to the conference in the school van. In total, we had 10 students representing five schools.

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Lynn Lorensen: About those boundary drop obligations

April 25, 2015 — 

As a county Consolidated district resident I resent the City of Nevada City wanting a free ride on my tax dollar. Consolidated residents can face a rise in insurance rates because of the poor management of Nevada City.

Nevada City needs a tax base. There is no Fairy Godmother to fund the fire station. Heaven forbid there would be any industry, as a truck might drive down the road and cause noise and pollution. No chain stores, even small ones, like Beach Hut Deli. Day tourists only. No home based business either. Perhaps The City Of Nevada City should be a gated community. Look to Houston, Texas as a model for enterprise.

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Vicki Banister: Single payer system inadequate

April 25, 2015 — 

In her letter published April 21 regarding the cost of health care and the cost benefits of a single payer system, Robin Wallace failed to mention that many, if not most people on Medicare feel the need to purchase supplemental insurance or a Medicare Advantage Plan, which are both offered by private insurance companies.

In addition, to the point she made about universal health care in other countries, we lived in Australia for more than three years and many of our Australian friends had private insurance because they felt the government plan was inadequate.

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It takes a village idiot

April 25, 2015 — 

R.L. Crabb

Cartoonist

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Our View: Leadership means finding long-term solutions to deal with drought

April 25, 2015 — 

Since announcing mandatory 25 percent water restrictions statewide, Gov. Jerry Brown has faced criticism over who would be held accountable and who would not.

Many have pointed fingers at farming operations said to consume 80 percent of the water used by people statewide, crying foul over exemptions they see as not even-handed. Others argue that the state’s usage of water for environmental purposes, 50 percent of overall usage, is out of whack in prioritizing “fish over people.”

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Paul Pease: How about a 'Water Savior' project?

April 24, 2015 — 

When it comes to the California drought and nearby drought-stricken states, I have an idea that can be beneficial to drought stricken areas and also flooded regions.

My idea would be to run a pipeline from rivers in flooded regions to California so farmers can once again raise vegetable and fruit crops, raise cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, goats and other animals. People could water their plants and no longer be slaves of water regulations. Homeowners inside flood areas won’t have to worry about losing their homes and cars or have to worry about floods and depend on state and federal funding for disaster relief.

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Sue Clark: Guest appearance brings Bitter And Sweet to life for students

April 24, 2015 — 

Teens may be a bit critical to begin with. But if they have read a book, and you talk to them about a drama made from it, they are educated critics. Brace yourself for outrage.

When I’d assigned them a contemporary novel, “My Sister’s Keeper,” they’d reacted scathingly to the movie version.

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Cathy Fagan: Thank you, NID

April 24, 2015 — 

I would like to commend NID for their swift action in resolving our water meter problem.

We are diligently trying to conserve water, and NID worked with us when we discovered our water usage was above normal use. Our goal is to use less than 100 gallons per day and to convert our landscape to drought tolerant plants.

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Ellen Persa: Kudos to generous donors!

April 24, 2015 — 

The Penn Valley Community Foundation recently received a wonderful donation of office furniture and equipment from Belden (Grass Valley Group) with the assistance of Daniel and James Ketcham and the Nevada County Historical Society.

All items will be used in the future Penn Valley Community Center. Until then, Gladys Martines and Penn Valley Mini Storage are supplying temporary storage of the items. As plans for the new Community Center come together — and as usual — our community steps up when needed! PVCF thanks everyone for their generous support.

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Jim Hemig: Tell me your opinion of the newspaper

April 24, 2015 — 

Last year in western Nevada County everything was new to me. My first year as publisher of The Union provided fun and interesting surprises. I enjoyed meeting new people and seeking feedback I could use to improve the newspaper and website.

Now I’m ready to apply all that feedback during year two and beyond. That doesn’t mean I’m not still listening. I’m always open to new feedback. With that desire, here are two great opportunities to track me down and share your thoughts about your local newspaper and news website:

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Bill Trzeciak: Let Them Eat Cake ... or Not

April 23, 2015 — 

It was Marie Antoinette who said it first

But Kansas state Reps who turned the phrase worst.

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Amanda Wilcox: Majority of gun owners support background checks

April 23, 2015 — 

Regarding the letter to the editor, “Who really needs a semiautomatic weapon?” published on April 17 in The Union, the letter writer believes that her views are in the minority, but, in fact, she is actually in the majority.

For the last 50 years, poll after poll has shown that the majority of Americans oppose a gun ban, but overwhelmingly support gun control measures. Republican Frank Luntz and his polling firm, the Word Doctors, have conducted several polls finding that NRA members and other Americans who own guns show strong support for a number of sensible gun laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals. In May 2012, Luntz found that 82 percent of gun owners support background checks for all gun sales. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook School, numerous polls indicate that 85 to 92 percent of Americans support background checks.

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Byron York: Why is the 2016 democratic field so old?

April 23, 2015 — 

There are five Democrats who have either declared or are thinking about running for president. Three — Joe Biden, Bernard Sanders and Jim Webb — will be over 70 years old on Inauguration Day 2017. Front-runner Hillary Clinton will be nine months short of 70. Only Martin O’Malley, who will turn 54 a couple of days before the 2017 swearing-in, has not reached retirement age already.

In 2008, Democrats had a 47-year-old candidate who mesmerized the party and ran away with the votes of Americans aged 18 to 29. Republicans, meanwhile, ran a 72-year-old man whose reputation was based on heroism in a war 40 years earlier. Youth won.

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Special delivery for the plutocrats

April 23, 2015 — 

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” reads the unofficial motto of the United States Postal Service. We now can add to that “nor a national security no-fly zone,” as demonstrated by mailman Doug Hughes. Hughes was doing what he felt was his duty, carrying letters. He had 535 of them: one for each member of Congress, and each signed by Hughes himself. He wrote about the corrupting influence of money in politics. Hughes chose a very high-profile method for delivering his letters, though. He piloted a bicycle-sized helicopter, called a “gyrocopter,” 100 miles from Maryland, and landed on the west lawn of the U.S Capitol, passing through restricted airspace.

Hughes could have been shot down. I asked him if it was worth it. “I’m a father, I’m a grandfather, and I can see the change over the decades as we slide from a democracy to a plutocracy. ... Yes, it was worth risking my life, it was worth risking my freedom,” Hughes responded, “to get reform so that Congress works for the people.” His letter opened with a quote from the secretary of state. Hughes wrote: “Consider the following statement by John Kerry in his farewell speech to the Senate -- ‘The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself. They know it. They know we know it. And yet, Nothing Happens!’ — John Kerry.” His letter goes on with his analysis of the problem of money corrupting the work of members of Congress “before they are elected, while they are in office and after they leave Congress,” he writes.

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John Carr: Carrtoon

April 22, 2015 — 

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Pat Lane: World War II internment camps not comparable to Holocaust, slavery

April 22, 2015 — 

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee told of protests against a New Jersey auction of Japanese American artifacts from World War II internment camps. A spokesperson compared camp prisoners to Holocaust victims, American slaves and displaced American Indians. I’d like to shed a little light on that. World War II Japanese American internment camps provided privacy for families, hot and cold running water, gardens, three meals a day, medical care, freedom to move about, social clubs, entertainment, Scout troops, craft shops, athletic teams (with equipment) and warm clothing. Slaves and the victims of the Holocaust did not have those luxuries and American Indians were forced to leave their homes and burial grounds.

And let me tell you about my grandparents who were interned by the Imperial Japanese army in the Philippines for three years. Beatings, mutilations and killings were de regueur. No food was provided for the first six months and then it was livestock field rice with weevils and soup with fish heads. Women were separated from men and given a 3-foot by 6-foot space on the floor to call their own. Three squares of toilet paper were allowed. No radios or cameras were permitted, on pain of death if discovered. Abortions were demanded of any woman who became pregnant.

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Susan Perry: British aren't but someone else could be

April 22, 2015 — 

In answer to Miriam Martin’s question, no one needs a semiautomatic firearm. Just like no one needs a full set of golf clubs, or a new car, or the next big thing from Apple. As a law-abiding citizen, I am allowed to purchase any firearm that is legal in California.

When I do make that purchase from a legal source, I am subjected to a waiting period and a background check. You ask for more laws. Detroit, Chicago and Washington D.C. have the strictest gun laws in the country and yet people are killed there everyday. How does that happen? They have gun laws! Because the criminals obtain firearms illegally. A criminal will not subject himself to a background check, or waiting period. The laws that are already on the books need to be enforced consistently.

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Karen Lauterbach: Nevada Union's 'Grease' a 'don't miss' event

April 22, 2015 — 

Come see the musical “Grease” at Nevada Union High School on April 24, 25, 30, May 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and May 2 at 2 p.m. also at the Don Baggett Theater. The rehearsals are coming along great and the drama students are in top form. They’ve worked hard to make this a truly memorable production. This is a “don’t miss” event.

Karen Lauterbach

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Lynn Wenzel: Opportunity in the coming age tsunami

April 22, 2015 — 

By 2035, the number of Americans over the age of 85 will double to at least 11.5 million, according to the March 2015 issue of the AARP Bulletin; those over 60 will number 92.2 million in 2050.

The population of residents over the age of 60 in Nevada County has increased by 5,500-plus since the 2000 census. We can bemoan the aging of the county and try to come up with solutions to keep or draw young families here, but the truth is, the percentage of elderly in Nevada County will continue to increase.

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Dottie Smith: Thank you, Taco Bell

April 21, 2015 — 

My husband and I went to Taco Bell last week as he had a craving for Mexican food. He recently had a major heart operation and wasn’t eating well.

I took the tacos home in a bag — and noticed upon arriving home that I wasn’t carrying my purse. The purse was turned in to the manager and she placed it in the safe.

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Thomas Elias: Broad new vaccination law is a must

April 21, 2015 — 

Rarely has a new law been so urgently and obviously needed as the broad children’s vaccination requirement now being carried by the state Legislature’s only medical doctor, Democratic state Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento.

While the measure has encountered resistance in the Legislature and even death threats to Pan, there is no factual basis for that vehement opposition, while increasing numbers of young parents are creating demand for it.

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Heidi Hall: A youth homeless crisis in the making

April 21, 2015 — 

I don’t care about your sexuality. I really don’t, unless you would like me to.

When I am chatting with you in line at the grocery story, or having a deeper discussion about the state of the world, or conducting a business deal at an auto shop, your sexuality is irrelevant to the discussion.

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Robin Wallace: The cost of health care

April 21, 2015 — 

Harry Wyeth’s recent letter asks for information about how other wealthy countries manage health care and how much it costs.

The answer: by implementing a single-payer system which costs less than half of what our country spends with its for-profit health care system.

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R.L. Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

April 21, 2015 — 

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Clay Schmidt: Call 811 before you dig

April 20, 2015 — 

It may seem hard to believe that an underground utility line — such as a gas pipe or a water line — is damaged every six minutes in America because someone didn’t take the time to call 8-1-1. Last year, there were 83 instances of such damage to PG&E facilities throughout the Sierra Division, which includes El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Sierra, Yuba and Sutter counties. And with spring well upon us and green thumbs around the Sierra Foothills mapping out their flower beds, we want to remind our customers of the importance of safe-digging and calling 8-1-1 before you start your project.

A simple, toll-free call to the Underground Service Alert (USA) program, will notify local utility companies of your intention to dig and utilities, like PG&E, will locate and mark underground lines and pipes. Planting a tree? Installing a fence? Trenching? Utility lines and pipes need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

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Richard Bell: 'Fair tax' not fair

April 20, 2015 — 

Before campaigning for a supposed “fair tax” (the 17 percent flat variety), Fran Freedle (Other Voices, April 13) needs a better understanding of what she’s proposing, of the difference between simpler and fairer, and of who would benefit from such a change.

How, for example, would Freedle’s proposed 17 percent flat tax affect 2014 joint filers with a taxable income of $70,000 (taxable, that is, after subtracting for the standard deduction — $12,400 — and personal exemptions of $3,950 each)?

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Michelle Newbon: Embezzling? You'll get caught eventually

April 20, 2015 — 

Regarding the several embezzlement convictions lately, including Waste Management and two involving school funds ... for those embezzling now — just give it up already, it’s clear you’ll get caught eventually, the gig is up.

Think about it — is it really worth it? From what’s been said about these cases, it’s not about putting food on the table or being in dire need (not that that condones it), the stealing in these cases has been about greed — having “more money” and buying stuff. Don’t throw your life away; and more importantly have some respect for the hard work other people have done to earn that money. Try it sometimes, otherwise prison will be the place you figure it out.

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