Opinion, Analysis, Discussion

Grand jury report doesn’t come close to root of homeless issues

July 11, 2014 — 

As a person who has worked daily with the homeless in Grass Valley and Nevada City for the last 10 years — and as a co-founder of Hospitality House and as the president of the new nonprofit called Sierra Roots, whose mission is to build community with the homeless of our community who cannot or will not go to Hospitality House — I am appalled at the Nevada County civil grand jury’s report about the “PVTs” (panhandlers, vagrants and transients) in our community.

I hate that label and disagree completely with the jury’s findings.

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A memo to the Tea Party

July 10, 2014 — 

Do not chortle about knocking off one of the most intelligent Republicans in Congress.

Remember, the Tea Party was responsible for the re-election of the purportedly “unre-electable” Harry Reid. How’d they perform this miracle? Why they knocked off the three moderate Republicans in the primary (each of whom could have beaten Reid) and backed a woman who is to the right of Genghis Khan. Then the people of Nevada had a difficult choice — go with the evil you know (Harry Reid) or the evil you don’t know.

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NU Aquatics gets a boost

July 10, 2014 — 

The Nevada Union Aquatics Booster Club wishes to thank Melissa Bryant and the staff at Bistro 221 for sponsoring the fundraiser Tuesday night. The food and service were excellent. A good time was had by all. We also thank all those who participated and helped to contribute to the water polo, swim and dive teams. Another special thank you to the staff at The Union, who always go out of their way to support local events.

Kerri and Steve Latter

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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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High praise for the hospital

July 10, 2014 — 

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital is the best hospital my wife and I have had the great fortune to have available.

After making many trips up the hill, I felt it was time to state just how great the people are that keep this hospital working. I can’t say enough to thank all the people who always smile and never complain about their assignments. They seem to take everything that comes their way in stride and do everything to make you comfortable.

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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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Small-town heroes show up with big bats, big dreams

July 10, 2014 — 

My family and I unfolded our chairs in what seemed to be the best seats in the house.

Coincidentally, there was a gentleman just below us in the “Press Only” section with a big camera and a small notebook. As he started taking pictures of the players, he glanced over his shoulder and asked us, “Is Sierra Foothills Little League in the Colfax area?” I thought it kinda funny since Colfax is such a short distance from Nevada City, yet he wasn’t familiar with our Little League. Then I realized that Sierra Foothills hardly ever makes it past the first couple of rounds of the yearly All Star Tournament sponsored by Little League International.

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Kudos to two Nevada County employees

July 10, 2014 — 

I’d like to offer my congratulations to two Nevada County employees, Assistant County Executive Alison Lehman and Principal Civil Engineer Joshua Pac,k who recently became fellows through the CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government.

They are among just 28 county supervisors or senior executives who have earned that title. County Executive Rick Haffey and CIO Stephen Monaghan earned their fellowships last year. The benefits of continuing education are well recognized in many professions, including attorneys, physicians and educators. The CSAC institute applies the same concept to leaders at the county level, offering a variety of courses on management, communications, budgeting, problem solving, negotiations and other skills that make for more effective local government leaders. Fellows must complete at least 60 hours of course work at the institute just to become eligible for the program.

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Put the Overturn Citizens United Act on ballot

July 10, 2014 — 

We need to get all outside money out of politics and mandate that all candidates only use public funding for their campaigns. The media should be required to give equal, unbiased coverage on all election viable candidates and issues. The buying of our government by the corporations, secret special interests and the elite should be banned.

Robert Bowman

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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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Grand jury, open your eyes and your heart

July 9, 2014 — 

As a guest of the Hospitality House shelter, I would like to say that after recent heart surgery and a long stay in the hospital, I lost everything.

Hospitality House has given me some hope that things will be better soon. Since my stay here, I have seen the good that they have done for those in need. We have current guests that have been school teachers for many years; guests who have worked with disabled children and many other professions who are simply having a difficult time in our current economy.

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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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John Carr cartoon

July 9, 2014 — 

John Carr, Nevada City

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Critics wrong on Obamacare

July 9, 2014 — 

It’s so hard to take cynics of Obamacare like Byron York seriously.

York complains that poor individuals who previously could not afford health insurance are now being covered — with taxpayer subsidies. He ignores the fact that taxpayers were already subsidizing the cost of health care for the poor, because even they were entitled to free treatment in an emergency room. Since providers could not charge for these services, they were passed along in the form of higher charges and outrageous premiums. Giving the poor subsidized care thus decreases the cost of health care for the rest of us.

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They are just people

July 8, 2014 — 

There has been a lot of talk lately about homeless people. I have been a volunteer at Hospitality House/Utah’s Place since October of 2005. I have seen many homeless people come and go. I have also volunteered with the biennial homeless count and interviewed homeless people who do not use the shelter.

The main thing I have learned over the years is that they are just people. I bet many of you have even encountered homeless people waiting on you at a restaurant, helping you at the local drug store, working hard at the local grocery store and fixing your cars. I know these people, and they are good people. It is so annoying to see others just lump humans into categories. You can’t say all homeless people are this or that. Sure, there are bad seeds, but there are bad seeds in all “groups” of humans. It isn’t the homeless as a group you don’t like, it is the behaviors of some homeless people. The same behaviors can be found in your neighbors, politicians, churches, friends, family and anywhere. It’s like saying that all people who carry a gun will kill or all young men wearing a hoodie will mug you. It’s insane.

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Grand Jury report oversimplified

July 8, 2014 — 

The recent Grand Jury’s report on the status of the homeless members of our community leaves me feeling embarrassed.

I find it difficult to believe that our Grand Jury could publish such a compilation of unsupported, bigoted opinion. The GJ members who wrote the report obviously interviewed a list of people selected specifically to mirror their own prejudices and to exclude any of the many community members who have been working hard for years to provide pathways back into society for our homeless population. Every conclusion reached by this report is suspect because not one of them is supported by empirical evidence. There is evidence extant that the GJ ignored. This information shows their conclusions to be false or at least oversimplified.

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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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Is vaccination order linked to pertussis epidemic?

July 7, 2014 — 

For almost seven months, California parents have been free to claim without offering any proof that their religion forbids getting their children vaccinated against once dreaded and disabling diseases like polio, mumps, pertussis and smallpox.

This allows parents who believe false myths to exempt their children from the vaccinations usually required for public school enrollment, even if they really have no religious beliefs at all.

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Rodeo a community event

July 6, 2014 — 

The June 17 edition of The Union carried a “thank you ad” on page A9. In it, the Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association printed the names of 132 businesses and 186 individuals who contributed time or money to the production of the 2014 Penn Valley Rodeo. I am always in awe of the support given by so many in western Nevada County. It was a huge success, as it has been the last several years! In addition to funding two college scholarships, the rodeo generates significant revenue for The Penn Valley Chamber, Ready Springs School, Penn Valley Little League, Kare Crisis Nursery, 4-H and Mount St. Mary’s Academy. The rodeo provides an evening of fun with thrills and spills for family entertainment at a very low cost. We deeply appreciate those who attended and those who supported the event!

Bob Winters, president

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Don’t bury crime on back pages

July 6, 2014 — 

I have seen a lot of letters concerning mug shots and crime reporting on the front page. I am very sorry to tell you that Grass Valley today is not the one you grew up in, it is not even the one I moved to 15 years ago.

We once read the police blotter for fun and a laugh about the quirkiness of small town living. But it has gotten dark and violent in the past few years. To only print crime on the back pages is to hide it and pretend that it does not exist.

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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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Restore the America of our founders

July 5, 2014 — 

Michele Spencer’s response to my article, “Enough of Progressive Ideology” characterized it as “mean-spirited distortions and misrepresentations.”

I wish to respond to the points made in her piece.

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Terrazzo means terrace

July 5, 2014 — 

In response to San French’s search for the meaning of terrazzo lighting, terrazzo means terrace in Italian. Hence, terrace lighting. Not carnival lighting but lovely lights to illuminate outside activities when fireflies and stars can’t quite do the job.

It’s also interesting to note that they have been used in the past in Nevada City. They were strung across Broad Street probably before either of us was born.

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Proud of our schools

July 5, 2014 — 

All nine of our children have graduated from Nevada Union High School. We enjoyed three commencement exercises this year.

Ellie, who just graduated will be attending BYUH. Natalie received her bachelor’s degree in Phycology at BYUHl and Danny his Ph.D in Molecular Biochemistry at U.C. Santa Barbara.

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Maintaining my manhood

July 5, 2014 — 

I don’t understand the appeal of these new electric Harley-Davidsons. I mean, without a large gasoline engine, how can I scream up city streets and highways to prove my manhood and machismo?

Ken Sebastian

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