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Jim Firth

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August 5, 2014
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Regular citizens need voice on Grass Valley City Council

The Union Publisher Jim Hemig states in his opinion piece on Aug. 1 that, “I am likely teeing up his (Firth’s) next contribution, but he deserves the opportunity to provide more detail about his campaign direction.”

Mr. Hemig’s piece dealt primarily with the origin of the “good old boy/girl network” I referenced in my discussion with The Union reporter Dave Brooksher in his July 15 article on my upcoming campaign for Grass Valley City Council.

The old boy/girl network in this context refers to a group or groups of individuals who exert influence over the political/social direction in our community. It is neither conservative nor liberal, male or female, old or young, and can add or subtract members with little more than an innuendo or poor/great fashion choice.

Mr. Hemig sought out explanations of old boy/girl from local politicians (bad idea), a board member of the Contractor’s Association (worse idea) and cartoonist Bob Crabb.

The next time Mr. Hemig wants “community input” he should set up a card table in front of Kmart and talk with regular citizens.

My campaign for Grass Valley City Council will focus on providing creative solutions to growing the tax base of our city.

This can be accomplished by significantly increasing tourism, providing growth opportunity sites for cottage and light industry, working with state and federal leaders to apply for additional revenue to improve our infrastructure — that includes the information superhighway and our existing roadways and sidewalks.

In addition, Grass Valley water rates need review. The so-called Grass Valley leadership contracted out some billing operation — a loss of jobs that reduces the number of dollars that could otherwise circulate in our local economy.

Contracting out city jobs hurts our local economy. Measure N that passed in 2012 is providing temporary relief to an overburdened city budget. Grass Valley police and fire departments are now fully staffed and new equipment has been purchased or ordered. That’s great!

Now it’s time to direct the Measure N revenue to street repair and begin transferring the increased police and fire personnel costs to the city general fund. Permanently accepting the Measure N tax increase by holding another election might be OK with some Grass Valley residents, but it is not the solution.

Plus, downtown Grass Valley still needs help. Streets are packed with cars, sidewalks are narrow and falling apart, the “ambiance” for visitors to our community needs freshening up. We can create a “Walk Of Gold” downtown that will enhance the tourist experience.

The city must work in conjunction with business owners and not-for-profit groups to address the shortcomings visitors experience when walking on Mill or Main streets. It will take money, and it will take time.

When I’m elected I will address the inadequate transportation/circulation/parking issues in downtown Grass Valley. Revenue producing parking must be revisited if we are to seek matching or additional funds for street improvements.

The relationships we pursue with state and federal officials can produce results when local leaders and businesses act in the interests of regular citizens.

The new Grass Valley City Manager, Bob Richardson, is already anticipating a $2 million budget shortfall and incumbent councilman Jason Fouyer optimistically predicts, “We’re really on the cusp of doing some great things.”

I’m convinced that the current Grass Valley City Council is failing, that electing the same people (or a “new” person) with the same old lack of vision or experience, while relying on a “new city manager and a new way of doing business” will ultimately lead to more tax increases, more personnel turnover, more of the same old boy/girl network playing their see-saw game of who’s in charge now.

Regular Grass Valley citizens need a voice on the city council.

Jim Firth, a Grass Valley resident, is chairperson of the Nevada County Democratic Party and a candidate for Grass Valley City Council.

The relationships we pursue with state and federal officials can produce results when local leaders and businesses act in the interests of regular citizens.


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The Union Updated Aug 5, 2014 01:01AM Published Aug 6, 2014 12:21PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.