Other Voices
Keoni Allen

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August 15, 2014
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Who is Jim Firth?

I have not met Jim Firth, but I thought it was revealing when I read that he was going to run for Grass Valley City Council on a platform “to end the reign of the good old boy/girl network.”

What does this mean and who is this person?

The Union Publisher Jim Hemig wrote an excellent article in the Aug. 1 edition about “good old boys.” In the article, he examined the issue, and specifically who might be on candidate Firth’s “good old boy” list. Some of the people that Hemig mentioned as possible “good old boy/girls” are some of the finest and most upstanding people in our community, Howard Levine, Lisa Swarthout and Lowell Robinson. Why would anyone want to do away with such “good old boys/girls” and who else is on the list?

Candidate Firth has posted comments on a local blog, Sierra Foothills Report, in response to Hemig’s “good old boy” piece. Firth posted ... “I firmly believe that us regular citizens, not business owners, or the Contractors’ Association or the Chamber of Commerce need and deserve at least one, and frankly several voices on the City Council. One way to achieve this is by continually exposing how the current Council doesn’t represent us.”

Candidate Firth uses the term “us regular citizens.” What the heck is a “regular citizen?” Fortunately, Firth provided a list of who isn’t a “regular citizen.” Is this a partial list, or does Firth have other groups and organizations on his list? Candidate Firth says business owners are not “regular citizens,” that members of the Chamber of Commerce, members of the Contractors’ Association, and the elected members of the Grass Valley City Council are not “regular citizens.” If you voted for any of the current Grass Valley City Council members, you must not be a “regular citizen” either.

Candidate Firth wrote in a letter to the editor (Aug. 12) that he did not attack or insult anyone with his comments. Unfortunately for Mr. Firth, every business owner and voter does consider themselves “regular citizens,” and are offended by his attack on them.

Here is a memo to Candidate Firth:

Despite your apparent disdain for business owners in Grass Valley, we are the folks who employ our friends and neighbors, pay taxes and generally work hard to make Grass Valley a better place. I would advise you to prepare your résumé highlighting your own contributions to our fair city. Since you have chosen to question the motivations and contributions of others, you should expect that same scrutiny will be directed at you.

Who is this person who claims to dislike a large majority of Grass Valley’s finest citizens, and threatens to do away with all of us? I “Googled” Jim Firth and the results of that search are what prompted me to write this article. The Google search results revealed:

• Jim Firth is a former union organizer from San Francisco.

• Jim Firth is the chairman of the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee.

• Jim Firth was a spokesman for a campaign that was responsible for delaying the new Giants Stadium at AT&T Park.

• Jim Firth was involved with the campaign to elect Doris Ward, called by some the most corrupt assessor in San Francisco history.

• Jim Firth was legislative assistant for Leland Yee, who was recently indicted on numerous federal charges including gun trafficking, racketeering, corruption and campaign fraud.

So now that we know candidate Firth’s political past, will electing him make his past Grass Valley’s political future? How is he going to be effective at accomplishing anything positive for our town with his combative, disruptive, “I know better than all of you” attitude? To my knowledge, Candidate Firth has never actually been involved in any capacity in the operations of Grass Valley — no committees, boards or volunteer involvement of any kind.

Perhaps the “regular citizens,” the business owners, contractors, Chamber and Rotary members would be better served if Candidate Firth would first take the time, and make the effort, to actually get involved in our city — the city that he claims he knows how to somehow improve, if we would only put him in charge.

Keoni Allen is a Grass Valley business owner, contractor and chamber of commerce member.

How is he going to be effective at accomplishing anything positive for our town with his combative, disruptive, “I know better than all of you” attitude?


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The Union Updated Aug 15, 2014 01:01AM Published Aug 15, 2014 01:01AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.