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Mitch Sayegh

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June 6, 2014
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North San Juan a world away when it comes to government services

North San Juan is not receiving its fair share of basic county funds and services. While the “Ridge” is only 15 miles from Nevada City, it’s a world away from county and other government services.

According to the Nevada County auditor-controller, the Ridge has over 1,900 parcels with an assessed valuation of over $200 million. That produces a lot of taxes. Unfortunately, this community doesn’t see most of those taxes.

With over 3,000 residents, the Ridge has a larger population than Nevada City. A majority of these residents are low income and/or senior citizens on fixed incomes. More than 85 percent of the students at Grizzly Hill School qualify for low-income meals.

So where are North San Juan area taxes going? Certainly not to public transportation. One hundred percent of Ridge public transit was cut over five years ago due to “budgetary issues.” Appearances are deceiving. North San Juan has a bus station but there is no county bus service to (or from) the Ridge.

The lack of public transit in North San Juan has had a devastating effect on the entire ridge population … both young and old.

Regular bus service is how our teens, elders and workers can affordably get back and forth to town. It’s how this community can access health care and affordable food. Regular bus service provides those without a driver’s license a way to legally travel.

According to a 2010 study for the American Public Transportation Association, public transit has a direct effect on the health and well being of a community.

Regular bus service is a critical and necessary component that contributes to a healthy and vibrant Ridge community.

The residents of the North San Juan area deserve to know where their tax dollars are going. Supervisors, and those who run for such office, should explain what they will do to restore public transportation to the Ridge.

Closer to Nevada City than Lake Wildwood, the Ridge is a world away from county and other government services.

Again, appearances are deceiving. Don’t go to the North San Juan Sheriff Substation to see a sheriff right away because it’s “by appointment only.” The sheriff discontinued regular patrols years ago due to “resource limitations.” Extremely long response times contribute to a more isolated, fearful community. While cannabis makes the headlines, the real news should be shorter response times that protect helpless victims of domestic violence and assault.

The residents of the North San Juan area deserve to know where their tax dollars are going. They should know what can be done do to restore regular sheriff’s patrols.

Meal subsidies to the elderly and poor in North San Juan may be terminated at any time. The North Gold Senior Mountaineers serve overs 3,000 low-cost meals each year at the North San Juan Center. Only a very small percentage of Thursday meals are subsidized. And yet, even these small subsidies are threatened.

By a complicated policy, the Thursday senior/low income meal service is regularly threatened with 100 percent termination while Grass Valley receives subsidies to provide meal service to its poor and elderly.

The residents of the North San Juan area deserve to know where their tax dollars are going and what can be done to deliver reliable meal funding to Ridge elderly and poor.

Yet again, North San Juan is a world away from county and other government services.

The high capacity fiber optic broadband cable running along the Ridge provides Downieville with some of the fastest Internet on the planet. Yet those on the Ridge are unable to access this information superhighway.

We understand this is AT&T property, but we need efforts by our county to encourage AT&T to build some on-ramps to this easily accessible information highway. This encourages rural business development and reduces isolation.

The residents of the North San Juan area deserve to know where their tax dollars are going, including how to provide high speed Internet to those on the Ridge.

So where are the North San Juan area taxes going? Certainly not to public transportation, the sheriff, basic food services for the poor or access to the Internet.

I would like to have heard supervisor candidates — and now those elected — explain what they will do ensure that Ridge taxpayers know how much tax-based services they are entitled to … and what they will do to get it.

Mitch Sayegh lives in North San Juan.


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The Union Updated Jun 6, 2014 11:34PM Published Jun 6, 2014 11:34PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.