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UPDATE Sept. 17: Newsom fights off recall; Measure T headed to victory


Results are unofficial, and must be certified by Oct. 22.


Statewide results – all precincts reporting

No: 6,395,369 – 63.7%

Yes: 3,648,328 – 36.3%

Some top vote-getters vying to replace the governor, if Gavin Newsom had failed to get at least 50% of the vote:

Larry A. Elder: 2,637,298

Kevin Paffrath: 550,700

Brandon M. Ross: 313,245

John Cox: 242,123

Kevin L. Faulconer: 473,704

Kevin Kiley: 179,133

Nevada County results – 54.14% of possible votes counted

No: 26,891 – 55.45%

Yes: 21,606 – 44.55%


Must pass by two-thirds

Yes: 5,251 – 78.74%

No: 1,418 – 21.26%

Former Grass Valley mayor, Nevada County planning commissioner Patti Ingram Spencer announces campaign for District 3 supervisor

From a press release:

Patti Ingram Spencer on Wednesday announced her candidacy to replace incumbent Dan Miller on the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.

Miller has served as District 3 supervisor since 2014 and has announced he is not seeking reelection. Ingram Spencer brings an impressive record of local government and community leadership to the race for supervisor.

Former Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout is also running for the seat.

As a long-time resident of Nevada County, Ingram Spencer’s family roots run deep. Her great-grandfather, Thomas Ingram, became the managing editor of the local newspaper, The Union, in 1899. He had come to Grass Valley at the age of 2 with his parents Thomas Charles Ingram and Christiana Ingram, who immigrated from Cornwall, England.

“You could say public service runs in the family, because, in addition to managing the paper, from 1921 until his death, my great-grandfather was our state senator,“ Ingram Spencer said in a news release. ”In 1946 my grandfather became publisher of The Union and managed it for 35 years. My father followed in their footsteps and worked at the paper for many decades in a variety of roles, including editor/publisher at the time of his retirement. They shared their love for this community and a deep commitment to serving its residents.“

Ingram Spencer brings extensive local government leadership experience to the race for District 3 supervisor, having served two four-year terms on the Grass Valley City Council, and as mayor for two years. She also served on the Grass Valley Planning Commission for five years, in the roles as chairman and vice-chair. Her community leadership experience also includes service on the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce as both a member and chairman.

“Running for District 3 supervisor is not just another rung on the ladder for me,“ Spencer said. ”I know the critical importance of good leadership. We have serious issues impacting our community we must tackle head on, including cannabis, homelessness, economic development, reducing fire risk, and enhancing the connectivity of our community through broadband internet. These are just a few of the issues I am prepared to address if elected. I believe my leadership experience and relationships with our region’s elected representatives in Sacramento and Washington will help me be effective in getting things done.”

A graduate of the Nevada County Community Leadership Institute, in addition to her local government leadership experience, Ingram Spencer has been extensively involved in area service clubs and organizations including Native Daughters of the Golden West, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Rotary Club of Grass Valley, and the Nevada County Fair Foundation. She is also the recipient of the Business Woman of the Year Award by the Business and Professional Women of Nevada County.

“I think having deep roots and a long-standing connection to the community makes a difference,” said Spencer. “I know the district, I know the history, and I know the challenges that lay ahead, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve our area.”

Patti and her husband, former Nevada County Supervisor John Spencer, make their home in Grass Valley.

For more information, visit: patti4supervisor.com.

Source: Patti Ingram Spencer campaign

Patti Ingram Spencer

Nevada County gives update on redistricting process

Every 10 years, the census rolls around.

It’s used as a tool when determining boundaries for congressional districts. However, it also plays a role in the shape of school and county supervisor districts.

A redistricting meeting held last week in Nevada County was one of the first steps toward possibly redrawing district lines.

Douglas Yoakam, consultant from the National Demographics Corporation, and Steve Monaghan, county chief information officer, led the meeting.

“Every Nevada County resident should be a part of the redistricting process,” Monaghan said.

Census data will become available Aug. 16, a late date because of the pandemic and a debate in Congress over what should be included in the census, Yoakam said.

According to Yoakam, every 10 years supervisor districts could be redrawn, to make them work more efficiently and equitably. That requires resident feedback. However, the process is driven by the population count certified by the Census Bureau.

Supervisors in February opted to have a County Staff Advisory Committee recommend district boundaries. Supervisors will have the final say on those boundaries.

Additional data will be included at the first official public hearing, set for Aug. 24 in Truckee, which will encompass input from residents comprising Communities of Interest. COIs are geographical areas that have a shared social or economic interest that can be affected by county policy such as transportation, housing or public safety emergencies, like fire protection.

At subsequent public hearings residents will be able to contribute their ideas on maps and access mapping tools.


Under state law counties are required to follow numerous redistricting guidelines. A district must be approximately equal in population. And elections must follow the Federal Voting Rights Act.

“We cannot deliberately discriminate against a protected class of voters, either by splitting them up or combining them in a way that takes away their right to elect a supervisor of their choice — no racial gerrymandering,” said Yoakam.

The state’s Fair Maps Act requires a district to be geographically contiguous. If possible, it cannot divide geographical areas kept together through unity of interest (COIs), ethnic enclaves or Census Designated Places. In addition, a district must use easily identifiable boundaries, such as rivers or a major highway, rather than a meandering boundary used to break up neighborhoods.

“Also, make districts compact to the extent possible, by not bypassing one group of people to get to another group, which could favor one political party over another,” Yoakam said.

It is vital county residents consider participating in redistricting, said Taylor Wolfe, administrative analyst with the county.

“This process happens every 10 years following the census to ensure each board member represents the same amount of constituents,” she said. “Redistricting determines which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing a board member.”

Oct. 22 is the deadline for the initial draft maps from public input, Yoakam said. Nov. 9 will be the second official hearing. The final adoption of the redistricting ordinance is set for Dec. 14.

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at wroller@theunion.com

Release: Period to withdraw signature from Gov. Gavin Newsom recall petition begins


On April 26, 2021, the California Secretary of State verified that a sufficient number of valid signatures has been reached in the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom. California Elections Code gives any registered voter who signed the petition 30 days to withdraw their signature. The withdrawal must be in writing and include the voter’s name, residential address, and signature.

Any Nevada County voter who signed the petition to recall Governor Newsom and wishes to withdraw their signature may do so on or before June 8, 2021. Please visit the following link to learn more about this process: www.mynevadacounty.com/3229/22130/Withdrawal-of-Signature-for-Recall-Petit?activeLiveTab=widgets.

The Secretary of State’s announcement initiating the Newsom recall is not a statewide Notice of Election. To learn more about the timing of a possible recall, please refer to the Calendar of Events issued by the Secretary of State’s Office: https://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/recalls/newsom-calendar.pdf.

To learn more about the current recall effort, please visit the following link: www.sos.ca.gov/elections/recalls/current-recall-efforts.

Source: Natalie Adona, JD/MPA, Assistant Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters, Nevada County

Shifting demographics hurt local GOP registration

The North State has long been a safely conservative stronghold in reliably blue California, but in 2016 registered Democrats surpassed Republican registration in Nevada County in a trend that may be continuing.

Since 2004 Democratic registration has grown statewide, going from 7.1 million to 9.3 million voters in 2020, or from 43% to 45% of the electorate. Over that same period Republican registration dropped from 5.7 million to 4.9 million, or from 35% of the electorate to 24%.

The trend was similar in Nevada County, with Republican registration waning until 2016, when registration increased for the first time in three presidential cycles. But the Democratic Party got a bump in registration twice as large in 2016, leading them to outnumber the GOP — 25,138 to 24,072.

This year, Nevada County had 29,355 registered Democrats, and 24,570 Republicans.

Nevada County Republican Party Chair Bob Hren said he believes the major driver comes from Bay Area transplants who lean Democrat.

“The biggest demographic factor is that people from the Bay Area and other coastal counties are purchasing primary or secondary homes in Nevada County, and they take their political identity with them when they vote here,” Hren said in an email.

According to Department of Finance data, between 2014 and 2018 more Nevada County residents moved to Sacramento and El Dorado counties, while the most transplants to Nevada County came from Placer and Alameda counties.

“These people realize that their vote in the Bay Area will not make a difference, as most local Democrats there win their races,” Hren said. “Here it’s a different story.”

Statewide, however, California saw a net migration decrease between 2019 and 2020, mostly to Texas (82,235), Arizona (59,713), Nevada (47,322), and Washington (46,791).

“Republicans who have grown tired of the one-party state rule in CA are leaving our county and state,” Hren said. “Few Democrats are leaving California, it seems.”

The Nevada County Democratic Party couldn’t be reached for comment.

Other factors for the demographic shift include steady gains for voters registering outside the traditional two-party system.

Since 2004, the share of the electorate voting for all other parties grew from 22%, or 3.6 million, to 6.3 million, or 30% in 2020. In Nevada County, the growth was less dramatic — possibly due to the increase in Democratic registration — going from 24% in 2004 to 28% in 2020.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa supports election lawsuit dismissed by Supreme Court

A Texas lawsuit supported by U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa alleging voting irregularities in several states and asking for an injunction stopping certification was dismissed Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The suit, filed this week by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and supported by more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, claims voting procedure changes in battleground states Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin violated the Constitution, using the coronavirus pandemic as pretext.

The suit sought to hold off election certification and delay the deadline for Electoral College votes to be cast, but was dismissed by majority opinion of the court for lack of standing. Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas argued for the court to hear the suit in their dissent.

“The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution,” the decision states. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its election. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot.”

An amicus brief supporting the defendant states was signed onto by 22 states Thursday, including California.

Nevada County Republican Party Chair Bob Hren supported the lawsuit.

“I strongly support that brief and the lawsuit that alleges violations of the U.S. Constitution by the four states when they adopted election procedures not by legislative action but rather by court and executive decrees,” Hren said in an email. “These illegal actions cast doubt on the outcome of their elections.”

Hren declined to comment on whether the party was concerned about voting practices in California’s election.

LaMalfa, whose district includes most of Nevada County, could not be reached for comment Friday, but previously questioned the integrity of the election. Last month LaMalfa took to social media expressing concern that the outcome may be illegitimate in a post that was flagged as potentially ”misleading” by Twitter.

“The circumstances surrounding this Presidential election point to a fraudulent outcome,” the post reads. “The reports we’ve seen of non-residents, deceased voters, potential mail fraud, and partisan poll watching are deeply concerning, and must be challenged.”

U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, whose district includes a small portion of eastern Nevada County, also supported the lawsuit.

This month LaMalfa introduced election legislation that, among other provisions, would only count ballots arriving at the elections office by Election Day and would not accept ballots turned in by proxy, unless done by a direct family member.

He also joined several Republican representatives in sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr asking the Justice Department to use all resources at its disposal to combat “widespread reports of irregularities.”

After directing the department to investigate any substantial allegations of voter fraud last month, Barr has since said no widespread fraud that could have changed the election outcome has been found.

So far, suits attempting to overturn the outcome of the election have been unsuccessful.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

Election 2020: Nevada County certifies its vote

The Nevada County elections offices on Wednesday, Nov. 25, certified its vote. 65,800 out of 75,123 registered voters cast ballots, or 87.59%.

Grass Valley City Council, Full Term, Three will be seated

  • Janet Arbuckle: 3,537
  • Bob Branstrom: 2,978
  • Steven Conrad: 941
  • Thomas Ivy: 2,985
  • Edward W. Peevey: 1,722

Nevada City City Council, Short Term, One will be seated

  • Amy Cobden: 717
  • Catalina Llanos: 310
  • Gary Petersen: 956

Nevada Irrigation District Division 3, Full Term, One will be seated

  • Karen Hull: 5,705
  • W Scott Miller: 5,126

Nevada Irrigation District Division 5, Full Term, One will be seated

  • Rich Johansen: 5,367
  • John Norton: 4,733

Nevada County Board of Education Trustee Area 1, Short Term, Two will be seated

  • Susan E. Clarabut: 24,576
  • Peggy A Delgado Fava: 21,225
  • Louise B. Johnson: 23,018

Nevada County Board of Education Trustee Area 2, Full Term, One will be seated

  • J. Timothy May: 22,658
  • Ashley V. Neumann: 21,870

Nevada County Board of Education Trustee Area 3, Full Term, One will be seated

  • Julie Baker: 24,083
  • Grace Hudek: 20,696

Measure L — Whether the offices of Nevada City clerk and city treasurer should be appointed

Yes: 1,279

No: 708

Measure M — Whether to extend Measure M, a half-cent sales tax enacted in 2006 and set to expire at the end of 2022

Yes: 1,837

No: 253

Measure N — Should Grass Valley have a cannabis business tax

Yes: 3,879

No: 2,583

Measure O — Should the Beyers Lane Community Service District have a parcel tax increase

Yes: 44

No: 36

Nevada City Elementary School District, Full Term, Two will be seated

  • David Alkire: 2,701
  • Sandra M Barrington: 4,120
  • Ty Conway: 3,257
  • James Sperlazza: 2,667

Nevada Joint Union High School District Trustee Area 4, Full Term, One will be seated

  • DuWaine Ganskie: 4,804
  • Leslie Lattyak: 3,548

Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, Full Term, Four will be seated

  • Thomas E Carrington: 10,121
  • Shawana Cresswell: 5,562
  • Spencer W Garrett: 10,870
  • Patricia L Nelson: 10,589
  • Marianne Slade-Troutman: 10,001

State and federal races

State Senate, District 1

Pamela Dawn Swartz: 218,606

Brian Dahle: 323,863

State Assembly, District 1

Elizabeth L Betancourt: 101,715

Megan Dahle: 145,662

1st Congressional District

Audrey Denney: 153,372

Doug LaMalfa: 202,860

Nevada County voter turnout now over 85%

According to the Nevada County elections office, as of Tuesday evening an estimated 750 ballots remained uncounted.

The county has already tallied 64,689 votes from a potential 74,467 registered voters, bringing turnout to just over 86%.

According to Nevada County Assistant Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Natalie Adona, the county has until Dec. 1 to certify results, and hopes to certify by Thanksgiving.

Updated vote totals can be expected every Tuesday and Friday. All results are unofficial and incomplete.

In 2012, 52,173 county residents, or 68%, cast their ballots. In the 2016 presidential election, voter turnout was at 68%, or 45,167 votes cast. In the 2018 statewide general election, 79% of 68,869 registered residents voted.


Janet Arbuckle: 3,500

Thomas Ivy: 2,956

Bob Branstrom: 2,951

Edward W. Peevey: 1,696

Steven Conrad: 932


Gary Petersen: 955

Amy Cobden: 707

Catalina Llanos: 308


Karen Hull: 5,605

W. Scott Miller: 5,067


Rich Johansen: 5,319

John Norton: 4,688



Susan E. Clarabut: 24,331

Louise B. Johnson: 22,789

Peggy A Delgado Fava: 20,932



J. Timothy May: 22,356

Ashley V. Neumann: 21,641



Julie Baker: 23,806

Grace Hudek: 20,434


Spencer W. Garrett: 10,754

Patricia L. Nelson: 10,485

Thomas E. Carrington: 10,029

Marianne Slade-Troutman: 9,902

Shawana Cresswell: 5,473


Sandra M. Barrington: 4,060

Ty Conway: 3,228

David Alkire: 2,674

James Sperlazza: 2,644


DuWaine Ganskie: 4,721

Leslie Lattyak: 3,488


Yes: 1,270

No: 704


Yes: 1,828

No: 248


Yes: 3,842

No: 2,531


Yes: 43

No: 36

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

Fewer than 2K votes remain uncounted in Nevada County

The latest election vote count released Friday put Nevada County’s voter turnout at 85%, higher than the previous two presidential elections.

According to Nevada County Assistant Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Natalie Adona, 63,360 ballots have been counted so far from 74,467 registered voters, with about 1,200 left to tally.

The county has until Dec. 1 to certify results, and hopes to certify by Thanksgiving, Adona said. Updated vote counts can be expected every Tuesday and Friday. All results are unofficial and incomplete.

In 2012, 52,173 county residents, or 68%, cast their ballot. In the 2016 presidential election, voter turnout was at 68%, or 45,167 votes cast. In the 2018 statewide general election, 79% of 68,869 registered residents voted.


Janet Arbuckle: 3,440

Thomas Ivy: 2,904

Bob Branstrom: 2,894

Edward W. Peevey: 1,669

Steven Conrad: 921


Gary Petersen: 927

Amy Cobden: 693

Catalina Llanos: 299


Karen Hull: 5,523

W. Scott Miller: 5,004


Rich Johansen: 5,223

John Norton: 4,610



Susan E. Clarabut: 23,939

Louise B. Johnson: 22,392

Peggy A Delgado Fava: 20,592



J. Timothy May: 21,988

Ashley V. Neumann: 21,285



Julie Baker: 23,393

Grace Hudek: 20,113


Spencer W. Garrett: 10,594

Patricia L. Nelson: 10,321

Thomas E. Carrington: 9,870

Marianne Slade-Troutman: 9,753

Shawana Cresswell: 5,394


Sandra M. Barrington: 3,984

Ty Conway: 3,172

David Alkire: 2,630

James Sperlazza: 2,593


DuWaine Ganskie: 4,652

Leslie Lattyak: 3,444


Yes: 1,241

No: 689


Yes: 1,784

No: 243


Yes: 3,775

No: 2,488


Yes: 42

No: 36

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

Grass Valley council moves forward with cannabis businesses

The Grass Valley City Council Tuesday evening voted to approve an ordinance that would allow cannabis businesses in light industrial and heavy commercial zones.

The ordinance will return to the council for a second reading, then will take effect 30 days following adoption.

According to Community Development Director Tom Last, at the second reading staff will provide a process for evaluating applicants and plans for how to implement the ordinance.

The ordinance would allow up to two dispensaries and three delivery services in the city.

“This is something I have been passionate about, seeing the city put some zoning regulation and some authority into allowing cannabis businesses,” Mayor Lisa Swarthout said. “I think the place that we’ve gotten to is not perfect but I’ve always looked at this ordinance as a being a compromise. Nobody was ever going to get 100% of what they wanted.”

Last said with the proposed zoning restrictions, businesses would be permitted in two main areas on Idaho Maryland Road and McKnight Way.
Several public commenters advocated for the city to ease zoning restrictions and reduce the setbacks that prohibit businesses within 500 feet of residential uses or 600 feet of schools.

Other commenters wanted the council to add a medical marijuana designation and reduce the THC tax.

As of Tuesday, a measure enacting a cannabis business tax was leading 3,546 “yes” votes to 2,339 “no” votes.

“We do need to start small, we need to start somewhere, and this is a good start,” Vice Mayor Ben Aguilar said.

The city voted to amend the ordinance to allow processing licenses and permits for businesses over 4,000 square feet.

City attorney Michael Colantuono said the size restriction originated from an effort to create a niche for local, small businesses.

The ordinance would also allow up to 10 manufacturers, two testing labs, five distribution businesses, and two nurseries in the city.