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Candidate forum shelved ‘due to public safety concerns’

The League of Women Voters of Nevada County currently will hold one forum only for the upcoming November election, as many candidates across several races declined to attend.

However, one forum — for Grass Valley City Council — isn’t happening “due to public safety concerns,” a Thursday news release states.

Haven Caravelli, Matthew Coulter and Hilary Hodge are running for two open seats.

“It’s probably about me and it’s (crap) the way they’re trying to shut down public comment,” Coulter said, adding moments later, “I think they’re just copping out because they don’t want dissenting opinion.”

Coulter has noted during public comment at recent government meetings that some elected officials have restraining orders against him. However, he said those orders can be amended, which would enable a forum to occur. Alternatively, a forum could occur over Zoom.

The league doesn’t specifically state the safety concerns that led to the forum’s cancellation.

Janice Bedayn, with the league, declined to comment, as did Caravelli. A Zoom forum isn’t being considered.

Hodge, a council member in her first term, said a restraining order against Coulter was in place by the council when she was elected. She said Coulter can attend council meetings, but he must notify it at least 48 hours before the meeting occurs and have a police escort.

Nevada County Superior Court records show five restraining order requests have been filed against Coulter within the past 30 days.


The one forum that will occur is for the District 3 Board of Supervisors seat. Patti Ingram Spencer and Lisa Swarthout, both former Grass Valley Council members, are running for the spot. Incumbent Dan Miller isn’t running for reelection.

Their forum is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave, Nevada City.

Questions can be sent in advance to info@lwvnevadacounty.org.

The league in the press release states it hopes to hold forums on Nevada City’s Historic Neighborhoods District initiative, Measure W; as well as the county’s half-cent sales tax initiative, Measure V. No dates have been set.

The 3rd Congressional District forum isn’t occurring because Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley declined. Dr. Kermit Jones accepted.

Republican Assemblywoman Megan Dahle declined to attend a forum for the 1st District state Assembly seat. Democrat Belle Sandwith accepted.

The league had no response from Jenny Scicluna, a candidate for Nevada Joint Union High School District, Area 1; Olivia Pritchett accepted.

Nevada Joint Union High School District, Area 2, candidate Stephanie Leishman declined. Wendy Willoughby accepted.

The Nevada Joint Union High School District, Area 5, forum couldn’t be scheduled because of travel plans. Both Jay Adamson and Ken Johnson accepted.

Alan Riquelmy is the managing editor of The Union. He can be reached at ariquelmy@theunion.com or 530-477-4249


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