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Beason on deck

In an oil town of 4,000, where most families shared one car and fixed their own broken machines, Nate Beason said he grew up a child of privilege.

His family didn’t have a lot of money, but Beason’s lottery was growing up in Coalinga, alongside hardworking blue-collar neighbors, he said.

“I learned to fix cars, lawn mowers and bikes,” Beason said. “I learned independence, accountability and a work ethic.”



Beason, 60, is a candidate in the Nevada County Board of Supervisors March 2 election. With endorsements from four public safety labor unions, Beason is competing for the District 1 seat against Josh Ramey and Olivia Diaz.

The current seat-holder, Peter Van Zant, is not seeking re-election. Van Zant has endorsed Diaz as his replacement.




Beason, a retired captain for the U.S. Navy, said his No. 1 concern is an issue that affects everybody, everyday: traffic.

He said the unsafe conditions at the Idaho-Maryland-Brunswick intersection need to be improved and the Dorsey Drive interchange with the Golden Center Freeway completed. And the new, large developments proposed around Grass Valley have serious traffic issues that need to be resolved, Beason said.

Beason said it is his ability to build consensus that makes him the best candidate. It comes from lessons he learned over 30 years in the Navy.

While in Somalia, Beason commanded seven ships from six countries. Although they each shared a similar mission under the flag of the United Nations, Beason said missions were carried out independently. His duty was to harmonize the efforts of the diverse group.

“We started by looking at points of agreements and similarities,” Beason said. “We reached accord within a few weeks and we became effective in a relatively short time.”

Beason moved to Nevada County in 2000 with his wife, Betty. His curiosity in the late summer of 2001 led him to start attending Nevada County Board of Supervisors meetings. He said he was disappointed by the polarization and divisiveness among the board.

His interest in a bid for a seat on the board was more evolutionary than revolutionary, Beason said. The catalyst that drew him into the March 2 race was the 2002 supervisorial election, which saw heated acrimony among the county candidates.

“It was so hateful,” Beason said.

Too much time is spent arguing over issues that have little or no relevance to the problems people face everyday, Beason said. The manner in which business is being conducted is disappointing, he said.

He said he doesn’t represent any special interests or have a personal agenda. At the local level, issues that divide the national politics go by the wayside, he said, and the only way to move ahead is to approach things from the middle.

His campaign has won endorsements from several police and fire labor unions, despite the fact his opponent Josh Ramey is a Peardale-Chicago Park Fire Department captain.

Beason was endorsed by the Nevada-Yuba-Placer chapter of CDF Firefighters; Nevada County Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 3800; the Nevada County Deputy Sheriffs Association; and the Nevada County Probation Peace Officer’s Association.

Ramey has said he was not endorsed by his fellow firefighters in part because he opposes converting the county’s many small fire departments into one countywide department.

For Beason, however, the endorsements have been a sign that his approach to government is well-received by those in the public-safety field.

“I think it’s a question of whether we’re willing to do what’s best for the community,” Beason said. “I truly believe we can make this a nonpartisan office.”

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Political Profiles

In the coming days, The Union will continue profiling candidates for the District 1 seat on the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.

Tuesday: Josh Ramey

Wednesday: Olivia Diaz

District 2 hopefuls will be spotlighted soon after. Candidates are being featured in the order they appear on Nevada County ballots.


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