Bedwell: Vote was anti-NH 2020
Fresh from his narrow-yet-rousing finish in the March 5 primary, Drew Bedwell paid a visit to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors Tuesday and began talking about his favorite topic.
“The continuing implications of your denial of the NH 2020 rejection letters, petition signatures and the recent election results are quite revealing,” said Bedwell during Tuesday’s public comment period. “You have a problem.”
Bedwell said letters starting pouring into Protect Your Property Rights and Citizens For Property Rights in Nevada County in the year 2000, demanding that the Sierra Business Council’s scientific team stay off private property.
“You saw them, but your response was ‘we know what the people want, that’s why they voted us in,'” Bedwell said. ” … You didn’t hear us, did you?”
Beginning in 2001, Bedwell has gone before the board during the public comment period 17 times. The majority of his comments have targeted the county’s controversial planning process, according to minutes from the board’s clerk.
Though Tuesday’s message may have been redundant, this time it carried the weight of 2,142 votes – a mere 26 more than incumbent Supervisor Bruce Conklin – but a victory all the same.
Still, board members would later say they’d heard it all before.
Robert Ingram, a CPR-INC board member and licensed professional forester for Sierra Pacific Industries, spoke after Bedwell.
The board stacked the NH 2020 Community Advisory Committee with hand-picked environmentalists and retired and active government employees, Ingram said.
“Your initial CAC was devoid of anyone from the farming, ranching, forest management and mining communities – the very people whose property you want to control,” Ingram said.
“And you laugh and mock the very residents who you purposely left out of the process and call us detractors and big developers. That is truly classless.”
Bedwell and Ingram used the public comment period to deliver their normal “campaign stump speech,” said Supervisor Peter Van Zant. “That’s their standard; they’ve been delivering that message over a year now. It’s nothing new.”
To imply that the board ignored property owners’ letters and concerns about trespassing is wrongly putting words in the supervisors’ mouths, Van Zant said. “The fact is, we instructed the scientific team not to trespass from the beginning.”
Despite the fact that the NO ON NH 2020 Committee gathered 8,900 signatures from people who wanted an “up or down vote” on NH 2020’s future, Bedwell said the board ignored voters and decided against putting an advisory initiative on the recent ballot.
“The March 5 election made a loud statement to all of you about the attitude of the electorate of Nevada County towards NH 2020,” Bedwell told the board. “NH 2020 was and is the defining issue.”
Bedwell said 3,230 voters, or more than 60 percent of District 3; and 4,237, or more than 61 percent of District 4 voters, said no to NH 2020.
Bedwell arrived at the numbers by adding all the votes cast by Supervisor Bruce Conklin’s opponents in District 3 and Supervisor Elizabeth Martin’s challengers in District 4.
“He’s making lots of assumptions off those numbers which are not true,” said Martin. “He’s misrepresenting people’s opinions.”
If Bedwell wants to interpret the numbers that way, Conklin said, “then the same number voted against him and his theory that the United Nations is controlling Nevada County.”
Bedwell said the board and promoters of NH 2020 complain that the opposition is polarizing and derisive.
“Please keep in mind you started this,” Bedwell said in closing. “… Call a special election and let us vote up or down on the continuance of NH 2020 now. If you don’t, we’ll finish it November.”
Bedwell has his right to public comment, Conklin said. “But we have responded numerous times to the critics.”
The board put the Property Owners Bill of Rights into effect, increased the number of voting members on the CAC, and agreed to put the NH 2020 recommendations on a ballot once they’re completed, said Conklin, adding that you can’t vote on something until you know what it is.
“These are things we’ve agreed to do, but he ignores them and tells people we haven’t.”
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