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Initiative group declines to divulge members

The group pushing the Managed Growth Initiative for Grass Valley on the Nov. 4 ballot has declined to divulge the names of its members.

Friends of Grass Valley Chairman Grant Cattaneo and Gary Emanuel are listed as members on campaign documents filed with the city and Nevada County.

“Those are the only members we have to put down,” Cattaneo said Friday. “We’ve got about 20 or 30 people who helped with it. I don’t have a list.



“They come and go,” Cattaneo said. “It’s very informal. It’s just a bunch of citizens.”

Asked if he could divulge members’ names, Cattaneo said, “I don’t think so. I don’t want to put people at risk.”




The chair of the group said he had been criticized by blogs and The Union and did not want Friends members to undergo the same scrutiny.

Asked if the Friends was simply comprised of himself and Emanuel, Cattaneo said, “No, we’ve had almost 70 people involved.” Emanuel could not be reached for comment.

The Union sent Cattaneo a state public records act for the information about the Friends Friday, and Cattaneo was dealing with the request late in the day.

City campaign records show Cattaneo and another group he helped found, Citizens Concerned About Traffic, or CCAT, have donated or loaned the bulk of the $8,542 the Friends have landed in their campaign to keep the city’s general plan ” based on a land-use map approved in 1982 ” going until 2038.

The Managed Growth Initiative would require a public vote for any project that goes outside the general plan’s land-use scope. The city attorney has said most large projects coming before the city would be affected.

Critics have called the measure “ballot box planning” and a circumvention of the existing process that would create sprawl by pushing growth outside city limits.

Supporters have said they just want city officials to follow the Grass Valley 2020 General Plan; in particular, they have mentioned concerns about the proposed re-opening of the Idaho-Maryland gold mine.

Bulk of money linked to Cattaneo

Friends money came from a $3,525 loan Cattaneo made to the organization, $1,000 in contributions he personally made, and two contributions from CCAT totaling $800, according to the campaign finance statements.

That links Cattaneo directly to $5,325 of the $8,542.

Another $250 has been donated by staunch environmentalists and longtime Sierra Club activists Don and Barbara Rivenes of Nevada City.

Three other contributions of $100 apiece have come from San Francisco State University educator Julie Bergman, retired Grass Valley residents Kent and Mollie Gallagher and historian Howie Muir, also of Grass Valley.

Contributions under $100 did not have to be listed.

The Friends of Grass Valley has spent $7,342, with Sacramento law firm Kenyon Yeates LLP getting $6,258 of that.

Kenyon Yeates attorney Keith Wagner enflamed the City Council on May 27 when he accused members of being “influenced by speculating developers.” Council members later voted to not endorse the Managed Growth Initiative, saying it was planning by ballot.

Other expenditures include $269 to The Union for a public notice, $200 to the city to file the notice to circulate petitions for the initiative, $149 to Staples for printing supplies, $37 to the county elections office for a voter list and $29 for a post office box.

The initiative has been countered by a second one backed by Mayor Mark Johnson, called the Limited Growth Initiative. The council also has opposed that initiative on similar grounds, with Johnson excusing himself from the vote.

The Limited Growth Initiative would keep the number of new residences at 2,820 through 2020 ” as outlined in the general plan ” and force a fiscal impact report on any proposal to build more than 100 units.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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