Affected by the 639 prefix issue? Attend hearings |

Affected by the 639 prefix issue? Attend hearings

Several years ago, a process was started to bring attention to the problem of living in Nevada County, but being forced to have a Yuba County phone prefix, a forced identity with the neighboring county. Many “problems,” including the inappropriate routing of 911 calls to Sacramento, have been dealt with, thanks to efforts by Sheriff Keith Royal.

None of the “relief,” however, alters the fact that the Nevada County holders of the 639 prefix are unfairly charged to connect with their county of residence and are forced to connect through Yuba County as they incur those charges. None of the “relief” gives Nevada County residents acceptable identification to their county.

Last year, the local Board of Supervisors filed Resolution 01-522, stating that residents affected suffered economic hardship because of the artificial barrier that connected them, inappropriately, to the neighboring county. The resolution was filed with a letter requesting that PacBell review its toll center filing for affected subscribers and work toward change, since those affected were within the Zone of Economic Influence of Nevada County. These documents were also filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in November 2001. Pacific Bell did not respond.

In May 2002, County Counsel Charles McKee filed a formal complaint with the CPUC on behalf of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. The case required that Pacific Bell answer, which it did, on July 31, 2002. Pacific Bell requested the case be dismissed.

A phone conference before Administrative Law Judge Karen Jones was held on Aug. 15, 2002. After setting forth the issues by Charles McKee, Nevada County counsel, and Garrett Wong, Pac Bell attorney, Judge Jones ordered the case to move forward, despite Pacific Bell’s assertions that the case should be dismissed. Judge Jones ordered at least one, if not two, public participation hearings to be held in the Grass Valley area.

In September, the CPUC will conduct two public participation hearings on Nov. 20 at 2 and 7 p.m. On Nov. 21, at 10 a.m., an evidentiary hearing will be held. All of the hearings will take place at the Penn Valley Fire Station on Spenceville Road.

Since many residents had requested that attention be brought to the faulty ZIP code assignment, the “ZIP code boundary review process” began in September 2002. Working with the United States Postal Service and Eve Diamond, analyst for the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, proponents have had a petition for review approved and are currently gathering signatures of those Nevada County 95977 holders impacted by a Yuba County mailing address. A postcard has been mailed to more than 600 parcel owners, advising them of the pending review.

Important to acknowledge is that these may be the last attempts to have westernmost Nevada County recognized with a true address and phone prefix rather than faulty identification to Yuba County. Public participation hearings afford all of those affected the opportunity to request that the situation be remedied. Anyone – resident, future resident and property owner – needs to express their support at either of the hearings for the phone prefix change and by signing the petitions requesting the ZIP code review.

For information on any of the events surrounding either of these issues, please contact me at 639-2346.

Sherry Balow is a homemaker who lives in Smartville.

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