Brian Hamilton: Let your informed voice be heard this election season in Nevada County |

Brian Hamilton: Let your informed voice be heard this election season in Nevada County

Sitting in a city council seat is hardly a cush gig.

Essentially a volunteer position, council members do an ample amount of homework to study up for each meeting, evaluating all documents pertaining to each item on the agenda, while also reaching out to the people they represent in order to make an informed decision in the best interest of the community.

And, of course, that decision doesn’t very often make everyone happy, and might lead to backlash voiced via angry emails, phone calls, letters to the editor or during public commentary at the very next meeting.

An often thankless task, one wonders why in the world these people seek to serve.

But they do. They seek to serve their community. And whether they win or lose, they deserve our thanks and respect for doing so.

Six candidates have stepped forward to serve on the Nevada City Council, actually offering in one election cycle more choices in candidates to those voters than they’ve been presented over the past decade. In fact, until four people ran for two seats in 2018, Nevada City didn’t have much of a need for an actual election as four-straight cycles dating back to 2010 saw the exact number of candidates for the exact number of open seats.

And without enough candidates for an actual election, we lose an opportunity to discuss issues of importance to the community and better understand the approach our local leaders plan to take to address them.

As you read in Tuesday’s edition of The Union, and also heard at the recent League of Women Voters forum (both also posted at, there’s been ample discussion on Nevada City issues with six candidates seeking three open seats on the City Council.

In the coming days, as we receive our vote-by-mail ballots, The Union will continue its coverage of area races, including today’s front-page story on the state Senate race. It also will take looks at the state Assembly, and the campaign for the District 1 seat on the Nevada County Board of Supervisors — the only one of three seats up for reelection that features a race, despite those being actual paid positions (nearly $60K annually). Incumbent Ed Scofield (District 2) and newcomer Hardy Bullock (District 5) are both unopposed.

A big thanks goes out to the crew at Nevada County Media for video footage of the forums hosted by the League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County, which will be posted along with race coverage at for those who were unable to attend or those who’d like to take another look before casting their vote.


While we have ballots in hand, now’s the time for the public to make their own voices heard, telling the candidates what issues are important to you — and even encouraging others to vote for the candidates you support.

The Union will publish election-related opinion content through Feb. 29, the last Saturday prior to Election Day.

Those writing to endorse the candidate of their choice may do so in a 200-word letter to the editor. Election-related Other Voices op-eds offer up to 750 words for those who want to let the candidates, and the community they seek to serve, know what issues are important to them, and why.


Nevada County takes pride in its turnout for elections, typically surpassing the state’s percentage of registered voters casting a ballot. In fact, Nevada County not only topped the state’s turnout for both the primary (57% to 37.5%) and general (79.8% to 64.5%) elections of 2018, that general election turnout in a non-presidential election year topped even the 2016 Nevada County turnout (75.4%), according to the elections office.

The last day to register ( is Feb. 17.

Considering all the hard work the candidates and their campaigns undertake to let you know where they stand on the issues and to ask for your support in order to serve our community, it seems the least we can do is take the time do our own civic duty and actually vote.

Even better, of course, would be taking the time to do your own homework — just as we hope of those we elect — in order to make those informed decisions in the best interest of our community.

Contact Editor Brian Hamilton via email at or 530-477-4249.

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