Paul Molino: We have done this before
Communities can rebuild and recover amazingly fast after facing challenges like fire, pandemics, or unemployment. We have done this before. The momentum often takes on a life of its own when caught up in the spirit of the times. Nevada County was on a high tech recovery in the 1980s and ’90s and the opportunity was not in gold mines.
I’ve nothing against gold mines, having worked in the mine off Tyler Foote Road near the town North Bloomfield. But digging holes in the ground while destroying neighborhoods is not progress.
Idaho Maryland’s Errol MacBoyle would want us to invest in the future and not in carpet baggers like Rise Gold. And yet we still do not have affordable high speed internet or the ability to call for a tow truck from the Yuba River.
The momentum was here in our community for newer technologies well before there was an internet. We had businesses that were manufacturing printed circuit boards and small start ups were busy in graphic design and computer based work. Grass Valley Group was designing and making technology. Our own county supervisor, Peter Van Zant, authored one of the best textbooks in the country on semiconductor technology. I’ve never met Peter but a lot of us owe him for describing a complicated subject in plain English. Nevada County was also home to a number of process engineering firms.
Arts and technology often evolve in partnership with each other and during this technical renaissance visual arts, music and stage performances grew beyond belief and continue today even during the pandemic.
We had the momentum then but now we struggle. We have not invested in technical infrastructure and that slows down everything. The result is an absence of living wage jobs in an extremely desirable foothill community that could lend itself to a knowledge-based and distance economy.
Sierra Commons in Nevada City is an excellent example of a knowledge-based momentum builder. We want to sustain these types of ventures and to do that we need to partner and invest in affordable high speed Internet for everyone.
We are a resilient bunch with an abundance of talent for restoring old locomotives to learning how to work from home. Locally we have some exciting new faces coming on board in November so its time to set aside petty ideologies about technology and get to work.
The gold in these hills resides not with Rise Gold’s mine but with our young people, our resilience, and the shared values we treasure.
Paul Molino lives in Grass Valley.
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