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William Steele: Disgraceful election hit piece

In the mailbox one morning this week was a startling political mailer on the election for clerk-recorder/registrar of voters. On a black background, a spot light shines on the face of woman with disheveled hair hanging down and a sinister half-smile as she stares into the camera. The caption is, “This Election Vote For Anybody But Natalie.”

Strange — not supporting anyone, only the negative “Don’t vote for Natalie” — the epitome of a negative ad! And that face! I’ve met Natalie Adona, and she is quite attractive. What kind of clever computer-generated imaging could so distort such a face?

This political hit piece is essentially anonymous. Although it states, “Paid for by Americans for Good Government — AFGG,“ and for more information we are encouraged to visit a website that simply is a rehash of the dishonest mailer and a short video piece of the incident that took place in the Registrar of Voters Office when a group forced their way into the office.

They wanted information on how to recall all of the Board of Supervisors but refused to wear masks as required for entrance. So they forced their way in. Nothing else is on this site; no organization structure, no names of participants, no list of donors, no attribution for any quotes. It is a shadow organization for anonymous attacks.

These are some of the charges leveled in the piece:

1. “Adona is a carpetbagger. She is a Washington, D.C., outsider and a new arrival …”

Her candidate statement shows she is a graduate of several western universities and started her career in elections in the Bay Area in 2008. She has lived in Grass Valley since 2019.

2. “Adona was hired for the stated purpose of replacing the incumbent when he retires.”

It’s common in the private sector, and not unknown in government, to seek qualified candidates to replace a key person prior to retirement. That candidate is then brought on board to acclimate to the organization and to measure their performance. And was Natalie Adona a qualified applicant? She has a BA from UC Berkeley; a JD from American University, Washington College of Law; and an MPA from Arizona University School of Public Affairs. She also spent several years with a nonprofit, specializing in election research and policy — and three years as assistant clerk-recorder/registrar of voters for Nevada County. Do you think she is qualified?

3. “Adona told election staff members she hates living in Nevada County and wants to leave. She thinks Nevada County voters are idiots.”

Please! Who wrote this libelous drivel? They must be the ones who think voters are idiots if they believe the candidate would subject herself to such abuse and the rigors of an election if she planned to leave.

Of course, this is not just a local story. It’s played out against a backdrop of the threat to our right to vote that has plagued this country since Trump lost the 2020 election and claimed, “The election was stolen.” The Big Lie — and it is amazing how many of his base believe that lie.

Too many Republican leaders have decided that if they can’t win the next election by winning the most votes, they will change election laws to make it harder to vote and most importantly to get to decide who counts the votes.

A total of 26 states have already enacted enabling legislation — some of it puts the oversight of counting the votes under the supervision of state legislatures — partisan legislatures — partisan counting of the votes.

And election workers have been at the forefront of this assault. They and their families have been harassed, threatened, sued and subjected to abuse. It’s a national disgrace.

Edmund Burke is credited a couple of hundred years ago with saying “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Where do you stand?

William Steele lives in Nevada City.


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