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Council seat races open to all citizens

Last Thursday morning we again awoke to smoke-filled skies and high temperatures. Grass Valley, like many other foothill towns, has been blanketed in smoke and bad air resulting from the large number of fires across the state. Our air quality has been unhealthy, outdoor activities have been canceled and some folks have even left town to find cleaner air and cooler temperatures.

As I walked down to the flower shop to start the day my thoughts turned to those towns and communities now facing the real threat of destruction from the wildfires that continue to rage. The town of Paradise is under siege, evacuations are taking place and neighborhoods and homes are being lost to the fires.

My thoughts turned to Paradise Mayor Alan White and what his Thursday would be like. This provided some perspective about what are real threats and what are inconveniences. While we are experiencing the temporary inconvenience of smoke-filled skies, Mayor White and the fine citizens of Paradise are literally facing the destruction of their town.



My Thursday was busy, just a normal day of flower orders and deliveries, a phone call from a resident concerned about sewer rates, a few trips across the street to City Hall to meet with staff and a steady string of emails ranging from interest in building a community dog park to the increasing rents at the Olympia Glade mobile home park.

That evening I returned to the flower shop to work on the never-ending stream of paperwork and to get ready for Friday. When I left the shop the Downtown Thursday Night Market was in full swing and while the air was filled with smoke our streets were filled with people. With my wife out of town for a few days, I could safely pay a visit to Bob and his Lazy Dog ice cream cart for dinner.




I took my frozen “dinner on a stick” and walked down to the music stage setup in front of City Hall. The street was full of smiling, dancing people of every size, shape and age. I watched a father dancing with his 3-year-old daughter and a senior couple with a gleam in their eyes, showing us all that you’re never too old to boogie with your sweetie.

The band was playing the Beatles song “Come Together” and it couldn’t seem more appropriate to the occasion. This was our community gathering together, enjoying the evening and each other in simple celebration of our wonderful life in Grass Valley. These are the moments and these are the people who remind me why I chose to run for public office and why I feel so very honored to be the mayor of this great town.

In March 1893, Grass Valley was founded and became a charter city. The Constitution of the state of California grants to charter cities a large degree of control over local affairs, independent of the state government. The charter can be and has been amended several times since it was established. The most recent changes were developed by a citizens charter review committee in January 1993, and approved by Grass Valley voters in May 1996.

Grass Valley’s charter establishes a council-administrator type of government, in which the elected council provides political leadership and sets policy while a professional administrator directs the various city departments in carrying out those policies.

Since 1893, the voters have elected a wide range of people to our City Council. With their votes the citizens of our fine community decide who our City Council members are. The voters choose who they wish to have represent them in open elections after much debate and discussion.

I respect and trust the voters of Grass Valley and their ability to decide who they wish to represent them on the City Council. The citizens of our community are not stupid people. Their votes are not for sale and I trust in their collective judgment.

This November three City Council seats will be open. Every resident of our town has the right and the opportunity to come before the citizens of Grass Valley and run for public office. I encourage the members of our community to consider using this great opportunity to join what I believe is a democratic process of representation established by the citizens of Grass Valley in March 1893.

Mark Johnson is the mayor of Grass Valley.


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