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Elections nothing but NH 2020

One of President John Kennedy’s favorite aphorisms was, “If it is not absolutely necessary to do a thing, it is absolutely necessary to not do it.” This example of overpoweringly good sense is attributed to John Churchill, First duke of Marlborough, 1650-1722, although Viscount Falkland wrote something very similar about 50 years earlier.

Natural Heritage 2020 falls squarely into the category of things it is not absolutely necessary to do.



Oh, on the face of it NH 2020 seems harmless enough. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a current inventory of Nevada County’s natural resources. Knowledge is always a good thing.




But what cost NH 2020? The actual dollar amount already spent is hard to come by, but it’s way too much, well into six figures. There’s also the question of where the money has come from.

Even more disturbing is the damage NH 2020 has done to civil comity in our county. Why not simply put the scheme to a vote of the people and determine a majority, pro or con? Can it be that NH 2020’s proponents are afraid of the outcome?

Obviously, in the minds of the perpetrators of NH 2020 it is absolutely necessary. Their stand is, “We know what’s good for Nevada County and we don’t care how you feel about it, we’re going to do it anyway, so pack sand.” Thus saith four of the five county supervisors, excepting the lone voice of sanity, Sue Horne.

Why is NH 2020 so important to this imperial cabal of petty politicians? One word: Power. In the wrong hands, and the hands of Van Zant, Greene, Conklin and Martin are certainly the wrong ones to have around the throat of Nevada County, NH 2020 becomes an instrument for the usurpation of property rights in order to create a utopian Cloud-cuckoo-Land.

Which is why the upcoming March 5 supervisors’ elections will be precisely a referendum on NH 2020.

The way to stop NH 2020 is to put an end of the reign of error embodied in the current Board of Supervisors.

Van Zant and Green are safe for another two years, but Martin’s and Conklin’s necks are on the electoral block. So let’s take a look at those two contests.

In District 3, which is essentially Grass Valley, the choice is as easy as ABC: Anybody But Conklin. The challengers are Mark Johnson, former mayor of Grass Valley, and Drew Bedwell, businessman and anti-NH 2020 activist. The organized business community seems to support Johnson because of the family’s longtime involvement in many commercial interests in the county. But there’s a snake in the grass here. According to scuttlebutt, Peter Van Zant is not happy with Conklin. Thus, St. Peter the Lesser, Godfather of NH 2020, is quietly backing Johnson.

The rap on Bedwell is that he’s a one-issue guy. It’s true that scrapping NH 2020 and protecting property rights is his immediate priority, but hardly his only issue. You see, unlike the ranters who knock Drew, I’ve actually talked to him.

Go with Drew Bedwell.

District 4 is more complicated, with four challengers for Izzy Martin’s chair. Martin is one of the ringleaders of the 2020 conspirators, so forget her. It’s interesting that so many letters of effusive praise for her supervisorial shenanigans come from that rat’s nest of whackodom, Nevada City, not from her own district.

Bill Steele runs to have a soapbox for his colorful opinions, but would be horrified if he thought there were any chance he could win.

Michael Harris would be an excellent supervisor, as would Robin Sutherland, who has shown she is a serious and formidable candidate.

But it seems to me that 4th District voters should go for Rene Antonson based on his previous performance on the board. Rene did great things for his district, is dedicated to doing the people’s business, and can be trusted to not try to ram any shady personal agenda items down the voters’ throats.

O.K. voters in Districts 3 and 4, here’s your chance to do a big favor for Nevada County, render Van Zant and Greene harmless, and make Sue Horne very, very happy.

W.H. Brooke lives in Nevada City and writes a monthly column.


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