George Boardman: Making county economic development more difficult, and other issues
Observations from the center stripe: Canceled votes edition
THE GRASS VALLEY City Council essentially canceled the votes of several hundred residents when it selected Ben Aguilar over Jerri Glover to fill the vacant city council seat. We’ll see how residents liked that decision when the council members have to stand for re-election … JEFF KOONS has been commissioned to create an $8 million sculpture that will grace the entrance of the Sacramento Kings’ new arena. The creation is called “Coloring Book,” but it looks more like a bunch of gumdrops stuck together … I HATE to ruin the party, but any tax refund you get is an interest-free loan to the government … THE HAND-addressed letters I get these days are usually invitations to learn more about hearing aids, reverse mortgages, or something else I don’t want or need … LET’S SEE: I bring my own bag and do a self check-out to avoid standing in line for 15 minutes, so how come grocery prices aren’t lower? … YAHOO! APPARENTLY has a staff of editors and writers it is downsizing. Does that mean I won’t be able to find out what Jen wore the next time she walks down the red carpet?…
The county Board of Supervisors apparently has nothing better to do in early May, so it plans to set aside an hour to hear a pitch about why we should sign up for the State of Jefferson.
Some residents will view this event as a waste of taxpayer money on something that has no chance of succeeding, but they fail to appreciate the therapeutic effect a short excursion into fantasy land will have for the segment of the community that doesn’t like what’s going on in Sacramento and Washington.
For those of you who might have forgotten, the State of Jefferson is a movement revived a couple of years ago to unite seven counties in southern Oregon with roughly a dozen in Northern California to create a 51st state that supporters believe will be more responsive to the desires and needs of its residents, something they say isn’t happening now in Salem or Sacramento.
The revival (this was tried once before in the 1940s) has been on a bumpy road. The Oregon counties, apparently having second thoughts about the idea, never enlisted in the cause, and at least three California counties that would be part of the state have said no deal.
Since the California Legislature and Congress would have to bless this endeavor, the State of Jefferson is as close to reality as a balanced federal budget. But that hasn’t stopped advocates from trying to enlist more counties in the cause, giving them an opportunity to vent their frustration with the ways of the world.
Our angry residents will feel better (at least for a few minutes) and the conservative supervisors will earn some Brownie points that can be used at the next election, but nothing will really change.
That doesn’t mean this wheel spinning is without consequences. The Economic Resource Council has launched an aggressive effort to attract more high-paying jobs to the area, but certain aspects of life in Nevada County can make that heavy sledding.
The economic development types already hope firms they are targeting don’t ask why we don’t vaccinate our children. Now they may have to explain why the supervisors are willing to give even a slim patina of credibility to a movement that’s going nowhere.
County promoters worry about The Union publishing too much crime news on page one; it doesn’t create the right image, they say. Anti-vaxxers and secessionists are what they should be worrying about.
Proponents of concealed carry gun laws like to paint a picture of the citizenry arming themselves against the bad guys among us. Sandy Hook would have never happened if the teachers were armed and dangerous, the argument goes.
Two recent incidents in Las Vegas suggest the dangerous part is what we should be concerned about.
Most people are familiar by now with the story of the mother who took her 14-year-old out to practice driving and ended up getting killed by a man she apparently knew. After a street confrontation with the alleged assailant, Tammy Meyers fled home to safety.
She then rousted her sleeping 22-year-old son and told him to get his gun. Apparently the only responsible adult in this incident, Brandon Meyers told police he suggested she call 911. When told she was leaving, he went with her.
That led to a confrontation with the alleged assailant, who then followed them home and killed the mother.
Seven months earlier in Vegas, a couple shot and killed two policemen who were eating lunch and fled to a nearby Walmart, where the man, Jerad Miller, fired a shot and told everybody to leave the store.
Miller was confronted by a customer, 31-year-old Joseph Wilcox, who was carrying a weapon. Unfortunately, Wilcox didn’t realize Miller was accompanied by his wife, who used her gun to kill him.
These tragic events haven’t stopped advocates from trying to expand legal use of guns. Some people want to arm college coeds as protection against sexual assault, and Nevada legislators are pushing to broaden the state’s stand-your-ground law.
The Vegas incidents show that being armed doesn’t confer on the gun owner the skill and wisdom to use the weapon properly. Those decisions are best left to the people who know what they’re doing, law enforcement.
As guns enthusiasts keep telling us, people kill people.
Businesses have a case when they complain about over regulation; give a rule-writing bureaucrat an inch and it’s likely he’ll bury you in paperwork. Left unsaid is that business brings much of this grief upon itself.
Exhibit A is cyber security — or the lack of it — in the billions of financial transactions we carry out every day. For over a decade, we have been encouraged to surrender our most sensitive personal financial information for the freedom to spend money anyplace at any time.
You would expect the businesses that receive this data to honor their commitment to us by employing Fort Knox-like security to protect the information. As security breaches at Target, Home Depot, Anthem and countless others attest, businesses aren’t willing to spend the money required to properly guard our personal information.
The executives of corporations apparently view security as just another cost that impacts the bottom line, and their performance bonuses. They will fix security breaches when they have to.
The inevitable move to crack down on businesses that don’t take customer security seriously enough has begun. The New York state financial regulator that oversees some of the largest banks in the world is calling for new rules to protect against a “cyber-9/11.”
When enough states follow New York’s lead, the financial services industry will go along with Congress enacting federal regulations that establish the same rules for everybody in the country. Once again, business will have nobody to blame but itself.
George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays in The Union.
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