George Boardman: No shortage of nominees for the You Can’t Make This Stuff Up awards
THEY SAID IT
“For me it was a surprise. I’ve been working really close with Bob and I wasn’t looking for that.” Grass Valley Mayor Howard Levine on the resignation of City Manager Bob Richardson after less than three years on the job to return to his old post in Auburn.
“It is not my responsibility to facilitate and finance the creation of the vicarious relationship with the public.” NID Director John Drew
“I’m not sure about YouTube, wanting, you know, the whole world … I mean YouTube goes everywhere in the world.” NID Director Will Morebeck.
“The war is still on. We have not surrendered and we are not going to surrender.” Conservative activist Wade Freedle, when the supervisors appointed a citizens committee to come up with pot cultivation recommendations.
I’ll leave it to others to ponder what has happened in the past year in Nevada County and what it portends for the future. Nobody knows what the future holds anyway.
I prefer to focus on the human comedy in our little corner of paradise, the propensity of people to make the same mistakes over and over again, and their ability to create unintended comedy for the rest of us.
In other words, the fourth annual You Can’t Make This Stuff Up awards, my review of the foibles and pratfalls of local movers-and-shakers, and ordinary residents of the county. The unguarded moment, the “why did I do (or say) that” revelation after the damage is done, the unintended consequences of innocent actions are all candidates for inclusion in the awards.
I make no pretense of finding anything meaningful in all of this, or predicting the future. However, we do know that in an area where many people are suspicious of change, there’s going to be a lot of it next year. We already know we will get a new county manager, a new sheriff, at least one new supervisor, a new high school superintendent, and a new city manager in Nevada City.
The process of filling these positions will generate their share of comedic moments, but I’ll leave all of that for another year. For now, let’s review the year that was.
PRICE OF PROTEST: Local women gathered at a Grass Valley shopping center to ride three buses to the Women’s March in Sacramento. Many of them found their cars towed when they got back.
IT’S, LIKE, ART: A psychedelic mural — described as “collaborative art” — was proposed for historic downtown Grass Valley. The painting was to be done by two artists who described their work as “abstract and quasi-extraterrestrial” (Mars-1) and “chaotic” (Oliver Vernon).
BOOMERANG: Grass Valley City Manager Bob Richardson returned to his old job in Auburn while assistant DA Joe Alexander returned to El Dorado County after a year in the Nevada County DA’s office.
EXPERTISE: Mystic Al was one of the judges of over 100 strains of pot edibles, extracts and processed flower entered in the first Nevada County Cannabis Cup competition.
CHEMISTRY 101: A Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force field test concluded a pound of white powder seized from a motorist was cocaine. It turned out to be flour.
BEST TYPO OF THE YEAR: A columnist in The Union writing about crimes of opportunity: “A car is left open and someone steals an item from inside of it. For example, this could be a box of chocolates OR your grandma.”
WHY THE DIRT IS RED, PART II: Local blogger Jeff Pelline, who complained a couple of years ago that Western Gateway Park was booking too many conservative events, objected to a Nevada County Tea Party proposal to install “liberty trees” and a bench at the park.
BARN DOOR CLOSED: Supervisor Heidi Hall tried to get the supes to allocate money for the homeless after approving a county budget that contained no money for the homeless.
CONSIDER THE SOURCE: NID general manager Rem Scherzinger used the disputed estimates of a couple of pot growers to conclude the district would have to pump enough water for 2,000 more homes to meet the water requirements of people who grow six pot plants a year.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK, PART I: The county paid contractors $5,000 a day to do nothing for several weeks because of delays in building the Penn Valley sewer line. The project is expected to go 50 percent over the $6 million estimate.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK, PART II: After residents of Nevada City approved a tax hike to raise new revenue, the city went $886,500 over budget because of “unexpected expenses.”
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK, PART III: Grass Valley has spent more than $2 million to fill a sinkhole.
POOR NO MORE: Grass Valley applied for a $5 million Community Development Block Grant, money designed to benefit people with low and moderate incomes. Among the goodies requested are an all-weather soccer field and a “tot water splash pad area.”
LAW AND ORDER: ‘We’ve arrested this guy over and over and over and over and over again.” Grass Valley Police Lt. Joe Matteoni, after the arrest of a man for allegedly stealing a generator.
DUMB, DA, DUMB, DUMB: Three men ran out of gas BEFORE they allegedly staged a home invasion robbery. They were captured while trying to escape on foot.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO, PART 1: The discussion in Grass Valley about allowing a pot dispensary.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO, PART 2: The high school district investigation by an outside attorney of the fight club at Nevada Union High School.
TICK, TICK, TICK: Spiral Internet has little progress to report on its broadband network two years after the state PUC approved over $16 million for the venture.
KUMBAYA: In an effort to placate Mayor Duane Strawser and Councilmember Reinette Senum, the other three members of the Nevada City Council voted to consider opening as many as three pot dispensaries in town.
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