George Boardman: Plenty of candidates for annual You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Awards |

George Boardman: Plenty of candidates for annual You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Awards

George Boardman

Election years always provide lots of opportunities for foolish behavior so it’s no surprise that the conduct of candidates dominates the fifth annual You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Awards.

The awards, which seek to highlight clueless behavior, earnest efforts that turn into needless mistakes, and the general foolishness that makes people so interesting, also found plenty to like beyond the political arena in western Nevada County.

A statue dedicated to a pioneer and his wife was rejected in Nevada City because of his racist attitudes, but men representing 11 slave-owning presidents were allowed to march down Broad Street.

Once again, the wheels of justice cranked and lurched in seemingly contradictory ways, causing people to wonder if the criminal justice system is based on the readings of a ouija board instead of an established body of law.

A population said to be adverse to taxes blessed them on three separate occasions. Grass Valley voters decided to increase their taxes, and county voters rejected repeal of an 11-cent increase in gas taxes. Even local conservatives backed a new tax — granted, it was a sin tax on pot. That passed too.

A candidate for a job he said involved no work lost to the incumbent, and nobody got excited about the race for sheriff until a debate erupted over who will run the dog pound. Time may wait for no man, but plenty of people are waiting for a local landmark to be repaired and a pot cultivation ordinance to be passed.

All of this contributed to the awards presented below. As in the past, all decisions are final and guided by the observation of Finley Peter Dunne that it’s the job of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

NOW YOU TELL ME: Two NID directors panned a district application for $12 million in funding for the proposed Centennial Dam after it got a low score from the California Water Commission. “I was appalled” (director Nancy Weber) and the low score was “well-deserved” (director Nick Wilcox).

DEAD HORSE DEPARTMENT: NID didn’t bother to appeal rejection of its application, but that didn’t stop Melinda Booth, executive director of SYRCL, from appearing before the California Water Commission to object to the funding.

DOUBLE DIP: Niel Locke, who as Nevada City Clerk works four to six hours a week, announced he was going to run for city treasurer, saying it “takes about no time per week … there is nothing to do.” He lost to incumbent Dave McKay.

MAYBE NIEL CAN HELP OUT IN THE PLANNING OFFICE: Nevada City Planner Amy Wolfson announced she was swamped by applications for operating cannabis businesses in the town. Wolfson is the planning department.

PERPETUAL ISSUE: Mayor Duane Strawser said he was going to seek reelection to the Nevada City Council in part because he didn’t want to walk away from issues like the Alpha Building, which was vacant before he was elected to the council in 2010, is still vacant, and is currently for sale.

GOOD ONE: Writing an “Other Voices” column in The Union, Virginia Moran accused Supervisor Ed Scofield of ignoring the will of the people when he voted to allow construction of a Dollar General store in Alta Sierra: “I’m over here, under the bus.”

WHAT CREDENTIALS?: Trustees waived the credential requirement when the Nevada Joint Union High School District hired a new superintendent.

SCHOOL DAZE: The principal of Bear River High School announced her resignation the first day of classes.

STATE LEADER: Yuba River Charter School is among the state leaders when it comes to students who are exempt from getting vaccinated.

WELL, SOME OF THEM HAVE CORNED BEEF: A local restaurant offered Reuben sandwiches on its St. Patrick’s Day menu.

BIG BARK: The protests that ensued after the sheriff’s office announced it was dumping Sammie’s Friends prompted Sheriff Keith Royal to reverse the decision and negotiate a new contract with Sammie …

WHO ME?: Joey Jordan, manager of John Foster’s race for sheriff, denied she was the Joey Jordan who purchased the “” website.

DOH!: Twenty-nine ballots from other counties were deposited at Nevada County collection points during the June primary.

MEDIA MATTERS: A candidate for the Grass Valley City Council withdrew from the race after YubaNet questioned his residency.

IT TAKES A …: A three-part series at a local church about important Christian women was presented by a man. A five-person discussion about youth and drugs included one teenager.

MEASURE TWICE …: The renovation of the playground at Memorial Park in Grass Valley took four months instead of two weeks when the poles purchased to hold up the shade sails were too short.

LAW AND ORDER: A woman who was arrested twice on DUI charges in September 2017 was arrested again in January after hitting a light pole in Grass Valley.

REPEAT OFFENDER: A man was arrested two days in a row by Grass Valley Police, one of several times he’s been arrested two days in a row.

FAMILIAR FACE: Grass Valley police arrested a man on assault charges, the 14th time in two years they’ve arrested him.

WHAT A DEAL: A man facing life in prison pleaded no contest to three charges and was sentenced to five years probation.

SCALES OF JUSTICE: A woman who allegedly voted twice in a Democratic primary had to post a $10,000 bond to get out of jail, but a man who was arrested six times in a year and missed four court appearances got a $1,500 bond.

THAT’S IN THE KORAN?: “I believe the present state of affairs in the world order are the result of the spontaneously coordinated efforts of fundamental Islam and western socialists striving to meet Agenda 21 objectives” — Conservative blogger George Rebane.

TICK, TICK, TICK, PART I: The estimated cost to repair the Bridgeport Covered Bridge has ballooned from $1.3 million to $6.8 million, and work still hasn’t started almost seven years after it was closed to the public.

TICK, TICK, TICK, PART II: It has been almost 2.5 years since Measure W was rejected by voters, and the Board of Supervisors still hasn’t passed the marijuana cultivation ordinance it promised. On the bright side, it managed to get a pot tax approved by voters.

TICK, TICK, TICK, PART III: Spiral Internet finally gave up on its long-delayed plan to bring high speed communication to western Nevada County and sold the project to Race Communications. The deal is expected to be approved by the state PUC in January.


“We have a lot of contact with him. He needs to be off the street.” — Grass Valley Police Sgt. Dan Kimbrough, after police arrested a man for the 14th time in two years.

“We will make the front page of the New York Times if we do this — we will become a laughingstock.” — Nevada City Council member Erin Minett, on a proposal to build a statue of Senator Aaron and Ellen Sargent.

“The county is working … to expand shelter capacity and bridge housing beds for our homeless …” — Mike Dent, director of the county Department of Child Support, Collection and Housing. He didn’t explain what “bridge housing beds” means.

“He tends to have a pattern of doing this two-days-in-a-row thing. It’s a long history of the same type of behavior.” — Grass Valley Police Sgt. Jason Perry, after the same guy was arrested two-days-in-a-row again.

George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at

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