George Boardman: Senum’s latest incendiary comment damages the town she claims to love | TheUnion.com
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George Boardman: Senum’s latest incendiary comment damages the town she claims to love

George Boardman
Columnist
George Boardman
John Hart/jhart@theunion.com | The Union

Observations from the center stripe: Compromise edition

LOCAL ADVOCATES of medical marijuana need to bend a little bit on the new temporary ordinance spelling out how much medical pot can be grown. The supervisors are hemmed in by environmental laws—and this is a temporary measure…THERE’S A reason Donald Trump stayed out of the GOP platform debate and Hillary Clinton gave Bernie Sanders most of what he wanted in the Democratic platform. Both candidates know the documents will be ignored after the conventions…SUPREME COURT Justice Ruth Ginsburg’s inappropriate remarks about Trump make me think she’s getting ready to retire…IF NOTHING else, Pokeman Go is getting people off their couches and out into the fresh air…PRO SPORTS truly is a gold mine. The Los Angeles Lakers and San Francisco 49ers, two franchises that have been mediocre to terrible the last few years, are tied for 10th on Forbes magazine’s list of the most valuable teams. Each is estimated to be worth $2.7 billion…

It is safe to say that there is no more polarizing person in this neck of the woods than Nevada City Council member Reinette Senum. Few people have supporters and detractors who are equally passionate about her.

Thus it has come as no surprise that she has taken more flak than a B-17 bomber over Berlin in 1944 for her incendiary comment on Facebook that essentially “America’s police force” is composed of paid assassins. The backlash was so severe that Mayor Evans Phelps felt the need to call a special council meeting to reassure the general public Nevada City supports law enforcement.

More than 100 members of various law enforcement agencies and their supporters showed up with citizens at the meeting to criticize Senum’s comments, many of them calling for her to resign. She also had her defenders, who pointed out her numerous efforts to make Nevada City a better place and that she has apologized for her comment.

Senum deleted the comment from her Facebook page and wrote she wasn’t referring to the Nevada City Police Department when she mentioned “America’s police force.” She also lamely said she was speaking as a private citizen and not as a council member.

But Senum’s incendiary statement was hardly an emotional, spur-of-the-moment outburst that she now claims to regret. A quick scroll through her Facebook page shows she was leading up to this statement with her comments on the shooting of black men in St. Paul and Baton Rouge.

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When Alton Sterling was shot in Baton Rouge, she wrote July 6: “I’m so outraged, I’m speechless. Looks like those in control are completely trying to incite mass protest and chaos.” And after Philando Castile was killed in St. Paul, she wrote July 7: “Our American police forces, they seem to be doing everything they can to incite public outrage.”

Conspiracies seem to play a pivotal role in Senum’s thinking. She told The Union that much of the blowback is a concealed political attack from a local group that is trying to damage her reputation. “We will be dealing with them shortly, this is much deeper than what it seems,” she said.

She used much of her Facebook apology to lash out at satirical website Nevada County Scooper, which “put out a fake article that grossly misrepresented what I posted … In this spoof it stated that I said the (Dallas) police ‘got what they deserved’. Again, this was a drummed up story penned by an anonymous writer. This begs me to ask, who is this person and what is their motive?”

The Scooper story, largely based on Senum’s original statement, ran under the headline “City Councilwoman: The Dallas Police Got What They Deserved.” That statement was softened somewhat in the text of the story, which said she was “implying that murdered and injured Dallas Police Officers got what they deserved.”

Scooper is guilty of distorting her statement and blurring the line between fact and exaggeration, but the story is no more misleading than the conspiracies Senum highlights regularly on her Facebook page.

Periodical perusal of her page — daily reading may not be good for your mental health — shows that she believes chemtrails are real, is suspicious of microwave towers, and is an anti-vaxxer and staunch opponent of the pharmaceutical industry.

Senum believes that drug companies have co-opted government regulatory agencies in order to escape responsibility for the harm their products do to people. She continued this narrative with a recent item from something called Evil News claiming that the “CDC admits 98 million Americans were given the cancer virus in their polio shot.” Not quite.

An estimated 10 to 30 million people who received polio shots from 1955-63 may have received vaccine that was contaminated with something called SV40, which some people claim can cause cancer. “The majority of scientific evidence suggests that SV40-contaminated vaccine did not cause cancer,” according to the CDC. Then, of course, there’s the ever-declining cancer death rate.

Like many people who use the internet to confirm their suspicions, Senum is not real choosy about where her “facts” come from. She has raised the possibility that “crisis” actors were used in the Orlando nightclub massacre, and recently ran a video clip of author Naomi Wolf discussing the CIA’s support of overseas protests against rulers the U.S. doesn’t like.

Senum got the video, which appears to be edited, from RenegadeTribune.com, an outfit that sells biographies of Nazi Germany superstars when Adolph was calling the shots. (I wonder if the folks at Renegade know Wolf is Jewish?)

While she claims not to like Vladimir Putin, she’s with him when he says NATO and the U.S. are trying to push Russia into a nuclear war. Then there’s the claim by a blogger that “approximately 15 percent of Bernie’s votes (were) flipped to Clinton in California.” Oh, yes, did you know Atlantis is in the Bermuda Triangle? It’s all—or was—on her Facebook page.

“For the last eight years, I have been very vocal about the things I don’t like in the world,” Senum said at the council meeting. Fair enough—everybody is entitled to their own opinion, even when their reasoning causes others to roll their eyes.

But as an elected representative of a town that is hypersensitive to the whims of tourists, Senum also has a responsibility to temper her public remarks. Her most recent outburst does little to promote the interests of Nevada City, a place she claims to love.

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


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