George Boardman: Why don’t we just boycott candidates who boycott Nevada County?
The election season that started after Labor Day and runs until Election Day in November promises to be one of the more contentious in recent history, one that is viewed by partisans in both major political parties as a struggle for the very soul of America.
In Nevada County? Not so much. In fact, we’re having trouble scaring up even something as moderately contentious as a League of Women Voters candidate forum, where candidates for two of the biggest offices on the local ballot are no shows.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa declined to participate in the league’s Candidate Forum Series with his Democratic challenger, Audrey Denney. This is no particular surprise. LaMalfa has ignored us in the past, has less support in Nevada County than elsewhere in his district, and is a shoe-in for reelection anyway.
It would be a significant upset if LaMalfa, McClintock or Dahle were dislodged from his seats, so there’s no reason they should appear at events that give their opponents desperately needed exposure and the increased stature that goes with it.
But that doesn’t mean that at least one of them doesn’t care about what we think. Perhaps in lieu of making the journey to the Rood Center from Sacramento or Bieber, Dahle sent me a mailer seeking my opinion of Proposition 13, which was passed by voters in 1978 and is in little danger of being repealed.
Still, Dahle asked me to respond to a survey that asked, among other things, whether I support changes in Proposition 13 to make it easier to increase taxes on small businesses and pass local tax increases.
In case I was ignorant of the merits of the measure or may be on the fence, Dahle provided me with three pages of reasons why Proposition 13 should be retained, and how it keeps “property taxes low and government spending under control.”
There’s some irony here: Proposition 13 took the taxing power out of local hands and put it in Sacramento, creating a yoke many of Dahle’s constituents have been complaining about for years. That’s one of the reasons the movement to create a 51st state is popular in his district.
Yes, the State of Jefferson movement is still alive in the 1st Assembly district. Mark Baird, the apparent leader of the movement, writes that Satan has a plan to overthrow our republic and that California is already a lost cause. (For more details, you can attend the Nevada County Standing Committee meetings the second and fourth Mondays of the month at Robinson’s Conference Center in Nevada City.)
While they’re fighting Satan, the Jeffersonians should also give some thought to overturning Proposition 13. That would give less power to Sacramento, which they claim doesn’t care about their priorities anyway, and give the counties north of us the ability to decide how to spend their tax dollars until the 51st state becomes a reality.
The United States has a long and noble history of using boycotts to protest injustice. Colonialists protested the Stamp Act and other tariffs by boycotting British goods, and the modern civil rights movement was launched by a bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.
But like everything else in this country, boycotts aren’t what they used to be. Now, we’re burning $200 sneakers and giving up fast-food cheeseburgers.
The sneakers are made by Nike, which has launched a new ad campaign featuring rabble-rouser Colin Kaepernick, who started the movement of NFL players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest various social injustices — pick your favorite one.
This has prompted some conservatives to rip the Nike logo off their clothing and burn clothing and sneakers, apparently oblivious to the fact that they’re not hurting Nike by destroying something they’ve already paid for. But they might come out even on the deal because of the money they saved boycotting Dick’s Sporting Goods after it restricted the sale of firearms in the wake of the Parkland shootings.
On the liberal side of the spectrum, the head of the California Democratic Party urged a boycott of In-N-Out Burgers because the owners contributed money to a conservative cause. He later backed down when it was pointed out they’ve also contributed to liberal outfits. But liberals can still boycott New Balance athletic shoes, whose CEO said in 2016 he liked Donald Trump’s business proposals.
While I’m no fan of the Trump administration, I’ll continue to patronize In-N-Out (it’s about the only fast food joint my wife will enter when we’re on the road) and wear New Balance shoes, which are a much better deal than the over-priced stuff Nike sells. Besides, it just makes life less complicated when you ignore calls for boycotts.
For example, what am I to make of billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who recently contributed $100,000 to Protect the House, a Republican effort to maintain control of the House of Representatives? Should I boycott Microsoft products? Allen hasn’t been involved in the company for many years, but most of his vast wealth comes from its success.
What about the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers, which are both owned by Allen? I’ll root against them when they play the 49ers and the Warriors, but I don’t really care what their owner does with his money.
Besides, what passes for boycotts these days are nothing more than outbursts of personal indignation that are forgotten almost as quickly as they start. What’s important is that you tell me what you think, even if I don’t care. Me, I’m trying to decide between the cheeseburger or the double-double.
George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to correct an error, due to inaccurate information provided to The Union. According to to the League of Women Voters, Assemblyman Brian Dahle said he was willing to participate in a District 1 candidate forum, but the date proposed did not work with him, but has not offered an alternate date. Challenger Caleen Sisk said she was willing to participate, but did not respond to a date suggested.
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