Martin move points to need to talk about relevant issues |

Martin move points to need to talk about relevant issues

Jeff Ackerman, Publisher
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Much will probably be made of Supervisor Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin’s recent plea to put Natural Heritage 2020 to sleep for awhile.

After all, the former board chairwoman was one of the primary cheerleaders of that effort to develop a framework for balancing our environmental and economic future, so her announcement last week came as quite a surprise.

Critics of NH 2020 and those hoping Martin will be displaced on the board next November by challenger Robin Sutherland are already circling. Many of them see last week1s announcement as nothing more than a political ploy by a candidate who finally figured out that NH 2020 was a bad career choice.

In making her announcement, Martin said the county had already spent enough money (an estimated $200,000) on the project, and that the economic future is too clouded to dump any more into an effort that has divided the county.

“I want to stop, frankly,” she told our reporter. “I don’t want to spend any more money on it, and I don’t want to tear the county in half any more.”

All of that sounds very noble until we’re reminded that Martin is in the middle of a hotly contested political race that won’t be decided for another six months. Then other possible scenarios start to materialize, such as:

1. “My pollsters showed me the results of the latest poll, and I need to cut the NH 2020 anchor before it drags me to the bottom of Lake Wildwood.”

2. “I don1t want to spend any more money on it for at least six months, but if I win in November, I1ll pull NH 2020 out of retirement so fast it will make their United Nations conspiracy heads spin.”

Or, and this is the scenario I happen to favor, Martin is a chess player, and she just check-mated Sutherland. By removing NH 2020 as a campaign issue with a half a year of campaigning still remaining, Sutherland is now forced to address other issues facing Nevada County. You know … the kind of issues regular people are concerned about, such as traffic, affordable housing, health, crime, education, etc.

As much as we love to discuss NH 2020, 83 percent (that’s my conservative estimate) of the human population of Nevada County doesn’t understand it and could care less about it because it won’t help them pay their PG&E bills or get their kids better grades in school.

It’s not even a decent pick-up line in bars. “Hey. How `ya doin? My name is Phil. I was just wondering what you thought of Natural Heritage 2020.”

“Get lost, loser.”

And there is no denying Martin’s point about the money being tight these days. If you haven’t noticed, the Golden State is out of gold.

At last count (for those who can count that high), the California deficit had reached $20,000,000,000. If that looks like a lot of money, it is.

Mathematicians call it 20 billion and, yes, you could feed your family for a long, long time with that many zeros.

Gov. Gray Davis, who is also running for re-election and in fact leads in the latest polls, will probably explain that the deficit looks worse than it is.

But by the time he’s done explaining how he led us from a surplus to a deficit deeper than the Marianas Trench, we’ll all have migraines and re-elect him just to get him to shut up.

All I know is that if I led this newspaper from a surplus to a deficit, I’d be fired. But tax dollars aren’t real, right? I mean, we’re just playing a game, aren’t we? Kind of like Monopoly? Hell … a billion … zillion … what’s the difference?

For the record, I’m happy to see NH 2020 disappear for awhile. As a relative newcomer (I was here a long time ago), I’d like to hear a little more about some other issues and what these candidates for the five-member board plan to do about them.

If I were Sutherland or Drew Bedwell (he’s challenging Bruce Conklin for his seat on the board), I’d take the next couple of months to study those other issues and then develop policy statements to address them. Most voters – especially the ones in the middle – are going to want to hear how their lives will be better by electing two new supervisors.

Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union. His column appears on Tuesdays. Contact him at 477-4299,, or 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley 95945.

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