Sally Harris: Goals needed for Nevada City
As we approach the March 3 election, I find myself thinking of my personal priorities for Nevada City and wonder if the five Nevada City Council candidates support them or have different ideas. There are great things about being part of such a wonderful, small town. So many of us love living here and want to protect what we have. Being small also means having limited resources, including both city employees and money. We have to be selective in where and how we expend these resources. Personally, I think the city has spent more than enough time and money protecting our residents from the possible health effects of 5G and it is time to move forward on to other urgent matters. Some of my top concerns are fire, power and retaining the courthouse downtown. Currently, these are not included in the council’s three-year goals, updated in August, with the exception of cooperating regionally on installing high-low sirens and some selective vegetation abatement efforts.
Fire readiness will require working with local and state officials to determine ways to help our residents prevent losing their insurance, property and possibly their lives. And we need our landline and cell phone services to work without power, since the very reason for the power shutoffs is high fire danger conditions — just when we would most need our communication systems.
Having a reliable power grid, both short- and long-term, is highly important. At a minimum, we need to help see that our downtown and Seven Hills businesses have electricity during these inevitable power blackouts. This will likely require working with PG&E to harden our lines from the Brunswick Substation to Searls Avenue and then, on into town. Hardened to the extent that the power lines will be safe enough for PG&E to attach generators to the power station and “light us up” as they did for parts of Grass Valley and other mountain communities. Longer term, we should continue to explore the viability of solar at the old airport, which will also require PG&E’s cooperation, since they own the distribution lines. Tesla has a personal connection to Nevada City, perhaps they would be willing to use us as a model for power sustainability with their comprehensive solar and battery programs.
Fire readiness and hardening our power grid are essential to the safety and continued viability of our town. The third priority of keeping the courthouse downtown is about maintaining our vibrant and relatively diverse economic base. A number of our businesses would not be able to continue profitably without all the court employees, attorneys and visitors to the courthouse five days a week, all year round, eating and shopping nearby. If it were to leave the downtown business district, we would definitely lose businesses, reducing our attractiveness to residents and tourists alike.
All three of these priorities require significant staff time and good working relationships with organizations outside of Nevada City: the county, Grass Valley and Truckee, PG&E, fire agencies, court officials and our elected representatives at the state and federal levels. We need to make sure city staff has the bandwidth and our council has the dedication and skills to work effectively amongst themselves, and with these various organizations critical to our success.
What are your priorities? When candidates come to your door, asking for your vote on March 3, please share your views with them, ask what they want to accomplish as elected officials, and assess their skills for helping to successfully achieve these goals. Integrity, intelligence and teamwork capabilities are high on my list of qualities to help our town move forward.
Sally Harris served on the Nevada City Council for 10 years, and served as mayor for two years.
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