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Yankee traders and the regulators

Our “Yankee trader” mentality has always been the American way – rather, it has been the way long before Yankees. It’s called “make a buck,” or more commonly, “find a need,” fill it, and prosper. As a nation, our people have been able to realize their dreams because of it, and our enviable world stature is a consequence.

Unfortunately, the age-old concept has been replaced by “Make a need and fill it” by the manipulation of increasing regulations. The original profit motive phenomenon has morphed to “frighten the potential market, generate a perceived need, regulate to relieve the fear, and reap the profit.”

The most vivid example is the bicycle helmet law. Wish I had bought stock in that one. Clean water threats? Has no one heard of water treatment and natural processes?



While fending off The Union’s opinion page, my naivete recently ran into a wall. As you may recall, I’m seriously concerned about the impact of AB885 (private septic system regulation) on rural Nevada County, so when the subject of the “Comprehensive Site Plan” came before the board recently, I became frantic pondering the implications.

As presented by the Planning Department, any work on your property, whether raw land development or new construction (any permitted construction – garage doors to septic tank upgrades, etc.), opens the door to new and expensive professional requirements (mapping, corner-staking, inspections, biological surveys, etc.).




This new regulation, in the hands of the wrong people and particularly in the face of AB885’s intrusive demands, is the blank check for the ruin of our remaining property rights. Perhaps you think the “Super Sewer” is a bad idea? Wait until AB885 gets into your pocketbook under the “Comprehensive Site Plan” regulation.

For the record, I was willing to compromise and limit the “site plan” regulation to raw land development only (it’s being done anyway), but the Board of Supervisors passed the regulation, unaltered, on a split vote. This will cost existing homeowners dearly, and rest assured I opposed it.

Up to now, it’s been very easy for me to absolutely blame government for the regulations. Now I can absolutely tell you that our regulators are just as happy about the “site plan” outcome as the Yankee traders who sponsored it. Similarly, any “clean water” regulations/grants foisted upon taxpayers are reasons for mutual celebration. It’s very likely that none of the parties give a whit about the property owners who pay the taxes and fees, focusing instead on their agenda and/or respective pocketbooks.

If we are to prosper as a nation, we must curtail government intervention into our lives. Attacks on property rights (NH 2020) and the ceaseless pursuit for the control of our water (SYRCL) point out the prime targets of those who would undo us, particularly in rural America. Their tool is by regulation and their power is the use of our property tax dollars, mitigation fees and tax-funded water grants.

When our healthy entrepreneurial business people and well-intended conservationists put their own interests ahead of the constitutional interests of our citizens, there will be more than a price to pay. Our complicity, by silence, will also contribute to the forsaking our country’s cultural sustainability, the abrogation of our responsibility to our children’s dreams, and hasten the demise of a great culture … all in the name of a corporate buck.

Don’t wait for someone else to get involved. Demand a reduction in county regulations.

Drew Bedwell of Grass Valley is a county supervisor representing District 3.


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