The Union flubs another Elections Office article related to Measure S

My sample ballot arrived yesterday

My sample ballot arrived yesterday

In April I pointed to an egregious reporting error in The Union about the Elections Office. Without checking with the Elections Office, it ran a false and some would claim libelous statement from a pro-Measure S press release: “The ACLU is investigating whether actions taken by the County rise to the level of election tampering.”

I confirmed there was no such investigation, but The Union did not. After receiving notice from the Elections Office, Editor Brian Hamilton issued a major retraction “for our failure to confirm the allegation prior to publishing the news release at, which inaccurately called into question the integrity of the county elections office with the false claim.”

The Union didn’t seem to learn anything from its mistake, because it is still writing one-sided articles about the Elections Office related to Measure S.

This morning, the newspaper sided with disgruntled candidates with the headline “Delayed sample ballots irk Nevada County candidates.”

The first 10 paragraphs deal with the candidates making a rather astonishing claim that they should somehow be refunded money for their campaign statements because ballot mailings were delayed. I’ve never heard of such a thing. It almost sounds as if they are trying to come up with an excuse if they lose.

But the article never fleshed out the Elections Office side of this story — and it offered no response from an Elections official until all the way down to the eleventh paragraph.

The crux of the story is this, as the Elections Office said in the very first sentence of its press release: “All sample ballots and sample ballot booklets will be in the hands of Nevada County voters in ample time for voter preparation for the November 4 election, although legal challenges (from the pro-Measure S supporters) nearly derailed the process.”

In addition, the ballots were delayed by a distribution snafu involving the post office.

The full statement is here.

Instead of putting this higher in the story, The Union quoted Patricia Smith, leader of Measure S, the medical marijuana cultivation initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot, as stating that delays in the sample ballot mailing could affect the vote on Measure S.

Talk about an “upside down” world. Most of us are tired of the bickering about Measure S. It has come to epitomize the culture wars, political polarization, nastiness and self interest at play in our western county.

One reason Measure S may go down to defeat has less to do with the initiative but how the campaign is throwing everybody under the bus but itself. There is little to no self-introspection.

And The Union has done an extremely poor job of shedding a light on it, going back to the campaign’s defamatory statement about the Elections Office in April, which it published without even confirming.

Measure S has shown the community at its worst.

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Why our local newspaper’s new editorial board is a farce

Editor’s notes: Here’s an example of how The Union’s editorial board polarizes, not unites. In this letter, one editorial board member — CABPRO supporter Norm Sauer — attacks a fellow board member Cheryl Cook. Sauer uses words such as “rant,” “ploy,” “contempt” and “diatribe.” The Union’s ballyhooed editorial board has become a one-way street.

“Cheryl Cook’s recent essay describing the authors of our Constitution as ‘privileged, white, male property owners who protected slave owners … buying and selling family members … ,’ and continuing to condemn ‘…old people … able to recall every statesman from 238 years ago,’ … but unable to appreciate the continued suffering of Blacks in the 1960s, and that the real threat to domestic tranquility is the Second Amendment’s right of individuals to keep and bear arms, disparages America and its founding documents.

“This rant is known as ‘deconstructionism’ wherein nothing respected about our history remains untainted. A deconstructionist’s ploy is the de-emphasis, or even effacement, by posing a continuous critique, to lay low what was once high.

“Cook’s essay tears down the old certainties upon which Western culture is founded and the foundations on which those beliefs are based. Sadly, I read her diatribe as an attempted erosion of our God-given inalienable rights, that “all men are created equal,” individualism, limited government, an educated and virtuous citizenry, and full republicanism.

“I can only scratch my head with wonder at her contempt. What purpose does she seek to serve in her destruction of American Exceptionalism?”

Norm Sauer, who lives in Nevada City, is a member of The Union Editorial Board. His opinion is his own and does not represent The Union or its editorial board.

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Truckee and Nevada City Chambers and Grass Valley Downtown Association: focused on their missions

We belong to a lot of organizations — from the ERC to SYRCL to the Center for the Arts —and we particularly enjoy our membership in the Truckee Chamber and Nevada City Chamber, along with the Grass Valley Downtown Association.

This week the Nevada City Chamber went out of their way to thank us for the fall issue of our magazine, which includes a fall-foliage map that it no longer can afford to print. So they hand out the map in our magazine to “leaf peepers.” This year, we also included a fall road trip in Nevada City and Grass Valley.

We also were in Truckee today meeting with President/CEO Lynn Saunders, ensuring Truckee’s support for Nevada County’s first restaurant week from January 23-February 1, showcasing local cuisine with prix-fix menus. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

We are a cash sponsor, and the event is being held in conjunction with California Restaurant Month and promoted by, the state’s tourism website. Lynn happily agreed to support the initiative, and we thanked her.

We also distribute our magazines at the Chamber’s California Welcome Center in Truckee — a huge volume of them — and we left some of the 2015-16 Placer County Visitor guides (now a full-fledged magazine) that we publish for Placer County. Cross-county collaboration is important, because tourists aren’t that aware of the boundaries — just the region. We all benefit from that.

We’re up and down “the hill” a lot, and we help with the communication between the west and east Chambers — dropping off the western county Chambers’ visitor guide in Truckee, for example.

We enjoy our membership in all of these organization. They steer clear of politics and are truly committed to promoting our community to visitors and business advocacy for locals.

Many thanks for all you do. We enjoy working with you.

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Greg Diaz sets the record straight for voters

Editor’s note: I’m glad to see Greg Diaz, a longtime, experienced professional, not an opportunistic job hopper or rock-throwing retiree, setting the record straight for the voters. I spoke to him this morning before I began my day, and I thanked him for his service. Here’s the press release from his office, issued this afternoon:

Status of Sample Ballot Booklets and Official Ballots for the November 4, 2014 Consolidated General Election

All sample ballots and sample ballot booklets will be in the hands of Nevada County voters in ample time for voter preparation for the November 4 election, although legal challenges nearly derailed the process.

Official Ballots: The Sample Ballot Booklets and Official Ballots were both mailed on October 14, 2014. Most voters in Eastern County received both the booklets and ballots by Thursday, October 16, 2014. Most voters in Western County received their ballots, but not the booklets, by Friday, October 17, 2014.

Sample Ballot Booklets: The Sample Ballot Booklets for voters in Western County were received today, October 21, 2014 by the Grass Valley and Nevada City Post Offices with delivery scheduled for today and tomorrow. A Sample Ballot lookup is always available online on our home page or this direct link for voters to view their Sample Ballot Booklets.

This mailing is much later than every other election mailing I have overseen during my seven plus years as Registrar of Voters. Here is what happened:

According to our plan, all ballots and booklets were to have been printed and ready for mailing by September 29, 2014. They were.

However, on that very day, September 29, 2014, I was served with a Petition for Peremptory Writ of Mandate regarding ballot language for Measure S, which stopped the printing and mailing process. On October 1, 2014, the hearing on the Petition was continued to October 3, 2014. On October 1, 2014, I asked our printers to freeze our mailing processes until we received a ruling on the Petition for Peremptory Writ of Mandate. On October 3rd at 4:40 PM, I received the ruling on the petition: Petition Denied. At 4:44 PM, Ms. Sjoberg sent an email to our printer to proceed with our mailing.

On October 10, 2014, our printer informed me that our mailing would be delayed until October 14, 2014 due to an “internal production delay.” It is my understanding that this delay came about because of the cessation of the process on October 1st. At my request, the printer provided postal receipts documenting the deliveries.

• Recorder (530) 265-1221 • Elections (530) 265-1298

• Fax (530) 265-9842

• Fax (530) 265-9829

One of the candidates on the ballot wrote yesterday, “I am very concerned about the integrity of the voting process”. I hope this explanation will enable this candidate and others to understand that the delay occurred because carefully crafted schedules were changed as a result of the legal process. To ensure the integrity of this election, and to avoid additional delay with costly reprinting of the materials, our team, under my direction, acted with an abundance of caution after the writ hearing was continued.

I sincerely hope no one has been adversely impacted from our later than normal mailing. We are committed to ensuring every voter is given the opportunity to exercise the right to participate in the democratic process. Thank You.

Gregory J. Diaz
Nevada County Clerk-Recorder

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Local hard-right: Ebola is Obama’s fault

Over the years, I’ve learned to predict the latest narrative from our local hard-right by listening to a half-hour or so of Rush Limbaugh if I’m driving around the region in my pickup truck. Sure enough, I listened to Rush the other day, and his nonstop narrative was blaming the Obama administration now that an Ebola case has been diagnosed in our country.

It’s no coincidence that linking Obama to Ebola comes just ahead of the November 4 elections. The hard-right ideologues have adopted it as a strategy to win a few more races in November — sick but true. They are happiest when there is hysteria.

And sure enough, that narrative has been adopted by hard-right blogger, activist, political donor and personification of “Rush,” George Rebane, whose ideologically rigid work is being quoted in The Union more frequently as “news” as well as regularly on the KVMR “news hour.” They are doing a good job of giving “Dr. Rebane” a platform.

This morning Rebane has a post titled “Ebola: A government competency metric.” It begins: “The extraordinarily incompetent Obama administration is not done with us yet.”

The reporting is far more balanced on Facebook, a more open forum where people are reminded about President Reagan’s struggle in dealing with the AIDS outbreak — and his late reaction. Some examples of the links cited are here, here and here. “And the Band Played On” (an apt title) was a best-selling book written by Randy Shilts, a reporter at the S.F. Chronicle, who later died of AIDS.

“The disease that we now call AIDS was first identified 30 years ago in medical journals in 1981 — President Reagan’s first year in office. It quickly took hold in the media and in the national consciousness. Yet it wasn’t until May 31, 1987 that President Reagan would give his first major address on AIDS,” as Emmy-award winning journalist Hank Plante writes.

“President Reagan did have people around him who were more engaged in dealing with AIDS, notably his surgeon general, C. Everett Koop, and Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health. But in the office where Harry Truman said the buck stops, the silence on AIDS continues to be a baffling part of the Reagan legacy.” Rock Hudson, one of Reagan’s friends, died of AIDS.

By contrast, President Obama has wasted no time addressing the concerns about Ebola. He addressed the issue even before the outbreak hit U.S. shores. Here’s a transcript from July 2014: “We’ve actually been engaged in this outbreak since March,” he said.

The Ebola outbreak that spread at a Dallas hospital was the result of of some actions there, not Obama. Some details are here.

Here’s what the U.S. is doing, as the New York Times reports:

New screening protocols have begun at five U.S. airports: Kennedy International, Washington Dulles International, O’Hare International, Hartsfield-Jackson International and Newark Liberty International. Travelers from West Africa have their temperatures taken and are questioned about their possible exposure to Ebola.

The C.D.C. has also announced that a site manager would be sent immediately to any U.S. hospital treating Ebola patients to oversee all aspects of infection control, including making sure that health officials properly remove protection gear.

As for our community, where George Rebane lives and rants, Nevada County officials have said they do not ever expect it to come here but they said they are prepared. More details are here.

Never wanting facts to get in the way of a self-serving political narrative, the hard right has made Ebola the latest political football just before an election. And people like George Rebane are carrying the ball right into our rural community.

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News of Nevada City hosting Amgen race broke on social media — again

The news of Nevada City hosting a stage of the Amgen Tour of California race broke on social media — again.

This blog posted the press release on Facebook — three pages in fact, including Nevada County Peeps. It was receiving “likes” and comments before the “old guard” local media — including KNCO and The Union — got around to posting the press release. The Union’s initial post was locked behind the “paywall.”

YubaNet did a good job of getting the press release posted in a timely matter.

This is not the first time that social media has led the charge on an Amgen Tour of California announcement involving our western county. This blog first reported that Nevada City would be a host city in 2010 — from vacation in Austria, no less. The details are here.

The internet is changing how we communicate in small towns like ours. It is an indisputable fact.

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Nevada City, South Lake Tahoe, Sacramento are host cities for 2015 Amgen Tour of California

2015-ATOC_OVERALL_MAPEditor’s note: This is big news! Nevada City is a host city for the men’s race, and South Lake Tahoe is a host city for the women’s race.

The Amgen Tour of California, presented by AEG, announced it will make its grand return to Sacramento, the capital of California, to kick off the 10th anniversary of America’s largest cycling race. The eight day stage race will travel a north-to-south route and span nearly 700 miles through many of California’s most breathtaking roads and sceneries. The Amgen Tour of California is also proud to announce a first of its kind, three-day professional women’s cycling race on May 8-10, 2015, as well as an invitational Time Trial on May 15, 2015.

Regarded as the largest and most prestigious cycling event in America, 52 California cities have hosted the race throughout the past nine editions. For the 10th anniversary, the start of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California will take place in Sacramento, the state’s capital, and travel through 12 additional host cities during the eight day event including Nevada City, Lodi (first-time host city), San Jose (ten-time host city), Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) and Pasadena.

“Since we launched the Amgen Tour of California nine years ago, we have strived to host the world’s top cyclists in a race that will not only challenge them as professionals, but will also provide a stunning backdrop,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “As we look ahead to our 10th edition of the race, we’re certain the worldwide audience will be on the edge of their seats watching as the sport’s best men and women cyclists compete against each other in what is likely to be our most challenging and picturesque course ever.”

Stage 1 of the race commences on May 10, 2015 in the state’s capital of Sacramento, which marks the seventh time the city has hosted the race and the third time as the overall start. After eight days of racing, cyclists will conclude the race in the city referred to fondly as the “City of Roses,” Pasadena.

Council Member Duane Strawser and City Manager Mark Prestwich of Nevada City at the press conference in Sacramento

Council Member Duane Strawser and City Manager Mark Prestwich of Nevada City at the press conference

Stage 2 race begins in Nevada City

Stage 2 of the race will find the peloton traveling through historic Nevada City to first-time host city Lodi, known as the “Zinfandel Capital of the World.” Stage 3 will see the cyclists start and finish in the only city to have participated in all 10 editions of the race, San Jose.

As the peloton continues its journey south, Stage 4 will take the race from one ocean side community to another when the peloton traverses from Pismo Beach to Avila Beach. This year marks the second time each city has served as a host city.

Stage 5 of the race will commence in the “American Riviera” known as Santa Barbara, where cyclists will have the chance to take in picturesque views of the California coast and Pacific Ocean. From Santa Barbara, cyclists will land in Santa Clarita, with both cities sharing the distinction of serving as host cities six times since the race began.

Third-time host city Big Bear Lake will host this year’s Individual Time Trial (Stage 6), where cyclists will compete against the clock while taking in stunning mountain and lake views. During Stage 7, Ontario, referred to as the “Gateway to Southern California,” will host cyclists for the second time as they make their way to a mountain top finish at Mt. Baldy, a third-time host city.

As the race draws to a conclusion, the peloton will travel from L.A. LIVE in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This marks the third time Los Angeles has served as a host city after hosting the overall finish of the race in 2012, also at L.A. LIVE. Pasadena has hosted the race four times, including the overall finish in 2008.

For ten consecutive years, biotechnology company Amgen has served as the title sponsor of the race and will continue to activate Breakaway from Cancer® leading up to and during the race. Founded in 2005 by Amgen, Breakaway from Cancer aims to increase awareness of important resource available to people affected by cancer, from prevention to survivorship.

The Amgen Tour of California draws global recognition as one of the most anticipated cycling events of the year attracting Olympic medalists, World Champions and top Tour de France competitors.

Race to host unprecedented four days of women’s cycling

To highlight the extraordinary achievements in women’s cycling, the 2015 Amgen Tour of California will continue to expand its support of women’s cycling and host a first of its kind three-day women’s cycling stage race. The women’s race will travel through South Lake Tahoe on May 8-9, 2015 and conclude in Sacramento on May 10, 2015, the same day of the overall start of the men’s race.

As with previous years, the world’s top-ranked time trialists will be invited to race against the clock during an invitational Time Trial preceding the men’s Individual Time Trial at Stage 6 in Big Bear Lake. Powered by SRAM, one of the founding sponsors of the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial, the women’s cycling event serves as a chance for female cyclists to display the powerful and exciting racing they are known for around the world.

“We are beyond thrilled to see the Amgen Tour of California continue to expand its entire women’s racing platform. This will continue to expose the world to the passion and force women have on the bike,” said, SRAM President Stan Day.

“AEG has always been proud to support women’s cycling and is pleased to once again expand its women’s competition to four days,” said Bachochin. “Hosting four days of women’s cycling, fans will have the opportunity to watch the immense talents and achievements of the best women cyclists from around the world.”

The Host City partners for the 2015 Amgen Tour of California include:

Women’s Race:

Stage 1: Friday, May 8 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 2: Saturday, May 9 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 3: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Invitational Time Trial: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake
Men’s Race:

Stage 1: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Stage 2: Monday, May 11 – Nevada City to Lodi
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 12 – San Jose
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 13 – Pismo Beach to Avila Beach
Stage 5: Thursday, May 14 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Stage 6: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 7: Saturday, May 16 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8: Sunday, May 17 – L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) to Pasadena

For further information on the 2015 Amgen Tour of California, visit

-Amgen Tour of California

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