Cliven Bundy speaking in Yuba City on November 14

I had written about this before:


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Merced Sun-Star joins Bee, others in endorsing Art Moore for Congress

Editor’s note: The Merced Sun-Star has joined the Sacramento Bee, Nevada County Supervisor Nate Beason, Placer County Supervisors Jennifer Montgomery and Jim Holmes in endorsing Art Moore for Congress rather than Tom McClintock. The Sun-Star’s editorial is here:

“It’s no secret that the mountain areas of California are more conservative than the Valley and far more conservative than the coast. That’s why, in running against opponents from the Democratic Party, Rep. Tom McClintock has thrived in the mountainous 4th Congressional District.

“This year, though, there is no Democrat in the race. And that means McClintock might actually face a challenge. At least we hope so.

“McClintock is one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Congress. He’s so right-wing you can’t even blame him for the Capitol’s dysfunction; no one expects him to compromise. On anything.

“McClintock has become so rigidly conservative that he was one of only four members who voted in lock-step with the tea party group Freedom Works for three years running. That might make McClintock feel righteous, but it also marginalizes him. It’s no way to govern.

“Most people expect their government to work for them. But McClintock can’t even bring himself to support President Barack Obama’s efforts against the Islamic State, misreading the president’s statement in a way that seems to grant the religious fanatics an actual territory and that will surely anger moderate Muslims. In his statement, McClintock worries that anyone we arm in opposition to the Islamic State might weaken the murderous regime of Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad. Is he a fan?

“Such thinking should be more worrisome to conservatives than to liberals – who are against any military action in the region. Regardless of what liberals might wish, we’re likely to be involved in this conflict at least until the immediate threat has been incapacitated. We need someone who isn’t blinded by disdain for any policy with Democratic support.

“That’s why we’re endorsing Republican Art Moore for the 4th Congressional District, which includes all of Tuolumne and Mariposa counties and parts of seven others. He has conservative credentials and, even at age 36, a far keener understanding of the world in which we live. The Auburn native went to West Point and then served 14 years in the military, rising to the rank of major. He spent 30 months overseas, including tours in Iraq and in the Sinai, earning a Bronze Star. If Moore wins, he would be one of roughly 20 Middle East veterans in Congress.

“Instead of ideologues, Congress could benefit from having someone among them whose boots have actually been on the ground.”

The rest of the article is here.

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Scoop: Red Castle Inn in Nevada City closes after 50 years as owners retire

filename-dsc03233-jpgAfter 50 years, the historic Red Castle Inn closed its doors on Monday, Sierra Foothills Report has learned.

Mary Louise and Conley Weaver, innkeepers and owners since 1985, have retired. “All of our guests have enjoyed the inn,” Conley told me. “Now we’re looking forward to spreading out.” It has been an inn for 50 years, he added.

Weaver, an architect, is a former Nevada City mayor and has been active in civic affairs, including a needed measure to repave city streets. I met Conley when we moved to Nevada City nine years ago. We are UC Berkeley graduates and shout “Go Bears!” when we see each other in the community.

Built around 1860, the grand four-story brick mansion sits atop Prospect Hill, overlooking historic Nevada City. It is one of the few remaining historic lodging landmarks of the Gold Rush era.

The inn at 109 Prospect St. has received praise from Fodor’s and Gourmet magazine. “Antique furnishings and Oriental rugs decorate the rooms of this 1857 Gothic-revival mansion, a fine option for those who appreciate the finer points of Victorian design. The building’s brick exterior is trimmed with white-icicle woodwork,” according to the Fodor’s review.

“The hillside setting overlooks town. Red Castle features a delightful afternoon tea, by request, and morning breakfast buffet that is unparalleled among Gold Country B&Bs.”

Nevada City needs more lodging, so it is untimely that the Red Castle Inn is closing. It comes as Las Katarinas restaurant closed its doors after 10 years as older owners reached retirement age.

Is it a trend? It is certainly a fallout of our declining, aging population — a situation that should concern “electeds,” business, civic and economic-development leaders.

Conley and Mary Louise deserve some “R&R” from their “B&B.” Thanks for your efforts for so many years.

The Red Castle Inn was featured in this video:

(Source: Trip Advisor)

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Sacramento Bee: Moore is fit to replace McClintock in Congress

IMG_20140926_125353“Unfortunately, Congress will be called upon to consider military involvement in the Middle East for years to come. Congress would benefit from having veterans of those wars among its ranks,” according to the Sacramento Bee editorial board.

“For that reason and others, voters in Congressional District 4, which includes Lincoln, Auburn, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, ought to send Republican Art Moore to Washington, D.C.

“Moore, 36, grew up in Auburn, was a valedictorian at Placer High School, graduated from West Point and served 14 years in the Army and National Guard, rising to the rank of major. He has spent 30 months overseas, including tours in Iraq and in the Sinai, and was awarded a Bronze Star. If Moore wins, he would be one of fewer than 20 Middle East war veterans in Congress.

“He describes himself as a conservative but pledges to work with Democrats, and he would try to deliver federal aid back to his district, 70 percent of which is controlled by the federal government.

“Moore said one reason he entered the race is that the incumbent, Rep. Tom McClintock, voted to shut down the government in 2013, a step that threatened security, while also damaging the economy in the tourist-dependent region surrounding Yosemite.”

The article is here.


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Sierra Business Council chosen to help small businesses in our region

Editor’s note: A well-deserved coup for Sierra Business Council. We are working extra hard to clear our workload to attend the “Peak Innovation Conference” on October 8-10 in Tahoe City.  Meanwhile, here’s the press release on the honor to help small businesses in our region. Good going:

“Sierra Business Council is very proud to have recently received a Notification of Award to serve as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for northeastern California, including El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Modoc counties, beginning operations October 1, 2014.

“The California Small Business Development Centers Network is part of a national accredited delivery system that assists more than 1.3 million business owners annually. The SBDC was established by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 1979 and operates 1,100 SBDC service centers throughout the U.S.

“As an SBDC Host Site, Sierra Business Council will offer free one-on-one business advisory services addressing critical small and medium sized business issues such as business planning, marketing, finance, operations, cash flow planning and feasibility analysis.

“In addition, free workshops and classes will be offered in a variety of topics including Lean Start Up, business model generation, energy efficiency and social media strategies. SBC will also provide counseling and access to capital advisory services for start-up, small business expansion and entrepreneurial ventures.

“Sierra Business Council is actively developing a regional network that will facilitate access to capital and business loans for small to medium sized businesses.

“The Host Site will be at the Peak Innovation Center, a new business incubator and shared workspace located at the Sierra Business Council offices in the Truckee Town Hall, on Airport Rd in Truckee.

“Services will also be offered at satellite locations across the entire service area. The Peak Innovation Center will provide traditional business support and consulting services as well as focusing on incubating triple bottom line businesses and social sector business models that increase economic prosperity while also addressing social and environmental issues in the region.

“As part of the launch of the SBDC Host Site, Sierra Business Council will be expanding its network of business consultants and lenders to ensure the technical assistance and capital needs of the business community are met. If you have any questions regarding the program please contact Kristin York at or come join us in at the Peak Innovation Conference October 8-10, 2014 as we explore new ways for cultivating innovation and leveraging investment in the Sierra.”

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Firth rebuts Contractors’ PAC Chairman Allen

On August 15, I wrote “Back to the future” in The Union: Contractors’ PAC leader Allen rips on Council Candidate Firth without rebuttal“:

“A one-sided discussion culminated on Friday with a nasty-toned column directed at Grass Valley City Council Candidate Jim Firth by Contractors’ PAC Chairman Keoni Allen in our ‘community newspaper,’ The Union. Allen also praised Publisher Jim Hemig’s column titled ‘Are you a good old boy’ as ‘excellent.’ In fact, Hemig exacerbated the debate without providing much substance to the real concerns raised about tolerating multiple political views, backgrounds and experiences in a small town.”

Now, more than a month later, Firth’s side is being published. Shame on The Union for not arranging for the two articles to run together. Whether you support Firth or Allen (or neither), there was no reason for The Union to rush to rush Allen’s piece into print. The Union should have held the commentary and run the two together. This kind of behavior is what gives rise to the “good old boys” perception. Hemig is a registered Republican. He ought to work harder to show nonpartisanship. Small town stuff.

Firth’s response is here:

“Last month a local business owner submitted an Other Voices piece attempting to define who I am. The author never met me, never spoke to me on the phone, and never spoke to the people he was offering to you as proof of guilt by association.

“As I noted on these pages previously, it’s no wonder so many people are turned off by elections when there’s so much negativity and innuendo spread around during campaigns at every level.

“I am Jim Firth — born and raised in San Francisco and a Grass Valley resident since 2008. I’m lucky to live here and very lucky to be married to Cornelia, my wonderful wife of 47 years. Our two children and two grandchildren live on the East Coast.

“I worked hard for 50 years, married, raised a family, owned a home, paid taxes, voted in every election I can remember, and still have the energy, interest, ability and desire to serve my community and my neighbors.”

The rest of the article is here.

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Small town credo: Speak up, vote and shop local

7deac78e220890e88e04f6a09366c1fdSmall towns can be like fish bowls, with self-proclaimed big fish swimming in small ponds. The “democratization of a small town,” a raison d’être for this blog, is often threatened by the bullies, blowhards and, yes, “good old boys” who fight new ideas, often out of self-interest.

This is changing, with the successful ones “pitter padding” around all of them — redolent of  the Tweety Bird tip toeing past the snoozing bulldog in the Saturday morning cartoons. Otherwise, the “I hate change” bulldog will growl at you if you challenge him up front. Most people don’t like confrontation.

The “small town survival kit” involves some tactics that work. Think of it as a small town credo: speak up, vote and shop local.

1. Speak up. When I was dissatisfied with the media grandstanding, bickering about venues and one-way discourse on Measure S, I picked up the phone this week and called Ruth Schwartz of the local League of Women Voters. Ruth is a “no-nonsense” person, with a good sense of humor to boot. Ruth heard me out and worked to get a more traditional debate going — and she thanked me. To Ruth, people around here are treated equal. Ruth doesn’t play favorites.

2. Vote. Nothing is more precious in our democracy than a right to vote. But we have too many low-interest, low-information voters in our community. It makes elections vulnerable to the nasty small-town political operatives and negative campaigning. If our voter turnout was 100 percent, most of them (albeit not all) would crawl back under their rocks. It’s the “power of the people.”

3. Shop local. I’m a strong believer in this one. If you chose to live in a small town, you have to chose to support it. The money stays in our community. I’ve traveled a lot and lived in “big cities,” but I can find most everything I need around here: from food to recreation to entertainment — and at a good price.

It’s absurd to think you have to shop “off the hill.” The real reason some people shop off the hill is for entertainment — to get in the car and drive somewhere. It’s a generational thing. For me, I’d rather “shop local” and drive to Bridgeport.

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