When the Nevada City Advocate launched, I was hopeful it would be an alternative voice in the community, providing needed media diversity.
But for now, at least, it’s proven to be more of a “mini-me” of The Union, defending one segment of the community — the most powerful one — while attacking the other.
A good example is the Advocate’s editor/publisher’s latest editorial (yes, we have two of them in our community now, and it is a conflict of interest in newspaper journalism).
As for the editorial, it was a frontal assault on affordable-housing policy.
Fine, though the argument is more complicated than that: there are shades of affordable housing versus an all or none approach.
But the editorial went out of its way to attack former Grass Valley council-member Steve Enos for daring to question authority.
“Watching some dust fly over an alleged violation of the Brown Act in Grass Valley reminds me of the old saying ‘Nero fiddles while Rome burns,’” the Advocate editorial begins. (It is not yet posted online; only in print).
Enos, you see, raised concerns about Brown Act violations while the Grass Valley City Council was supposed to be diligently investigating whether to rescind the affordable housing policy — making it the only municipality here to do so, I might add.
The city conceded it erred, at least at one meeting, and the District Attorney is investigating.
Enos has received praise from groups such as Calaware, which fight for enforcement of open-meetings laws, for raising the issue.
But in some sectors of our community, he’s being vilified. Ironically, Enos was the guy who did the heavy lifting that normally is handled by journalists.
“But instead of accepting the reality of the failure of the policy and that a clear majority of councilors voted to rescind it, we have one man trying to discredit an entire process and cast a sinister shadow over an entire council,” the editorial said.
Huh? Enos raised his concerns before the vote occurred. The process is supposed to follow the law, and it might not have been followed.
In addition, nobody is arguing the policy was the right one. They merely argued it was better to have a new one in place rather than none at all. Grass Valley is now alone in our county in that regard — a decision that doesn’t occur in a vacuum.
It’s not exactly investigative journalism to call out Steve for being “anti-growth” or observe that he’s not popular at City Hall or among developers.
But it doesn’t mean his arguments should be summarily dismissed. The guy’s pretty smart, and he’s passionate about his city. He helped bring about some needed improvements with the design of the Walgreens in Brunswick Basin.
Ironically, the person who summed it up best was Yolanda Cookson, who allegedly violated the open-meetings law.
Here’s what Yolanda wrote on her blog: ” At the end of the day, I am who I am and the person I am is thankful for former City Councilmember Steve Enos. I am thankful of his public acknowledgement of my not having ill intent.
“As a community we should be thankful to have individuals such as himself to look out for us. He has a passion for Grass Valley and a strong conviction of the process. I am honored to be on his radar.”
Yolanda took the road that you’d expect a newspaper Editor to take.
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