One of the biggest myths in our small, rural county is that the conservatives here are wealthy and generous and the “lefties” are poor and cheap.
“The Union appeals to many local residents, maybe the ones who actually pay the annual subscription price, or place the big ads, and don’t just read it for free on the web, which I assume is the way the ‘lefties’ get access to The Union,” is a typical comment, this one in an after-dinner rant on this blog.
I’ve heard the same argument — verbatim, in fact — from the ranks of many supposed “powers that be” in our county too.
But you need to dig beyond the stereotype of Lake Wildwood versus Calanan Park. I mean who has more money here? Tom McClintock and his friends or Michael Funk and his.
Local conservative politicians are lining up behind Tom for a shovelful of money from his campaign coffers — estimated at $1 million — as much as for his rather extreme ideologies, I’d argue.
Wait a minute, though: Michael Funk, the ponytailed natural food lover who founded Mountain People’s Warehouse in 1976, is much wealthier.
Funk’s small distribution outlet has exploded into a multibillion-dollar company called UNFI — the largest publicly traded U.S. wholesaler of organic products.
Michael has a lot of friends here too — albeit more low key than the Tea Party Patriots.
Another example: Sierra Watch, the nonprofit conservation group, also is a well-funded entity. Its board members include Bill Newsom, president of Newsom Investments and a big Democratic donor.
The wealthy progressive people here are not loud and vociferous — almost like the stereotype of “old money.” You never read about them in The Union or hear about them on KNCO, but they’re out there.
In addition, their influence spreads throughout the Sierra, typically motivated by environmental concerns.
We’ve been going to Tahoe for decades, and I’ve observed that the motives of the “lefties” is pretty altruistic — to save the Sierra from the development that has occurred in Colorado.
Many people are believers too, providing a grassroots movement that could rival any Tea Party Patriot rally.
From what I hear, many of them are getting angry too — tired of the bashing, name calling and negativism from the Tea Party Patriots, Fox News and conservative ideologues.
Stay tuned in this election year. There’s a lot more to come.