There are 23 seats up for grabs on the Republican Central Committee in the June primary election – divided by supervisorial district.
“Besides working actively to recruit and elect Republican candidates to local, state and national offices, the Nevada County Republican Party is charged with communicating official party positions and platforms, maintaining an official and permanent grassroots political organization throughout the county, and building the party through voter registration and Get out the Vote campaigns,” reads a note on the Republican Central Committee website, seeking to recruit people to run.
So far, at least, the people who have pulled papers at the Elections Office are largely the same ones who hold the seats now. Most are staunch conservatives, and some are husband-and-wife teams:
Our vocal global warming deniers — largely a cadre of hard-right conservatives who have been politically active since Drew Bedwell was supervisor — are going ballistic, as predicted, now that leaked Heartland documents offer a glimpse of the internal thinking motivating the campaign against climate science.
Their reaction is not new and is often mean spirited. This vitriol also surfaced during the Prop. 23 campaign in Nov. 2010 — though the initiative to suspend AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) lost handily in our state — and our county. The same mean-spirited debate also surfaced during NH2020, framed as a “property rights” discussion.
It takes a while for any relative newcomer to get up to speed on the nasty political battles in our community. But now that I know, my concern is this: The drumbeat of dissent from local climate deniers has left our county behind when it comes to preparing for AB 32 regulations (that, like it or not, is our state law).
In short, we are letting the vocal minority lead the silent majority around by the proverbial dog collar.
HOW WE ISOLATE OURSELVES
Let me give you an example: Many local governments, including neighboring Placer County, have been “gung ho” for what’s called the Green Communities Program.
The program is a collaborative regional effort to provide “innovative energy efficiency and climate change solutions for local governments and communities in the Sierra Nevada region within PG&E service areas,” as a Placer County memo where it was handily approved suggests.
“Staff coordinates with Sierra Business Council on quantifying the county’s greenhouse gas emissions and developing a county operations greenhouse gas inventory, which would help identify opportunities for energy savings and related operational cost savings, as well as serve as background information for the county’s future planning efforts.”
There is no direct cost to Placer County.
“Participating in the Green Communities Program and conducting emissions inventories will also assist the County in future planning efforts, such as the development of a Climate Action Plan and the update of the County’s General Plan.” More details are here: PlacerMemo.
To be sure, our county has not been flatfooted when it comes to addressing climate change. I’d still like to see our county pursue a climate action plan, just like Placer. It could save money in the long run. Another innovative program is “mPower Placer,” a Placer County effort to promote more efficient use of water and energy, enable businesses to reduce energy costs and strengthen the local economy.
TIME TO EMBRACE CHANGE
Now it’s time to move forward. Some reasons:
•The previous supervisors who have been most sympathetic to the minority views (or outright climate deniers themselves) are gone from office. We have a more collaborative group in place now that sees the value of nonpartisanship, regardless of their political party affiliation.
•Congressman Tom McClintock and Assemblyman Dan Logue, who led the highly partisan but failed Prop. 23 effort, are departing (or largely departing) the district. They have been toxic to many causes, because they are ideologues, not pragmatic problem solvers.
•We are a “purple” county politically. Many people who travel regularly within the region, as I do, begin to notice the discrepancies of local governments, when it comes to preparing for change.
Any lack of collaboration also peeves me, since I pay taxes here too but don’t really have the time (or inclination) to lobby our electeds over coffee on my personal political views. We have lots of problems to solve. It’s why we elect people to do that.
It will take a community-wide effort to seek regional collaboration between our county and the rest of our region when it comes to a climate action plan and preparing for AB 32. But the time has come — in fact, it’s overdue. Let’s get on with it!