Measure C in Nevada City faces a backlash

14390807_186399711794439_974284477998345036_nMeasure C in Nevada City — a Nov. ballot measure to tax local residents for “status quo” police and fire services — is now facing a backlash, stemming from an ongoing series of hateful, personal attacks directed at Council Member Reinette Senum for her comments related to the Dallas police shooting.

Weeks later, Reinette’s business is still the subject of hateful, “bogus” reviews on Yelp. And the ongoing attacks aren’t sitting well with some locals.

The backlash became apparent in a recent planning commission decision to reject cell phone towers in the historic downtown — unrelated to police and fire, but a decision that Reinette and others agreed with for various reasons. Their objections had been vocal prior to the vote.

The problems began this summer when Senum made some inappropriate comments about law enforcement in general but apologized for them — twice. I did not agree with the comments, but I agreed much less with the hateful backlash — much of it from people who do not have a two- or three-digit addresses in Nevada City but figured that stirring the pot would somehow be constructive.

They called Reinette ugly names and police associations who should have known better called for a boycott of her restaurant — a decision that should be well out of their purview.

This is not new. I’ve noticed Nevada City has long been hijacked by people with their own political motives — often self-serving ones. Others just don’t like Reinette, and never will, because of her political views. They are incapable of looking past politics to see what Reinette has helped accomplish.

The taxpayers who live in Nevada City know that Reinette is outspoken. Her comments were painful to hear, but she is not alone. Recent examples abound: the words and actions of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, or a recent police shooting in Tulsa. In Tulsa, a white police officer who was shown on video fatally shooting an unarmed black man has been charged with manslaughter.

As for Reinette, many locals also appreciate what she has accomplished for the town. She helped found the Nevada City Farmers Market, which generates business. Some of the same people who attacked Reinette acknowledged as much when the Council voted unanimously last week to extend the farmers market year-round — a first for Nevada County. No personal word of thanks, however.

Reinette also has advocated for the homeless population and won awards for outstanding community service from the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and Marching Presidents. She also is a local business owner.

Now it turns out that the same people who mishandled and exacerbated the response to Reinette’s words are insisting that we vote for another tax increase for fire and police protection — just like insisting that we go “all in” for the cell phone towers in an historic district.

Let’s face it: Measure C is a “band aid” proposal, because the area’s population is aging and declining, while the costs for police and fire, including pensions, are rising. In the future, we will be asked to approve more taxes to keep Nevada City incorporated. There’s no doubt about it.

Few are addressing the systemic problems — a lack of good paying jobs, political intolerance that leads to gridlock in decision making, and increased competition from other retirement communities, including ones in Nevada. Meanwhile, we face escalating public pension costs, including ones for police and fire.

To be sure, we support our local police and firefighters. We attended the recent Nevada City firefighter pancake breakfast, and donate to the “boot” and countless other fundraisers.

I suspect we will “dutifully” vote for Measure C, going along with the “go along to get along” sentiment to “kick the can” down the road until another time.

But like others, we think the hatefulness directed toward a fellow citizen was more inappropriate than the offense — and a shining example of the political bullying and intolerance that define our town and flies in the face of economic development. No one is addressing that either.

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Storyteller-broadcaster Vin Scully retiring after 67 years

Vin Scully and Hall-of-Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax embrace during the pregame ceremony honoring the Dodgers broadcaster on Sept. 23, 2016. (Credit: L.A. Times)

Vin Scully and Hall-of-Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax embrace during the pregame ceremony honoring the Dodgers broadcaster on Sept. 23, 2016.
(Credit: L.A. Times)

Vin Scully is retiring as the Dodgers’ baseball announcer after 67 years. He was hired to broadcast Brooklyn Dodger games in 1950 and followed the team to L.A. in 1957. Since then, he has become one of baseball’s most trusted storytellers.

The Dodgers honored Vin at last night’s game at Dodger stadium. “Old timers” Sandy Koufax and Don Newcombe were on hand, among others. October 2 will mark Vin’s final broadcast of a Dodgers-Giant game.

The Hall of Fame broadcaster has an amazing institutional knowledge of baseball — and command of the English language. Plus that buttery voice.

I used to listen to Vin call the Dodger games on a transistor radio when I was a Little Leaguer growing up in L.A. in the ’60s. Sometimes I listened to the games in bed until I fell asleep. My dad would tell me the next morning that he’d come into my room to turn off the radio because it was still blaring away while I slept.

My grandfather and I would listen to Vin call the game on his radio, which had a leather case that I admired. We’d listen to the song “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame,” which opened Dodger radio broadcasts for decades. It was a bonding time. He and grandmother lived over in Westwood.

When I went to Dodger games in the ’60s, I’d notice other fans watching the game while listening to Vin call the action on their radios. It was part of the experience. No one could pronounce “Julián Javier” (the St. Louis Cardinals second baseman in the ’60s) better than Vin. It just rolled off his tongue.

When we went to Giants-Dodger games in the ’80s and ’90s at Candlestick in San Francisco, we used to look for Vin in the press box and waive.

I met Vin when I worked for the S.F. Chronicle in the mid-’80s. We visited in the press box at AT&T Park.

Since then, I’ve been a subscriber to to listen to Vin announce the Dodger games. “Video streaming” brings us together, not a transistor radio. I’m going to miss him.

Letter to fans

Vin announcing a Dodger game in the '50s in Brooklyn (Credit: L.A. Dodgers)

Vin announcing a Dodger game in the ’50s in Brooklyn (Credit: L.A. Dodgers)

Here’s a letter Vin wrote to his fans this weekend:

“Dear Friends,

“Many years ago, a little red-headed boy was walking home from school, passing a Chinese laundry and stopped to see the score of a World Series game posted in the window. The Yankees beat the Giants, 18-4, on October 2, 1936. The boy’s reaction was pity for the Giants and he became a rabid Giants’ fan from that day forward, until the joyous moment when he was hired to broadcast Brooklyn Dodgers games in 1950. Ironically, October 2, 2016 will mark my final broadcast of a Giants-Dodgers game. It will also be exactly 80 years to the day since that little boy fell in love with baseball.

“God has been very generous to that little boy, allowing him to fulfill a dream of becoming a broadcaster and to live it for 67 years. Since 1958, you and I have grown up together through the good times and the bad. The transistor radio is what bound us together. Were you at the Coliseum when we sang “Happy Birthday” to an umpire?  Were you among the crowd that groaned at one of my puns? Did you kindly laugh at one of my little jokes? Did I put you to sleep with the transistor radio tucked under your pillow?

“You were simply always there for me. I have always felt that I needed you more than you needed me and that holds true to this very day. I have been privileged to share in your passion and love for this great game.

“My family means everything to me and I will now be able to share life’s experiences with them. My wife, Sandi, our children, Kevin, Todd, Erin, Kelly, and Catherine, along with our entire family will join me in sharing God’s blessings of that precious gift of time.

“You folks have truly been “The Wind Beneath My Wings” and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this incredible journey of 67 years of broadcasting Dodger baseball.

“Heartfelt Thanks,

“Vin Scully”

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Kaepernick is on the cover of Time, not Sports Illustrated


“San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is featured on this week’s cover of TIME magazine amid his ongoing protest during the playing of the national anthem before games,” as Sports Illustrated is reporting.

“Kaepernick is the subject of a story by Sean Gregory on how the quarterback’s decision to take a stand by taking a knee has started a conversation on racial issues and the definition of patriotism.

“Kaepernick began his protest during the preseason, when he remained seated on the bench during the anthem in an effort to raise awareness about racial inequality and police violence in the United States. After a conversation with former Seahawks long snapper and Green Beret Nate Boyer, Kaepernick transitioned the protest from taking a seat to taking a knee.”

The rest of the article is here.

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The Union publisher misses the point on cell phone tower debate

The Union publisher writes:

“Lots of cell phone holes and well-meaning protesters bullying planning commissioners who should know better out of approving much-needed cell towers. Meantime, where’s the council? Nevada City’s recent episode is emblematic.”

I guess he didn’t read Brad Croul’s cogent comment here on Sept 9:

“Regarding Verizon using the Tintle/Probation Dept. building, it all boils down to dollars and cents.

“Verizon saves money by building on a rooftop using “old school” antennas and not having to lease a site and build a large tower/fake tree somewhere.

“Verizon is pretty much a monopoly in Nevada City. If they are committed to providing good service, Verizon should consider that we live in a hilly area and put up more antennas outside of the historic district that will serve the historic district without but not impact the downtown visual landscape – even if it costs more.

“The community might be better served by two (or more) cell tower or rooftop antenna sites outside the historic district rather than the one rooftop location downtown. Verizon would incur additional costs but, overall, it would result in better service throughout the local area.

“It has been decades now, but Nevada City put in a lot of effort to clear the historic district of utility poles (electric, phone and cable) and put them underground. Verizon is the new utility on the block and should respect that philosophy and commitment.

“Satellite TV and cell phone technology were in their infancy when the ordinances and design guidelines were written allowing for antenna installations on rooftops in the historic district. I think the planners were referring to old school TV and radio antennas when they wrote those ordinances and guidelines. I don’t think the planners could foresee that commercial cell phone utilities would be requesting sites for industrial strength transmitting antennas downtown.

“An alternate idea would be to revisit the courthouse location. Since it sounds like there are no monies left in the State coffers to remodel any more courthouses, the courthouse would be a nice, tall location to put an antenna. Between Paulette’s restaurant and Safeway there is a tall flagpole/cellular antenna. Verizon could simply replace the flagpole on top of the courthouse with the cell tower flagpole. The “flagpole” would not have to be nearly as tall as the Brunswick antenna since the top of the courthouse already towers over the town. I think an antenna in that location would be far enough away in distance and elevation that any potential health risks would be minimized.”

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Nevada County tourism website now promotes events in Placer County

“Nevada County is a foodie and wine lovers delight this week! There are so many culinary adventures to be had, a wine trail to explore, and more,” according to, Nevada County’s official online tourism website.

Then it goes on to report: “Also on Saturday, North Lake Tahoe’s largest Oktoberfest celebration is returning to The Village at Squaw Valley, complete with Bavarian Music, authentic German beer and food, the ever-popular Oktoberfest Games, and plenty of family fun.”

I wonder if the website administrator knows that The Village at Squaw Valley is located in Placer County, not Nevada County.

Maybe the Rood Center and Nevada County Economic Resource Council can get Placer County to help pay for the website with its own “TOT” taxes. For the record, the ski resort that pays “TOT” taxes in Nevada County is Boreal Mountain Resort.

You can’t make this stuff up!

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Invited on a San Francisco Chronicle newsroom tour

920x1240Editor’s note: I enjoyed receiving this email this week from The Chronicle, where I worked for 12 years as a writer and editor. It was redolent of being invited to Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. October 4 is a “workday” for our family, but I did talk to some former colleagues about bringing our son down this summer for a visit. Meanwhile, we are “new” subscribers. Ha!

“You and a guest are invited on a tour of The Chronicle newsroom led by Editor in Chief, Audrey Cooper. Spend a morning behind the scenes with our editorial staff inside the largest newsroom in Northern California. After the tour, you’ll get a chance to sit in on a newsroom meeting where the editors gather to discuss stories for online and in the newspaper.

Click to register to reserve your spot today! Be sure to pick if you want one or two tickets! Tickets are limited to two per member.

Tuesday, Oct. 4
8:40 to 8:45 a.m. – Check-in main lobby
8:45 to 9 a.m. – Breakfast snacks and coffee
9 to 9:15 a.m. – Q–and-A with Audrey Cooper
9:15 to 9:30 a.m. – Tour of newsroom
9:30 to 10 a.m. – Morning newsroom meeting (meeting may end as late as 10:30 a.m.)

*Paid parking is available across the street at the Fifth and Mission Parking Garage. Members are responsible for their own transportation and any parking fees.

San Francisco Chronicle
901 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

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The Union promotes its own for-profit event on the front of its website

Good going Dick Tracy! You made The Union proud.


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