And The Union’s George Boardman calls himself a journalist?

Fred Lynn and Jim Rice: nicknamed the

Fred Lynn and Jim Rice: nicknamed the “Gold Dust Twins”

Epilogue to this post: After my wife and I finished our lunch at the New Moon Cafe last week with Hilary Hodge and her wife, Angelica, one of our neighbors Larry Kaufman came up to us in the parking lot and said hello. We greeted him, and I later joked to my wife that Kaufman was the one who recently had written an “out-of-left-field” letter to The Union suggesting — of all conceivable topics — an “in-depth article about (George Boardman) — his background and writing experience. I am sure all his readers would enjoy learning more about your talented columnist.”

Huh? Here’s yet another anecdote that could be used to illustrate George’s total ignorance, to go along with his error-prone prose, or what he confesses has been some “sloppy note taking.” No kidding!

On his blog, George refers to “Gold Dust Twins” as an all-purpose cleansing agent in the ‘1890s — an arcane reference, to be sure. In fact, dredging it up, including a mention of  “racial stereotypes of the times,” reflects more on where George’s mind is at.

For the rest of us, Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “gold dust twins” as “a pair of inseparable and indefatigable workers.” In our case, this is what my dad meant when he referred to my wife and I as the “gold dust twins” during our world travels as newlyweds. He was not making a racist reference.

George glosses over that “gold dust twins” is a sobriquet that is often used to describe two talented individuals working closely together for a common goal, including sports (ironically a subject he claims to master).

For example, the Globe sportswriter Peter Gammons referred to Fred Lynn and Jim Rice of the Boston Red Sox as the “Gold Dust Twins.” “There will never be another season like ’75, when the Gold Dust Twins (so named by then-Globe beat reporter Peter Gammons) took over the Boston baseball scene and pushed the Sox all the way to the seventh game of the World Series,” as the Globe reported in 2014. More references are here.

Of course, George Boardman is no Peter Gammons — and never will be. George’s journalistic claim to fame is void of an experience at a big-metro daily newspaper such as the Globe or San Francisco Chronicle; rather it is is minor league journalism outfits, like the San Mateo County Times, which is no longer even published. And public relations.

For George’s edification, here are some other examples of using the “Gold Dust Twins” as a nickname, as Wikipedia reminds us:

George Boardman “journalism”: You can’t make this stuff up! I can only imagine how that “profile” suggested by Larry Kaufman would read. Perhaps it could be a standing feature: “On the Lido Deck with George Boardman!”

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A wonderful photo chronicling the effort to protect the South Yuba River


At the South Yuba River, circa 1999 (Credit: Elizabeth Martin’s Facebook page)

I’ve been fortunate to write about some amazing stories as a journalist — from the fallout of airline deregulation to Big Oil to big mergers, including Time Warner’s acquisition of Turner Broadcasting, Disney’s buyout of Cap Cities/ABC, and a Texas financier’s hostile purchase of Pacific Lumber Co. that led to a struggle to preserve the ancient redwoods.

In our area, the effort to preserve a 39-mile stretch of the South Yuba River as “wild and scenic” has interested me, and I’ve researched it extensively. Though in the shadow of Lake Tahoe, the South Yuba is one of America’s most beautiful stretches of water.

I dedicated the fall 2015 issue of our magazine, titled “Yuba River Journeys,”  to this subject. The introduction read: “Rivers run through our history and folklore and link us as a people,” as Charles Kuralt from “On the Road” wrote, and the South Yuba is inextricably linked to Nevada County, just as Lake Tahoe is tied to the High Sierra.

We “dug deep,” and our report profiled the people such as Michael Funk and organizations including SYRCL that helped with this effort, but it also included some historic photos at the Hwy. 49 crossing, a river poem from Gary Snyder, river music from Alasdair Fraser, as well as a hand-drawn map of popular swimming holes from Dennis Barry — a classic.

As a result I was pleased to see another historic South Yuba River photo appear on Sierra Fund CEO’s Elizabeth Martin’s Facebook page this week, stemming from a memorial for the late former state Sen. Tom Hayden, who died Oct. 23 in Santa Monica at age 76.

As Elizabeth explained, this photo shows Tom Hayden, then a Senator and Chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee along with Michael Killigrew, Roger Hicks, John Regan, Tom’s wife Barbara Williams and herself at the South Yuba River during the campaign to pass Senator Byron Sher’s bill, SB 496, designating the South Yuba River as a State Wild and Scenic River in the spring of 1999.

“I attended a wonderful memorial for Tom at the State Capitol,” she added. “I gave Barbara a copy of this photo.”

The gathering was reported in the national media. “The California Senate on Tuesday remembered  late former state Sen. Tom Hayden, who spent nearly two decades in the state Legislature after serving as a leading voice in the campaign to end the Vietnam War,” as the Los Angeles Times reported. “Hayden is perhaps best known as a counterculture figure who led civil rights and antiwar protests in the 1960s.”

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The Union praises Tom McClintock while he comes under fire elsewhere

The Union has a new feature called “hit” or “miss,” not exactly a new idea among newspapers and magazines.

Believe it or not, The Union gave a “hit” (AKA “thumbs up”) to Tom McClintock while he’s coming under fire at his town hall meetings in most other publications. Here’s what The Union wrote:

“HIT: To U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock’s remarks recently on the House floor, and printed in The Wildwood Independent: ‘… As long as we are talking with each other and not shouting at each other, our system works well. …’ Hey, it’s a start. We’d add to that by suggesting one party working with and not summarily ignoring the other is even better in the long run.”

Meanwhile, what the The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other publications are reporting in town halls all over America, including our region, is here and here. And let’s face it, McClintock has been more of a provocateur than peacemaker. That’s his MO.

Why the disconnect? The Union and The Wildwood Independent, which The Union now owns, are catering to their core demographics:  aging, declining, and highly conservative. It’s going to be an uphill battle as far as business strategies go, making the newspaper vulnerable to Facebook and other social media.

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Locals Hodge and Senum make Sac Bee’s “Capitol Report”

“Symposiums about water policy don’t typically spark dust-ups about ticket refunds and allegations that members of Congress are trying to duck their constituents,” the Sacramento Bee is reporting this morning.

“But some people living in the districts of Reps. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, and Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove complain they were summarily disinvited from Friday’s conference of the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association entitled, ‘The New Trump Administration – A View from The Top.’

“The all-Republican lineup of elected officials at The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center in Auburn includes LaMalfa and McClintock, as well as state senators Jim Nielsen, Tom Berryhill, and Ted Gaines, and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley.

“Among those who bought $40 tickets to the event were Hilary Hodge, the executive director of Sierra Commons, a small business education center in Nevada City, and Nevada City Councilwoman Reinette Senum. Hodge said they wanted to question McClintock and LaMalfa about water policy.

“Last week, though, Hodge and several others received refunds and were told the event was sold out. The real reason, Hodge alleged, is that she and others are not ‘politically aligned’ with the speakers.

“’It’s an unfortunate exclusion because they are now having a conversation with themselves because they’ve excluded people with an outside perspective,’ she said.

“But John Kingsbury, the association’s executive director, said he made the decision – free of political interference – to refund more than 20 non-member tickets after demand greatly exceeded that of past conferences. Some people, he added, view Friday’s event as a town hall, which it isn’t.

‘”Normally we don’t have anybody register,’ Kingsbury said. ‘I needed to make sure I had capacity for my dues paying members.'”

The rest of the article is here.

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McClintock gets an earful at Sierra Foothills town hall meeting

“California Rep. Tom McClintock showed up Tuesday and faced his constituents at a town hall meeting — something many of his fellow Republicans have declined to do during this week’s Congressional break,” as the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting.

“About 900 people filled the Mariposa Fairgrounds and Exposition Center to toss pointed questions at the five-term congressman. Such a large crowd was a sign of how the resistance to President Trump has crept into the California’s Republican hinterlands — even to Mariposa, population 2,173.

“McClintock, first elected to Congress in 2008, has done more than 100 town halls, and his Mariposa stops typically draw 60 to 80 people. On Tuesday, every metal chair was taken 45 minutes before the event started. While a few wore “Make America Great Again” caps, the majority didn’t appear to be supporters of the president. Many of them carried signs that read, “Answer the question!,” “Dump Tom McTrump!,” “Lies!,” and perhaps most telling, “Not usually a protester … but geez.”

“’I’ve never been to anything like this but I’m frightened,’ said Penny Otwell, a painter who lives in Mariposa and held that sign. ‘But we have gone over the edge.’

“McClintock, of Elk Grove (Sacramento County), isn’t alone in facing blowback at town halls across the country during what Congress is calling its district work week. Some of the loud activism of the past few weeks — continuing rallies and protests, large letter-writing and phone-call campaigns that have overwhelmed Congressional offices — has been generated by organizing groups such as Indivisible and MoveOn and has kept many GOP members off the public stage. A list compiled by the Town Hall Project showed that of 24 political town halls, coffees and other events to be held in California this week, just five were being hosted by Republicans.

“While the minority who attended Tuesday’s town hall supported McClintock’s conservative positions opposing sanctuary cities and the Affordable Care Act, most were angry and fearful — mainly about losing their health care, the lack of legislation to combat climate change or about how their schools might change under controversial new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.”

The rest of the article is here.

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Breaking bread

Last week, my wife Shannon and I invited Hilary Hodge and her wife, Angelica, to lunch at the New Moon Cafe in Nevada City to get to know them better. I have enjoyed reading Hilary’s column in The Union — heartfelt, perceptive and not the newspaper’s usual pablum. We enjoyed our lunch and the conversation.

They are a wonderful couple, bringing  youth, intelligence and energy to our community (which happens to be an aging and declining population). Hilary and Angelica reminded us of ourselves when we were younger — “footloose and fancy free” or the “Gold Dust Twins” as my dad would joke. Over lunch, we discussed world travel, music, education, gardening and family more than just politics.

Knowing first-hand what it’s like to be targeted by some of our mean, nasty locals for expressing views that are otherwise common in the rest of our state, I wanted to let Hilary know we appreciate her perspective.

In addition, we’re raising a child in our community, and we want him to grow up appreciating diversity. After all, we live in California.

This week, Hilary’s column came under fire from two hard-right political activists, Jo Ann Rebane and Elaine Meckler, in The Union. Some of the comments were too personal. (And memo to Elaine: It’s “Berkeley,” not “Berkely.”)

We’re at a crossroads in our community in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump to President. Read “The awakening of a new local political force in our towns — progressive women.”

I’m hoping that it will lead to finding common ground rather than acrimony. We’re all watching.

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Breitbart’s Milo booted from CPAC over pedophile comments

“Milo Yiannopoulos, the incendiary writer who helped make Breitbart News a leading organ of the alt-right, resigned from the news organization Tuesday after a video of him endorsing pedophilia resurfaced online over the weekend,” as the Washington Post is reporting.

“Yiannopoulos has been a flame-throwing provocateur whose writing has offended women, Muslims, blacks and gay people ever since former Breitbart executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon hired him as a senior editor in 2014.

“Bannon, now President Trump’s senior adviser, championed the British-born Yiannopoulos’s inflammatory commentary and promoted him as a conservative truth-teller and champion of free speech. In turn, his popularity helped raise Breitbart’s profile among Trump’s supporters and the alt-right, a vaguely defined collection of nationalists, anti-immigration proponents and anti-establishment conservatives. Adherents of the alt-right are known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view.

“’Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved,’ Yiannopoulos said in a statement announcing his resignation. ‘They have been a significant factor in my success.’
As recently as last week, Breitbart editor Alexander Marlow in an interview called Yiannopoulos “the No. 1 free speech warrior of his generation in America at the moment.”

“But Yiannopoulos’s views on pedophilia apparently went too far even for Breitbart.”

The rest of the article is here.

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