Scoop: Prop. 23 not expected to go before county supes

On his blog and in The Union, right-wing commentator George Rebane “pre-announced” this “pearl of wisdom” earlier in the month: “Supervisor John Spencer will soon ask the county Board of Supervisors to endorse Prop. 23. But business development outfits like the Economic Resource Council are keeping mum. Does this mean that we in Nevada County have pretty well pulled in our horns and mortgaged our future to ‘Chinese Cash from Washington’?

This bothered me on two counts: First, why wasn’t this announced by a supervisor instead of George Rebane? Second, the jury is still out on the “pros and cons” of Prop. 23. to our community, as I’ve written many times before. The hard right, led by Tom McClintock, Dan Logue, the Pruetts, George and Russ Steele, seems intent on a “my way or the highway” approach to this initiative.

Well, don’t expect the request to come before the county board of supervisors after all. (I became curious when the issue didn’t appear on the last agenda). Outgoing Supervisor Spencer had to be reminded that the board has a policy of not addressing matters such as statewide propositions that don’t directly affect the county.

In fact, they haven’t taken a stand on such an issue for about 10 years, according to my well-placed county sources.

Spencer may wind up writing an “other voices” for The Union instead. Fine, though let’s hope for a counter-point view. Logue, Rebane and others already have been given the forum to promote Prop. 23. Steve Frisch of the Sierra Business was the lone dissenter, at least so far. It’s not exactly been balanced.

As I stated previously: “The supervisors no doubt will be politic in rejecting the request to back Prop. 23, but I would argue a more forecefull denial is called for to send a message to the ‘hard right,’ who seem intent on leading the rest of us around by our noses. After all, most of us are in the middle.”

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

14 thoughts on “Scoop: Prop. 23 not expected to go before county supes”

  1. So Rebane, Steele, Barry “Nevada County’s Biggest Loser” Pruett and soon to be ex-Supervisor Spencer have been attacking the other Board of Supervisor members for not bringing Prop 23 to the Board for a position vote… and have done that without a clue about the BOS adopted resolution restricting them not getting involved in state wide propositions!

    Hey, soon to be ex-Supervisor Spencer…. DUH!

    Spencer, do your homework BEFORE you start the name calling. Once again Spencer looks to be the uninformed fool that he is.

    That’s OK, soon Spencer will be loading his boxes and moving out of the Supervisors office and chair he has been in for far too long. Terry Lamphier will be moving in… for the next four years!… that’s gotta hurt!

  2. I wonder what Russell is going to say now that one of his denier gurus has seen the light of science. Bjorn Lomborg says — just today! EXTRA! EXTRA! — that we have a huge problem and need to throw money at it. Steele has praised this guy up and down. Wonder if he still does now, or if he makes some herky-jerky about-face and casts him off as some traitor trying to cash in on that elusive greeny largesse. Come to the other side, Russell; one of your heroes has.

    1. Gloria,
      Thanks for the update. I have not read this on “Russell’s” blog. Instead he has a weather report that “More cool weather is on the way”

  3. Humans are not so smart that by a higher standard we all appear to be fools equally.

    Treating others with derision that we judge to be lessor may be the biggest mistake we humans make.

    Even thinking about someone derisively is essentially destructive to the understanding we so desperately all need.

    Steve, your post seems particularly egregious but I am certainly guilty of this also, as well as virtually everyone else.

    In that light, I think all owe each other an apology and should commit to doing better.

    I suggest, in the future, sharing your feeling about how frustrating is has been for you to work with John. Who knows? It might open a dialogue and bring about some understanding.

  4. ??? Pot ads save Newspapers….

    Yes, but only if they start printing on ZIG ZAG paper with a little organic sticky stuff to seal for those who are less adept at rolling their own.

  5. Greg Zaller, you possibly were not involved in the NH2020 elections or knew much of what was going on in Nevada County politics when an all out effort by Northern California Republicans, including letters sent out from John Doolitle’s office at taxpayer expense, was made to break the Green Supervisors majority on NCBOS, which they did, defeating Izzy Martin and Bruce Conklin in what I believe to have been the slimiest political campaign ever in a County where this has not been that unusual. John Spencer was Campaign Director for Drew Bedwell, and was appointed to take his place when Bedwell died 2 years into his term, and has been there, along with other Sups, on a solidly conservative BOS since then until his recent defeat by Terry Lamphier. I worked for Conklin all through that campaign, and later, when he tried again and lost. It is no secret that I was a supporter of Terry Lamphier, as was the NCDCC, who endorsed him and worked to defeat Spencer. Some of us involved in local politics have long memories where John Spencer is concerned. Unless you can show as much knowledge and involvement of local political events as I believe I can, you are out of order in your criticism and should stick to topics more within your areas of expertise.

    As for Spencer’s effort for an endorsement for Prop.23, I would take that as merely bravado and a shout of defiance to the environmental groups and advocates on his way out, a last attempt to rally the N C Wingnuts in their fight to preserve their right to line their pockets regardless of the damage done to the world we all must live in.

    1. I think your point is that some people are so evil we have a free pass to be evil back? Listen, what I said probably applies more to me than to you. It just needs to be said.

      I like Anna’s advice to check your blood pressure. It’s a simple fix and then why hurt yourself by releasing all of that cortisol?

      In any case it is far more likely to solve some of these problems by building bridges than by making enemies.

  6. Anna, my message includes you. What have you done to bring about needed changes in this country and in Nevada County? I do really want to know, as at present I know you only as an occasional poster on the Pelline blog.

    1. > “Some of us involved in local politics have long memories…you are out of order in your criticism [of Steve’s tone]”

      Pat I respectfully beg to differ – I’m calling him on his tone because I have made the same mistake, in spades; and I’ve learned from it, and I want to encourage him to do likewise.
      Yes, there are people with negative credibility, & some with intellectual dishonesty. I’m not saying whitewash their reputations when you speak of/to them, I’m saying do your speaking in a way that won’t make *you* (the speaker) come across as a belligerent jerk (to readers who don’t know the history).
      It’s counterproductive to vent in public.

      > What have you done to bring about needed changes in this country and in Nevada County?

      OK; you did ask.

      I’m trying to raise awareness of climate change, and to look behind the curtain to see who’s pulling the climate-denial-effort strings, and to document & improve the state of climate education. In the wider world, I run a climate aggregator ( ) and have had 2 other sites (other sites:,, I’ve contributed to SourceWatch ( e.g. )
      and have done some other citizen journalism ( e.g. at, & in comments e.g. at ) and education-activism (e.g. reading /researching/ commenting on the draft proposed core(national) science education standards framework).

      (Speaking of wider-world actions, I need a Sacto resident, to talk to a Sacto lawmaker who’s on the Smithsonian board. Know anyone?)

      Locally, I’ve given talks & helped with booth display & otherwise participated in the local U.N. Association, I started a climate action forum (that alas went nowhere), I’ve encouraged the Sierra Club to feature informed climate speakers & offered to help scare some up, I’ve offered the same in the past with KVMR, I’ve done some minor culture-change encouragement with the adorable-kids “got your [reusable grocery] bags?” store-door photo-signs around town, I’ve tried to dig into who’s funding CABPRO (oddly, they seem afraid of me…) and the Juvinall-founded Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation, I’ve documented some of the more egregious actions of The Union during NH2020 on my local blog (
      I joined up with another then-local woman to buy & give tickets to local leaders to see An Inconvenient Truth, then when the DVD came out, bought a couple copies and offered them around; and documented the lack of interest by our county Supes.
      The almond trees starting to shade that previously-barren stretch of sidewalk near the Pioneer Park tennis courts are under my care. (still not sure how they’ll do long-term; they’re sick in the spring)
      I’ve stitched together & submitted some climate-education videos (including an Oreskes history-of-“American denial of global warming” Stanford seminar) to NCTV, to counter some misinformation they’ve been airing.
      I’ve documented some – not enough – misleading climate communication at KVMR, and tried to correct it – and I run an aggregator for all things Nevada County at
      I took on Russ Steele’s contrarian claims for a whole month, some years back; it was an education, from which I came away with more faith in climate science and less in my fellow man.

      Look for my (first) column on climate in the upcoming Nevada City Advocate. (I submit a column, they move away….)

      Listen, I hope, for some future science-and-economics-aligned science/climate/policy commentaries on KVMR.

      And I’ve got more irons in the fire – in various states of baking, if it’s ok to mix metaphors.

      And no, it’s not enough.
      (I’ve spent a lot of time off in the weeds – investigative journalism is like crack, which – when you’re not finding anything significant – does have its drawbacks.)

  7. Thanks, Anna, as I said, I really did want to know, and it was nice to chat with you, and not surprising to find that we indeed have crossed paths in the past, have mutual acquaintances, and are on the same side on more than a few issues. I look forward to continuing the conversation and a future meeting and coffee when I have more fully recovered from recent surgery. I wish I could connect you with someone in Sacto, but at present cannot. Perhaps someone else on the blog can.

    I must add, however, that in all human relations, I try first to approach others in a spirit of goodwill, hoping that whatever our differences, we can reason together, and for the most part, this works well. This, however, in my experience in dealing with the “my way or the highway” ultra conservative political faction in Nevada County, is most often viewed as weakness and may be used to gain advantage for achieving their own agenda and defeating yours. Sadly one may see this very much in action at the national level also, and our President’s efforts to hold out a hand of friendship and invite the opposing party to work across the aisles has been met with obstructionism and rejectiion by the leadership of what has become known as “the party of NO.” What is the solution here, or is there one? You stick to your principles and go ahead anyway, but take off the rose-colored glasses and know that just because you think that lying, cheating, doing whatever it takes to win is wrong doesn’t mean that everyone does.

  8. Who is funding Prop 23?

    The Ella Baker Center and the California Environmental Justice Alliance released a study that reveals that Valero and Tesoro, the two Texas oil companies bankrolling Proposition 23 to repeal California’s clean air and energy standards, have been repeatedly cited for producing deadly chemicals at their refineries that are exposing millions of California families to harm. The two companies have contributed more than $4 million to put Proposition 23 on the November ballot.

    The two Texas-based companies’ oil refineries in the Bay Area and particularly in the Los Angeles regions “annually produce hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals.” Additionally, the report found the people who bear the biggest health burdens from these facilities
    are disproportionately people of color. Populations residing within 2.5 miles of Valero and Tesoro’s toxic facilities in Los Angeles and the Bay Area were 63 percent African American, Latino and Asian/Pacific Islander.

    The study went on to demonstrate that Valero and Tesoro have repeatedly violated pollution laws in California by releasing chemicals into the air. This January, “Valero disclosed that it had 29 outstanding Violation Notices from the South Coast Air Quality Management District,” according to the report. Over 44 violation notices within a
    three year window have been settled between Tesoro and the Bay Area Quality Management District.

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