If only all the issues got equal time. This inevitably leads to charges that the newspaper management has a pro-development, pro-conservative editorial agenda (in a county that is becoming more “purple” politically, not “red.”). It’s become a familiar refrain — for years.
For long-timers, the pièce de résistance was the saga of Bruce Conklin, the supervisor whom The Union went after like a pit bull in 2004. “The accusation raised by Mr. Ackerman that ‘Conklin traded integrity for money’ has itself raised an issue of intent,” wrote Nevada City resident Jim Hurley at the time. “Did he trade journalistic integrity to engineer a Board of Supervisors more to his political liking?”
Hurley continued: “But there is a larger issue here that goes beyond personal judgment, and that is the responsibility of the journalist. The Land Trust held a press conference, fearing that their side of the story wasn’t being told. At this conference the question was asked whether anyone on the Land Trust board had been contacted by the authors of the editorials before publication. The answer was, ‘No.’ Mr. Ackerman has given the appearance of trading journalistic integrity to promote an agenda.”
The Union’s brass denied all this, but the outcome was significant — changing the makeup of the supervisors to a more conservative flavor that exsits to this very day.
Flash forward to today, when the “great reset” has decimated our economy because we’re still too dependent on construction and real estate.
Now The Union has devoted copious amounts of ink in recent weeks to a lawsuit filed by the City of Grass Valley and developers/real estate speculators — “seven people,” all told — over an airport safety plan that was approved by the Airport Land Use Commission.
•An initial story was titled “Airport plan: Worth another look?” — sounding more like an editorial than a news story. It began: “When officials were considering whether to approve a new land use plan for the Nevada County Airport recently, local developers stood up and begged them to wait. Begging aside, the issue seemed straightforward enough: ‘The airport land use plan restricts development around the airport for the safety of people on the ground and to protect the airport from noise complaints by encroaching neighborhoods.’ But the developers/real estate speculators weren’t satisfied — so they sued.
Wait, there’s more!
Then we read — almost in real-time — that the petition was filed and learned all the developer’s arguments: (how a public hearing was announced and held as required — but the group still didn’t think it was appropriately notified; how one land-use commission member who supports the suit claimed he didn’t know about the plan — even though he sits on the commission and is privy to the same information as the others). We also learned the coup de grâce: how the developers/real estate speculators asked for an EIR to slow down the process — an ironic turnabout in most land-use debates.
Here’s all we heard from the “other side”: “The Airport Land Use Commission consists of members of the Nevada County Transportation Commission. Transportation Commission Executive Director Dan Landon had not seen the petition Thursday and said he could not comment until it had been reviewed.”
•Now this week we learned more from the Commission in a story alarmingly titled “Safety, jobs and public policy crash at Loma Rica Airport.”
The response: “Landon has looked at the properties of each of the seven people who say their land is affected by new, stricter and larger safety zones around the runway on Loma Rica, east of Grass Valley. He plans to tell them their properties — like others’ nearby — are not affected by the new plan. “Anything that’s already allowed under county zoning, you can do,” Landon said. “If (a use of the property) is consistent with your zoning, chances are, it’s consistent with the land use compatibility plan…” OK, so what’s the fuss?
•Well, we finally we get down to brass tacks this morning, setting aside the “property rights” argument of the seven landowners and getting to the heart of the matter — the build out at Loma Rica. In “Contractors: Plenty of $$$ in Loma Rica development,” we learn that the airport safety plan could interfere with “economic stimulus” from the project. Not just the entire project — mind you — but the proposed building of residences at McBoyle Lake — 35 instead of 105. “The neighborhood within the larger development the left-turn pattern of departing aircraft, which has a somewhat higher chance of accidents than other patterns,” it reads.
Since the real motives have been exposed, let’s ask the larger question (which I hope will be answered tomorrow!): Who — please do tell — is going to buy a new $$$ home under the flight pattern at Loma Rica Airport? It will take years to sell off the existing inventory of homes that are for sale around here — some of them brand-new “spec” houses. And I might add, maybe it’s time to look at the “economic stimulus” of the airport itself, with a new land-use plan that finally complies with the current safety regulations.
Let it go man!