Patti Ingram cannot hide her personal contempt for Terry Lamphier

In an “Other Voices” this Super Bowl weekend, longtime resident and local politico Patti Ingram cannot hide her personal contempt for Terry Lamphier, the supervisor representing her in District 3, calling his commentary on economic development a “personal puff piece” and using high-pitched political rhetoric such as “reprehensible” to describe his views.

It is another sign of what I see as the “old guard” circling the wagons in Grass Valley for the District 3 supervisor race.

But it will be hard to paint Terry as a “no growther,” since he has received $5,000 from the developer of Rincon Del Rio, a project he has supported as “state of the art environmental design,” as well as a creator of local jobs and long-term property tax dollars. Lamphier has shown a willingness to collaborate and is being level-headed in his commentary — at least for now.

Terry beat Patti’s husband, John Spencer, in the race for county supervisor last time in the Grass Valley area. Now Patti’s longtime friend, Dan Miller, is running against Lamphier, and she’s vocally endorsing Dan as the next-best choice compared to her husband (in a comment on Facebook).

Patti was instrumental in the appointment of a new CEO at the Grass Valley Chamber, Keith Davies, who also has ties with Dan and Patti going back to their high-school days. Patti’s family once owned The Union newspaper. It’s a close-knit group.

In a recent “Other Voices,” Lamphier pointed to progress in economic development on many fronts and his role in helping to facilitate it: economic development of the Bear River Mill site, broadband service, the Rincon development, a meat processing facility for local ranchers and more. It was a tempered response.

On the Dorsey Drive interchange, Terry pointed out: “I argued that the developers, not taxpayers, should bear the brunt of the expense as the developers would be the direct beneficiaries. Later, the city sued, using taxpayer dollars, on behalf of Loma Rica property owners — supporting private development rights instead of protecting the public in airport-related public safety issues.”

Grass Valley’s lawsuit against the county did not go unnoticed by many people, raising concerns about a “my way or the highway” mindset.

In this morning’s The Union (an old $2 one-day pass still gets you access from Denver if you don’t “log out”), Patti wrote that Dorsey Drive is our “most important” development project. The whole article was directed at one paragraph within Lamphier’s broad-based discussion on economic development.

It began: “Having been born and raised in Nevada City and Grass Valley, and my family having lived here for over a century, I take exception to Terry Lamphier’s personal puff piece regarding economic development in last Saturday’s edition of The Union.”

She called his statements “extremely offensive” and “reprehensible.” She adds: “Who will be served by the Dorsey Drive Interchange? How about the entire community!”

Dan also shot back at Terry on KNCO radio. Many of KNCO’s owners will be supporting Dan.

This is going to be a tight race and it will largely hinge on how people “in the middle,” who did not grow up in Grass Valley, view the candidates and their actions. Mudslinging may grab headlines but it won’t influence the outcome as much as in the past.

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.

17 thoughts on “Patti Ingram cannot hide her personal contempt for Terry Lamphier”

  1. Jeff:
    I read this article this morning and now when I read these attack pieces I can’t help to think about your comment of the stakes being so small. That comment for some reason has really stuck in my head.

  2. I don’t know enough about the Dorsey Drive issue to know who or what is ‘right’, but I do think the discussion raises an interesting question about the role of local government in economic development.

    Clearly the health of the economy and ability of Nevada County residents to find good jobs that provide quality of life AND opportunity for their families is one of the most important local issues.

    However, we also live in an era of constrained local government financial resources and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Thus the investments that local government does make are doubly important because of scarcity of resources.

    Talking to entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses across the Sierra, and in other rural regions of the state and in the inter-mountain west, I have been amassing information about what THEY say they need. Here are the Top Ten I have been hearing:

    1) Local government should play an important role in providing, financing or leveraging investment in critical infrastructure (water systems, sewage treatment, mobility–not just roads but mobility, and broadband systems) necessary for smart economically efficient development.

    2) Local government should provide the planning framework for economically efficient development; clear, consistent and achievable zoning and planning policy that is predictable and time efficient.

    3) Local government should represent local needs to state and federal policy makers and programs to capture our ‘fair share’ of state and federal investment. Examples would be advocating for local infrastructure funding, planning funding, mobility funding, workforce development funding, and resource management funding.

    4) Local government should provide a predictable and efficient regulatory framework that answers the key community questions about issues like traffic, environmental impacts, and community character, quickly and fairly.

    5) Local government should deliver backbone services (fire safety, public safety, a social safety net, public works, etc.), and the more efficiently they can do that the more prosperous a local community will be.

    5) Local government should play a LEADERSHIP ROLE by encouraging, empowering, and informing public/private partnerships that engage the private sector in making smart investments that leverage the infrastructure, planning and regulatory framework that government creates, and speeds adaptation to new economic opportunities.

    This means LEADERSHIP but not necessarily ‘direction’; business wants a collaboration, which is extremely difficult for many local government officials to do.

    Once these things are done local government can also play a critical role in the following areas:

    1) Providing data and information that helps the private sector make wise investments.

    2) Providing incentives for desirable forms of economic development (and this means getting over the antipathy for picking ‘winners’ and ‘losers’; the era of local government sitting passively and waiting for some theoretically pure free market to figure it out are over, because everyone else is doing it and they are your ‘competitors’).

    3) Providing leadership to improve educational systems to focus on the skills needed in the modern workforce (this means partnering with educational institutions).

    4) Encouraging tools to improve access to capital.

    5) Encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship, a community where entrepreneurs are valued and honored, where their needs are understood and WHERE GOVERNMENT CAN, HELPED addressed.

    In the end though I am not hearing entrepreneurs, or small and medium sized businesses saying they are seeking direct investment by local government in businesses, and they tend to believe that if local government provides the core services and provides leadership in the second five listed above, that the private sector will excel. I believe that is a very important distinction. Entrepreneurs are not saying ‘invest in me” they are saying ‘give me the tools to get started and excel’ and I will find the investors and grow.

    Local government is a gardener, but not the seed, and not the fruit.

  3. The line from Terry mentioned in your post about ‘the developers being the direct beneficiaries’ isn’t entirely clear. I didn’t read Terry’s article. Can you elaborate on his meaning a little?

    Regardless, I see Ingram/Spencer/Miller/etc’s thinking as having gone like this:
    “Oooh, our opponent (a.k.a. Satan) said something that is a bit vague if quoted out of context – this is the perfect opportunity for us to strike and play it up for all it’s worth! We can TELL those who are already likely to vote for us how we want to interpret that line. And, knowing that, on average, those who are more likely to vote for us are less likely to dig any deeper or to give it any sort of critical thought, and that they already like our worldview anyway, we will have won the day!”

    Brilliant… Standard American Politics. Lowest Common Denominator. We’ve all got to use some critical thought. Critical thought (a.k.a. an informed citizenry) is the worst enemy of the status quo.

  4. Terri has always been respectful of what the “truth” is behind many of the issues actually are.

    The Dorsey Drive project is something that I personally do not endorse (but that may change as many challenged the round-de-round at Idaho Maryland saying that it would not improve traffic flow, but I knew it would) as I cannot justify spending money’s on this project (local money or not) with the status of the economy being what it is.

    I have a problem spending that much money because people cannot wait and additional 2 minutes to get to the same point……

    I also commend Terri for not believing the mus-truths that our Sheriff has given to the community on the MMJ issue, and actually having the fortitude to look at what the proof is and base his actions upon this,

    I don’t live in Terri’s district but I believe in integrity and when I look at Terri’s actions they speak volumes on this subject.

    1. A similar way to look at the issue is to consider what else could have been done with the money being spent on the interchange. $25 million, even if only (or especially if) spent on GV roads and infrastructure, could have really helped clean up the maintenance backlog and other issues. (I know that there are a lot of factors involved in allocating funds and directing money from one project to another is difficult if not impossible, but in the end the money is all coming from the taxpayers.) Interestingly, I do not see this as a right vs. left issue.

  5. By the way I think Terry has shown a real knowledge of these economic development issues and the items he has chosen to work on has been spot on. I don’t know Dan well enough to know, but I agree the ‘right-left’ dynamic does not fit well here.

    1. A very belated thank you, Steve. Now see the Measure E fiasco for the newest “feel good” bout with fiscal ineptitude, here in 2018…

  6. BTW, here are some photos posted on Facebook from Dan Miller’s fundraiser last week. Plenty of like-minded folks who don’t live or vote in the district, even tea-party activist Barry Pruett from Penn Valley:
    In the latest period (7/20/13-12/31/13), Dan had raised $5,514, much of it from staunch conservatives. The biggest single donor was $1,000 from the owner of Chris’ Collision Repair. He did a nice job of repairing our truck a year ago when it was side-swiped on a “hit and run” while parked out front in the middle of the night. Many thanks!

  7. Terry is intelligent, thorough, and an extremely kind, humble person. It’s too bad that his opposition will do everything possible to stop him….. after all they were born here and therefore think they own the county. Little do they understand what those of us who have lived elsewhere bring here in terms of experience and knowledge that they will never understand.


    1. Come on now Jeff, we’ve all had typo’s in our lifetimes, so let’s try to not focus on the minutia and look at the big picture.

      Terri has shown to be a very capable person, and unless Mr. Miller can show me the same capability, understanding and willingness to look at the whole picture (as Terri has done) then I will not support him, and I will urge others to support Terri.

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