Never mind that Nevada City has brought the Amgen Tour of California — and all the visibility that goes with it — to western Nevada County three times.
Never mind Nevada City’s significant economic, historic and cultural substance: It is the county seat, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and home to video-tech stalwarts such as Telestream, and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
Never mind that Nevada City wins more “best of” town competitions in national magazines for all its attributes to draw more attention to the western county.
Now that the election season is over, however, it’s time to bash Nevada City again — a longtime pastime for many locals who “live in their own glass houses” (and shouldn’t be throwing stones).
Once again, you have to pull out the Cliff notes for our community and understand that the contempt some city and civic leaders have for Nevada City goes back to their high school days when the towns were “rivals” — long before many of us lived here. For others, it might have been a bad business experience in Nevada City.
Bashing Nevada City is not new for The Union. The newspaper has even targeted its energized residents, such as former Mayor Reinette Senum, who founded the farmers market, has helped revitalize the downtown, and just spearheaded an effort to cleanup and paint the city’s historic buildings. Bashing Nevada City and Reinette was a favorite pastime of a now-departed publisher of The Union. It was astounding to watch.
Nowadays, the newspaper’s “paid” weekly columnist “Bored Georgeman,” who is hunkered down in a gated community behind his desktop PC, admittedly turns “left” on Hwy. 49 to go shopping, but once deemed it OK to help run a restaurant in Nevada City (now defunct), uses his bullypulpit in the local newspaper to bash the city. He is a “Mini Me” of that ex-publisher, carrying on the tradition.
Under a nasty-toned and exaggerated headline “Nevada City lets everybody else in the county do the firefighting,” Boardman sides with none other than Keith Grueneberg, a card-carrying member of the “good old boys” public safety cabal, apparently with a gorilla-sized pension to match (that The Union has decided not to cover). More details here.
Instead of creating a joint fire department involving the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, Grass Valley and Nevada City, “gorilla” Greuenberg supported an effort to abruptly pull firefighters out of the Nevada City firehouse — leaving city leaders in the lurch.
The “brownout” plan for firefighting in Nevada City requires temporary cooperation from Grass Valley — just as Nevada City has cooperated with Grass Valley in loaning an officer for police work. (Imagine that).
Next summer, Nevada City will ask residents for a sales tax increase to raise money for a permanent solution. Though “Bored Georgeman” doesn’t mention this, I’m certain Nevada City will go along with the increase.
By contrast, the chances that voters will agree to spend more tax dollars for firefighting in George’s neighborhood, the Higgins Fire Protection District, is more uncertain. A Higgins Fire tax measure failed back in 2013, thanks to the “get off my land,” “don’t tax me” contingent in his neighborhood (whom The Union energizes in its editorial pages).
To be sure, Nevada City has its own financial challenges. But it is tackling them, including paying down a loan from the county. I have high hopes for the new city manager, who George apparently didn’t interview for his column.
“Bored Georgeman’s” column this morning is another reminder that our political and civic leaders need to “bury the hatchet” and build community bridges, not burn them. And it is a reminder of the petty, provincial politics that has come to define our western county (with The Union leading the charge).