The Union’s weekly columnist: Curmudgeon in residence

flamingo4The Union’s weekly columnist Bored Georgeman (AKA George Boardman) has become a parody of himself. Like our local hard-right political bloggers (loud and obnoxious but a minority when you consider the political diversity of our community), he’s locked in a “get off my lawn”! mindset.

I continue to be perplexed by “Bored’s” presence each week in our local newspaper, because his “wisdom” is not a growth strategy for the newspaper to sign up new readers. At best, it is a defensive strategy to hang on to the aging conservative demographic. Meanwhile, the paper hasn’t replaced Heidi Hall’s column. Go figure.

This week we are treated to Bored’s latest tirade — bashing a plan to build EV charging stations in Northern California and poking fun at Portland “where it is said that 20-somethings go to retire and that they have so many coffee shots because they’re trying to stay awake.”

As usual, his columns gloss over important details — in this case the cost of electric cars. He likes to point to the $75K Tesla Model S — but never mentions the Chevrolet Spark or Nissan Leaf, which go for less than $30K.  He also “forgets” to mention that California is the nation’s top EV region. Duh.

But instead of informing, it’s the same old “public welfare”/”taxation without representation” mantra. Blah, blah, blah. George feels the same way about the organic food movement — too darn expensive for its own good.

But amid Bored’s convenient “eat the rich” rhetoric, not a peep about his own “let them eat cake” vacationing in the South of France. It’s funny how that works. Little to no self-awareness.

But wait, there’s more. This weekend we were treated to “Can California be Saved” on George Rebane’s blog: “Wealth in California is today made in ‘high-tech, social media, the Internet, government employment, academia, lawyering, and acting,’ and not in ‘the old-fashioned way’ – mining, timber, ranching, farming, and construction.”

I enjoy the NC Scooper’s parody. But when you stop to think about it, you don’t have to make this stuff up. In our community, it’s real.

Here’s an ode to that “old-fashioned way”:

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.

20 thoughts on “The Union’s weekly columnist: Curmudgeon in residence”

  1. How do you tell if Flamingo’s have moved into your neighborhood? They have plastic George Boardman’s on the lawn!

  2. What a strange lede paragraph in The Union this morning: “From a prominent local business owner being arrested by Nevada City police and state officials for alleged payroll tax evasion, to a woman dying from a head-on crash with a school bus, local news has been buzzing this past week.”

  3. Of course we have Joanne Rebane’s snipe about Heidi Hall. Yet are the countless incidents of Joanne snapping at someone who disagrees with her.

  4. What I find really amazing is the general trend of some people (not just those who profess to like markets) to reject the way innovation works in real life.

    This is a trend I find common not only in ‘conservatives’ but in knee jerk middle of the roaders like Mr. Boardman and liberals, many of whose shibboleths I have taken on here.

    I used my first computer at the University of Illinois in 1978 to play chess. I entered my moves in EBCDIC format on a punch card sent by phone to Champaign Urbana to what I think must have been the ILLIAC IV. ILLIAC IV cost millions of dollars to build and was the size of a semi-truck. The first computer I purchased was a Macintosh II in 1988, which I scrimped and saved to buy 1 year used for about $2500. Today I carry a tricorder called an i-Phone that links me to the knowledge of the known world in milliseconds.

    This is known as the diffusion of innovations.

    The first step in innovation is always expensive. The first improved paved road, the M1 in Michigan in 1909, was 1mile long and cost more than $2 million in today’s dollars. The Ford Tin Lizzy when it came out cost $950; in todays dollars you would need an income of $144,000 per year to afford the equivalent. To address this issue Henry Ford raised daily wages to $5 a day at Ford plants (which he was excoriated by his colleagues for) and reduced the cost of the Model T to less than $290. He sold a lot of cars and we built a lot of roads.

    Look up the ‘diffusion of innovations’ theory, which everyone who comments on an issue like this should do, and one would find a standard trend. For the innovator innovation is expensive; for the early adopter innovation is slightly less expensive but one needs to either be in love (as I was with my Mac II or on a social mission); for the early majority adopter (which is kind of where we are at the beginning of now with EV’s) the cost is still high but the ROI may come; for the late majority the economics work, and an amazing thing happens, critical mass is achieved and what was an innovation is now the cultural norm, like my i-Phone.

    Late adopters are called the ‘laggards’, a remarkably appropriate term. A substantial portion of the laggards are just normal albeit older middle class schmos who are the last to adopt change, often because they lack informed opinion leadership skills are adverse to any change, and are focused on traditional values thus they see innovation as a challenge to their values. They are the ones who say, “It has always been so, thus I can’t see it being any different.” “You paid how much for a computer!” They scoff at their neighbors Leaf and point out that it still needs electricity (as though fusion were a possibility?). They say, “Hey, let’s burn coal till we are dead even though solar and wind are now almost less expensive.” Well ‘almost’ is not less expensive. They are not going to jump on that bandwagon and become part of critical mass because they believe they are ‘individualists’.

    But a substantial portion of the late adopters are the people who can least afford to bear the cost, which is why California is placing a price on carbon emissions, building charging stations, subsidizing EV’s for people with less money and putting a cap on the amount of rebate that can go to early adopters, who are as George pointed out wealthier.

    I think George Boardman needs a remedial lesson in a) how innovation works (it is amazing to me that he lived in the Bay Area that has been transformed by innovation), and b) how markets work.

    Or he could retreat to Lake of the Pines muttering, “Get off my grass.”

  5. This exchange below on RL Crabb’s blog shows the “big fish, small pond” mindset that pollutes and holds back our little, rural community. It burns bridges with the rest of California instead of building them.

    For the record, my wife Shannon and I hung out regularly with my colleague Peter Fimrite and his dad Ron Fimrite of The Chronicle at the Wash Bag (AKA Washington Square Bar & Grill), as well as their place on Tahoe’s West Shore, which was owned by Ron’s wife.

    Ron’s friend, Frank Corrillo, designed my wedding ring from his store in the Shreve Building, thanks to the introduction. We were all a close-knit group.

    Not once over the years did the names of George Boardman (a reporter with the tiny San Mateo Times/Palo Alto Times, who never was hired at The Chronicle) or RL Crabb (who hung out with the Mitchell Bros. “girls” by his own admission but was never a cartoonist at The Chronicle) come up. Even George is off-base in his “narrative,” forgetting that the Buena Vista Cafe was not the “hang out.” The poor man is confused with San Francisco place names among the town’s journalists.

    Unlike Boardman, I also worked under Stanton Delaplane before he retired. George never did.

    I only bring this “inside baseball” story up to show local readers the preponderance of fish tales that exists in our little community.

    The Union is the “big show” for RL Crabb and George Boardman. It’s as far as they ever got. BTW, the Buena Vista Cafe does not have an accent over the “e,” as George suggests. It shows ignorance, just like Gregory referring to San Francisco as “Frisco.” Ignorant with a capital “I.” You can’t make this stuff up!

    George Boardman says:
    October 26, 2015 at 12:53 pm
    Bob, did I ever tell you about me good friend Rom Fimrite? He never heard of Pelline! LOL. We used to have great times drinking Irish coffee and eating clam chowder at the Buena Vista Café.

    Did you know my good friend Stanton Delaplane first introduced Irish coffee to the U.S. He also won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the original effort to create a “State of Jefferson.” Maybe the Chronicle can win another Pulitzer! LOL

    Of course, all of this was before Moose’s and the Wash Bag opened. I’ll never forget the time I almost hit my good friend Charles McCabe when he tried to cross Columbus Avenue after drinking one too many at the Wash Bag.

    Those were the days my friend.
    rlcrabb says:
    October 26, 2015 at 4:31 pm
    Scoopy is such a bitter fellow, but then he is known to despise renters. He claims that the Great Unraveling of San Francisco isn’t as bad as it was in the gold rush days. I’m sure that’s a great comfort to the evicted middle class of today.

    1. When you exist in a very small bubble one easily reaches the point where truth is scoffed at and BS reigns supreme with people of little merit or descrimination for reality. They pull their stories out of you know where and thump each other on their backs for their “wit”. They are a sad and pathological group.

    2. Jeff:

      I know I’ve said this before, but damn it! –– why can’t you, Bob Crabb and Todd Juvinall spend some time together over an adult beverage or three, (or even a pot of coffee), then shake hands and move on? Life is too short, and I know because my 73-year-old body tells me so.

      You are three terrific people and I respect you all, so it’s sad to see the kind of exchanges you guys have been having these past few years.

      I think Bob is the fairest Equal Opportunity Offender I have ever known –– and one hell of a gifted illustrator and cartoonist to boot. And while I may not agree with Todd’s position on certain issues, I respect him for his commitment to his core beliefs. He whipped my fanny fair and square in the 1984 supervisorial Primary Election, and I think his campaign against Ilse Barnhart in the ’84 General Election was a great example of clean, positive electioneering.

      You, Bob and Todd contribute greatly to the day-to-day dialogue on topics affecting thousands of people in Nevada County. In my opinion, however, the good points eventually become diminished by all the bickering.

      Yes, I’ve indulged in my own share of bickering with certain folks in Nevada City –– both written and verbal bickering –– but look where it got me, huh?. All that time at the council table before I finally had two other votes on the fifteenth year to be named mayor.

      I believe I am still the third longest-serving councilmember in the 164-year history of Nevada City, but I was also one of the most politically impotent councilmembers in history. Much of it of my own making, I know, but some of it caused by relentless back-stabbing from others. Thankfully, that’s over with. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I have moved on with my life. I just wish the three of you would shake hands and move on with yours.

      So if you, Bob and Todd ever decide to gather around a table at the Mine Shaft, I’ll send Bryce some dough for the first round.

      1. Steve,

        Good to hear from you! Thanks for your views.

        I figure I did my “fair share” for Bob Crabb long ago when The Union wanted to kill his cartoon to save money, and I went to bat for him. It was a “community service.”

        I don’t see much hope for Todd. Even Pastor Ron is concerned about his blog, which has deteriorated into mud pit dominated by internet trolls and “fat jokes.” I’d also like to see Todd pay off that delinquent county property tax bill rather than donate $2,500 to Doug LaMalfa’s political campaigns. That lacks priority.

        I appreciate your comments, though — albeit more from a rear view mirror.

        On a brighter note, I hope you’re enjoying your retirement in Florida. We are doing great. Our business is growing, our son is on the Principal’s List as we mull a high school for him, and we’re all going to Japan later this year for a vacation.

        This blog is chugging along: It generated 7K views earlier this week on a post about Dr. Scott Kellermann being mugged in Uganda. “The internet is changing how we communicate.”


      2. Jeff:

        Upon further review, I realize my comments suggest that there has been a circle of squabbling between you, Bob and Todd. That is not the impression I wanted to make, because I think it’s actually two separate exchanges: Between you and Bob and you and Todd. I don’t recall Bob and Todd exchanging barbs, but I could be mistaken.

        Sorry if my comment confused you (or Bob or Todd).

        The point of it all, of course, is to suggest that it’s time to bury the proverbial hatchet –– wherever and however is most appropriate. And I remain hopeful that it happens.

  6. And then there’s “fish,” who is the night stalker on the local blogs — from Carmichael, no less. What a ship of fools!

    1. No word from the “old boys” Crabb and Boardman. No doubt their wives put them to bed by now with milk and cookies.

  7. Someone ought to wash Bob Crabb’s mouth out with soap:

    “rl crabb says:
    October 27, 2015 at 4:52 pm
    Checking in at Scoopy’s blog, I see he’s still on the warpath, and still trumpeting his “street cred” with the a bunch of dead journalists from the Chronicle. Who gives a flying f***? Scoopy, obviously.”

    For the record, the vast majority of my former colleagues at The Chronicle are alive, not dead. I edited out the profanity.

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