How The Union’s weekly columnist helps keep the newspaper’s circulation flat — bashing organic food

For whatever reason — the aging, declining demographics and like-mindedness, I suppose — The Union publisher Jim Hemig continues to hang on to George Boardman as its weekly columnist.

This week George decides to paint organic foods with a broad brush, pointing to the E. coli outbreaks at Chipolte Mexican Grill. “Organic is very trendy in Nevada County, and this past weekend’s sixth annual Nevada County Food and Farm was expected to include a lot of talk about how we can grow locally 30 percent of the food we eat,” Boardman writes.

In fact, organic food is an “economic engine” in our community. One shining example: The year 2016 marks BriarPatch Co-op’s 40th anniversary. Since it opened in 1976, Briar- Patch has grown to more than 12,000 owners, and it employs more than 200 local residents, making it one of Nevada County’s largest private employers. Every day more than 2,000 people visit “the Patch” to enjoy the deli food, shop and relax on the patio and in the dining room.

The co-op’s sales have increased to $29 million in 2015 from $6 million in 2006.

Wouldn’t it be cool if The Union could boast that kind of growth? But it can’t because it hires curmudgeons such as George Boardman to be its weekly columnist.

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 years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

7 thoughts on “How The Union’s weekly columnist helps keep the newspaper’s circulation flat — bashing organic food”

  1. And sure enough the longtime loyalists to The Union (AKA Todd Juvinall and his sock puppets) are praising the article as “truth.” Meanwhile, out in the real world, beyond Todd and his political bumpkin land, one local writes on Facebook: “Organic is not trendy! It’s old fashioned food, with taste and no pesticides. Even Walmart likes it. This piece ‘PO’s’ me on various levels.”

    What’s it going to be Jim Hemig’s newspaper? The present and the future or the past? About 60,000 people in our western county (four times The Union’s circulation) want to know.

  2. Meanwhile, while Boardman bashes organic food, Fran Freedle (a self-professed “patriot”) weighs in on The Union’s Op-Ed page: “State of Jefferson movement needs signatures.”

    Between Boardman bashing organic food and Fran Freedle seeking signatures for the State of Jefferson, what kind of message does The Union send college-educated millennials who might want to move here? The message is decidedly “stay away”!

    1. Maybe eating unhealthy food keep George the way he is. As to Fran Freedle – no way am I going to sign that petition.

  3. The following was sent to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors by Faith Strailey,
    January 10, 2016
    To the Plumas County Board of Supervisors:
    It has come to my attention that during Tuesday’s meeting the board will conduct a roll call vote on an action item to rescind the ballot measure regarding separating from California and joining the State of Jefferson.
    I hope you will consider the following when you cast your vote:
    The leaders of the State of Jefferson movement have demonstrated time and time again that they have no real interest in promoting the safety and well being of the residents of this county, or any other county in northern California. Their agenda focuses on limited government.
    1. SOJ leadership has taken legitimate concerns of citizens and “cultured” anger and frustration using inflammatory rhetoric based on inaccurate and incomplete information. They have not yet produced a solid viability model for funding their state.
    2. Their agenda does not incorporate democratic principles when it comes to decision making. They feign concern, but when support is not immediate, they sidestep and use other tactics to get what they want. Case in point: when you voted to place a ballot measure before Plumas County voters, they responded by stating they would gather signatures from any person in this county, regardless of voter status, and submit them to the state as evidence of our county’s support. Of the 21 counties that they say have signed “Declarations of Support”, only 6 counties have actually voted either by BOS vote(5) or citizen vote(1) to support their movement. Legislators and voters are being willfully mislead.
    3. Other counties have recognized the questionable messaging and leadership of SOJ. The BOS of 7 counties decided to take no action in support of SOJ. Lake County rescinded its ballot vote in appreciation to the state for assisting them after devastating fires hit their county. Lake County realized the great benefit that California has to offer in times of disaster. California has money, materials, manpower, and the resolve to help. Will SOJ?
    4. Mark Baird has stated, “the government was not instituted to keep you safe from bad baby carriages and raw milk. It was instituted to protect liberty”. What happens when one person’s “liberty” to pursue economic gain causes health or economic hardship for another person? It does not appear that the present SOJ leadership has a vested interest in protecting the health, well being, and safety of all its citizens.
    Plumas County residents have elected you to represent them and protect their interests. Assisting in the formation and then joining SOJ would leave our county destitute. The $50,000,000 (approx.) California provides our county in revenues and services could not possibly be made up without drastically increasing local income, property, and sales taxes. There would be little, if any, help from SOJ state government. The burden will be borne by the residents.
    Without the necessary funds, our K-12 schools would be impoverished. FRC, our community college, would suffer similarly or even close. Our high school graduates would have very limited choices if attending SOJ state colleges. They would have to pay additional tuition to attend out-of-state colleges or universities. The services of our Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department, and Road Department would all be affected. How would impoverished residents support our local businesses?
    • Supporting SOJ is not in our best interest!
    • The likelihood of legislation being passed to create SOJ is nil!
    • Save our county $10,000 – $15,000 and vote to rescind the ballot measure to support SOJ!

    Submitted by /Users/george/Desktop/COUNTY MAP.jpg
    Jim Firth

  4. In the upcoming county-wide elections, one question should be asked of every candidate for every office; whether or not they support SOJ. Any elected city or county official and any candidate for public office who answers “yes” does not deserve a vote. They are elected to serve the bests interests of ALL of the residents and to support SOJ is automatically a conflict of interest. How can a person “serve” on the one hand and try and dismantle that which they serve on the other? The SOJ crowd is ideologically handicapped to the point of disfunction; all they seem to be able to do is disrupt and complain. SOJ is another disruption/distraction to move the public debate away from more important issues. No solutions are ever offered beyond the perfunctory “government is bad, climate change is a hoax, guns are good, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.” And they call those who disagree with them “sheeple;” doublespeak at its finest.

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