Telestream is profiled in the Sacramento Bee this weekend. “In 2015, private equity firm Genstar Capital acquired Telestream,” writes columnist Cathie Anderson (who keeps tabs on our region and whom I visit with from time to time).
“None of the sales prices was disclosed, but (CEO Dan) Castles said that if you were to add each of the sales figures, the company would have created in excess of $1 billion in aggregate value. Annual revenue has surpassed the $50 million mark, he said, and the company employs roughly 250 people worldwide, 165 of them in Nevada City.
“We see lots of room for growth because more and more content is being created and viewed,” Castles said. “People want to view it on more devices … and the number of formats is getting more and more complicated.”
This is good news, along with a recent grant for a gigabit internet network, as well as a feasibility study for a Sierra Digital Media Campus. Other efforts including “building bridges” with Sacramento with the Rural County Representatives of California, the community-wide effort to keep South Yuba River State Park open and repair the Bridgeport Bridge.
But we need more private and government investments to make all this happen. We need businesses to invest in our community to create jobs, we need private investments to complete the one gigabit internet (the 40 percent balance), and we need more government funding for the Sierra Digital Media Campus — and to repair the Bridgeport Covered Bridge, with its escalating costs. We also need more government support for our network of County Fairs, accomplished with participation in the Western Fairs Association.
Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, we have a band of locals who want to secede from the State of California. The political tactics are often toxic. It is counterproductive and risks undermining the efforts to build bridges with the rest of the state, not burn them.
And this time the blame is on the right, rather the extreme right — not the left, who often is tarred with an anti-growth mindset. We need to change that.
The polarization has been getting worse, largely stemming from the intransigent and aggressive mindset of the tea-party patriots and other hard-right political activists. The co-founder is local Mark Meckler. In 2011, Meckler was arrested after he took a gun to LaGuardia Airport. He claimed he was unaware that his gun license was not valid in New York, which has strict gun laws.
Congressman Tom McClintock also has stirred the pot. In 2010 he announced it was time to ‘get rid of that left wing clerk/recorder,'” according to a gathering. In 2014, the group got together to form a tea-party managed PAC, targeting board and commission seats in the county with like-minded candidates. It is part of a national plan. “Because Mark Meckler lives in a small, rural county in California, we decided to try there,” the group’s website said.
The State of Jefferson movement is the latest iteration. The County Board of Supervisors has declined to go along, but the SOJ activists keep pressing on. They say they have gathered enough signatures to put an SOJ measure on the ballot, with an air of arrogance.
At this point you have to ask yourself whether a private investor would want to plunk down his money in a place where extreme right-wing politics create such a climate of uncertainty and polarization. It is no different than investing in a business climate that is perceived as anti-growth because of leftwing politics. Many other opportunities exist.
At the same time many of the tea-party and SOJ activists are smacking down government, other groups in our community are seeking their support and dollars. It’s a dysfunctional environment — not a democratic one.
It’s not very conducive to raising a family either. Many of the high-achieving youths want to leave the area after they graduate from school.
The New Year is starting off as more politically contentious than the last. And I expect it will continue.