Strawser campaign gives our wackadoodle political culture a platform

Duane Strawser was a Democrat who changed his political affiliation to “decline to state” for the District 1 supervisor race, as YubaNet has reported. Now he’s being endorsed by the staunchly conservative local Republican Central Committee (think Fran Freedle). Welcome to western Nevada County, CA politics!

In fact, Duane had a choice: to turn away our hard-right extremists who were going to vote for him, not Democrat Heidi Hall, with a polite “thanks but no thanks.” Outgoing District 1 supervisor Nate Beason set the political precedent for this when he stood up to the hard right, including their tea-party candidate Sue McGuire — and he won.

But instead, the Strawser campaign has reached out to our hard-right political culture, which includes a receiving a $3,697 contribution from the tea party-influenced “Americans for Good Government” PAC and anti-global warming activists (see below).

The argument is to give credence to all voices. But I think that’s a cop out: these extremist voices hold back our towns. They bring out the State of Jefferson movement, the “constitutional sheriff,” anti-global warming activists and the “defend rural America” contingent.

Meanwhile, other towns in our region — such as Truckee — plow ahead without this kind of distraction. We are falling behind in economic development, including drawing college-educated millennials and attracting and retaining young families from the rest of California, including — God forbid! — the Bay Area. Wackadoodle politics do not interest them. This a pragmatic issue, not an ideological one.

Nowhere is this political extremism more apparent than in a letter in The Union this weekend titled “Frank Pinney: Vote Strawser; he’s paid his dues.” Pinney contributed $1,000 to Strawser’s campaign, though it isn’t disclosed in the letter.

Here’s an excerpt but go ahead and read it: “I still don’t understand Heidi’s rejection of the Constitution, fiscal responsibility, personal freedoms and smaller government apparent in her continual attacks on the Tea Party. Her hatred is evident in her false claims that her opponent, Strawser, is financed by and his campaign is run by the Tea Party and that Tea Partiers doubt global warming and want to slash Social Security and Medicare.”

Pinney you recall ran a preposterous full-page ad on the back of The Union, which happily collects ad revenue from “all comers” (but doesn’t have to). It has long been an “enabler” of whackadoodle politics, because that includes its core demographics — staunchly conservative, aging — and declining.

But that’s not all of us. For the first time in years, the number of registered Democrats are greater than the number of registered Republicans — a trend The Union has ignored. The figures are here. BTW, I’ve been a “decline to state” voter my whole life and have voted for Democrats and Republicans.

To be sure, I like Duane Strawser. I have supported his endeavors on numerous occasions, including personal ones such as his own Nevada City Council races.

But we’re at a crossroads. As Yogi Berra joked, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” But we’re not doing that, and it’s costing us. Just look around.

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 SierraCulture.com. 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.

16 thoughts on “Strawser campaign gives our wackadoodle political culture a platform”

  1. Yes, we’re here because we bought here 40 years ago and built a house, but I wouldn’t recommend this community to any young and ambitious millennial, precisely because of what you aptly refer to as the “whackadoodle politics.” It’ll be interesting to see how long this little backwater can resist the national tides flowing in the other direction. Not long, judging by the latest county party registration stats.

    What We Know About The Progressive Future, Part I: Here Come The Millennials

  2. National tides like Trump damming the Cartinez Straight with, of course, a wall, to provide water to California farmers while turning the San Francisco Bay into a stinky tidal flat? Ideocracy is in full swing. But nature will bat last.

  3. Clearly, Duane is the tea party candidate because that philosophy is compatible with his. He’s not shy about advocating for right wing policies which includes the State of Jefferson.
    This is Duane, the real Duane..

  4. I have never heard Duane advocate for the State of Jefferson. Having said that, I can see where it leads to confusion when the wackadoodle politics becomes intertwined with his campaign.

  5. Heidi is the District 1 candidate who will breathe a breath of fresh air into the politics of the board of supervisors. Duane is obviously willing to just go along to get along. Don’t miss this opportunity to bring some needed change to the BOS. Same comment can be made for Richard Harris in District 2. Now is the time! We’ve had enough of over-regulation and costly lawsuits.

  6. Read a “back woods” report on this issue from Russ Steele, a Nevada County native. Memo to Russ:
    1. For a college-educated millennial, the housing market in our community is far less than in the Bay Area.
    2. The schools in Nevada County are excellent when you consider the relatively low cost of housing compared with the Bay Area.
    Russ is a country bumpkin. He cannot understand the perspective of a coastal Californian, who is attracted to a community such as ours — until he hears about Russ’ “wackadoddle politics.”
    And the saddest part is that Russ has played a role — albeit a small one — in local economic development. He has been a paid consultant for better broadband (still waiting) and a board member of the NCERC.
    When will the locals dump Russ and their “wackadoodle politics” and begin to embrace the rest of California? Until then, we are stuck in the mud and being left behind by other communities, including Truckee.

  7. stevefrisch says:
    05/28/2016 at 7:43 PM
    Russ if what you claim is true that it is housing costs and schools that are discouraging millennials to what do you attribute the fact that Truckee, roughly on par with western Nevada County in 1980, is now substantively outperforming the ‘west’ in median income, population growth, job growth, wage growth, educational attainment and has a 10 year younger demographic even while the ski industry has been flat?

  8. Steve,
    Great points, except that people like Russ don’t care. For them it is all about being on the “lido deck” of a cruise ship with like-minded people. It is an egocentric perspective, not a community centric one.

  9. I listened to Heidi and Duane both speak yesterday. I came away feeling that Heidi is the most qualified candidate on a number of levels. My feeling is that she will not walk in lock step with the current Board Of Supervisor clones. Duane on the other hand is concealing his true feelings from the electorate. He is sympathetic towards the State of Jefferson. He leans towards the Tea Baggers and their aim of taking our county back in time.
    Heidi Hall for Supervisor District One!!!

  10. I know Richard Anderson, a Democrat, has made great contributions to the BOS. He does his homework and gives thoughtful and respectful responses.

  11. I wonder why the tea baggers didn’t find someone to run against Anderson, too hard to run against success? I would think the anti-MJ crowd would want him out seeing as how he was the only one to vote against their power grab.

  12. Hi Jeff,
    You the only other person that I know that uses the term Wackadoodle, besides myself, for the narrow minded, obstructionist, anti – women, anti moderate, anti any color except white, anti-any belief besides their anti – Christ Christian beliefs etc etc etc white old men Wackadoodle Republicans !!!
    Thank you for spreading the word !!!

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