Election results point to a shift to the left in local politics

More ballots still need to be counted, but here’s the latest from the June primary in western Nevada County. It points to a “new age” of political involvement, challenging the conservative “old guard” political structure. It is driven by ideology but also contempt for political bullying, intolerance and personal attacks.

It is the “democracy in our towns” theme we have been writing about on this blog since 2009. Here’s a rundown:

•Democrat Heidi Hall is leading Duane Strawser for the District 1 Supervisor race.

Duane hurt himself by hitching his wagon to the western Nevada County’s hard-right and “good old boys” politics, as this blog has reported all along. After all, he was a registered Democrat and independent minded but “who knew?” given the political operatives who surfaced in his campaign.

The hard-right and the “good old boys” is an insular, tight-knit bunch, and cannot see the bigger picture of our area’s demographics. The political “advisors,” such as the Nevada County Contractors’ PAC, on the right don’t see it either.

They also underestimate the collateral damage of the hard-right personal attacks. It has reached a crescendo. Duane would have been better off to “go it alone.”

If Heidi Hall prevails, and I expect that she will, the progressives will have 2 out of the five votes, up from one. And they will be looking for a majority in the next election cycle.

Whether the voters agree with her ideology or not, I’m confident Heidi will be thoughtful and show sound logic in her decision making, just as Richard Anderson has or Jennifer Montgomery has in Placer County. I enjoy my conversations with Richard, and we publicly supported Jennifer. I also am glad that Heidi is a graduate of Pomona College, a top-notch school.

•Measure W is losing

We do not use marijuana. We also have a teenage son in school, where marijuana use is a problem. Having said that we have friends who see the value of medical marijuana. The background of our friends the Hempels, and their twin daughters Addi and Cassi, is here.

Regardless of the final outcome on this measure, the Yes on W campaign did not handle itself well. Anti-marijuana activist Don “Madame Pantsuits” Bessee was a terrible “spokesman,” and the Sheriff came across as intolerant and inflexible.

This put off middle of the road voters, just as the hard-right did with Duane’s campaign.

The BOS now is going to have a real “hot potato” of an issue on its hands. If it ignores the results of the vote, the opposition will get louder. It needs new spokespeople to win more support. And it needs to dump Bessee, who didn’t fare well in a Republican Central Committee race either.

This group totally misread the veracity of the opposition. It was based on Measure S’s sweeping defeat in the last election cycle when the voter turnout was lower.

•Voter turnout was “extremely high,” according to the Elections Office.

This is a credit to the local League of Women Voters and collaboration among a number of groups, including this blog. (The League has thanked us for this).

The higher voter turnout helped Heidi Hall and the “No on W” campaign. If this trend can be sustained, it means the local Democrats are catching up the the local Republicans when it comes to political organizing — long a lopsided situation.

•Measure Y in Nevada City is losing

Just as people are tired of some of the hard-right’s divisive political tactics, voters also are worn out with the supporters of Laurie Oberholtzer and her “Friends of Nevada City.” In this election cycle, it was manifested in the AirBnB measure.

I think Paul Matson has been sincere in his support for the “R1” neighborhoods, but the perception of the “Friends of Nevada City” group and their political tactics is negative.

In addition, people see the value in renting out units to supplement their income. We don’t have a strong enough local economy to avoid that. Kathy Dotson, a sign of youthful force in Nevada City, showed real firepower, and I congratulate her.

•Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in our County, and Donald Trump won handily on the Republican side. This shows we remain a diverse — and polarized — bunch. Trump embodies the staunchly conservative “angry, white male” contingent in our towns (think George Rebane, a self-important hard-right activist who likes to “audit” the Union’s op-ed page; or Todd Juvinall, who planted lies about Heidi Hall, or the global-warming deniers et al.)

In other results, incumbent Ed Scofield won handily. No surprise there. Ed is popular in his district.

Thanks again to YubaNet for its political coverage. We are proud subscribers.

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.

60 thoughts on “Election results point to a shift to the left in local politics”

  1. I think some credit for the increase in voter registration in Nevada County should go to Nevada County for Bernie! We registered people all over Grass Valley and Nevada City for many weeks prior to May 23rd.
    As for Heidi winning, I was pleased to hear her response tonight when I asked what are some of the first things she is going to do now? She said she wants to talk to the people who voted for Duane to see how she might best work with them. This, in my opinion, is what a good Supervisor should do and why I voted for her!

  2. It’s good to know there was higher voter turnout, Bernie took Nevada County (sadly not enough statewide) and W was defeated. I hope Mr. Richard Harris had a very narrow margin. Sounds like we’re stuck with Ed again. Congrats to Heidi Hall on her victory. I’m not surprised she is willing to meet with Duane’s supporters and hopefully she will meet with Duane as well.

  3. I would like to thank all of the 24 active Nevada County Democrat phone bank volunteers who cumulatively made thousands of calls over the past month. It was a pleasure to work with all of you and the modern database tools that helped make it possible. See you again after summer!


    Steve Hurley
    Volunteer Technologist
    Nevada County Democratic Party

  4. Congratulations to Heidi! I think District One will be well represented. Though W was defeated, the BOS (and Barney LOL) will still try and throw a wrench in the works.

  5. What a hoot! Todd Juvinall thought his side “won” in this election. I wonder if he bought one of those counterfeit “gold” bricks in GV. ROFLOL.

  6. Jeff, I was very disappointed to read your comments re Laurie Oberholtzer. Not only were they unnecessary and unkind, they were blatantly untrue. I would want my son to learn how to run an honest, non-self serving campaign at the knee of Laurie anytime. If she is misreading the community, it is because it is difficult to watch the changes to a town that she would go to the mat to protect. She has never promoted nor made decisions based on how much she would make monetarily, but how it would further the preservation of the historical district and, in Measure Y, how it would honor the R1 neighborhoods. So when your little corner of paradise and all the streets like yours start to feel like they are an extension of the business district, remember how you maligned Laurie and the *Nevada City Neighbors for trying to hold the line in the face of a fast moving train headed our way.

    *(correct name now used to separate it from someone else carrying on their own interests)

  7. Living here in Northeast Florida, it’s hard to know exactly what happened, of course, but it seems to me that Duane ran a winning campaign for District 2. Unfortunately for him, he ran in District 1.

    I realize it may not be as simple as that, but if he had remained a registered Democrat and made a place for himself gently to the right of Heidi, capturing a lot of centrists and Republicans, (who would otherwise have not had a candidate), maybe he would have won? Who knows?

    Like I said, hard to judge that sort of thing from this distance, but via the Internet and Facebook his campaign did not reflect the Duane Strawser I have known and respected for over twenty years.

  8. Annie: “It’s good to know there was higher voter turnout. . . ” Actually, according to YubaNet we had very LOW voter turnout. When all the ballots are counted, turnout will hover (at best) around 62-65%. Fortunately for -W and HH, it seems it was apparently Republicans who stayed at home. I think they are finally seeing the positive effects of progressive change in this county and are giving up the fight to keep us in the era of Patty Duke and John Wayne.

    Over on Rebane’s page (with the notable exception of Todd claiming victory (wtf?) and George trying to baffle with bullshit) there is a deafening, perhaps stunned, silence among the faithful.

    I went to three election parties last night and Steve Cottrell’s long distance musings seem quite accurate. Most people felt Duane was quite qualified and didn’t cast a vote against him as much as they cast their votes against his Tea Party and CABPRO advocates. Many were turned off by his opaque stance on W and his pro mining views, but I don’t think those moved the vote as much as his hard right wing associations.

    1. Thank you Jon. It was my understanding the turnout was higher and I agree it could have been better. I did see you on that blog taking them down. Great job!

    2. “giving up the fight to keep us in the era of Patty Duke and John Wayne.”

      Think Joe McCarthy era, that seems more in tune to their politics.

  9. If we’re going to blame Laurie and Paul and friends, we should be specific as to what crimes they’ve committed. We should blame them for obtaining Sugar Loaf Mountain for the City. Laurie should be blamed for five years of negotiation with the then owner and for writing the grant to purchase. Then we should also blame her and friends for limiting the proposed Amaral subdivision on Red Dog years ago of 250 houses – the ingress-egress being our little Boulder St. She and her friends should certainly take the blame for halting the construction of a new CHP facility with parking lots, traffic, and all night lighting right at City limits in the scenic corridor. Then there’s always the blame for Measure F & G which is why we still have residents living in our beautiful Victorians and we’re not a town only of B&B’s. If you ever go to the Sierra Buttes and Sardine Lake and take your kids to Sand Pond, you can blame Laurie for acquiring thousands of acres for the Sierra County Land Trust. Do we actually think that the character and quality of our town just dropped out of the sky? It’s taken a lot of work, regulation and determination by Laurie and Paul and FRIENDS and those who early on sought to preserve the authenticity of our town. I’ve lived here since 1970. I’m a realtor, writer, river activist and former Nevada City Planning Commissioner and I’m just so proud to be a friend of Laurie’s.

    1. Hi Karla,
      No need to be thin skinned and “shoot the messenger.” Laurie’s overbearing personality has caught up with her. But don’t take my word for it. Ask around.

  10. There is no doubt she’s a powerhouse and altruistic one. I think its time the community realizes all that’s she’s done for us and quits the Laurie bashing. No matter what happens or who else is involved, it always ends up as Laurie’s fault. If it wasn’t so pathetic it would be funny.

      1. Everyone has a good side and a bad side but when the bad side outshines the good side, Which side is remembered ?

  11. Karla,
    What’s pathetic is that Laurie can’t let go of the reins. We have some of those in GV too. They also were on the losing end this election season.

  12. As for us, our neighborhood already has a “high rise”; the granny unit I’ve been writing about. Nobody rode to the “rescue” on that one.

  13. Well, Jeff, with the passage of Y you might soon have a high rise AIRBNB. That will be too bad for your family and for the neighborhood. No doubt, more short-term rentals are on their way.

    1. Karla,
      Where were you and Laurie when the “high rise” was built? Nowhere. Seems people are focused on their own issues, not neighborhood ones.

      1. Jeff, Laurie hasn’t had a vote on the CC or planning commission for years and years nor have I so that high rise was built on someone else’s watch or lack thereof. I. On one hand you blame her for her activism and yet you also want to be protected by it. How does that work? I am being a little sarcastic because I am really sympathetic to your concerns but it is a fair question.

      2. Karla,
        As I said before, I suggesting that the “activism” you refer to is inconsistent.

  14. Jeff. I’m sorry for that eyesore high-rise you now have to look at but it wouldn’t have mattered where Laurie and Karla were. Unfortunately because of the change in 2nd unit regulations, that “high rise” met the new criteria. FYI Laurie fought hard in the past to limit 2nd units by crafting a zoning regulation requiring them to be an integral part of the house, limited in size, lot size requirements, etc. About 8 or 9 years ago it was replaced with the current one as a way for the City to meet it’s affordable housing requirements. As I’ve stated before, unfortunately the City did not include stricter criteria on their placement and deed restrictions which would have ensured they remain as affordable and long-term rentals. That is what happens when the City attempts the “quick fix” for things. Ordinances that are not well thought out and that contain loopholes for people who don’t really care about the impacts to neighbors. Karla is right. I fear many of those “affordable housing 2nd units” will now become short-term cash cows for the owners.

    1. That’s not true. A lot could have been done to mitigate that. Laurie could have been a champion for our neighborhood but chose not to. It is “selective” with this group, which is what undermines the credibility. Kudos to Kathy Dotson for standing up for what she thinks is right!

      1. Sorry Cathy,
        Jeff is correct. The State has a height restriction plus other restrictions which the City should have incorporated into the City Ordinance. The City could have also tightened those and still be within the State law.

      2. Jeff, you give kudos to Kathy Dotson for standing up for what she thinks is right but knock Laurie when she stands up for what she thinks is right. Laurie is in a darned if you do, darned if you don’t situation with you. If she tries to give input on something she is slammed and if she steps back and doesn’t do anything she is slammed. Maybe, just maybe, if you hadn’t berated her so much over the years she would have been there to fight against your eyesore high-rise. Kathy Dotson certainly wasn’t there fighting against it. I’d suggest you sit down with Laurie sometime and work out a way to work together to prevent such things from happening in the future. You still have some houses around you, as does every neighborhood in town, that can apply for 2nd units. I suspect you and Laurie could be a formidable team and accomplish some great things for Nevada City.

      3. Cathy,
        According to our neighbor, Laurie is a friend of the owner of that “high rise” in our neighborhood. Also don’t “shoot the messenger.” Laurie’s overbearing personality has caught up with her, according to “bunches” of residents. You know that.

  15. Niel, my point exactly. A poorly written ordinance without enough restrictions to protect neighbors. But, along with tightened restrictions, the City has to enforce them. For instance, the section of the Zoning Ordinance dealing with Accessory Buildings has a height restriction of 15 ft. but several accessory buildings have been built in recent years that are much higher but were approved by the Planning Commission. I don’t fault the PC, they don’t know the ordinances inside and out and rely on staff to make sure applications brought before the PC meet the requirements. Is it a matter of staff not knowing the ordinances or just ignoring them or what. Who is to say but problems like what happened in Jeff’s neighborhood will continue until the tighter restrictions are put in place and/or ones in place now are enforced.

  16. Our sky high second unit was mandated by the city in a sense.
    Some years back, we needed to replace a rotten car shed which had been attached to a 160 year old cabin we were restoring on our property.
    We were hoping to make a shop for my studio.
    We endured years of rejection of our plan by the NC planning commission, who questioned the use of the space as commercially driven.
    I am an artist with an established career, an exemplary exhibition record and whose works are housed in many fine institutions and collections across the country, but that didn’t matter.
    So, because of the fears of the commission, I rented a space across town to work instead.
    It was expensive and a terrible building to work in but I managed for a few years.
    Finally, we were advised by a more city-knowledgeable person to offer to build a second unit above the garage, so we did.
    The commission immediately granted our request for the unit because they needed it to help fill the state’s mandate for second units in our county.
    My husband hired a crew and created a beautiful little dwelling atop the garage, custom made for a single professional or a very cozy couple.
    It has all the amenities, is quite secure, is super energy efficient, even has a steam shower and a lovely balcony that overlooks a beautiful garden.
    Trouble is, because we value our privacy so very much, we do not wish to rent it.
    We never wanted to be landlords on our property and we are actually not required to rent the unit.
    In order to get our garage we had to build the apartment, but we will not compromise our privacy by having rental tenants a few feet from where we live.
    Crazy, huh?
    But this is how you get along in Nevada City.


  17. http://yubanet.com/regional/An-estimated-17-000-ballots-remain-to-be-counted-in-Nevada-County.php#.V1qjLeYrJjs
    “The remaining ballots are unlikely to overturn current results.”

    Also, “Nevada City Hosts: Thank you Nevada City”
    “Thank you to all of our younger citizens who voted ‘No on Y.” They understand that they too want to be movers and shakers in the sharing economy. They do not want to feel as if their City has been left out. They are productive citizens who know they will be future council members, mayors, planning commissioners and merchants. They want prosperity for themselves and their City.

    “Thank you also to the seniors, (as many of us are) who are not mired in fear and who certainly are not afraid of change. You are the foundation of what makes Nevada City wonderful. This is why so many of us moved here.

    “And last, thank you to those who ARE the new leaders. The 30 to 40 something’s who have children and are trying to make ends meet by embracing a new economic model. You have been brave to fight the forces of “no change.”

    “The Nevada City Hosts have pushed the envelope of what it means to welcome guests, visitors from around the world, or anyone who wants to have a neighborhood experience. Ask any host and they will tell you that at least 25% of their guests are staying in neighborhoods to determine the best hood for them. They will be making Nevada City their home. They are not ‘strangers.’”

  18. I have followed Measure Y from afar because I think it illustrates a discussion we need to have all across our region.

    What are the pluses and minuses of the digital or the sharing economy, how will it effect our communities and our work lives, and can we or do we want to engage in the discussion around management of its benefits and impacts?

    Regardless of the outcome of Measure Y the debate over the benefits or impacts of the sharing economy will not go away. Digital technology is going to transform our communities, how we work, how business works, and what our communities look like for decades to come.

    There are huge issues coming here: the make-up of our work force in the digital age; the structure of wages and benefits; the competitiveness of our retail sector; access to affordable housing; and the fabric of our communities, to highlight just a few.

    We should be examining these issues and engaging in the discussion and Sierra Business Council will be publishing a paper on the digital economy in Sierra which we will share in the next few weeks.

    1. Good comment Steve! There is also the digital money world which is still in its infancy but seems to be working toward a future.

    2. Steve,

      May we hear your thoughts on Measure W and the oncoming challenges of the burgeoning cannabis industry? And how might hemp production fit in with our dying forest scenario?

      1. Sure Judith, with the caveat that my views on Measure W are my own, and do not represent the views of Sierra Business Council, the organization I work for.

        I personally opposed Measure W for a few specific reasons.

        First, I thought that changing the existing Nevada County ordinance before there was a statewide vote on the legalization of recreational cannabis use likely on the ballot in November, known as the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act” was premature and that the “Act” would substantively change ground rules under which local ordinances should be considered. The “Act” establishes a regulatory scheme under which cannabis could be grown, distributed sold and used, and establish a tax structure on its sale, which could be used for training local jurisdictions and law enforcement on its control, and address environmental and social impacts of the medical and nonmusical use of cannabis. It seems to me that the proposed Ordinance was premature because more data would be available about what specific powers and responsibilities local government would have after its passage.

        Here is the direct quote from the “Act”:

        “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act sets up a comprehensive system governing marijuana businesses at the state level and safeguards local control, allowing local governments to regulate marijuana-related activities, to subject marijuana businesses to zoning and pennitting requirements, and to ban marijuana businesses by a vote of the people within a locality.”

        Second, as local residents are aware, the regulation of cannabis in Nevada County has been hotly contested, and has been changed a few times. Those changes have had a substantial negative impact on growers, who whether one agrees or disagrees with the medical use of cannabis, deserve to have a predictable, stable and ‘investor ready’ regulatory scheme. Medical marijuana is legal in California, people grow it, they have to follow the law, and if the law is constantly changing their ability to count on the outcome of their investments is uncertain.

        Third, it has been apparent to me, from polling conducted by very reliable third parties and presented at the California State Association of Counties, and from my observations of both the demographic and propensities of California voters, that legalization of cultivation and use of non-medical cannabis through passage of the “Act” was highly likely. If legalized cultivation could represent a very significant economic and revenue opportunity for Nevada County residents and government. The “Act” ensures the nonmedical marijuana industry in California will be built around small and medium sized businesses by prohibiting large-scale cultivation licenses for the first five years. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act also protects consumers and small businesses by imposing strict anti-monopoly restrictions for businesses that participate in the nonmedical marijuana industry. If we had passed Measure W we would have been taking a significant economic opportunity, our inherent competitive advantage in an emerging market, and the opportunity for our citizens to come out of the shadows, away. (We still may under the existing Ordinance.)

        Finally, I did not like the way the Ordinance was crafted and approved by the Board of Supervisors. Once again, the cultivation and medical use of cannabis is legal under California Law, which means growers and patients are important stakeholders in the decisions. I did not believe that our Board of Supervisors made a good faith effort to truly incorporate stakeholder input into the crafting of the Ordinance, nor did they seem to legitimately listen to the concerns of all of the stakeholders, and attempt to craft an Ordinance that all parties could live with. I realize that there are certainly ‘nuisance’ issues with the cultivation and sale of cannabis, but it seemed to me that some Supervisors had made up their minds that they were going to further restrict cultivation and sale before they began the process. There were powerful forces in the County, most notably some of the Supervisors and the County Sheriff, who were engaged in a public process with a preconception of what the outcome should be and to me that taints the process.

        I was proud to vote no on Measure W, and proud of the campaign that Nevada County residents put together to counter this threat to their economic livelihood and the rights of medical cannabis users.

        On a personal note, more than 25 years ago when my Mother suffered from Breast Cancer and Lymphoma her chemotherapy was particularly harsh and required treatment over a period of more than 2.5 years. Her greatest health threat was her inability to eat for several days after each treatment. My brother and I convinced my Mother to use cannabis as a palliative to help her eat. We secured that cannabis in a state (Illinois) with particularly harsh drug laws where, if caught, we would have likely spent at least two years in prison. I do not believe that anyone should have to face imprisonment to secure the medical treatment necessary to help a loved one. I was moved by several of the stories from Nevada County of families dealing with dire and debilitating health issues who were supported by their use of medical cannabis.

        I will deal with the forest management and environmental impacts issue under a separate header.

      2. Some environmental considerations of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act in the Sierra Nevada

        Once again Judith the same caveat, on the issue of support or opposition to the “Act” I am speaking as an individual and do not represent the position of the organization I work for, the Sierra Business Council.

        The Sierra Business Council has not taken a position of the “Act”, but has supported inclusion of language in the “Act” should it be on the ballot dedicating a portion of tax revenue to environmental mitigation and remediation. This is similar to the positions taken by The Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, Audubon California, the California Council of Land Trusts and many other groups that work on conservation issues.

        Illegal cannabis growers steal or divert millions of gallons of water a year without any real accountability under current conditions. There are certainly many responsible and legal medical cannabis growers and even responsible illegal growers, but the underground industry lends itself to abuse.

        The “Act” will create strict environmental regulations to create accountability around the efficiency and legality of use of water; and to control streambed alteration and terracing of lands within watersheds (currently regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board); and require the control of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides.

        Because cultivation would need to be both permitted and under the control of local zoning ordinances regulation would tend to reduce the risk of wildfire from illegal grows.
        It is important to note that since local governments retain land use control for the cultivation of cannabis growing could be permitted on agriculturally zoned lands, timber lands and potentially other private property that is non-agriculturally zoned (as is currently the case in Nevada County.) This could lead to conversion of agricultural lands from other crops to cannabis, could create competition for water resources, could drive permit applications for private lands zoned for timber production, and could create competition for large lot residential properties for use for cannabis production. However it is not as though these pressures do not already exist, they do and are simply not measured.

        Still since non-medical cultivation occurs currently in an unregulated environment with little control and legalization would create a higher level of control on the environmental impacts I see legalization as a net benefit.

        The greatest environmental benefit comes from the revenue derived from the excise tax.
        Revenues collected from any marijuana excise tax, as well as certain fines imposed on businesses or individuals who violate regulations established under the measure, would be deposited in a new special fund, the California Marijuana Tax Fund. Monies deposited in the fund would first be used to reimburse certain state agencies, such as the bureau, for any costs of regulating the commercial marijuana industry not covered by license fees.

        The first $65 million in taxes thereafter (in out years) goes to mandated state programs to manage the impacts of legal cannabis,

        • $10 million annually from 2018-19 through 2028-29 to public universities in California to research and evaluate the implementation of the measure;

        • $3 million annually from 2018-19 through 2022-23 to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to establish and adopt protocols to determine whether a driver is operating a vehicle while impaired, including by marijuana;

        • $10 million in 2018-19, increasing by $10 million annually until 2022-23, and $50 million each year thereafter, to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for a grant program to provide services (such as mental health and substance use treatment) in communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies;

        • $2 million annually to the University of California San Diego Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to study the efficacy and adverse effects of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

        Of the remaining funds, 20 % would go to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and the state Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) for environmental programs designed to clean up and prevent environmental damage resulting from the illegal cultivation of marijuana.

        This could be a very substantial revenue stream. Assuming that analysis done by the Legislative Analysts Office is accurate:

        “Net additional state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually related to the production and sale of marijuana. Most of these funds would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as substance use disorder education, prevention, and treatment.”


        ….and assuming a medium estimated revenue stream, and larger than expected enforcement costs, lets say $100 million, it could look like this:

        ($750m revenue) – ($100m regulation) – ($65m programs) = $585m x .20 = $117m per year for environmental remediation

        Clean up costs for previously illegally used cannabis land average about $10-$15K per acre, so we could be cleaning up about 8,000 acres of previously abused land per year across the state. I would assume Nevada County would be eligible for a reasonable portion of that.

        I would welcome the input of people like Patricia Smith who may have done a more detailed analysis of the issue on the local level.

      3. I found the spellcheck autocorrect to “nonmusical” of my intended “non-medical” humorous.

  19. The process by which Judith acquired city OK to build her second unit has always puzzled me, but I don’t doubt her explanation regarding the process she went through. She played the hand she was dealt by the City, and what’s there now is the result of that process –– flawed as it may have been.

    As for “affordable housing” in Nevada City, the clever folks who crafted a new Housing Element several years ago, did so with the deliberate, calculated aim of actually discouraging affordable housing. And they succeeded.

    All the bean counters in Sacramento want to see is a Housing Element and Zoning Map demonstrating that adequate land has been designated (and second-unit allowances have been codified) to meet a town’s share of affordable housing.

    The state does not mandate that such housing actually be built, nor that it be occupied by folks in need of affordable housing. And if it is built as a proposed affordable housing unit, it can quickly be turned into a personal office, workshop, extra bedroom when friends or family visit, or, now –– much to the chagrin of the folks who wrote the onerous Housing Element several years ago –– an Airbnb.

    As a member of the city council at the time the Housing Element was reworked, I opposed the plan and said then that it was obviously designed to discourage –– not encourage –– affordable housing. Naturally, the smooth-talking wordsmiths and proponents of the plan said I was wrong while they assured the public that what the council was approving would prove a boon to affordable housing.

    So how many new affordable housing units have been built in Nevada City these past few years? And I don’t mean existing illegal second units that have been brought into compliance. Someone was already living in those units. Bringing illegal second units into compliance does nothing to increase the town’s affordable housing inventory (except for the Sacto bean counters, of course).

    And of the new second units or small homes built, how many are currently occupied by people in need of affordable housing for themselves and their families?

    Some boon, huh?

    1. Steve, it is what it is.
      Mr.Croul put a great deal of thought into this unit, as energy efficiency and comfortable living space design are among his interests.
      He saw it as a teaching experience, and then he took on that lovely wrecked orphan, the Powell.
      Rest assured that when the task of developing the true grace of this formerly blighted property is done, it will be an ideal pocket neighborhood. The second unit along with the other restored dwellings will come into play and make habitat for future families and singles to live, work, garden, swim, play, hike into town and enjoy the best Nevada City has to offer. Creating infill and beauty in an Historic neighborhood takes time, thought, effort and expense. Patience.

  20. “Press Release
    Nevada City, CA
    Contact: Nevada County Elections
    With the passage of SB 29, effective January 1, 2015, any vote-by-mail ballot that is postmarked on or before
    Election Day is considered timely cast if the ballot is received by Nevada County Elections no later than three
    days after Election Day.
    Since we will be receiving ballots until the close of business on June 10, 2016, Nevada County Elections will be
    releasing an unofficial cumulative report of election results on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. The final official report
    of election results will be published no later than July 7, 2016.”

  21. I have just one more response on the Y subject. Jeff, you continue to glorify Kathy D. You should be aware of the fact that I personally called her last November to see if we could come to an mediated ordinance that was equitable for all in the best interests of the City She refused to meet with me. I called her twice. Kathy knew she didn’t have to negotiate because the CC was weighted 3/2 since Evan was an advocate for the Hosts Initiative. We could have had something better that the Hosts and Y but Kathy wanted it all at the expense of others.

    1. Karla,
      We are enjoying a wonderful vacation in Ireland. (Manor houses, not AirBNB). I think you need a vacation too! My advice: Congratulate the winners on “Y” and move on.

  22. Steve a very good comment on the Marijuana Act. This USA tried Prohibition and that was a disaster in the end. The so-called Drug War is the same affair, a huge amount of $$$$$$ expended and still a disaster. Prescription drugs are even becoming an even worst disaster.

    1. We have actually been encouraging the use of prescription opioids even while maintaining criminalization of marijuana which is a major cause of the opioid epidemic.

  23. Thank you Steve,
    You have obviously put some time into considering this complicated issue.
    I think we should meet.

      1. I am in Nevada City quite often and would love to meet Judith. I love what I have seen of your art and have always enjoyed your posts. I will track you down and e-mail you when I know I;ll have time to sit down for a chat.


    Economics 101: Any time you diminish supply while demand remains steady, prices go up. When prices go up, more suppliers have incentive to enter the market. Markets always seek equilibrium between supply and demand. Thus, drug wars are doomed to always fail. The solution is to elect officials bright enough to understand the basic law of supply and demand. We just did so. It is ironic that on this issue free market ‘conservatives’ ignore basic economics. This proves it is a culture war at heart. The same money being spent rousting counter-culture types to “protect the neighborhoods” ultimately serves as new incentive for new market participants. Instead, let’s educate the youth and try as best we can to rehabilitate adults. I am sorry that people over-indulge in anything. It places them at competitive disadvantage in a competitive society. That said, you cannot legislate morality. We need a whole new approach and we must quit wasting money on methods that disregard basic supply and demand theory.

    Sheriff Keith, you put yourself on a public platform, and you were lynched at the polls. If you can’t understand the economics of supply and demand, at least learn how to perform trend analysis in time to save your political friends

  25. Yubanet had an interesting map the other day showing where votes for and against W were geographically located. The majority of “yes” on W votes came from Lake of the Pines, Lake Wildwood, Alta Sierra, and the city of Grass Valley. In all the other precincts in the county, the majority voted no. That says a lot about the sociology/politics of those areas.

    1. And now Dan Miller says he can’t have “an open and frank discussion” if the media were to attend negotiations with the stakeholders. “We can’t be open and frank in our discussions, we can’t be honest” – this ass-hat really said that!
      Can you say recall election for this guy?? Anyone?
      The Grand Jury findings about the lack of openness were only last month.
      Nevada County- We need a DOJ investigation of the whole lot of them-

      1. One of my issues in all of this is about the sheriff’s dog pony and powerpoint presentation that he was taking around to LOP, LW, AS, and GV. The question is whether or not he was doing this on his own time as a private citizen and out of uniform. Anything else is questionable and could bring up legal issues.

  26. Patricia, my understanding is that NC ASA has come out against Proposition 64, the proposition that will be on the November ballot to legalize recreational use of marijuana. I’m not sure where I read that so I am wondering if you could elaborate. I am also wondering what your rationale for opposing Prop 64 is if indeed you oppose.

  27. I would think the issue is about McWeed taking over from the small farmers who currently grow and running them out of business. The previous attempt at recreational legalization was opposed by growers as well, and as we all know, a lot of the medicinally grown product ends up in the recreational marketplace anyway. I would also think that, like the craft beer industry, there would remain niche opportunities for small farmers. Not knowing the extent of the current illegal recreational market and how that might expand if legalized, it is hard to predict what effect there will be on current growers when big Ag jumps in. However, to reject legalization on those grounds does not take into consideration the consumer who wishes to make legal recreational purchases and possessions but does not/cannot grow. It seems to me that continuing to criminalize recreational consumers to keep small growers in business is a bit one sided. As the erosion of the middle class is directly related to the replacement of Mom and Pop capitalism with multinational corporations, perhaps limiting the size of commercial grows will keep Conagra etc. out of the picture and keep the industry as a Mom and Pop enterprise, which would be more beneficial for everyone.

    1. Yeah I may not want to oppose our local growers but I suspect you are correct Joe, opposition to the recreational marijuana proposition is about protecting a market, rather than solving a problem, the demand for recreational marijuana and the final decriminalization of the act. California prisons are packed with marijuana offenses, about 10% of our prison population, and the problem is bigger than a protected market. In addition the AUMA has provisions in it to protect small growers.

      The bone of contention seems to be the role of “distributors” as defined by Medical Marijuana regulation and Safety Act, and the requirement that they be licensed and regulated by the state, thus creating a middle man between the grower and the dispensary, and increasing prices for medical users. The AUMA changes that except for very large growers, but leaves open the potential for future state regulation. I’m not sure the fear is warranted because legalization would tend to reduce prices and the cost of the “middle-man” may still be lower than the costs under current conditions.

      The AUMA retains Prop 215 Compassionate Use Act and other state legislation that creates a ‘safe harbor’ for medical growers, so it seems the medical market and the recreational market could be somewhat separated, and prices for medical access could reflect that.

      I think the reality is that the AUMA os going to destroy a lot of small growers who are growing on leased land, on land that does meet environmental standards, who have had past legal problems, or who simply can’t get registered because they can’t afford it. But then who is to say that is a bad thing? The reality is we are taking an underground illicit market to a legitimate market and some people who benefited form the underground market are going to be harmed. In the long run the social cost benefit might be worth it.

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