I will miss Nate Beason when he retires after a third term as our neighborhood’s District 1 Supervisor at yearend. Sure, he has strong political views that you may agree with or not — in his case, a staunch GOPer — but he’s approached his job at the Rood Center with a nonpartisan mindset. And that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Measure W polarized our towns, and thanks to some polarizing personalities involved in the debate (think “class clown” Don Bessee, among others), the “morning after” the June 7 election was just as polarizing.
I also did not appreciate reading that Board Chair Dan Miller supposedly wanted to ban the media from the Measure W discussions, but in fairness, I have not talked to Dan about this. I hope he has reflected on the fallout that occurred and will drop the attitude. “Fuhgeddaboutit” Dan!
As for me, I actually loved being out of town with my family compared with experiencing the local June 7 election drama. We got a jump on summer vacation, celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and our son’s graduation from eighth grade as a valedictorian. And we’re enjoying our business; our summer issue focuses on our lakes and rivers being filled with water again for recreation. The speedboat Thunderbird is returning to Lake Tahoe after being grounded a few years, thanks to needed repairs and a low lake level; it is on the cover.
As for our local politics, whatever led to this “morning after” drama on Measure W, Beason helped lead a civil discussion with both sides on Wednesday. To be sure, more friction will occur in the weeks ahead, but it is a good first step.
“Nate Beason kicked the meeting off by stating ‘we’re here to honor the Supervisors’ commitment to repeal the current ordinance,'” as YubaNet reported in an article, adding, “The tone of the meeting was cordial, professional and mutual respect was clearly evident. The group will meet again on June 27th to discuss options for a draft interim ordinance.”
Beason supported Measure W, but he was a “gracious loser”on that issue — and gracious political losers are often hard to find in our community. Nate also supported Duane Strawser, not Heidi Hall, in the District 1 race, but I have not heard vitriol. He will make that work too — and be gracious about it.
During his three terms, I have admired Nate’s work with the Rural Counties Representatives of California (RCRC), where he has been chair. It has helped build bridges with foothill counties (often GOP-dominant ones) and Sacramento — more “across the aisle” collaboration than podunk.
I have appreciated Nate’s support for the Arts, which includes being a strong supporter of resurrecting the Nevada County Arts Council.
I have admired Nate’s independence. He stood up to some ill-advised policies from the right — such as a bullying lawsuit over land-use at the Loma Rica airport — and had to face the political fallout. It involved facing off against a tea-party endorsed candidate, Sue McGuire. The vocal hard-right activist-blogging contingent also supported Sue.
Nate prevailed, however. This set a precedent for independent thinking in our district — one that is still in place for anyone who wants to take advantage of it.
Most of the criticism that I hear directed at Nate is based on political disagreement — in fact, it’s often the voice of an “ungracious loser” on one issue or another. They bring up his background as a naval commander, for example, suggesting some kind of inflexibility.
Nate has a great resume — and I always applaud that. He’s UC educated and is experienced in some challenging endeavors — but also comes from a rather humble background in the Central Valley. “He was born in Long Beach, California and grew up in the San Joaquin Valley. He was a naval officer for 30 years, rising to the rank of Captain. He served in eight ships, serving as commanding officer in three of them in addition to commanding two shore activities. After retiring from the Navy, Nate was a project manager for a 400-user computer software installation and implementation project, and he taught leadership and management skills to company executives for five years. He has a BA and an MA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s degree from Stanford. In 1989, he was the Arthur S. Moreau Fellow in International Relations and Diplomacy at Stanford. He was adjunct professor at U.C. Berkeley from 1995 to 1998.”
Heidi Hall has some big shoes to fill when she takes Nate’s spot after three terms. But I have watched Heidi — including how she has responded to some political challenges and bull “you-know-what” flung at her from partisans such as Todd Juvinall and others (no Heidi doesn’t want to put meters on residents’ wells) — and I think she can handle it. She’s also well educated (I’m a big fan of Pomona College), and has a good resume.
Hold your nose and smile at the same time
In fact, I think Heidi’s going to be a good leader. I also believe she can help “build bridges” with Sacramento, not burn them. And I think she will be respectful to her critics, which often means smiling and holding your nose at the same time.
One of the problems with our towns is that people want their representatives to be just like them — to mirror their views and attitudes. But it doesn’t work like that. There has to be some “give and take.”