Nevada City council member apologizes for Facebook comments — council meeting on Wednesday

Update: The topic will be discussed Wednesday at a Nevada City Council meeting.

“The Nevada City council member who published controversial comments on Facebook about law enforcement, causing city police to ask for her resignation, has issued an apology statement Saturday,” as KCRA is reporting.

“‘I would like to extend an apology first and foremost to the Nevada City Police Department, whom I have the utmost respect for,’ Reinette Senum said in her statement. ‘In no way did I mean to offend our highly regarded officers with my comments on Facebook.’

“Senum, the  owner of Los Mineros restaurant in Nevada City, made comments about police officers in light of Thursday’s Dallas shooting, in which five officers were killed.

“Tim Ewing, president of the Nevada City Police Officers Association, said a petition was circulated, asking for her resignation.

“Senum refused to go on camera with KCRA, but just outside her restaurant residents weighed in.

“She has done more things to help this town than almost any other.”

“’She is a powerhouse and part of that powerhouse is an energy to make statements that sometimes can be strong. Those statements were all about national issues, not local,’ said Katherine Doolittle. ‘She has done more things to help this town than almost any other individual we know.’

“Other constituents find Friday’s post inexcusable.

“Too late. The damage is out there. What’s been said has been said,” Sue Coffey said. “Our concern is for our police officers and their safety, and how this can jeopardize that.”

“People are shocked that somebody would say things she said,” Mike Coffey said. “She seems to be exempt from getting in trouble.”

“However, the conversation took a tone larger than the city with a population of around 3,000.

“‘People are questioning — why aren’t the policemen feeling safe? Why aren’t young black people feeling safe?’ resident Jan Cercone said. ‘And I think people who bring questioning are important.’

“’What’s happening now is really good because it’s bringing up this discourse that needs to happen,’ MJ Greenberg said. ‘Controversy now needs to be shifted from controversy into conversation. And from conversation into acceptance.’

Scooper’s “fake article grossly misrepresented what I posted.”

“Senum added in her Facebook post that “it also very important to clarify that immediately upon posting on my Facebook Nevada County Scooper, a satirical publication put out a fake article that grossly misrepresented what I posted.’

“She believes that the satirical piece was a ‘malicious and intentional misinterpretation of my post than anything.’

“I praise the Dallas police that was targeted and find it unfortunate that the department that was attacked had been making some of the greatest strides in progressive change and revising their training standards,” Senum said. “Ultimately, I hope that good can come from this and that a deep conversation ensues.”

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.

99 thoughts on “Nevada City council member apologizes for Facebook comments — council meeting on Wednesday”

  1. Jeff- I am not normally any kind of fan of Don Bessee, but he does express a vaild point of view regarding Reinette. It may not be your view, but his is not over the wall “bat-shit crazy” as are so many of Senum’s. I, for one, deeply admire and respect our law enforcement agencies and couldn’t believe my eyes when I read Senum’s screed stating that “American police have been given directives to go out there and kill.”. Holding those kinds of beliefs, I do not believe she is capable of overseeing any Police Department in a sane and reasonable fashion. The Nevada County Sheriff, Nevada City Police, and Placer County Sheriff all publicly agree with my conclusion. Law enforcement officers from around the country have signed the petition to have Senum removed from an office where her duties include overseeing our city police.

    1. “Jon,” You are out of touch. The people who are out to get Senum have a personal vendetta against her politics and are hiding in anonymity (just like you). In fact, Senum has collaborated with the local police on a wide range of issues, from homelessness to picking up needles in Callanan Park in Nevada City. It’s all a matter of public record. And she has been honored for it:
      Please sign your real name too.

  2. we happened to be there eating a burrito just as they started filming. i asked if they could please stop filming us (there were others that felt the same way), after all i don’t look all that great while chewing i imagined. the reply of the cameraman: why is everyone so grouchy up here? is it all the meth you’re on?

  3. I am glad that Reinette Senum started to bring up some hard truths about the police-civilian relationship. For large portions of the American community they are afraid of the police–this is not healthy for us, and not a good condition for effective policing. Pointing this out is not “anti-police,” rather it is simply factual.

    Effective community policing means that there be trusting relationship between the police themselves, and the community being policed. In too many communities this relationship does not exist. Judging from Reinette’s post, and what I know of Nevada County, the relationship between police and community is pretty trusting where it needs to be. Thus, I was surprised that the Nevada City PD did not take this chance to de-escalate a political volatile situation, and instead voted to ask for the resignation of a city council member who the people they police elected just a few weeks ago.

  4. Yeah, but saying “This was completely incited by America’s police force. They have obviously been given directives to go out there and kill.” is complete BS and has no connection to reality. Yes, there are too many steroided up, sociopathic thugs in law enforcement. It’s a vast minority, but that doesn’t matter. Even their small number is what defines law enforcement. Their screening of misfits and sociopaths is abysmal. They hire for longevity rather then competence. Most officers are fantastic, too many are lunatics. The turnover from “intelligent” cops is too high , by their own admission, so they allow whack jobs in. Especially in large cities. Badges and guns allow these misfits to act out their racist fever dreams in way too many instances.

    1. Yes, this statement that they have been given directive to go out and kill is a bit over the top. But she has apologized, and just been elected to public office. The Nevada City PD should be de-escalating the situation, rather than escalating it with a quick vote. They should go get a burrito and her restaurant, and get back to the effective community policing I assume that they are already doing.

    1. A majority of the people indicated that they have confidence in her. The police should respect this, and give her the benefit of doubt. Time for them to go get a burrito.

  5. As both a daughter of the south and California law enforcement this conversation is waay overdue. Segregation still exists in the south–in large quantities. It permeates everything from law enforcement to medical care. So much so that Donald Trump and George Wallace are using the exact same words and platform to GET ELECTED in the deep south. My father rode security for George Wallace in California when he ran in 1969 and his words resonate in Dallas, Texas today. The only difference is we have a black president and because of the Facebook revolution we are able to see and process these problems up close, in real time. I believe Ms. Senum was speaking to the broader national concern of effective policing in this climate rather than the law enforcement she knows and trusts locally. Considering all that she has done by and for Nevada City I would certainly be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Dallas is reeling from this and confronting a very challenging environment. They are heartbroken and rightfully so. It is my hope that they continue in hope and trust to overcome these challenges much like Nevada City has.

  6. Turned on the messenger by these clowns yet again. Reinette points out what is the “shoot first ask questions later” mentality of to many police departments nationwide. Social media, again, has brought out classic evidence, now in real time. Interestingly our police/sheriff are so far over the line involving themselves in the politics of our county. It’s pathetic. The cops bring their internal politics to the rest of us, and for what? To show their military readiness?
    A show of no confidence has come down from the Grand Jury about our BOS and the sheriff if you want to put a finer detail on all of this. Where’s the petition for that one?

  7. “Jon Smith” is a hoot. He whines on Rebane’s blog that I didn’t clear his comment. Yet I posted it at 7:41 p.m. last night. Wake up “Jon Smith”!

  8. I’m sorry Jeff. I did a page refresh that took me to what I thought was the top of your page. It wasn’t. I owe you an apology and here it is (as well as a similar apology over on RR). Regarding the pseudonym jon smith. I work for a wide spectrum of entities including government agencies. It would be difficult to use my real name, express my opinions on widely read public forums, and keep my job at the same time. I choose, in this instance to use a pseudonym that allows me to freely express my opinions. The choice comes with baggage of course, but doesn’t everything?

    1. Sign your real name “Jon”! (like “Gregory”- Goodknight – and “fish” – David of Carmichael). We all “work with a wide spectrum of entities … blah, blah, blah …” but we are courageous enough and confident enough to “freely express our opinions.” Anything less is a cop out.

  9. More RL Crabb foolishness on Rebane’s blog: “People keep saying that Reinette was elected. All three members of the new city council were appointed. Not one vote was cast for or against. And this is the third election in NC that failed to attract enough candidates for a real contest. Posted by: rl crabb | 10 July 2016 at 08:45 AM”

    In fact, votes WERE cast, regardless of whether there were enough candidates for an election. And here’s the outcome:

    Member, Nevada City City Council, Vote For 3
    REINETTE SENUM —1,037, 40.63%
    VALERIE MOBERG — 706, 27.66%
    DAVID PARKER — 809, 31.70%
    Cast Votes: 1,781 48.50% 150 40.65% 621 47.15% 2,552 47.63%

  10. Crabb is not correct. He wrote “not one vote was cast.” As you can see, 2,552 votes were “cast.” And Reinette Senum received more than 1,000 of them.

  11. I voted only for Valerie Moberg on the NCCC ticket.
    Sometimes a vote is only a statement.
    Are we not full up with the messianic leadership style that crops up all to often around these parts.
    Many have fallen for the Senum mystique, and the Striecher or the Ryberg and so on.
    True command presence is not in any of these individuals.
    I seed them as needy and espousing controversy to gain attention.
    I voted for quiet, honest, effective, non-ego driven, non-self-serving leadership.
    We can all look forward with optimism to what Councilwoman Moberg will do for Nevada City.


  12. Small towns are a hoot! I’m glad I made it part of my life’s experience, but I continue to look our for our son’s best interest being raised in one. It’s my responsibility as a parent.

  13. The conversation about racism in police departments is an important one to have, but I’m not sure how to have it. I do hope we can avoid sweeping generalizations that aggravate injustice on both sides. I understand that the Dallas PD is among the best and most progressive nationwide. On the other hand, when I went with the National Guard to the Watts riots in 1965, I was shocked to hear a Los Angeles cop confide to a group of us white guardsman … “I like the riots, because it’s open season on nig**rs.” Hearing about the recent horrific murders of black men, I’m not sure whether it’s gotten better, or worse, since 1965. We definitely have a systemic racism problem in some PDs nationwide. We need to figure out how to talk about this problem, and how to address it, without amplifying the anger and fear even more.

  14. If I were a betting man, I would wager a buck or three that Reinette made the mistake of letting her fingers on the keyboard get in front of her brain. It can happen to the best of us.

    I have been known to let my keyboard fingers (and tongue) get out in front of my brain as well, so I know the feeling of helplessness once reality sets in. I can understand how it happened, and I can understand why she is apologizing, but what I don’t understand is why she would ever write such inflammatory stuff for her FB page to begin with.

    I’m sure she never intended to see some of her words quoted in the Dallas Morning News, but they are her words –– not the words of NC Scooper:

    Not exactly the kind of publicity the chamber of commerce is looking for.

    My unsolicited (but sincere) advice to Reinette is that she needs to arrange to meet privately with the Nevada City POA and have a candid conversation with the very people calling loudest for her resignation. And I would hope that the POA would agree to the meeting.

    When I was first elected to the council in 1992, Dave Tobiassen and I were appointed to serve as liaisons between the council and the police department. Dave and I had some very frank, valuable conversations with officers at POA meetings and It was an illuminating experience for a rookie councilman.

    I was very disappointed when the council majority decided a couple years later to dump the liaison concept, but at least by then we were on our way to hiring a new chief and restructuring department policies.

    I’m not sure if a liaison position exists these days, but if not, maybe the council could revive the idea and have Reinette serve in that capacity?

    There’s an old expression about not being able to get the toothpaste back in the tube once it’s been squeezed out, but in this instance it would at least be worth a try.

    Without support between the city council and its employees –– ALL of its employees –– there is an air of tension and daily strain inside 317 Broad Street, and nothing good can come of it. Believe me, I know that from experience.

    1. Steve,
      You can count on those who had an axe to grind with Reinette because they disagreed with her liberal politics, views on vaccination, chemtrails, or the “Boardwalk” to escalate the situation. It’s a “gotcha.” And it’s the “western Nevada County way”!
      Never mind that Reinette has collaborated with the police on homelessness, cleaning up needles in Callanan Park, “painting the town” projects.
      Never mind that she was instrumental in launching the farmers market in Nevada City, now a wildly successful event.
      Never mind that she has been honored for her work — in numerous forums:
      Never mind that The Union newspaper invited her to be on their Editorial Board. And proudly wrote about it!
      Never mind that Reinette has now apologized.
      Tony Waters raised a good point, writing: “The Nevada City PD should be de-escalating the situation, rather than escalating it with a quick vote. They should go get a burrito and her restaurant, and get back to the effective community policing I assume that they are already doing.”
      Instead, the “police associations” — Placer County, Nevada County, etc. — are lighting up the boards on Facebook. Some are calling for a boycott of her restaurant and resignation from the Council. Reinette poked the giant “public safety” beehive in our community, and she is paying for it. And the internet trolls that hate Reinette for her political views are posting on Todd Juvinall’s and George Rebane’s blogs — anonymously, of course. “Bradley Jackson” is back. It’s part of the “drill.”
      This is not new in our community when it comes to dealing with liberal activists. We just got finished with the Terry Lamphier case, which ended with a whimper, not the “Big Bang” its proponents had hoped for. And the history goes back to the days of Bruce Conklin, I suppose. I do not agree with many of the actions of these people, but they don’t seem to receive “due process” in our community.
      I am “middle of the road,” having voted for Republicans and Democrats all my life as a “decline to state” voter. But I have never lived in a place where liberal political activists are targeted so frequently — and it’s always personal. It’s disturbing, redolent of a Shirley Jackson novel (“The Lottery”) or F. Scott Fitzgerald novel about the South.
      Like many, I totally disagree with what Reinette originally posted on Facebook. (It was much too inflammatory sounding). But she is entitled to “free speech,” just like others. It seems “free speech” is OK, as long as most people agree with it.
      Whether I agree with her politics or not, I appreciate what she has done for our town. Yet that is missing from the dialogue.
      Reinette is a fighter, though. Another shoe is bound to drop before this one is over.

    2. Truer words were never spoken Mr. Cotrell.
      Having learned my own lesson about the indelibility of the internet a few years ago, here on this blog, I decided to refrain from commenting until I had better control of my emotions.
      Now all I need to do is improve my proofreading skills and grammar and I’m set, but aging eyesight and aching fingers thwart my efforts and things still get past me.
      Some time back I recall popping off like Ms. Senum myself when I was at the end of several of my ropes and in a lot of pain physical pain.
      That’s not an excuse but it does make me think she may be under overwhelming personal pressures, what with running a business and being an activist and all.
      Councilwoman Senum stated at her inauguration that she came back to city government because she was “pissed off enough”, or words to that effect.
      Stunning statement from a newly seated future mayor and that made me worry about her happiness factor a little.
      Happy warriors do good work.
      It’s a cultural value I think, because we Maidu are taught from childhood on, by our family and tribe, to listen to our respected elders. No attitude or eye rolling allowed.
      I hope Ms. Senum does not take my comments here as anything else but an elder woman speaking to a younger person who needs to listen more.
      My advice, and oldie but a goody, is to pick yourself up dust yourself off and start all over again to the tune of Tim McGraw’s, “Humble and Kind”, and you’ll be fine.

    3. Steve, as you may remember, when I was first elected to the City Council the police officers thought I ran for office because I was upset with the Police Department. They had it wrong; it was my sister not me and I only wanted to serve my hometown. I was appointed as liaison to the Police Department and we had two very tense meetings before they realized I wasn’t against them. I rode each of the three shifts (day, swing, grave) with each of the officers so I could get a better idea of what they faced and what they needed (and didn’t need) from the City Council. It took over a year to accomplish because of the shift rotations but it worked really well and I am proud to say I established a great relationship with the department and a new appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement. I might suggest, if they still allow Councilmembers to ride-along, that Reinette do the same. For me it was a real eye-opener to what officers experience each day and what happens in our town of which most people (even Councimembers) are unaware.

      1. Cathy:

        Yep, I remember that election. Very spirited campaigns by all candidates –– when elections in Nevada City were actually elections and not walkovers. And I absolutely agree with your suggestion that Reinette should arrange for a series of ride-alongs with all of the officers. Even if she’s done it before, she needs to do it again (as do all clouncilmembers, for that matter)

        In 1995, when the then-chief announced he was retiring, I arranged for ride-alongs with every officer on the force. The shortest ride-along was about four hours, but most were 8-10 hours each.

        Although the police chief serves at the pleasure of the city manager, you will probably recall that the council was asked to participate in the hiring process with the understanding that we each had one vote –– including the city manager.

        During my ride-alongs, I witnessed a drug bust, a few traffic stops, a fender-bender, couple domestic quarrels that had escalated, and some other things that I would never have experienced if I had not been riding along with the officers.

        Each time I sat down in the front seat with a policeman, we shook hands and I made sure we both understood that what was said in the police car stayed in the police car. I explained to each of them that my goal was to better understand what qualities they were looking for in a new chief. Then we drove and talked.

        I rode with every officer except for the one who had applied for the chief’s job. I didn’t think that would be a wise ride-along to take, but I did spend an hour or so with him over a few cups of coffee.

        Also, I took the police clerk out for coffee to talk with her about what she was looking for from her future new boss.

        So yes, I agree that Reinette (and all councilmembers) could build trust and mutual support by simply spending a few hours with each officer, in private, riding along and seeing what they do every day as police officers in a small town.

        As long as what’s said in the car stays in the car, it can be a very positive and productive experience –– for councilmembers and officers alike.

        Good suggestion, Cathy. Hope Reinette takes the next step.

  15. It is no secret that Reinette and I have had our differences; I believe she possesses too ‘conspiratorial’ a mindset, and I’ve said that here. I also think it is that conspiratorial mindset, coupled with her fingers getting ahead of her head, that put her in this pickle.

    But in her heart and through her actions, I do not believe that Reinette has ever tried to intentionally hurt anyone in her life, and I don’t think she was trying to do that in this instance.

    I am sure that to her what is happening now–the scale and the consequences–are Kafkaesque.

    There is a growing witch-hunt, which every one of us should not only resist, but also encourage our friends and neighbors to resist.

    That witch-hunt is dangerous, appeals solely to people’s darker nature, and has the potential to not only harm her deeply, but harm many other people who are entirely innocent. A ‘boycott’ of her business is entirely counter-productive, will only serve to put people out of work, and is bad public policy for any entity to be encouraging. I have seen rhetoric on social media that not only makes my hair stand on end it is inciting the very potential for violence that everyone–including people in law enforcement–opposes.

    Jeff is entirely correct that in this incident, which has its own life now, people are taking on the characteristics of the classic Twilight Zone episode, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” We cannot allow ourselves to be a community where we become our own worst enemies.

    There is a valid critique of Reinette’s words; so be it. There are likely longer-term political consequences; so be it. But there is no excuse in civilized society for the verbal attacks on her person now taking place. It is unseemly, uncharitable and amoral to revel in another’s misfortune.

    I have made some great big whopping mistakes in my life, mistakes that have been embarrassing and have hurt people. I will never forget the person who I never thought of as a friend, who after one of those mistakes, walked up to me on the street, hugged me, and said, “It will be OK.”

    The next time I’m in Nevada City, I’m eating at Los Mineros and leaving a big fat tip for the staff.

    1. Thanks Steve. The real question becomes who is escalating this now? Sure Reinette “cast the first stone.” But then she pulled down her post and apologized. Yet her critics turned up the heat with a petition, rebukes from the various police associations (including the Nevada City Police Officers Association and President Tim Ewing), calls for resignations and a boycott of her restaurant, a NC Scooper article, media attention, Facebook posts and “shares” to sites such as Nevada County News and Information, Yelp posts and on and on. It was swift, without much vetting. To me, at least, it all sounded very coordinated. I would vote for an investigation or “discovery” proceeding.

      1. Well I am certain not going to jump to any conclusions about whether any one or who might be escalating. We know all of our local blogging idiots are on it but I doubt they have the reach. Frankly I think that given the timing of her comments, her social media reach, the number of people with an ax to grind, the sensitivity of the law enforcement community in the wake of the brutal assassinations in Dallas, and the speed with which the law enforcement support network mobilized, it was an organic thing.

        I also don’t think that is the ‘real question.’

    2. Well said, Steve. Maybe Jane and I will run into you at Los Mineros. We consider Reinette a friend, too, and agree with your take on how she got into this mess. It makes us ache to see it pumped up beyond reason. Her retraction and apology for her statement are entirely appropriate and commendable. Hopefully this too will pass.

    3. Steve you sound overwrought.
      You ought to know that Ms. Senum can take care of herself, she’s not a brownie in a forest fire you know.
      We all have to be responsible about what we say anymore.
      What we have here is a highly visible community leader who made a rash statement that went viral and made the Dallas newspaper.
      Claiming to have spoken merely as an ordinary citizen is disingenuous, having already been a long time activist, held office, and now newly re-seated at the city council and elevating all to celebrity status.
      That’s fine if some people needs that, but there are many good folks I know who do so much for this community quietly and without the need for fanfare.
      She has also raised significant funds for projects like her restaurant, a worm farm, some rolling boxes for people to inhabit, the completion of her film, the boardwalk that enhances her business and a post petroleum alliance group. There is more, but I have a hard time keeping up.
      The hastily called NC Council meeting to support LE looks more like an attempt at damage control and it might have been better if it had come before that remark put our city in a negative light on the national stage.

      1. I’m sorry Judith, I am confused. was that comment a response to mine or Mr. Cottrell’s?

        Note, I mad no statement about her tenure as a Nevada City Council person, I spoke only of the witch hunt mentality.

  16. I don’t know Reinette personally, nor have we ever met or been introduced to each other. However, having observed her actions from near and afar, I have come to greatly respect her. She is direct, clear and articulate when she speaks out.

    Her choice of words in one sentence now seem to have opened the floodgates for all those who dislike her to carry out a vendetta of ridiculous proportions. It’s pretty clear to me the ultra-conservatives are using their influence to make a mountain out of a molehill.

    How did the Placer County Police Association get involved with this? Why is it OK for them to tell us to boycott Reinette’s restaurant? Why were all the Sacramento news teams sent up here to push this to a broader level? Is one of our local puppet masters at work here?

      1. You are absolutely correct Steve. There is no conspiracy. A negative about police at this time is very bad timing indeed. Larry forgot the Sheriff Deputies are also involved. I do not know about the GV PD.

  17. @Larry- If you look up my previous posts here or on RR, you’ll find my views are generally NOT conservative and to blow off my opinion by writing me off as an ultra conservative, simply because I strongly disagree with Reinette on this issue, is laughable. Placer County Police (as well as hundreds of officers across the country who have signed the petition asking that Reinette step down) are directly accused in Reinette’s pronouncement that “America’s police are under the directive to go out and kill.” Talk about inflammatory! Placer is the next police force down the road from us and they have every right to be outraged. Reinette, and by her position on the council, Nevada City, have made the front page of the Dallas Morning News and from the comments, Placer County looks absolutely tame.

    1. Jon,
      Police officers are trained to de-escalate tense situations when they are called in as a third party, e.g. in a domestic violence situation. The Nevada City PD should do the same when it comes to themselves. So should the officers in Placer County, and Dallas. This is a tempest in a teapot, and they should be professional enough to recognize that.

    1. In fact, there are TWO, not one, letters in The Union condemning Senum — all before the ink is dry on The Union’s first article about this.

  18. At this special (uncalled for) meeting, there should be a reading of all the hate speech coming out of Facebook posts from our local “hate club”. Rebane even gets his screed on the local radio for some unknown reason. So let’s drag up all the crap these nutbuckets have been posting for years on Facebook and their own personal (vendetta) blogs….. and put it up for all to see at yer meetin’–.

  19. I haven’t read the statement(s) in entirety yet in observing the actions of other blogs, had one of them or their followers made that statement it sure would be “different”, free speech, and acceptable

  20. I went to look for Reinette’s original statement and seems it was taken down. I only caught a bit on the news stations. My heart and prayers go out to the officers in Dallas and their families. The incident was totally uncalled for. At least we don’t have to give the shooter 3 hots and a cot. On another note, seems I was able to respond to Jon Dozer’s post a couple of days ago here without fish’s permission. Oh well. It’s not like he can do anything about it anyway.

    1. To the anonymous poster, I found those 2 sentences and am coming up with other bits and pieces although I haven’t seen the entire statement in the original content. Appreciate your efforts.

      1. Thanks again anonymous. I’ve read that segment too. I’m looking for the entire text so I can have a complete understanding as my son in law works in law enforcement. I wish you could post it here since I don’t believe a lot of what gets posted on certain blogs.

  21. Gregory Goodknight has a bizarre obsession with me. My name comes up almost daily in his diatribes. I wonder if Dr. Phil can help him.

  22. Go figure! Todd Juvinall and George Boardman think the multi-front assault on Reinette Senum — from “Bradley Jackson” to law enforcement in Placer County to a petition to Yelp — is mere coincidence. Sure, just as it was with Terry Lamphier, Bruce Conklin and others. Welcome to western Nevada County CA politics!

  23. Can’t imagine anyone having a quarrel with the text of tonight’s Resolution, but what will actually be accomplished by its adoption?

    As Judith Lowry noted here a couple days ago, it appears to be an attempt at damage control and would not likely have been written at this time if not for the local, regional, state and out-of-state media attention. And certainly it would not otherwise have been scheduled to be heard at a one-item special meeting.

    The nexus between Reinette’s since-deleted FB entry and tonight’s city council agenda is pretty obvious, so I doubt the mayor will be able to limit public input solely to the Resolution’s language without also allowing citizens to candidly discuss how and why it came to be written in the first place.

    I imagine Reinette’s defenders will go to the microphone and defend her to the hilt while her critics will criticize her and demand an immediate resignation. And all of it will play out with local and regional media likely present –– or, perhaps, even broader media coverage.

    I don’t see anything good coming from such a transparent PR exercise, either for the community, city council or police department –– or even Reinette as an individual, for that matter –– but I hope I’m proven wrong.

    1. I’m looking at it differently, Steve. As in, I do have a quarrel with tonight’s Resolution, and I won’t be there just to defend Reinette. (Though I’m glad she won’t resign; what a loss the the city that would be.) Fwiw, here’s what I’m planning to say as of now:

      Why are we here, exactly? The resolution says it’s motivated by last week’s Dallas shootings. A terrible tragedy, with innocent victims. But it wasn’t the only tragedy in last week’s news. We’re all aware of the uncomfortable connection to other fatal shootings of folks who didn’t deserve to die: Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

      Why consider other tragedies when talking about the Dallas one? Well, if the President gets they’re all connected, and wants us to get it, as a step toward healing the country… why go on record as ignoring him? In honoring the fallen officers yesterday, he also condemned bigotry, and discriminatory police practices, and the despair in Black parents having to give their kids “The Talk.” Because we need to, quote, “embark on the hard, but necessary work of negotiation, the pursuit of reconciliation.”

      And you don’t embark on that work by announcing that Nevada City blindly “supports, and stands united with” all “law enforcement officers nationwide,” while the President reminds us that, quote, “With an open heart, police departments will acknowledge that just like the rest of us, they’re not perfect. [And] insisting we do better to root out racial bias is not an attack on cops, but an effort to live up to our highest ideals.” Please don’t issue a proclamation that’s effectively a slap in the face, not only to a well-meaning President, but also to the struggle for justice.

      Or is the proposal based on the scale of the Dallas attack, with 5 dead and others injured? If so, why didn’t the City honor, say, the local and national LGBT community after the Orlando massacre of 49 people? A resolution could have been read aloud at the memorial vigil in Robinson Plaza. And didn’t we mourn the deaths of 19 Arizona firefighters just 3 years ago, and support our local and national firefighters who risk their lives for us? Of course – but we didn’t pass a resolution to say so; why this one now?

      Or, let’s face it, is this because one council member posted on Facebook a global criticism of American police, one she’s since apologized for? By analogy, look at Justice Ginsburg’s criticism of Donald Trump. Some are arguing that even though she’s entitled to political opinions, she shouldn’t express them in public because of her status as a Supreme Court justice; and Trump demands her resignation. But does anyone suggest the U.S. Supreme Court should issue a statement that they “honor, support, and stand united with” all political candidates “nationwide” because they hope to “serve our communities”? Of course not.

      So please, drop this resolution; or modify it to express our commitment to, in Obama’s words, “come together and make our country reflect the good inside us, the hopes and simple dreams we share”? Just words – but words all of us can get behind. Your proposed words will please some people – but only while ignoring others and getting us nowhere at all. As Linda Burnham said in an essay today, “That whoosh you heard last Friday morning was the sound of people rushing to condemn the Dallas shootings, or to extract condemnations from others. …. But there is a lot of room for reflection between the cheap polarities of condemn or condone.”

      Nevada City, we can do better – much better.

      1. I wondering what percentage of the people who actually live in the incorporated area of the City of Nevada City (that is, one, two or three digit address and a 95959 zip code) will be present at tonight’s meeting. After all, we’re the ones who pay for our law enforcement, including Police Chief Foley, Officer Ewing, Rudiger and others. I hope our voice is heard among all the others.

      2. jeff, early on after the online petition got started i did some counting and a minority of comments were from nevada city people. and you can probably cut that in half as not all of them live in the incorporated area. there were around 600 signatures and 260 comments and 47 from nevada city, cut that in half and it’s about 10%. of course i had no access to know where signature only folks live. ocd much? sometimes 😉

      3. Stephen:

        I have always appreciated and respected your input and opinions, and your comments here are no exception.

        I too hope the resolution is dropped, but in my case I believe the issue is Reinette’s to deal with, not the full city council. This sort of resolution –– regardless of its language or intent –– is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to a poor choice of words by one councilmember.

        The issues you address go far beyond any Facebook posting, and I suspect (or at least hope) such a dialogue will be a big part of 2016 elections from local offices to the presidency itself.

        In any case, I think your calming voice will be helpful for others this evening. Wish I could be there.

  24. I received this email today from Reinette, as did — presumably — most people on her contact list:

    “Hello Friends,

    I am sending out this letter for those who are interested and coming to speak at special city council meeting being held TONIGHT, 6:30PM at Nevada City City Hall. There will be a resolution passed in support of the local Nevada City and in support of the Dallas police…. this is in response to a Facebook post I made last Friday.

    As you can imagine, at this point in time the city expects this to be a public lynching of me…. I will address the crowd in the beginning, but any support you can muster please show up at 6:30pm to voice your support! Also, do know that Hot Summers Nights so parking and getting to city will be a bit challenging.

    We are expecting approximately 100 law enforcement and their wives to attend…. There will also be lots of press including CNN, Fox, you name it.

    My objective it to apologize to those offended and to find a positive recourse and solution. I would love a hand in this!

    Please attend and/or send many people to join.

    If you can’t attend, you can send an email to city manager, Mark Prestwich and to have forwarded to the city council members for tonight:
    In deep gratitude.


    1. CNN, FOX, you name it, wow, what a spectacle.
      An army of Grey Nuns against a mob of Wildlings, with Cerce off girding for battle and loving it
      Is this going to be televised?

  25. Hi,
    I haven’t seen that, but I was hoping that law enforcement would help de-escalate the issue, as former resident and Chico State Professor Tony Waters and others have said from the “get go.” Tony raised his children here.

  26. Wow if 125 people speak, and each one goes on average 15 seconds over (what a Godsend that would be), that would be 4 1/2 hours of pure unadulterated anger. You could make a Star Trek episode out of that.

    The best way to de-escalate would be to go home and watch the 3 hours of Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling that are on tonight from 7-10 pm.

  27. I’m watching this now down in Sacramento. I was hoping that Officer Ewing of the Police Association and others (the “professionals”) would de-escalate this now that Reinette has apologized (again). Nope. This is going to be a tough call for those who actually live in the incorporated area of the City of Nevada City (that is, one, two or three digit address and a 95959 zip code). We are going to judge Reinette but we’re also going to judge Police Chief Foley, Officer Ewing’s and others handling of this matter. We the ones who are asked to support the police programs, agree to tax hikes for public safety, etc. Yet it seems like those of us who actually live in the incorporated area of the City of Nevada City are winding up as the ham in a big political sandwich. I’m disappointed.

  28. Steve Cottrell: You wish you could’ve been there? Me too: I wish you could’ve been not only there, but still sitting behind the council table!
    Jeff: Good point, re how we’ll be judging folks’ handling of the issue going forward. Not just Reinette and the Chief and the POA, but also the Mayor. I was disappointed she essentially threw Reinette to the wolves tonight, so to speak (or as I said to Marianna, back in the playground with the bullies), saying it’s all up to her to fix it now. Instead, I hope Mayor Phelps will exercise leadership in shepherding everyone along together, even if some of them kick and scream a while longer. I see that as the only decent way through, and it’ll make us a stronger community in the long run.

  29. Looks like we haven’t learned anything Mr. Berg, if you are willing to label people “wolves”, because they have an opinion different than yours.
    As the saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
    In fact, Ms. Senum relishes controversy and media attention, negative or positive so she is very much in her element at the moment
    Like Mr. Rebane, I too wish for her to remain in her position on the council because I have some questions for her about why she officiated at the relinquishment of our city’s entrance to the Tsi Akim Corp. and to this day has never contacted or met with the Nisenan, our true tribe.
    In her official capacities, she has never done anything to protect them while they were being overrun.
    I have tried to pin her down and get an answer, in fact I tried to warn her before she took that action in order to spare the local and very prominent (and sadly over-eager) business people who deeded that property over to Don Ryberg, but she has consistently evaded me and my questions.
    As Vice Mayor of Nevada City at the time, her dismissal of my concerns ultimately placed those community leaders, along with our tribe, in a very vulnerable position.
    I do not know whether, to this day, Ms. Senum knows what this is all about, the damage done and why it is so important to the entire community, or maybe she does.
    Now that she is back on the council, I intend to find out.

  30. Timeline:
    Another horrible gun nut incident (this time in Dallas)
    A local woman makes a Facebook comment about law enforcement violence nationwide
    The woman takes down what she posted after complaints of hurt feelings
    The woman apologizes to anyone whose feelings were hurt.
    The people whose feelings were hurt wouldn’t accept the apology
    The people whose feelings were hurt got all their friends to demand something be done-
    The people whose feelings were hurt wanted a kangaroo court and got it in “Podunkville”
    Who were these people?
    Law enforcement –

  31. It seems that neither the apology nor any of the comments have focused on the fact that Reinette’s words could easily be interpreted as inciting / encouraging / rationalizing violence against law enforcement. That is absolutely not OK.

    The apology and the comments so far have only centered on ‘hurt feelings’ or words that offended someone. All of that lies in the ‘subjective’ domain, protected by the First Amendment etc. But, when someone’s words incite or rationalize violence against law enforcement, that seems to cross the boundary into the ‘objective’ realm.

    Maybe this is what the folks who say the apology is wholly inadequate are referring to. Saying that “all people named Joe have been given a directive to go out and kill” etc etc, in a context where people have recently died at the hands of certain people somewhere named Joe, for reasons and in scenarios that we do not actually have any first-hand knowledge of, and multiple Joes have recently been shot and killed in retaliation, and then apologizing by saying “Joe, I’m sorry if I offended you” – doesn’t that completely miss the boat? How about “to everyone named Joe across the nation, I realize that my words put your life in direct danger”? I don’t know how you “apologize” for that.

    Anticipated response: “Oh give me a break, nobody would interpret it that way.” Are you sure?

    The irony runs deep: we all know Reinette’s original post was meant to reduce violence. Instead it can reasonably be interpreted as inciting violence. Sigh.

  32. Here’s a perspective on violence both by and against against police, by a respected black voice, Ta-Nehisi Coates. He clearly deplores both sorts of violence.

    The Near Certainty of Anti-Police Violence


    Last month, the Obama administration accused Donald Trump of undercutting American legitimacy in the eyes of the world. Trump’s call to ban Muslims wasn’t just morally wrong, according to Vice President Joe Biden, it called “into question America’s status as the greatest democracy in the history of the world.” President Obama followed Biden by asserting that Trump’s rhetoric “doesn’t reflect our democratic ideals,” saying “it will make us less safe, fueling ISIL’s notion that the West hates Muslims.” His point was simple—wanton discrimination in policy and rhetoric undercuts American legitimacy and fuels political extremism. This lesson is not limited to Donald Trump, and it applies as well abroad as it does at home.

    Last week, 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson murdered five police officers in Dallas. This abhorrent act of political extremism cannot be divorced from American history—recent or old. In black communities, the police departments have only enjoyed a kind of quasi-legitimacy. That is because wanton discrimination is definitional to the black experience, and very often it is law enforcement which implements that discrimination with violence. A community consistently subjected to violent discrimination under the law will lose respect for it, and act beyond it. When such actions stretch to mass murder it is horrific. But it is also predictable.

  33. i was really disappointed at last night’s nc city council meeting. actually, i am angry. it was under false pretenses they got me to attend. at the beginning of the meeting we were reminded that there is only one item on the agenda tonight, the resolution in support of local and national police. i had done my homework and removed any feelings good or bad i had about reinette serum. i considered talking during the open comment period but when it was moved to the end of the meeting, let it go. and then my comments on the resolution got lost among the calls for reinette serum’s resignation and calls for her to stay on the council. and in the end dwayne strawser’s letter was read that was followed by evan phelps’s comment, all about reinette serum. as a nc resident, why didn’t i get the memo?

  34. Marianna:

    For the benefit of those of us who were not at the meeting –– much less stayed to the end, which apparently you and Stephen did –– what the heck happened? Was the resolution adopted, defeated or put on hold until the next meeting?

    I can’t find anything online that includes that kind of information.


  35. Steve,
    I did not go but I watched it online.
    It was entirely unnecessary for anyone but the gentleman who presented the rules governing a city officials behavior under oath to have spoken.
    Ms. Senum exhibited grace under fire.
    You know better about these things having served in your own time, but I wasn’t certain that it was appropriate for Strauser’s letter to be read by the Mayor if he wasn’t present.
    Isn’t absent is absent?

    1. Judith:

      Good question.

      Don’t know what the protocol might be, because one of my proudest achievements was that in 16 years I never missed a council meeting –– regular, special or emergency.

      Yep, that pesky Code of Conduct for councilmembers sure has some interesting clauses. But after a 4-0 vote, Reinette’s colleagues are not likely to sanction or censure her for the words that led to the Resolution in the first place.

      Short of a recall when it’s legally possible later this year, I think I can hear Porky Pig in the background stammering, “Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-… That’s all, folks.”

      1. Judith, I’m Stephen Greenberg (we’ve met); sorry about my “sgberg” login, which I’ll try to fix at some point.

        Re your response to Steve Cottrell: I respectfully disagree. See Marianna’s comment above, and Steve can correct us if we’re wrong, but at a meeting with a single agenda item – should the Council pass the 1-page resolution declaring support for all local and national police officers? – the comment citing the rules of council member behavior was inappropriate, as were almost all the comments during that majority of the meeting. Because they were mostly about Reinette, and her FB post, and whether she should/shouldn’t resign. That was *not* the agendized topic! And most folks had nothing to say about it. I have no problem with what they did say, but those comments should have been reserved for the ‘open-mic’ portion of the meeting, when folks get to speak their mind about non-agenda items. The Mayor introduced the meeting by saying it would go down that way… and then made no effort to enforce it. Which left the few on-topic comments (like Marianna’s and mine) hopelessly lost in the shuffle. It’s not supposed to work that way, and for this meeting, I think it actually affected city business. A shame.

  36. Oh, and re “the wolves”… I’m not using that metaphor because I disagree with other folks’ opinions. I’m using it because of the Mayor’s approach to fixing the problem: announcing to Reinette that it’s all up to her now. There are 2 sides here; I think it should be the mayor’s role to work on bringing them together. Reinette has apologized and offered to meet and work with the police. But the POA has drawn a line in the sand, saying she must resign. Shouldn’t our mayor be leaning on the Chief and Department – as well as on Reinette – to make a genuine, grown-up effort at reconciliation? Maybe I’m hopelessly naive/optimistic, but that’s what I’d like to see.

    1. Stephen:

      For sure, input by councilmembers and citizens has to be germane to the agenda item. In this instance, however, I think the nexus between Reinette’s FB words and the Resolution’s words was pretty obvious, and it would have been very difficult to keep the conversation focused solely on the words of the Resolution.

      I just finished watching the meeting on the city website’s archived video, and I think the only other option would have been for Evans to begin the meeting by making it absolutely clear –– assertively and firmly –– that the only agenda item was the Resolution and if anyone had anything else to talk about, she would take Hearing from the Public first, then move on to the Resolution itself after the audience had commented pro and con about Reinette’s future as a councilwoman.

      You’re right, of course –– Evans started the meeting reminding the audience about the agenda item, but then quickly dropped all pretense of hearing discussion solely on the Resolution. From a parliamentary approach, limiting discussion solely to the posted agenda item might have been the way to go, but since Reinette’s words were so closely linked to the Resolution, I think the mayor handled it about the only way it could logically have been handled.

    2. I see your point, but it seems outraged folks are just going to have their say anyway.
      In what way would you have inserted the reading of the Code of Conduct for consideration?
      If the resolution had been worded as support for all “honorable” LEO worldwide, the addition of a single word might have given it the more proper meaning.
      I think that encapsulates what Marianna stated so well.

  37. you want to know something no one is telling you about last night’s city council meeting? something you would not have seen on the livestream?
    we had to pass a security checkpoint, we were body scanned, and they reserved the right to go through our purses.
    so were they afraid of the “little friends”? or police supporters? or both?
    why the showing of such force. there were at least 5 to 7 and more blue uniformed people at the checkpoint.
    we have been going to meetings for over 20 years and have never seen or heard of this level of security.

  38. It’s a new world Marianna,
    Given the heightened emotions and national publicity this thing generated how stupid would our LE have looked if some nut case had decided to crash the meeting a cause mayhem. It has happened in other city council meetings such as Kirkwood, Riverside and most famously, many years ago in San Francisco. Our officers were only trying to protect everyone in attendance at that highly charged meeting.
    Many people were killed last night just trying to have a good time in Nice, France, and we can now expect to have terror attacks as a daily occurrence.
    Without law enforcement it would be every man for himself, and maybe it will come to that because the thin blue line is getting thinner and thinner by the day.
    So, rather than folks encouraging LE to go visit Ms. Senum in her store, she ought to go spend time with some officers in their homes and with their families. “Kiss dad goodbye, it might be the last time you see him” is a daily reality of those families.And some ride alongs might be a good idea too. Helping cops change baby diapers and make runs for hamburgers for hungry children living in squalor, while they wait hours for CPS to arrive, after having arrested their drug addled parents, and cleaned up the inevitable needles, weapons and other contraband. There are a thousand situations like this and worse every year, that citizens expect our LE to deal with on a daily basis, so we don’t have to. We need to support our local LE by understanding their challenges better and working with them.
    They are mostly a pretty good group of people who care very much about their community and work hard to protect us.
    Seriously, the worst thing a cop has ever done to me in this town is serve my burger to me a little underdone.

    1. Judith,
      We support our local LE with our taxes, donations to Rudiger, dropping $$$ in the boot, pancake breakfasts, promotions of their programs such as K9, etc., and our family is no exception. I’m not a big fan of the term “public servant,” but I do expect to see “community policing” and “de-escalation” at work on this issue. Reinette apologized twice. Let’s face it: A lot of folks have a ax to grind with Reinette (from her politics to her views on many issues, including questioning the Dorsey Drive mall and so on), and don’t want to let it go. It’s personal. I expect the police to be proactive, and here’s a perfect way to do that: walking down to her store and “breaking bread.”

  39. As a matter of protocol I would disagree Jeff.
    It is up to the supplicant, in this case outspoken Councilwoman Senum, to meet the aggrieved LEO either at a neutral location or designated truce area.
    Their living environments would be a good choice.
    I mean who could forget the story Officer Scott Tellis’ young daughter that the Union reported a few years ago.

    You are probably familiar with the now debunked story about Gen. MacArthur delaying his plane’s landing on Wake Island so that it would be he welcoming President Truman instead of the other way around?
    True or not it brings up a matter of diplomatic procedure.
    Ms. Senum needs to move toward LE and make her apology meaningful, not the other way around.
    As one of her more vocal friends and supporters, I’ll bet if you talked to her, she would agree.

    1. Judith,
      Reinette apologized twice. Now it’s time for the police to reach out. Officer Ewing of the Police Association is not doing that yet.

  40. Todd Juvinall has a big mouth on this topic, yet according to county records, he has been delinquent on his property taxes. Those are the taxes we pay to support law enforcement, among other things. I first went on a ridealong with Berkeley and S.F. police in college. Todd needs to visit the tax collector’s office and see how tax dollars are collected and put to work. And Todd was a county supervisor. What a disgrace!

  41. judith, the scanning was not a security measure, it was grand standing. and here is why. when i walked through i was asked if i had anything on me that would make the wand go off. i thought about my tin of mints and was about to reply when the wand started beeping. to which the po said, oh, that must be the door hinge that made it go off. what? then don’t scan people while they are right under the doorway. what if i had contraband on me? i was waved through. then i had to use the rest room and was told i had in and out privileges with my number that was handed to me earlier. i came back from the bathroom and entered unobstructed and not checked again. if it was not grand standing then it was incompetence. as i could have stashed something in the rest room and retrieved it later when security was more lax.
    i also noticed men in regular clothes carrying a gun on their hip in the room. was that safe? i would hope no po in plain clothes would ever be het up enough to start shooting at us, but was that necessary? or was it to make a point?
    i asked po ewing online if they contacted reinette serum and tried talking with her first. his reply was no, they followed protocol. in that case we need to rewrite protocol. and i question that protocol required him to ask for a resignation before communication.
    so thank you jeff for trying to get them together. as a city resident also paying taxes and with that police wages i request they reach out to reinette and work this out.

    1. Yes it would be great if they worked this out. However, until and unless Reinette shows some acknowledgement of the actual gravity of her words, well above and beyond the simple ‘sorry if I hurt your feelings’ and more into the realm of ‘I realize that my words put your lives in danger, what can we do to make that better’, I wouldn’t ask the officers to break bread with her either. Seems to me the next step – the first step towards making amends – would be for Reinette to acknowledge the gravity of her words in that manner. Then at least they would be talking the same language. Until and unless that happens, no progress can be made.

    1. I haven’t watched the video of the meeting, but her apology on FB did not address the ‘danger’ topic. Did she address it at the meeting?
      It is pretty interesting that those implications and potential interpretations aren’t getting any attention or acknowledgement from anyone. Human nature does promote defensive groupthink-denial of that sort. Busting through that denial seems to be the only meaningful way forward but if it can’t happen here in open discussion then I don’t have much faith that it would happen among the key players. Maybe the thought is that acknowledging that interpretation would be equivalent to caving in? Moving on in quiet denial seems to be the most popular choice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s