Grass Valley residents seek to influence Nevada City Council policy-making (again)

Former Nevada City resident and Mayor Steve Cottrell made an astute observation about the recent Supervisor race in District 1, where Heidi Hall beat Duane Strawser for Nate Beason’s seat. Steve wrote on this blog: “Seems to me that Duane ran a winning campaign for District 2 (Grass Valley).

“Unfortunately for him, he ran in District 1 (Nevada City).”

“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?”

This resonated with most of us (including those of us who like and support Duane), but not everyone. There was just too much hubris among his campaign organizers to see it.

In The Union on Thursday, Grass Valley resident Andy Burton (who supported Duane’s campaign), has taken a break from his busy workday as a marketing guru for Hills Flat Lumber and other good, local corporate citizens to lecture Nevada City and its Council on whether it’s upholding a “code of conduct” in the case of Reinette Senum’s comments about law enforcement on Facebook (which she apologized for twice).

“I’m concerned that this failure to take a strong position further impacts the already shaky relationship between the Nevada City Council and the police department that reports to them,” Andy writes.

I’m sure this will win Andy some brownie points with Reinette’s detractors. (For context, Reinette has told me Andy is no fan of hers; both sat on The Union editorial board. And Andy is a Grass Valley “business guy”; Reinette has criticized projects such as the Dorsey Drive shopping center).

But when conversing on a “higher plane,”  Andy’s involvement seems awkward, un-constructive and out of place.

Reinette apologized twice. She is not going to resign, and there are not enough votes to recall her. Memo to “Bradley Jackson” of Grass Valley: This is not a Terry Lamphier redux.

Amid all the recent calls of boycotts (in screeds often published in The Union), our family has spent extra time and money in Nevada City. As it turns out, we’ve noticed business is booming — at restaurants, wineries, and new businesses such as the Golden Era — despite all the threats.

I have told Reinette I do not agree with all of her politics. But like others, I recognize that Reinette is a “doer” who has done a lot of good for our community.

She is co-founder of the Nevada City farmers market; she has collaborated with law enforcement to help the homeless; and cleaned up the streets to make Nevada City “shine.” She runs a great new restaurant. Reinette has been honored for her community work too; she is a recipient of the city’s prestigious Elza Kilroy award and the Col. Bill Lambert award.

Small towns are a hoot, but the politics can be claustrophobic.

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.

9 thoughts on “Grass Valley residents seek to influence Nevada City Council policy-making (again)”

  1. I moved to Brunswick and had a Sample Ballot with Ms. Hall’s name on it. I couldn’t vote for her in the actual election because of my address of course. Grass Valley residents come to the Nevada City Council meetings and compete for the public comment time with local voting people who are most affected by the Council and its policies and ordinances. That’s a real shame, and a real gift at the same time Reinette and the rest shouldn’t have to tolerate the crap being thrown at them from outsiders with no stake in the pending business but with lotsa opinions….let the ones who feel most strongly first move into the city limits, contribute property taxes and sales taxes, get to know our part of the community, then after doing that, have an opinion of actual value and worth.

    While I was disappointed I couldn’t vote for Heidi or for City Council, I certainly felt no ability to bitch or moan like some of these folks are. I’m sorry for our community that’s true. But it seems to me the loudest complainers who come to bitch that everyone else is doing it wrong, are also the ones who are most generally angry about everything. I’m therefore sorrier for them than our community. We’re actually apparently doing just fine, because this non-event stuff is the most controversial at this time!

  2. Earlier in the week a Grass Valley real estate broker (who said he owned and paid taxes on two properties {obviously rentals} also chimed in on the Reinette must resign bandwagon published in the Union. Was he afraid his property values would decline? A larger question is which event generates the most negative PR for our area, Senum’s comments or a BOS that refuses to acknowledge or consider the will of the people?

    1. I’m sad to say this dickweed has bought property above us in GV and has already posted his family sign and a Trump poster. My neighbors are mostly liberal and not interested in expressing their opinions. We live and let live. Unfortunately, we now have this DW who despite owning property at the top of our hill wants to make this area his area. We’ll do our best to make sure he realizes we DON’T want him here!

    1. Let’s not forget our reputation for being “Mark Meckler land” — not a real draw to millennials or Bay Area folks.

  3. Could it be that the non-residents meddling into Nevada City’s affairs are soldiers for Mecklerland’s (tea party) vow to take over local government and reform it in their vision? The BOS decisions seemed to be based more upon ideology than practicality. The whole series of events has been one bait and switch after another and appears to have been choreographed from the start. I often wonder if this was a canned “how to rid your country of pot growers” legislative package obtained at some think tank seminar. That, or these people are just ill-equipped to govern, like a rock only dumber. Yes, Senum’s assertions made for bad press soon to be forgotten with the next news cycle by all but those who want to continue to fan the flames of divisiveness. The MMJ shenanigans make for bad government, a government that is paid for by tax payers.

  4. Guess how many comments Andy’s editorial has on The Union? None. Not much of a “grow your business” by growing your demographics strategy is that? This little newspaper is clueless. I feel sorry for the investors.

  5. Over the last dozen or so years what I have found in Nevada City/ County there are a handful of ego maniac non profit types and former elected officials that feel they are the only ones who should have access to the key of change, Nevada City/ County is not unique in this phenomenon. Reinette challenges their self appointed gatekeepers of change title and they dislike her a great deal for it.

    As for not agreeing with someones politics fully, I cannot remember ever agreeing with anyone politically on all the issues. Politics like people are very complex. My bottom line is in whose interests do their politics represent.

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