Why more people don’t run for local political office

What a hoot! In an editorial this morning, The Union laments: “Our community needs candidates for election.”

Who would want to run? Local politics are the most odious part of the “Sierra foothills lifestyle”: personal attacks, whisper campaigns, political puppet masters, letter writing campaigns, more local PACS, a lingering culture of “good old boys.” The Union’s Op-Ed page turns into the Jerry Springer show during election season, and both sides try to manipulate the news coverage — often “planting” or “leaking” stories based on innuendo or outright falsehoods.

Include this with a declining, aging population, and you’ve got a trend that is largely irreversible. You reap what you sow.

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.

19 thoughts on “Why more people don’t run for local political office”

  1. Jerry Springer “wishes” he had the likes of The Union’s Editorial Board. They get to write “Editorials” and then write “Letters to the Editor” to answer themselves. You can’t make this stuff up. This week we were given two letters to the editor from Mr. and Mrs. Sauer. One- to run down a successful local business woman because she spoke the truth about a “National Problem” (on a blog no less) and wants her to “do the right thing”? Today, Norm is ranting about How Hillary Clinton will make us less secure, Homeland Security under a “progressive administration” (Obama) sucks, and we will all be safer if we were to listen to him– , blah blah blah blah .
    The Union needs to “do the right thing” and muzzle their own Editorial Board. They are a big reason, when searching for the answer to today’s Editorial about “our community needs candidates for election”, that there are no takers. Look no further than the circular firing squad you’ve got sitting around you—-

  2. Locally speaking as a citizen here in Nevada City, I know of two city counsilmen who have already been receiving threatening emails from some angry person. As for myself, while at a strategic planning retreat for the city on Thursday, I came home for lunch only to find that someone had come through my front gate and onto my property and had deliberately cut out a portion of my 20′ high hops from the side of my house. Never in all the 32 years that I’ve lived at my home has something like this happened nor do people come through my gate. Random, weird and invasive as hell. Makes one wonder if volunteering for a possible better cause is putting oneself in the crosswires of weirdos that have nothing better to do. So what’s next? Do I now need to install a video camera? Do I need to start carrying that 22 for protection like all the rest? We do have a rather strange assortment of homeless and transients that use this street, but to come through the front gate would take some real balls. And for it to happen between 10:00-12:00 noon is not the normal migratory foot traffic hours on our street. Somebody knew that I was going to be gone and purposely did what they did. Vandalism at its best.

  3. I’m somewhat new to this community and I’m on your side (I think). But if I were you, I wouldn’t be throwing any stones. It appears to me that you have an obvious grudge against the Union and relish fanning the flames just as much – if not more – than the “good old boys” you decry. Maybe the criticism is deserved, but it most certainly doesn’t contribute to anything productive. I think you should ponder your last statement about reaping and sowing just a little. There has to be a better way, don’t you think? Just sayin’.

    1. As you are “newish” here I’ll assume that you don’t really know what you’re talking about, unless you have some connection to The Union that you are not mentioning. The Union is a bad joke, and has been for at least 15 years. Maybe you should inform yourself before spouting off.

    2. I’m not sure I understand your point with your 1:43 pm post Mr. Pelline, specifically the portion pointing to a document referring to Jeffery J. Gale representing William Lester Suff. Can you please elaborate? Are you asking if it is productive for our legal system to provide a defense for a death penalty case? Or are you implying that the type of person who appeals a death penalty case is somehow less credible in their comments on a blog? I am confused.

      1. It’s no less productive for our legal system to provide a defense for a death penalty case than it is to hold up a mirror to ongoing inept journalism. And in my case, it was productive: The Rood Center noticed the post here, and called up the newspaper to fix it.

        As for whether the legal system is productive when it comes to handling death penalty cases — or others for that matter — I’ll leave that up to you, Jeff Gale and others to ponder.

  4. I’m very proud to handle death penalty appeals. It’s an honor and a privilege to ensure that the government provides fair trials before it executes our fellow citizens. Sorry you see it differently Mr. Pelline. I vigorously defend cannabis cases, too, so if any of you are in need of a defense attorney who’s not going to take any crap, please look me up.

    1. Jeff,
      You proved my point. You are “vigorously” pro-cannabis, and The Union is trying to make a profit with pro-cannabis publications. So you want to support them. Take Bruce’s word for it, though: The Union isn’t going to be your “Saving Grace.” Let’s hope they can at least spell your name right. LOL.

  5. Yeah, I don’t get this at all Jeff. I don’t understand why you would respond to a criticism by informing your readers that someone defends death penalty cases, or even bringing their employment into the discussion. It does not seem relevant to the comments in any way.

    1. Huh? Jeff Gale is criticizing a lifelong journalist for criticizing podunk journalism. I’m offended based on my experience. So now he is being asked to address the criticism that is ongoing for his profession: the hypocrisy and effectiveness of lawyering. I’m not impressed with Jeff’s argument because he somehow thinks sticking up for The Union will help his “vigorous” defense of marijuana growers in our community.

      “Nevada County Cannabis (published by The Union) is published quarterly with the assistance of concerned local citizens with the goal of educating responsible and sustainable cultivation and use of Cannabis.” http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=5c62cf01-24c5-4ff3-a0d8-bbdea470ceb5

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