The Union our view: “Xxjj xjx jxj xjj x xjj xj xjjx jxjxjx”

Pullquotes are a brief, attention-catching quotation, typically in a distinctive typeface, taken from the main text of an article and used as a subheading or graphic feature. The Union has introduced a new style for them: “xxjj xjx jxj xjj x xjj xj xjjx jxjxjx”

Meanwhile, The Union writes about what it considers a “masochistic level” of NIMBYism.

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About 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.
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15 Responses to The Union our view: “Xxjj xjx jxj xjj x xjj xj xjjx jxjxjx”

  1. jeffpelline says:

    BTW, this editorial paints with too broad a brush. It points to a simplistic thesis: change vs. no change. No, it’s not that simple. Some change moves us forward, some doesn’t. It’s obvious we can’t count on The Union for leadership. It prints its newspaper in Sacramento.

  2. Karla Arens says:

    Nevada County may not be growing but we are thriving in ways that can’t be statistically measured. Do we need more visitors to our river (already so impacted ) or more traffic congestion? If we value our lifestyle which is an unique blend of rural life and cultural sophistication we need to recognize that more is not better and less is usually more

    • jeffpelline says:

      I remain on the fence about the shopping center (will it grow our sales tax receipts or cannibalize the local merchants). It all depends on the business that go there, and nothing concrete is being said. Now as for school taxes, that seems like a “no brainer.” The problem with this editorial is that it mixed up a lot of complex issues under the heading “change vs. no change.” It could have used some more intellectual rigor.

  3. Judith A Lowry says:

    Cultural sophistication?
    That’s a bit much.
    This region is decidedly provincial at best.
    But it’s a sweet little place to visit.

    • jeffpelline says:

      Provincial? Judith, shame on you!

      • Judith A Lowry says:

        Not really Jeff,

        Aren’t the aging and declining backwoods enough for you?

      • jeffpelline says:

        I was joking. But to answer your question: No, at least not as parents. It is important to expose our child to the rest of California and the U.S.A. — and Europe and Asia for that matter. Then he can choose where he wants to live and raise his family.

  4. stevefrisch says:

    I read the editorial and I agree with you Jeff and Karla. The piece downplays the complexity of the issue, which in my experience is often a tactic designed to make the choices appear simple to the public.

    Nevada County’s key “asset” from an economic and social perspective is its access to beautiful landscapes, outdoor recreation opportunities, unique town centers build at a human scale, and its artistic, cultural [both modern and traditional] and entertainment venues.

    That is not to say that other key industries are not important, or that more value is not sunk in business, real estate, and some remnant technology assets. But those assets are here because of the PLACE not the other way around.

    Thus the question is rarely one of should growth and development occur; it is where, at what scale, with what attributes and at what pace.

    We have done a lot of work surveying businesses in the last two years and what we are hearing through the Sierra Small Business Development Center is that a lot of work needs to be done strengthening existing businesses many of which are in the service sector but provide important gateway employment, providing a range and choice of housing at affordable price points including affordable housing available to people earning 80% of Average Median Income, improving local education to include workforce training and entrepreneurship development, and a concerted effort to diversify the economy to create more middle income jobs.

    Comparing Placer and Nevada County is a complicated issue as well.

    Most growth in Placer County has occurred in city centers around Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, and in Martis Valley with second home development. Placer has a lot of flat land zoned for development in its general plans which is cheaper to build and build at a much larger scale thus reducing costs. Placer has also put a lot of work into creating a streamlined rational permitting process that identifies in advance land that will be built and creating a mechanism for preserving land that should not be built on. Placer is also closer to major employment centers in the Sac metro region making it much more attractive to young families.

    I have long believed that in the foothills the issue is being approached backwards. Instead of constantly fighting delaying actions and one off battles over properties like the Dorsey Marketplace a smarter strategy would be to encourage growth and development in town centers at higher densities and within walkable community centers, with adjacent services. Because there is a limited market for housing in a County with a relatively low growth rate encouraging the market in the right places will reduce pressure for development in outlying areas where the cost to build and the cost of providing community services is higher, and often born by taxpayers.

    That does not mean that there is not a place for larger lot development in rural areas, it merely means that the mix of choices to accommodate different market niches at different times of their lifecycle is not there. Our zoning policies tend to create economic incentives for large lot development and market restrictions on infill, walkable and then centered development.

    Much to my chagrin much of the “environmental” community still does not understand that the ecological footprint of development and its underlying economic and environmental efficiency is a much more important factor than winning a battle over a shopping center or a new hotel; that changing the pattern of development and its scale, design and aesthetics is more important. The “environmental” community should actually be advocating for permit streamlining to increase density and increase availability of housing and professional spaces while being careful about adding new retail. This will also reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions.

    By the way, by the time Nevada County “wins” the sales tax battle and is successful reducing “leakage” to ex-urban community norms we will already be well down the road to the new model of retail, which is on line.

    Online sales accounted for more than a third of total retail sales growth in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department. When factoring out items not normally bought online such as fuel and automobiles, e-commerce accounted for more than 10% of all of retail sales. On-line sales are growing by about 15% per year [or 1.5% of total retail] which means that by 2030 on-line retail will account for almost one third of all retail sales. That does not mean we won’t have bricks and mortar retail in 2040, but it does mean that we could easily overbuild our retail and have to go back and retrofit it to accommodate new uses and needed housing 20 years from now.

  5. stevefrisch says:

    “…walkable and then centered development…” should read “town centered development.”

  6. jeffpelline says:

    Thanks Steve. Speaking of “no change,” The Union might as well be the Contractors PAC when it comes to this subject. It’s an incomplete perspective. And the same goes for “the other side.” I thought the Loma Rica project under Phil Carville was a good project, but both sides pooped on it. Now we’re left with an inferior project. And the No. 1 issue is jobs. Even more than affordable housing.

    • stevefrisch says:

      I’m not sure I think there is a “No. 1” issue. These things are linked and to really perform economically you need to make progress on all of them, although perhaps they require different levels of effort.

      The average price of an apartment in Grass Valley is $1500 per month and the average sales price of a house is $355,000, meaning a 30 year mortgage of $1700 per month. At those rates you would need a median income of about $72,000 per year. The average individual income is $25,000 and household income is $37,000.

      Some time soon people need to start building housing affordable to people making the median incomes and the only way to do that under current circumstances is to subsidize it because almost no private sector builder is going to build affordable housing without subsidy.

      How one subsidizes could get really creative: parking waivers or shared parking for walkable units, permit streamlining so the cost of financing construction is reduced, a community land trust to take the cost of the land out of the equation, municipally organized infrastructure financing through Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District, inclusionary zoning, small units for first time home buyers to establish equity, co-housing. The tools are there but they are very hard to out together.

      • Steve Willer says:

        I just wonder, unless people have family and they grew up here, why the hell would a young couple move here? Even if one half of a couple lands a decent job around here, what is left for the other half to do with wanting a career and a job with benefits? Especially if they have college degrees and student loan debt. There are a lot of better places that can offer a shot at making a living, accumulating some savings, and have enough money to enjoy life instead of just grinding away getting by. Places that also have great outdoor recreation opportunities. And god forbid they have some kind of accident or illness that creates medical debt.

  7. jeffpelline says:

    It would be interesting to compare some ratio of our individual income / housing costs with other areas. To me, at least, it seems that the deflated local income (in this case the “numerator”) is the bigger problem, at least compared with the rest of Northern California. But it is not an “either/or,” that’s for sure.

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