Measure C in Nevada City faces a backlash

14390807_186399711794439_974284477998345036_nMeasure C in Nevada City — a Nov. ballot measure to tax local residents for “status quo” police and fire services — is now facing a backlash, stemming from an ongoing series of hateful, personal attacks directed at Council Member Reinette Senum for her comments related to the Dallas police shooting.

Weeks later, Reinette’s business is still the subject of hateful, “bogus” reviews on Yelp. And the ongoing attacks aren’t sitting well with some locals.

The backlash became apparent in a recent planning commission decision to reject cell phone towers in the historic downtown — unrelated to police and fire, but a decision that Reinette and others agreed with for various reasons. Their objections had been vocal prior to the vote.

The problems began this summer when Senum made some inappropriate comments about law enforcement in general but apologized for them — twice. I did not agree with the comments, but I agreed much less with the hateful backlash — much of it from people who do not have a two- or three-digit addresses in Nevada City but figured that stirring the pot would somehow be constructive.

They called Reinette ugly names and police associations who should have known better called for a boycott of her restaurant — a decision that should be well out of their purview.

This is not new. I’ve noticed Nevada City has long been hijacked by people with their own political motives — often self-serving ones. Others just don’t like Reinette, and never will, because of her political views. They are incapable of looking past politics to see what Reinette has helped accomplish.

The taxpayers who live in Nevada City know that Reinette is outspoken. Her comments were painful to hear, but she is not alone. Recent examples abound: the words and actions of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, or a recent police shooting in Tulsa. In Tulsa, a white police officer who was shown on video fatally shooting an unarmed black man has been charged with manslaughter.

As for Reinette, many locals also appreciate what she has accomplished for the town. She helped found the Nevada City Farmers Market, which generates business. Some of the same people who attacked Reinette acknowledged as much when the Council voted unanimously last week to extend the farmers market year-round — a first for Nevada County. No personal word of thanks, however.

Reinette also has advocated for the homeless population and won awards for outstanding community service from the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and Marching Presidents. She also is a local business owner.

Now it turns out that the same people who mishandled and exacerbated the response to Reinette’s words are insisting that we vote for another tax increase for fire and police protection — just like insisting that we go “all in” for the cell phone towers in an historic district without questioning alternatives.

Let’s face it: Measure C is a “band aid” proposal, because the area’s population is aging and declining, while the costs for police and fire, including pensions, are rising. In the future, we will be asked to approve more taxes to keep Nevada City incorporated. There’s no doubt about it.

Few are addressing the systemic problems — a lack of good paying jobs, political intolerance that leads to gridlock in decision making, and increased competition from other retirement communities, including ones in Nevada. Meanwhile, we face escalating public pension costs, including ones for police and fire.

To be sure, we support our local police and firefighters. We attended the recent Nevada City firefighter pancake breakfast, and donate to the “boot” and countless other fundraisers.

I suspect we will “dutifully” vote for Measure C, going along with the “go along to get along” sentiment only to “kick the can” down the road until another time.

But like others, we think the hatefulness directed toward a fellow citizen was more inappropriate than the offense — and a shining example of the political bullying and intolerance that helps define our town and flies in the face of economic development. No one is addressing that either.

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.

11 thoughts on “Measure C in Nevada City faces a backlash”

  1. At Los Mineros last night. Couldn’t have been better, and they have Corona, and Old Republic on tap now. Ahh Mexican food and a good beer. Great atmosphere, good service, and — employees who seemed as happy as you could find behind the grill— laughing with the owner.

    1. I’m happy you had a great time Chip. Did you publish this on Yelp? It would be good to have an honest, decent review like yours to counterbalance the fake postings over there.

  2. The vote against the cell towers was taken into consideration due to 99% of the communities outcry against them and not entirely due to Reinette’s individual focus. There’s just one historic district in this burg and it’s a very small sector of this town. If one was to do their homework, they would quickly realize that Nevada City is just a speck of dust compared to the other communities nationwide that are saying “NO” to towers being erected within populated areas. As far as the continued negative energy coming from others towards Reinette, my feeling is that it has always been much easier for one to be attracted to the dark side vs the light. It’s the heroes that always have faced insurmountable odds. Remember the old Japanese proverb, ‘The nail that sticks out shall be hammered down’. People just generally fear those who try to change structure and think differently. Basically speaking, good medicine is bitter to the mouth.

  3. Thanks. To be sure this was a collective decision. And though being twisted, it had to do with exploring more thoughtful alternatives to the proposal, as Brad Croul and others have said — not just ignoring the issue of improving cell phone service downtown. But the decision also is a reminder that the “nail that sticks out cannot be hammered down” just because somebody doesn’t like your politics.

  4. How come the sadists, misogynists and bullies on Todd’s blog refuse to sign their names, and how come Todd covers for them? Because if exposed, it would be apparent that this is nothing more than a “tit mouse that thinks it roared” (to use the words of one of them). lol.

    1. Not too bright either. Can’t understand nuance — like putting a cell phone tower somewhere; just not in the middle of an historic district. Or supporting a fire or police tax — just not how it’s written. It is the Yosemite Sam approach to problem solving. “You’re either ‘fer’ me or ‘agains” me.”

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