More B.S. on Measure B in The Union shows more selfish thinking

The Union continues to pile on the B.S. in its reporting on Measure B because it doesn’t dig deep enough as an independent news gathering outfit — this time in a “news story” on the front page, no less.

The measure calls for needed repairs and upgrades to the Nevada Joint Union High School District— crucial to keeping our schools competitive and a lynchpin of economic development in our community. Duh!

The drumbeat of negativity is ironic because the County is spending over $600,000 in taxpayer money on a contract with the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, supposedly to attract more families and higher paying jobs to our community. The Green Screen Institute is supposed to be attracting eager young tech workers.

The Economic Resource Council, the Nevada County Contractors Association, The Union, and other self-proclaimed business “leaders” in our community should be loudly endorsing this measure to support our schools.

It shows how dysfunctional, short sighted and self-centered our business leadership can be — helping to ensure an aging and declining population, not a vibrant, youthful one.

Instead of thinking ahead, they are siding with the narrow-minded political ideologues at outfits such as the County Republican Central Committee, which opposes both Measure A for the libraries and Measure B for the schools. This is “good old boys” cronyism at its finest.

The Union article begins with a quote from a resident named Mary Orr, cribbed from a letter to the editor. Mary is worried about oversight and transparency. But it’s a non-issue, because of a Citizens’ Oversight Committee, as the school administrator patiently explains.

Then the article goes on to make hay about whether the work will be given to local contractors. The Contractors Association spokeswoman goes along with the narrative, blaming “public contracting laws.” Well, that’s not quite right — and The Union does nothing to clarify this.

As a reader here points out: “The facts are that this work has to be bid at ‘prevailing rate.’ To bid the work they must pay the same labor rate and then bid the job accordingly.”

Instead of using Measure B as a whipping boy for the “system,” the Contractors Association ought to be supporting it because what is good for our schools is good for long-term economic development.

I wonder if occurred to all the critics of Measure B how this looks to a family that is considering a move here. It looks bad.

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.

4 thoughts on “More B.S. on Measure B in The Union shows more selfish thinking”

  1. Oh our contractors know all about prevailing rate. They just don’t want to pay it. Simple. AND, it’s called a ULP (unfair labor practice) when they cheat their employees from getting prevailing rate. Our local contractors association (steeped in Republican tradition) (anti Union) simply don’t want to pay people a living wage. Why do you think we see all these Arizona licenses in California doing prevailing rate work? Because Arizona has a “Right to Work law. That means — oh yeah- you have a right to work—– for slave wages.
    These contractors like whats called “negotiated contracts”, where they have a “favorite” General contractor who “shops them the bid”. That’s where the General calls his buddy and tells him the other (sealed) bids. Then they come in $1 lower to get the so called —-lowest bid. Cheating even their own contractor association. Greed comes in many forms-

  2. Here are some other comments from Facebook:

    “I was definitely not happy to see the comments from the NCCA. Especially since they were just plain wrong.” — Richard Baker

    “Richard, just to add to what you have already said, here are some thoughts (and stuff you probably already know). From what I’ve seen, much of the opposition is based on two ideas: 1) enrollment is declining and has been declining throughout the western county, and therefore we should consolidate students on to fewer campuses; and 2) the “government” mismanages our money, and by extension the high school district has mismanaged the money it has been getting “from us” already, should have already done the maintenance, so why would we give them more money?

    What folks of either of these persuasions won’t acknowledge is: 1) even with declining enrollment, buildings owned by the district must be maintained in a safe, usable and accessible manner or they become unsaleable, unrentable, and a dangerous liability, all of which also contributes to economic decline; 2) there has not been enough money in annual school budgets since at least 2008, and that bonds are the primary means for all California school districts to fund the majority of facility repair, accessibility upgrades and technological upgrades.

    Also, the high school district DID consolidate by moving the programs formerly on McCourtney Road to Park Avenue and NU.” — Judith Hill-Weld

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