YubaNet: some Supes fall prey to “sitting on the dais”; “barely courteous” to Secretary of State; and in a “power play”

Editor’s note: We watched this exchange on videotape last night, and  Pascale Fusshoeller — the preeminent reporter of our Board of Supervisors — nailed what happened in her commentary, summarized and hyperlinked below. It was disappointing to watch, reminding me of this episode. Nothing signaled our local politics “going blue” more than this exchange.

“Every once in a while some members of Nevada County’s Board of Supervisors fall prey to the ‘sitting on the dais’ syndrome and forget they are not the only elected officials in the room,” YubaNet is reporting.

“Today, Chair Ed Scofield (elected with 4,959 votes in 2016,) Hank Weston (elected with 3,467 votes in 2014) and Dan Miller (elected in 2014 with 2,580 votes) declined a budget amendment request by Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Greg Diaz (elected in 2014 with 20,635 votes.) California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (elected statewide with 1,217,371 votes and 4,463 in Nevada County), on a rare visit to Nevada County, barely got the courtesy of a thank you for his presentation and time spent sitting through a BOS’ power play.

“Padilla gave a presentation on SB 450, the California Voters Choice Act (VCA). VCA permits counties to conduct elections in which every voter is mailed a ballot and vote centers and ballot drop-off locations are made available prior to and on Election Day. This model would replace operating polling places only on the day of the election and Vote By Mail (VBM) ballots that are only sent to voters where no polling place is available or upon request. The objective of the VCA? Increase voter participation.

“After a 3-2 vote denying the request, Weston suggested Greg Diaz meet with the budget subcommittee ‘with all the figures.’ As Diaz attempted to point out his office had, in fact, met with the county’s Chief Financial Officer, he was interrupted by Scofield with a curt ‘You have directions, Greg.’

“The tone struck by the Chair of the Board during these two items appeared combative and contrary to the BOS’ own Order and Decorum.

“Could it be that the current polarized national political climate is affecting local politics? Was this a calculated move by Republican BOS members to show contempt for the Clerk-Recorder and, by extension, for Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s attempts at increasing voter participation?

“As a reminder, Nevada County ‘turned blue’ in the 2016 General Election.”

The rest of “What’s wrong with this picture?” is here:

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 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

14 thoughts on “YubaNet: some Supes fall prey to “sitting on the dais”; “barely courteous” to Secretary of State; and in a “power play””

    1. I admire what Ed has done at the Fairgrounds and agree with him on some issues, but this was not his “finest hour.” Greg put together a cogent presentation and got Sec. of State Padilla to come up from L.A. to answer questions.

  1. “Was this a calculated move by Republican BOS members to show contempt for the Clerk-Recorder and, by extension, for Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s attempts at increasing voter participation?”

    Hell Yes! Grandstanding for the base.

    1. When I followed up this morning, I was told that — sure enough — there was a State of Jefferson contingent in the crowd.

  2. It seems as though the right wing is getting more reactionary and angry as their faith begins to crumble and falter amid the mounting mountain of slime that is the trump administration in particular and republican politics in general. Rather than confront the reality that their ideology belongs on the dung pile of history rather than forefront of progress, they continue to double down on the same old hackneyed billionaire sponsored ideas like climate denial, trickle down economics, fascist race relations and immigration policies, privatization of public services, anti-union, anti-education, state of jefferson, ad infinitum. That the fossil fuel and Wall St. barons have weaseled their way into power and are now implementing policies that take America backwards in the name of short term profit with long term negative consequences, should disturb everyone, but instead the party faithful continue to embarrass themselves by ignoring reality and toeing the party line if only to avoid admitting to their own poor choices. Local politics are supposed to be non-partisan and supervisors are elected to represent all of the people not just their ideological brethren. Conserative hacks need to go and stop trying to force their misguided ideas onto the rest of us.

  3. Jeff
    I am confused. Under the current rules a voter has a choice of voting in person at his precinct or voting either early or by mail. What I understand from your article this change would take away one of those choices — there would no longer be precincts throughout the County. Why does that change make it “easier” for a person to vote?

  4. Hi Ray,
    This isn’t “my article.” It is an excerpt to YubaNet’s commentary with hyperlinks. The background to the VCA is here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voters-choice-act/
    This article also might help answer the specific issue you raise:

    BTW, Happy New Year. We missed you at the Annual Law Day Scholarship Dinner: https://sierrafoothillsreport.com/2017/11/17/annual-law-day-essay-scholarship-dinner-in-grass-valley/

  5. Good for The Union!
    “MISS: To the contentious discussion that played out Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting over funding to implement the Voter’s Choice Act — a new system that will send a vote-by-mail ballot to every county voter. Supervisors denied the $300,000 requested from Greg Diaz, the county’s registrar of voters, by a 3-2 vote because they said he waited too long to bring the request before them, considering the election is now just five months away. This should not have caught anyone by surprise, as the move has been widely discussed publicly and among staff for nearly a year. Our elected officials — supervisors and the head of the Elections Office — should have been able to work through any issues on this months ago, instead of what appeared to many as an embarrassing episode for Nevada County in front of the visiting Secretary of State.”

  6. It is possible to stream the county’s government meetings on your television.
    On a large flatscreen it’s easier to read the body language and facial expressions.
    I wonder, do our high schoolers study these meetings in their civics classes?
    Could be instructive.

      1. There used to be a teen program that used “pop-up” comments on videos of people interacting, like on a date or an interview. The pop-ups kids inserted showed what the participants were really thinking. Some of these sub-text comments were were funny, but often quite perceptive and in some cases mordant. It would be interesting for some of our young folks enter the discourse by analyzing our local elected officials in the same way. It could make for a more exciting NCTV.

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