Patti Ingram Spencer misses the point of Hilary Hodge’s campaign

I’ve remained largely neutral on the race for District 3 Supervisor, where Hilary Hodge is challenging Dan Miller. Both candidates — though markedly different in their personalities and political beliefs — are “doers,” not “talkers,” in our community.

For her part, Hodge has raised the bar for a local political campaign — working hard, focusing on the issues, and shying away from the mudslinging that defines most of our local races. She is bright, engaging and brings a fresh, “can do” spirit to local politics.

Having said that, I am not as neutral about some of Dan’s ardent supporters — you know, the Grass Valley “old guard.”

A case in point is Patti Ingram Spencer, the former mayor and longtime city council member who along with her husband, former Supervisor John Spencer, embody the town’s “good old boy/girl politics.” Ingram Spencer’s family used to own The Union newspaper (Whoop Dee Doo). And more often than not, she seeks to divide us, not unite us.

A classic example is Ingram Spencer’s letter to the editor in The Union this morning, bashing Hodge with half truths and twisting her words — but not devoting enough space to what she sees as Miller’s positive attributes.

Ingram Spencer mocks Hodge’s “grass roots” campaign. But she ignores that Hodge hasn’t accepted corporate PAC money, and she has out-fundraised her opponent (at least for now) largely with small donations ($50 and $100) and donations from people who represent Nevada County’s families and interests — just not Ingram Spencer’s tight-knit conservative clique.

Reliving her past political battles, Ingram Spencer mocks two of Hodge’s supporters — Peter Van Zant and Izzy Martin — as “not being in office for approximately 15 years.” But she ignores that both Izzy and Peter remain major contributors to our community in their current roles: Izzy as CEO of the Sierra Fund, and Peter as a Centennial Dam work group volunteer.

In her letter, Ingram Spencer twists an episode during a public forum where Hodge was being civil as somehow being “proof”of her ignorance. (“As Ms. Hodge stated, in a public forum at Sierra Pines mobile home park, responding to a public question, ‘You take this one, Dan, you know more about this than I do.’)

Ingram Spencer totally misses the point of the Hodge campaign — and why it has gained so much momentum. It is about building consensus and celebrating diversity. It is about being civil and respectful. And it is about dealing with current issues (yes, including newly legalized cannabis) — not living in the past.  This has been a problem with District 3’s politics for, well, forever.

No matter who wins, Hodge — who has lived in the area for nearly 10 years — is showing Grass Valley’s electorate that the “golden rule” might be a better way to govern than merely “he who has the gold rules.” I applaud her for that.

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.

5 thoughts on “Patti Ingram Spencer misses the point of Hilary Hodge’s campaign”

  1. Thanks. Hilary is, by far, the best person for this job. I could not believe the way Dan Miller acted at the LWV forum. He wa so rude that once their was a involuntary collective gasp from the whole audience, most of whom attend the LWV forums regularly and know we aren’t to express opinions during the event

  2. Dan Miller is an intelligent and well-meaning public official. That said, I don’t believe he understands this county’s problems at a depth that it will take to resolve them. He relies too much on what he is told by staff and he ought to question them more. Supervisor supervise. This requires being on top, not underneath.

    Hopefully, either Hodge will win and make decisions based on a deeper understanding of the problems, or Dan will win and begin to probe more deeply into our government-related problems and how to solve them effectively, then act, which I believe he would do.

  3. Mrs. Ingram Spencer’s letter only made me throw more support behind Hilary Hodge. Let these cronies cackle. They only push me away from their candidate of choice.

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