Nevada City Council hits a new low in considering removal of Mayor Senum

Though I don’t always agree with Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum, I appreciate all that she’s done for the city. Reinette is a co-founder and former manager of the popular Nevada City Farmers Market, organizer of community-wide cleanings, advocate of the Commercial Street Boardwalk, and farm-to-table events.

Reinette’s “Goat Fund Me” campaign was cited as a “novel idea to fight the increasing threat of wildfires” in the Los Angeles Times.

She is a recipient of a prestigious Lambert Award: “Her list of community accomplishments is long and growing longer each year. She has helped transform our historic community in ways that have put Nevada City on the cutting edge of the 21st Century,” said David “Sparky” Parker at the time. “The Famous Marching Presidents are proud to honor Reinette with our 25th annual Lambert Award.”

But at last night’s City Council meeting Vice Mayor Erin Minett requested that Council put an item on the agenda at the December 10 council meeting for the possible “sanctioning” or “removal of the current mayor,” effectively demoting Reinette to a Council member if it were to pass.

Erin cited “a number of things that have occurred over the past month that have been kind of upsetting … in the city.”

She cited examples such as Reinette speaking out about the recent PG&E power outages and not clarifying that the views were her own, comments about the “ready, set, go” wildfire evacuation plan, as well as her opposition to the 5G wireless ordinance. Erin read from a prepared statement.

Council member Valerie Moberg said she had some questions as to what the legalities are for such an action but was assured that the issue was just being explored. Valerie seconded the motion and it passed.

We can expect a circus at the December 10 meeting. Fans and foes of Reinette will fill up the room — western Nevada County public theater “at its finest.” In 2016, she apologized in this well-publicized case involving the Dallas police.

The more things change, the more they stay the same in Nevada City. But this is one of the most counterproductive attempts I’ve seen, and it will further polarize the town.

Reinette Senum 

Erin Minett (Photo credit: City of Nevada City website)



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 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.

9 thoughts on “Nevada City Council hits a new low in considering removal of Mayor Senum”

  1. I hope this doesn’t come to pass as Reinette has worked hard for Nevada City. Will her naysayers organize clean-ups and farmers’ markets or just take credit for what she already started?

  2. Jeff, good for you for calling this out. Every council member is entitled to views which run counter to the judgement of others, and while we all need to exercise diplomacy during sensitive times, this feels extreme. Reinette’s work for her community – our community – is underpinned by deep integrity, as is the work of all council members. Fingers crossed that we’ll get through this.

  3. Now The Union is running a correction — this time masquerading as a news story — that the motion at the December 10 meeting is to remove Reinette’s title as mayor — but not her seat. It confirmed what this post stated in the first place, “… effectively demoting Reinette to a Council member if it were to pass.” A videotape of the meeting showed this, but The Union — who was at the meeting — failed to understand this important detail. The newspaper owes Reinette and its readers an apology.

  4. UPDATE: I sent an email to the city of Nevada City and the City Council asking for the prepared statement that Erin Minett read at the meeting (see reference in this post), as well as who drafted it, and Erin responded with this email:

    “I am sending you the attachment of the motion I wrote for the city council meeting on November 13th. … In all transparency, I did email the same attachment to the city today for public records. I gave the paper copy of my motion to the city manager at the council meeting on November 13th. You also asked For the names of the people who worked on this. I wrote it myself with the help of my husband. I hope this answers all your questions if you have anymore please feel free to contact me.”

    The prepared statement read, according to Erin:

    ” I would like to request that the majority of the Council
    direct inclusion of an item on the next agenda for
    consideration, discussion and possible action for
    removal or sanctioning of the current mayor. I am
    requesting this item be agendized because…
    1. I have concerns and have received public
    complaints about
    Reinette’s not clarifying that the opinions she
    expresses regarding multiple City matters are her own
    and that she was not speaking on behalf of the
    city/city Council.
    2. Items such as with the tv interviews on
    the PSPS
    3. And opinions expressed on the ready set go
    platform in
    relation to what is being done about
    fire/fire danger/evacuation.
    4. In addition, I observed and received complaints
    from others
    that in her goal to oppose 5G she has actively
    solicited opposition to the wireless facilities ordinance
    adopted by the Council 4-0-1 and represented doing so
    as the Mayor when she has not received any authorization
    from the Council to do so.”

  5. Feels like a powerful woman being attacked for being effective and large in her role. What would the process have been if her actions were that of a man?

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